Last year I read a seriously disturbing “food trend” update – doughnuts are the new cupcake! This knocked me sideways – I mean, cupcakes!! Who messes with The Cupcake?
Reading the article, it was case of SHOCK!! HORROR!!!… ok, maybe not so much horror…
since secretly (shhhh!! don’t tell the cupcakes) my idea of therapy is a solidly-built doughnut. Doughnuts (and their holes), doesn’t matter if they’re plain old cinnamon-sugar, traditional spicy coconut-crusted doorstoppers from the aunty down the road, or a decadent cheesecake-bearing monster, are antidotes to broken hearts (see the movie No Strings Attached) and the Monday blues (see, um… today).
KrispyKreme takes it to a whole new level… crispy sugary crustiness with that fluffy almost candyflossy inside that melts on your tongue… we don’t have KrispyKreme here in deepest darkest Africa (nudge nudge wink wink to budding entrepeneurs) so whenever I come across one while travelling, I make up for lost time. When I visited Dubai last year I located the nearest KrispyKreme, walked there on my last evening and bought a selection of 12 (including Crullers – like in Wayne’s World! Party On!) as well as several cups of mixed doughnut holes* and brought them home to stash away in the freezer for when days are dark and friends are few. One of the cups of doughnut holes mysteriously disappeared while I was packing my suitcase… Dang nabbit.
To be honest, since reading the article I haven’t really noticed any special doughnut-related excitement happening, but perhaps South Africa is just a late doughnut-bloomer. To ease us through the potential “the doughnut is the new cupcake” transition, here’s the MOST AWESOME faux doughnut recipe I found on Allrecipes.com right after reading the article; I wanted to be one of the cool kids who were on trend with the doughnuts but I felt kind of disloyal to the cupcakes (plus there’s no need to deep-fry anything) (plus it’s egg-free, if that matters to you), so when I found this it was perfect. I also did a local-is-lekker variation with apricot jam and coconut, and next time I’ll do a chocolate-glazed one as well using the recipe from the Peanut Butter Cupcakes. They really are doughnutty – firmer than a cupcake, and not too sweet.
F0r approximately 12 Cupcake-inator Doughnut Cupcakes (0r 8 regular-size or 24 minis):
1/2 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
1/2 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 cup of cake flour, sifted (trust me on this one – sift it)
Another 1/4 cup melted butter or marg, for basting purposes
About 1/2 cup of cinnamon sugar (mix regular or castor sugar with ground cinnamon to taste)
OR About 1/2 cup of sugar mixed with dessicated coconut, a 50:50 blend, plus a couple of tablespoonsful of smooth apricot jam for the filling.
Either preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, or blast the Cupcake-inator with non-stick spray before firing it up. I mean, really lay it on thick – these things tend to stick.
Mix the sugar and 1/4 cup melted butter and milk in a bowl. It will not really mix, but give it a stir anyway. Add the baking powder and SIFTED cake flour, and gently stir until just combined – it will still look lumpy and nasty, but if you mix it any more than that you will produce doughnut cupcakes that will chip peoples teeth…
Fill cupcake cases or the cupcake-inator halfway and bake either for 15-18 minutes in the oven or for 8 minutes in the Cupcake-inator; if you are doing a jam filling, put the batter in til just under the halfway mark, spoon a small blob of jam onto the centre, then cover with a thin layer of batter. The jam in mine sunk a little, but not all the way to the bottom and only a few leaked out the top. This was my fault because I was enjoying a cocktail at the time… people who say baking isn’t fun are obviously doing it wrong ;-).
When they’re done, let them cool a little and when they’re cool enough to handle brush them all over with melted butter then roll them around in your coating of choice, and let them cool completely in a single layer before storing. That’s assuming you didn’t eat the entire batch in one go, because they are so yummy while warm out the oven that it shouldn’t be legal to bake them when no-one else is around to restrain you. I ate four in one go and had to go lie down on the couch.
If you have a power outage straight after baking them (honestly! Eskom, you scumbag!!) rendering you unable to melt the butter for coating, don’t worry – it works just as well when they’ve been standing for a while. There are less crumbly bits falling off when basting them with butter, but the coatings tend not to cling as clingily as they do to the warm cakes.
At first, when you serve them, people will look at them funny because they’re not the prettiest – when one thinks cupcakes, one thinks swirly icing and sprinkles and sparkles. A case of don’t judge a book by its cover… and if they really can’t get past the cover then it’s ok because there’s more for you (could this have been the plan all along? hmmm).
*no it’s not a cheeky way of selling air. They are little doughnut bolletjies that can be popped whole into your mouth *eyes glaze over doughnut-style*. They are what you eat when Ashton Kutcher breaks up with you.
PS: I think “doughnut-hole” could be a nice term of endearment. You know, like the direct opposite of a certain term of not-endearment. Just a thought.
PPS: Oh, man. I admit. My shameful KrispyKreme obsession is so bad – that I did a google search on their stores in Dubai before I even went so that I could go and stockpile them. And I pre-arranged my final trip with the staff. And packed my suitcase so that it would comfortably accommodate a large box when returning home.