Sweetie Fridays – Donut-Shaped Cakes

Baking is a science; everyone knows that. Yes, a seasoned baker can experiment with good results. Yes, even some of the most experienced cooks need a cookbook to refer to turn by turn, if they decide to bake. And it’s best not to substitute if you’re working with a new, unfamiliar food (such as cake donuts).

Luckily, not all accidents are bad. Sometimes, an accident ends up being pretty darn good. Those times, a simple name change may be in order.

I had fresh pumpkin to use, and after much thought, I finally decided on the pumpkin spice donuts from Betty Goes Vegan. I bought the cookbook on impulse when it was featured in a giveaway during VeganMoFo and was excited to try my first recipe.

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The ingredients above are where you can see the red flags. Ener-G is not called for in the recipe once. Instead, I haphazardly used it to replace arrowroot flour. As for the seemingly innocent brown sugar? Hard as a rock.

Being impatient and what-not, I decided to try moistening the brown sugar directly, rather than throwing in a slice of bread or covering in a wet cloth. I ended up using way too much liquid (which, I assume, is why this has never been advised).

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Other than the poor ingredient choices, I gathered my supplies and followed the directions. The first element I took issue to was that brown sugar was grouped as a dry ingredient, that you were to mix in with the flour, etc.

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And then. . . If I read this correctly, you are to throw the wet ingredients directly on top.

Now. . . While I doubt this is responsible for my donuts coming out wrong, I do take issue to the method.  I grew up in the two bowl school: one for liquid, one for dry – throw it together. If you want to be ballsy, one bowl; but you first cream your sugar and butter, then mix in the liquid, and then throw in the dry. This all seemed incredibly backwards to me and, unsurprisingly. . .

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I was left with lumps.

Also, I don’t think I need to point out that the batter is practically liquid, making boxed cake batter look like cement. I’ve especially never seen a batter this thin when using solid oils.

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In the end, they looked fine, and they tasted great! Just, admittedly, not like a donut – more like the moistest, most decadent muffin you ever sank your teeth into.

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I didn’t have a donut pan, so I made most of my donuts as “holes” in a mini-muffin pan. . .

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And then made one small batch of half-filled cupcake liners with small foil balls to give them a hole.  I saw this idea online and it apparently can work wonders – I’m assuming it didn’t work properly on mine since they were too moist.

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Once dusted and iced, they did look nice, right? Either way, they were popular with those who tried them, and that’s all I can ask for.

Next time, however, I plan on following unfamiliar recipes better.
And don’t be surprised if I stop buying brown sugar from now on, and start adding the molasses back in myself.

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