Doughnut Muffins / Always Order Dessert

You may remember Alejandra of Always Order Dessert as the inspiration behind my Mom’s Lemon-Chocolate Birthday Cake and the stunning Italian Rainbow Cake that we ate on Christmas Day. She’s been generous enough to provide Ramshackle Glam with one of her to-die-for recipes in my absence…can’t wait to take this one for a spin myself once I’m back!

– Jordan

Hi Ramshackle Glam readers! My name is Alejandra and I’m the food blogger behind Always Order Dessert. Jordan asked me if I would be able share a recipe with you while she and Kendrick are off enjoying the sun and temperatures significantly higher than those here in New York so I thought I’d bring along my (and hopefully your!) new favorite treat—doughnut muffins.

I admit that I’ve never been a huge doughnut fan. My favorite item at Dunkin Donuts is the blueberry muffin (the full-fat kind topped with a sprinkle of crunchy turbinado sugar crystals), and I tend to pass on anything filled with cream. In college, I spent a several weeks selling hundreds and hundreds (and hundreds!) of boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts on the tourist-filled DC sidewalks as a way to raise funds for our “alternative spring break” group’s volunteer trip to Guatemala. We successfully raised nearly 100% of the cost of the trip, but the treacle-sweet smell of fried dough and icing sugar has haunted me since.

I thought I was pretty set in my ways, but this past week I picked up a copy of the book My Life From Scratch by Gesine Bullock-Prado (yes, as in Sandra’s sister), and was tempted to rethink my bias. In the book, Gesine [pronounced Geh-zeen-ah; because I wondered about it too] tells the story of how she abandoned a lucrative career in film production (she was the president of Sandra’s company Fortis Films) to pursue her dream of becoming a baker, sending all the fancy Hollywood clothing to storage and moving to Vermont to open a small pastry shop.

The book, like so many food-based memoirs, punctuates each chapter with a recipe, but it was the one at the end of the first chapter that captured my imagination; she called them her Golden Eggs—light, egg-shaped little cakes that are then dipped in melted butter and rolled around in a mix of cinnamon sugar. As they cool, she explained, the sugar and butter form a fragrant and delicate crust similar to that of a properly-fried cinnamon doughnut.

I couldn’t stop thinking about her description and, despite my ambivalence for doughnuts, soon found myself racing into the kitchen to give them a try. Lacking egg-shaped molds, I used muffin tins and baked the little cakes without a paper liner to facilitate proper dipping.

The cake is a basic yellow cake recipe scented with a faint hint of nutmeg (don’t skip it; it’s the “doughnut flavor” you’ll love), but it’s really all in the technique; the butter and sugar is creamed thoroughly with an electric mixer until it is light and doubled in volume, then the dry ingredients are delicately folded in. Dip them in the butter and sugar while they are still hot for maximum absorption (I’ve got asbestos fingers from years in the kitchen, but if you don’t, you can use tongs or spear the cakes with a fork).

I adapted Gesine’s recipe slightly to work with a muffin tin and a non-convection oven. I’m also excited to try this dipping idea on a few other cakes—I think this could be the start of my change of heart as far as donuts are concerned!

Makes about 30 muffins. Adapted from Gesine Bullock-Prado’s recipes for “Golden Eggs”

For the cake
Baking Spray (I love Pam baking spray with flour)
3 cups all-purpose or cake flour (the latter makes for a lighter crumb)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated white sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (you can substitute plain yogurt or an
equivalent amount of regular milk soured with a tablespoon of lemon

For dipping the cakes
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated white sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon, mixed together
in a small bowl

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray your muffin tins with the baking spray and set aside.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl, and set aside.

3. In the base of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can also use hand-held electric beaters), cream together the butter and sugar until light, fluffy, and doubled in volume. (About 7 to 10 minutes) Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary to make sure it is all incorporated fully.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, waiting until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla.

5. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to incorporated the flour and buttermilk, alternating a bit of each until it’s all in and fully incorporated and smooth.

6. Use a 1/2 cup ice cream scoop to scoop in an equal portion of batter into each tin, not filling it more than half way. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center of the little cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let sit in the tins for 5 minutes before unmolding. This makes about 30 muffins so work in batches and keep the batter cool in the interim.

7. While the cakes are still warm, dip into the melted butter, coating completely, and then immediately transfer to the bowl of cinnamon sugar. Dredge until full covered, tap off the excess, and then set on a rack or plate to cool.

Let cool before eating. Best the first day, but these keep well wrapped at room temperature for about 5 days.

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