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