Making these classic confections is easier than you think. Whether you crave the cake variety, dunked in glaze; yearn for light-as-air pillows, plump with jelly; or prefer to bypass the hot oil and bake a dozen or two, these donut recipes are oh-so worth the effort.
Take the Cake
Bite into one of these beauties, and you’ll be struck by their crunchy exterior and soft yet dense interior. Rich with buttermilk and tangy with lemon juice, they come out of the hot oil a nice golden brown. Let the excess oil drip off, dip them in glaze, and top with fresh zest. Holes can be punched out of the middles, or you can make them using a 1 1/2-inch cutter.
Rise to the Top
Donuts leavened with yeast are airy and more elastic than their cakey counterparts. For these jelly-filled poufs, cut the dough into rounds and place each on lightly oiled parchment paper. Gently slip them into hot vegetable oil, turning with a chopstick, and cook until puffed up and golden. Use a pastry bag to pipe in jam just until they swell, and finish them with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.
End in a Tie
Here’s a twist on the Spanish pastry that’s dipped in chocolate or café con leche at breakfast time. Make a pâte à choux batter, also used for French crullers and cream puffs. Then fit a pastry bag with a star tip and pipe the batter through to create loops—the ridged surface will grab onto the cinnamon and sugar later. You might think the soft dough will cook quickly, but even if it looks done, hang in there. It’s when the interior becomes really hot that it gets its final puff.