Sour Cream Doughnuts – Dense and crispy on the outside, moist and cakey on the inside, these sour cream doughnuts are your favorite cake doughnuts that are ready in half the time as yeast doughnuts!
Doughnuts have always been a weakness of mine. Some of my happiest memories are when my dad would surprise us with a dozen doughnuts on a random Saturday morning. I’d almost always go for the yeast doughnut with chocolate icing.
But now, as an adult, I’ve gotten the chance to experience so many more kinds of doughnuts: powdered, cinnamon, cake, French crullers, jelly-filled, and my latest favorite, sour cream doughnuts.
Sour cream doughnuts – also known as old-fashioned doughnuts- are known for being the least dainty of the doughnut family. They’re bulky doughnuts that are firm on the outside but oh-so-moist on the inside. I’ve had them at a few coffee shops before and liked them, but it wasn’t until I had them at a local bakery that I truly fell in love. My husband works right by the bakery and loves to surprise me with them every once in a while. Do I have a great man or what?!
The best thing about these doughnuts is the combination of textures. Crunchy yet chewy, dense yet moist. It’s like having many doughnuts in one. Oh and let’s not forget the flavor – these doughnuts are made with hints of spice from nutmeg and cinnamon that are subtle enough that you probably won’t notice it immediately but you know there’s something different going on.
Alright…now that you know what sour cream doughnuts are all about, here is my homemade version that I make whenever I need my fix. Check out my Sour Cream Doughnuts!
In the two main categories of doughnuts – yeast vs cake- sour cream doughnuts are classified as cake doughnuts, for the simple fact that there is no yeast in the dough. That means these doughnuts are much less complicated and are ready much sooner than yeast doughnuts.
To make the dough, it’s very similar to a cake recipe, but instead of milk, we use sour cream. After the dough is mixed together, we chill it to help the dough thicken a bit and let the flavors come together.
Then, all we have left is cutting the doughnuts and frying them. But, as simple as these steps sound, this is where your doughnuts can go wrong if you don’t follow the instructions exactly right. Here are the tips you must remember in these two key steps:
- Do not roll the dough if it’s way too sticky. Keep kneading in more cake flour into the ball of dough until it’s manageable and isn’t sticking to everything.
- Make sure you don’t roll out the dough too thin. Otherwise, the doughnuts will turn to hockey pucks when you fry them. In fact, you’re better off making the dough too thick than too thin. Thick dough produces tall, moist doughnuts.
- When frying the doughnuts, the temperature is very important, as it is when frying anything. I use a candy thermometer to make sure the oil stays at 350 degrees the whole time. If the oil gets too hot, the exterior will burn before the interior is cooked. Alternatively, if the oil isn’t hot enough, the doughnuts will take too long to cook and become greasy.
- To help keep the oil temperature steady, fry the doughnuts in batches. I did about 4 doughnuts at a time.
There you have it – my favorite doughnuts, as of right now. At any moment, I could switch back to my previous favorite – blueberry cake doughnuts. Maybe I’ll be making a batch of those sometime this summer to make use of all these fresh blueberries we have. Stay tuned!
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Sour Cream Doughnuts
For the doughnuts:
- 2 1/4 cup cake flour plus more for dusting
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter unsalted, softened
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- canola or vegetable oil for frying
For the glaze:
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup hot water
- In a medium bowl, add cake flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Whisk together. Set aside.
- In the bowl fitted for a stand mixer, add butter and sugar. Mix on low (with paddle attachment) until mixture turns sandy. Add egg yolks and increase speed to medium until mixture turns light yellow and smooth.
- Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture. Beat just until combined. Add 1/2 of the sour cream and mix just until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, if needed. Repeat once more. Finish off with last 1/3 of flour mixture and beat just until combined. Cover mixture with plastic wrap, making sure to place wrap right on top of the dough to prevent drying. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Remove chilled dough from fridge. Place dutch oven on stove and add oil so that it's about 2-3 inches deep. Turn heat to medium and insert candy thermometer to monitor temperature.
- Dust counter with cake flour and scoop out dough onto surface. If dough is sticky and hard to manage, knead a little more cake flour into the dough so it's not sticky anymore. Roll our dough with rolling pin until 1/2 inch thick - don't make it too thin or the doughnuts will turn to hockey pucks!
- Using a doughnut cutter (or a large and small biscuit cutter), cut out doughnuts and centers. Roll out scraps and cut out more doughnuts until the majority of the dough is used.
- Check the temperature of the oil. Once it's 350 degrees, add doughnuts into hot oil in batches so the pan doesn't get crowded. Cook for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown (45 seconds for doughnut holes). If you notice the doughnuts getting too brown, turn down the heat a little. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels until room temperature.
- Add ingredients for glaze into deep bowl. Whisk together until smooth. Carefully dunk tops of doughnuts into glaze and place on wire rack to drain off excess glaze. Let them sit for 20 minutes to let the glaze harden. Serve immediately. Doughnuts are best served on the same day they are fried.
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