Daring Bakers: Apple Cinnamon Buttermilk Donuts

My house now smells of deep frying, I have a pot of oil cooling on the stove that I have no clue what I am going to do with, and a sink full of sticky dishes.  On the bright side I have a rack of apple cake donuts and donut holes covered in cinnamon glaze awaiting consumption.  I guess I can’t complain.

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

There were quite a few donut options for this deep-fried challenge.  All the Daring Bakers could choose from a yeast donut, a buttermilk cake donut, filled bomboloni or pumpkin donut.  I was quite close to choosing the pumpkin since I have been on a pumpkin kick lately, but chose the buttermilk cake donut and added some grated apple and cinnamon to the dough.

The recipe says the dough will be sticky.  I was not prepared for the level of stickiness.  Use as much flour as you need to keep the dough from sticking to the cutters and your counter.  I even found that after my first cutting and re-rolling the donuts cut and handled much better thanks to the additional flour that had been incorporated.  Do not be shy with the flour.

After frying these beauties to a golden brown, let them drain on paper towels.  After cooling you can glaze them.  I used a simple glaze of powdered sugar, cinnamon and milk.  If you don’t want to glaze, you could dip the donuts in cinnamon sugar while they’re still warm and get a nice crunchy exterior.  Or just sprinkle them with powdered sugar.

My only mistake here was choosing to make some extra donut holes that I knew would be ugly.  When you have ugly scraps of food, you know what happens, don’t you?  You can’t give them to anyone or serve them, so your only other option is to eat them.  And if you’re anything like me you will walk by that plate of ugly donuts and take a nibble here, a nibble there, and before you know it you’ve eaten the equivalent of about 5 full sized donuts.  Then you feel very happy and full of sugary, deep-fried goodness.  Pure donut bliss!

The apples provide a nice texture to the interior and made for some funky looking donuts, but don’t add an incredible amount of flavor.  I would maybe try applesauce in addition to the apple pieces if I try these again.  These really come together quickly, so they would be do-able on a Saturday morning and a much appreciated change from cold cereal I am sure.  Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Buttermilk Donuts

Adapted from Nancy SIlverton


  • Sour Cream ¼ cup
  • All Purpose Flour 3 ¼ cup
  • White Granulated Sugar ¾ cup
  • Baking Soda ½ teaspoon
  • Baking Powder 1 teaspoon
  • Kosher (Flaked) Salt 1 teaspoon
  • Nutmeg, grated 1 ½  teaspoon
  • Ground Cinnamon 1 ½ teaspoons
  • Active Dry Yeast 1 1/8 teaspoon
  • Buttermilk ¾ cup + 2 Tablespoon
  • Egg, Large 1
  • Egg Yolk, Large 2
  • Pure Vanilla Extract 1 Tablespoon
  • Grated apple 1 ½ cups


  1. Microwave sour cream on low power for 20 seconds.  Keep heating on low until sour cream is lukewarm.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in large pot to 375°F/190°C.  Oil must be at least 3 inches deep.
  3. Over a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon; make a large well in the center. Place the yeast in the well; pour the sour cream over it. Allow it to soften (if using packed fresh yeast), about 1 minute.
  4. Pour the buttermilk, whole egg, egg yolks, and vanilla extract into the well. Using one hand, gradually draw in the dry ingredients. The mixture should be fairly smooth before you draw in more flour. Mix until it is completely incorporated. Mix in the grated apple.  The dough will be very sticky. Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour.
  5. Sift an even layer of flour onto a work surface. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of flour. You don’t want the doughnuts sticking to your counter. Scrape dough out of bowl onto the surface; sift another layer of flour over dough. Working quickly, pat dough into an even 1/2-inch (12.5 mm) thickness. Dip cutter in flour and, cutting as closely together as possible, cut out the doughnuts and holes. Place holes and doughnuts on a floured surface. Working quickly, gather scraps of dough together, pat into 1/2-inch (12.5 mm) thickness, and cut out remaining doughnuts and holes.
  6. Drop three to four doughnuts at a time into the hot oil. Once they turn golden brown, turn them and cook the other side. Cooking times may vary.  Watch them closely, but 20-30 seconds per side should be enough time.
  7. Once cooked, place on a baking sheet covered with paper towels to drain.