I don’t normally “celebrate” National Doughnut Day because, well, it’s sort of silly, right? BUT…this past June 7 I kept seeing Facebook status updates and Instagram photos of people eating lots and lots of doughnuts and, wouldn’t you know it, I found myself wanting doughnuts! The house we were living in at the time was nowhere near a decent doughnut shop, plus dragging all the kids in and out of the car seemed like too much work. So, I hit the computer and started looking for recipes.
You need to know two other things leading up to today’s recipe.
1) Dan’s grocery stores in Utah used to carry Dunford’s Chocolate Cake Donuts. The latest I heard is that Dan’s no longer carries the donuts and that they are impossible to find (Update: Harmon’s apparently sells them and the Dunford’s in South Jordan is still around). Dunford’s were the greatest chocolate cake donuts of all time. I have never had a chocolate cake donut that compares. I am on a constant quest to find a Dunford’s replacement and I am constantly disappointed.
2) A doughnut is not a doughnut if it is not fried. Yes, there are a lot of good recipes for “baked doughnuts” out there but, if you ask me, they’re basically muffins in a doughnut shape. They aren’t really doughnuts.
With these two thoughts in mind, I decided that since I can’t buy Dunford’s donuts I was going to have to make them. I read through a lot of recipes and finally decided to use a Chocolate Cake Doughnut recipe from Sunset Magazine.
I made a few batches and the final final product was MIGHTY FINE. Still no Dunford’s, but close! And they were better than any other store-bought chocolate cake doughnuts I’ve had, so this recipe was a winner!
Chocolate Cake Doughnuts Sort of Like Dunford Use to Make
From Sunset Magazine, but I changed a few things up based on my experience with the recipe
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 6 to 8 cups vegetable oil for frying
- Chocolate Doughnut Frosting (See recipe below)
In a bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, buttermilk, and melted butter to blend. Stir into dry ingredients until well blended. Chill until cold, at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
Scrape dough onto a generously floured surface.
If you have a doughnut cutter: With floured hands, pat dough out to about 1/2 inch thick. With a 3-inch doughnut cutter, cut out doughnuts. Pat together scraps of dough and cut again.
If you do not have a doughnut cutter, this is what I did and it worked wonderfully: Roll dough out into a rectangle that is about 5 inches wide and 1/2-inch thick. Cut into strips about 1 inch wide (so you end up with pieces 1″ wide and 5″ long). Shape the strips into circles. With a little bit of water wet the ends with your fingertips and then seal the ends. Trust me, it actually works really well and made about 16 doughnuts.
Place doughnuts on a well-floured baking sheet or back on your floured surface.
Add about 4 inches of oil into a 5- to 6-quart pan; heat to 375° (I have an instant read thermometer that I use throughout the entire cooking process – it’s important!). Place one doughnut at a time onto a wide spatula and gently slide into oil, frying three at a time. Cook, turning once, until puffy and cooked through. The original recipe says to cook 3 to 4 minutes total, but that was WAY too long. I cooked each donut 1 minute per side and that was perfect – cooked through completely but also not burned or dried out. With a slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain. Test temperature of oil, reheat to 375 if needed. Repeat process to fry remaining doughnuts.
Let cool on a wire rack. Dip top half of each doughnut in the chocolate frosting and place back on wire rack to set for about 5 minutes (or longer).
Chocolate Doughnut Frosting (Sunset’s recipe was more of a glaze, I changed mine to match the Dunford’s frosting more)
- 6 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons corn syrup
- Powdered sugar (amount TBD)
In a heatproof bowl, combine semisweet chocolate, whipping cream, butter and corn syrup. Place bowl over simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar until the frosting thickens but is still of a consistency where you can dip the doughnuts into the frosting.
These doughnuts come Owen Approved!