Birthday Cake Doughnuts



Doughnuts are kind of an odd theme running through my life right now. I take that back…it’s been a year. I couldn’t even tell you how many doughnut flavors have been discussed lately (at least 50 in the past weekend alone). As much planning as has gone into the doughnut phase, there is little execution to be boasted. So, when my doughnut-collaborator’s wife had a birthday breakfast, the only logical thing to do was to make doughnuts. Birthday cake doughnuts!


I’m not sure whether to put this in the regular annals of Zest it Up or banish it to the far reaches of our “Messed it Up” category. See, this recipe was really pretty good (judging by the number of doughnuts that seemed to magically disappear the night before we served them), but it needs some improvement. Or I need some technique—that’s probably it. I think that I overbeat the dough in my attempt to not add more flour, so I adjusted the recipe here to simply add more flour at the get-go in order to forego the overmixing. I’m going to let you try, and let me know how it turns out for you. IMG_2646




DoughnutsHappy kids, happy cooks…that part was undoubtedly successful.


  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water (about 110F, no higher)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup sugar, plus 2 tsp
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 6 cups all purpose flour
  • vegetable oil for frying (about 1 gallon)
  • 1/3 cup multicolored sprinkles
  • 1 package white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • sprinkles


Warm the milk until just warm enough to melt the shortening. Place shortening in the milk and melt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, dissolve the 2 tsp sugar in the water. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let sit for about 10 minutes, or until the yeast begins to bubble and foam.

Pour the yeast mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the milk and shortening, first checking to make sure that the milk is not too warm (it will kill the yeast).

Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg and half of the flour. Combine on low speed until the flour is incorporated. Add the sprinkles and the rest of the flour. Mix again on low speed until incorporated.

Exchange the paddle attachment for the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for about an hour. The dough will double in size.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out about 3/8 inch thick.

Cut out doughnut shapes using a pastry cutter or pastry ring (or mason jar, in  my case). The outer circle should be 2 ½ inches and the inner ring about 7/8inch.

Place doughnuts on a very lightly floured cookie sheet. Cover with a towl and allow to rise another 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer or large saucepan to 365F. Gently place the doughnuts in the oil and allow to cook until golden on one side, then flip. I found that it took about 45 seconds per side. Transfer cooked doughnuts to paper towels to dry.

Heat the white chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave in 15-20 second intervals, stirring well in between each set. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the cake mix and vegetable oil.

Frost cooled doughnuts and sprinkle the tops.



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