Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Where there's a will, there's a way.

Before Tim Horton's cornered the donut market, my mother and her mother and my dad's mother all made doughnuts at home. Or, more properly, they made what my dad's mother called 'fried cakes'. These were a baking powder pastry that was deep fried in oil. My mother's mother kept a tin of them on hand at all times. She also kept a white (vanilla) cake with a boiled sugar icing on hand, too. If someone dropped in for tea, there was always a treat to go with it.

We used to love those doughnuts. They were best when served hot from the fryer, and my dad loved them with honey. In fact, the last time my mother made doughnuts was the year that Mr. Coco harvested honey from his very own bees. The whole family gathered at the cottage and we devoured every single doughnut in one sitting. She used her mother's recipe which was subtly flavoured with ginger and nutmeg.

In fact, I never knew a yeast-raised donut until Tim Horton's arrived. I guess I'm a little slow on the up-take, because a new donut seems to have hit my radar. A baked donut. Suddenly, that's all the rage, it seems. I had my doubts about how good a baked donut could be, but since I haven't actually even owned a deep fryer in over a decade, I thought I'd give it a try.

The sticking point seems to be that you need the special donut pan. I had a look around for donut pans locally, and came up empty. I looked online and found Amazon would send me one for $13.99 plus the cost of shipping, or I could buy 2 and they'd ship for free. Seems a little pricey for something I'm not even sure I'd want in the end. Besides, they'd be 2 more baking pans to have to store.

Here is where Grandma Coco decided to get creative. I might have paid the money, and waited for delivery, but Grandma Coco is very keen on DIY, and she's impatient. So, I decided I really only needed some kind of centre thing-y to make the hole in the donut.

I cut up a washed soft drink can that was waiting to be recycled. The pieces want to coil naturally, so you only have to give them a little help. Then I used tin snips to cut a short slit and crimp the edges over with jewellery pliers, so they wouldn't un-coil. Everybody has jewellery pliers, right? Now, because I wasn't sure I wanted the outside of the aluminum can to touch my food, I covered them in small pieces of foil.

I greased muffin cups with olive oil, and rubbed a little on the outside of the spindles, placed them into the cups, and spooned the batter around them. The batter is runnier than traditional fried cake dough, so it's pretty easy to get it into the cups around the spindle. I think I used a little too much, because my donuts are pretty bloated. I think next time, I would use less. I made 1/2 the recipe of donut batter, and I think ideally this would make 9 donuts (not 6). So, the whole recipe  (see below) would make 18 donuts.

Baked and resting, waiting for their cinnamon sugar sprinkle.

In case you're as cheap frugal resourceful as I am....or, maybe you already have the pans!.... I'm going to share the recipe I used, but there are many, many more on line. I'm going to try more, that's for sure. They're lower in fat than muffins, and were very well received.

Apple Cinnamon Sugar Donuts Recipe

PS Do not pity me for my lack of donut pans, nor for my old and well-used muffin tins. Those tins, like my bread pans, are well-tempered and well cared for. The donuts (and muffins and bread) slide right out of 'em. They are one of the perks of living a long life. :)


  1. Could you send me one, by email, perhaps?

  2. You are a genius for coming up with your own custom donut baking pan! Very smart. The donuts look great.

    1. HAHAHA! Genius! Yeah, that's me, Paula! :) Thanks!!!


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