Did you try Dunkin Donuts' Red Velvet cake doughnut during the holidays? I ate a couple of them. As much as I love all things Dunkin, I have to admit that I found them fairly tasty, but not a great interpretation of red velvet. (Too much chocolate flavor--and that is probably the ONLY time you will ever hear me say that.) Of course, thinking about a way to improve them got the wheels in my head turning, until the idea of making my own red velvet doughnut moved from passing thought to an idea I couldn't let go. I Googled away, but all the recipes I found were for baked doughnuts, and not only do I not own a doughnut pan, I really have no interest in making a fake doughnut. So I decided I would just have to try to come up with my own recipe.
So how did I do? I did ok. I have this secret dream (I'm mostly joking, but not entirely) of opening a shop to sell my favorite round breakfast foods--bagels and doughnuts. I don't think this product is ready for my fictional shop's shelves yet, but I DO think it's pretty darn delicious and definitely worth sharing. Mostly, I wished these doughnuts would hit you over the head with red velvet flavor more than it does--it's there, but it's understated. The bright red color SCREAMS red velvet, but I think the fried flavor overwhelmed the red velvet flavor a little. However, there is absolutely a nice, subtle red velvet flavor underneath the crispy fried crust and the cream cheese glaze definitely adds to the red velvet impression. The super tender, moist texture and crispy exterior that this recipe yields are also major selling points.
In any event, these are a really fun breakfast treat. They would be a great "good morning" for your Valentine, and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. I highly recommend surprising your Valentine with something sweet this year. (And remember--your valentine can be anybody, not just a significant other. How popular would you be if you put these in the break room? In fact, I'm planning to bribe my own co-workers with these!) Whatever you make and whoever you love, I wish you a very happy Valentine's Day. I hope these doughnuts can help make it a little sweeter!
Fun Doughnut Fact: Did you know the reason doughnuts have holes? I was at an amazing cookbook conference for work this past weekend and one of the presenters told this story: When the Dutch brought over their traditional doughnuts (which were called olykoeks, meaning "oil cakes"), we, of course, Americanized them, which eventually included adding baking powder to the doughnut recipe. Because of the baking powder, the doughnuts, which were previously more of a ball, could not cook all the way through. Thus, somebody thought to make a hole in the middle, allowing the doughnuts to be cooked consistently throughout and giving us the modern shape we know and love today.
Red Velvet Cake Doughnuts with Cream Cheese Glaze
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 18 doughnuts
- 1 egg
- 3/4 C granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- 1 oz. liquid red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 C buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 C all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Vegetable oil or shortening
- 4 oz. softened cream cheese
- 3 C confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 C milk
- In a large bowl, stir egg and granulated sugar until combined. Add melted butter and red food coloring and mix well.
- In a separate small bowl or large measuring cup, combine the baking soda, the buttermilk, the cider vinegar, and the vanilla extract. Slowly add to egg/sugar/butter/red mixture and combine thoroughly.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder and stir a few times to aerate. Slowly add to the liquid/sugar/butter/egg mixture and stir until just combined. Add extra flour, if needed. Dough should be stiff, but not rock-solid.
- Fill a large, deep pot with several inches of oil or shortening and heat until the oil temperature is in the 350-375 degree range. Do not exceed 375 degrees.*
- On a floured surface, roll dough out to 1/2" thickness. Cut out shapes with one large cookie cutter (in the 4" neighborhood) and then cut holes in the middle with a small cookie cutter (in the 1"-2" neighborhood). Fry in batches of 3-4 doughnuts, about a minute per side, and remove to a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
- When all doughnuts are fried, make glaze. Using a hand or stand mixer set to low, combine the softened cream cheese, 1/2 C of confectioner's sugar, and 1/4 C milk. When the mixture is smooth, add the rest of the confectioner's sugar and the rest of the milk and beat until smooth. If glaze is too thick, add more milk until a thin consistency is achieved.
- Set the doughnuts over a cooling rack on top of a sheet tray (to catch the drips) and either dip the tops of the doughnuts in the glaze and rest unglazed side down on the cooling rack, or drizzle glaze over the top. Allow to set or eat immediately. Glaze will take a while to dry.**
*Please take extreme caution when frying. Remember that dumping cold dough in to the hot oil will cause it to splash, so place doughnuts very gently in the oil. Never leave your hot oil unattended and do not let the oil reach temperatures higher than the recommended 375 degrees.
**Doughnuts are best within a few hours of frying, so I would recommend freezing whatever you do not eat within 12 hours of frying.