September somehow flew by without me realizing it and I can hardly believe it’s already October. Really, this entire year has flown by – it’s even harder to believe that in three more months, it’ll be 2020. Let’s not think too much about that, though, because the last three months of the year are the best. Fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas, cold weather.
Fall is hands down my favorite season, followed by winter. I love the cooler weather and the changing of the leaves. Sweaters, jackets, blankets. Apple and pumpkin desserts. All those fall spices: cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, cloves. Soups and stews. Apple picking, pumpkin picking, hot apple cider. Apple cider donuts. Pumpkin beer. I could go on.
But, despite the fact that the first official day of Fall has come and gone, it is still 85 degrees outside. However, I have decided to staunchly ignore the actual weather and get on with Fall, so this past weekend I made these pumpkin cake donuts from King Arthur. They are so good and the perfect way to kick off Fall baking: moist and cakey, with lots of pumpkin flavor. I also threw in more spices than called for because there’s no such thing as too much pumpkin spice for me.
Also, because I am #extra, I made my own pumpkin puree. It’s super easy to do and I highly recommend it but if you don’t want to, then, to quote the great Ina Garten, “store bought is fine.” However, I will say that not all canned pumpkin is real pumpkin – USDA guidance allows it to be other types of squash, like butternut, and still labeled “100% pumpkin” – so what better way to know that you’re making pumpkin donuts and not butternut squash donuts than to make your own puree?
To make your own pumpkin puree, all you have to do is buy pie pumpkins (I get mine at my regular grocery store!), cut them in half (careful around the stem), scoop out the seeds (save them to roast if you like), and roast the pumpkin cut side up at 400 F for 1 to 1.5 hours. When done, scoop out the flesh (if it’s not easy, it needs more time in the oven) and then just blitz it in a food processor or blender until smooth and it’s ready to use! No need to oil or season the pumpkin. Just make sure you buy pie pumpkins, also called sugar pumpkins, and not carving pumpkins. Carving pumpkins are usually larger, have thinner flesh, and are more watery, so the puree will not be the right consistency.
The recipe says it yields 12; this was my first time using my donut pans and I wasn’t sure how much to fill each donut well, so I got 18 but some were flatter than I’d like. I suspect you could get 15 good sized donuts, though. If you don’t have donut pants, here are the ones I have.
Pumpkin Cake Donuts – recipe from King Arthur Flour
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp AP flour
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease two donut pans.
In a large bowl, mix together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt and baking powder. Fold in the flour.
Fill the donut pans. You can use a piping bag if you want to be really neat, but the batter is thick enough that a spoon is fine. You should get 12-15 donuts, so you may have to bake in two batches if you only have two donut pans.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until done. Let cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a rack.
While the donuts are cooling, mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. After turning the donuts out from the pan, toss each donut one at a time in the cinnamon sugar. The donuts should be cool enough that the sugar doesn’t melt, but warm enough that the coating will stick. Enjoy!