Nancy Silverton's Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts Recipe

Nancy Silverton's Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts Recipe

And here's the first of that handful of recipes I just told you about. It's for an old-fashioned buttermilk cake doughnut. Cake doughnuts are different from yeast-raised doughnuts in that they get their lift from baking soda and baking powder. Here, Nancy has used a bit of yeast for just a little extra rise. But don't worry, these still have the soft, moist interior you associate with the best cake doughnuts.

Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts

  • Yield:15 doughnuts and holes


  • 1/4 crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 3 1/4 cups unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon (0.3 ounce) packed fresh yeast or 1 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 2 extra-large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • For decorating
  • 1/2 cup nonmelting icing sugar or powdered sugar


  1. 1.

    In a small stainless-steel bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, heat the crème fraîche until just warm.

  2. 2.

    Heat the oil to 375°F.

  3. 3.

    Over a large mixing bowl, sift to combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg; make a large well in the center. Place the yeast in the well; pour the crème fraîche over it. Allow it to soften, about 1 minute.

  4. 4.

    Pour the buttermilk, whole egg, egg yolks, and vanilla extract into the well; whisk together the liquid ingredients. Using one hand, gradually draw in the dry ingredients. The mixture should be fairly smooth before you draw in more flour. Mix until it is completely incorporated and forms a very sticky dough. Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour.

  5. 5.

    Sift an even layer of flour onto a work surface. Scrape dough out of bowl onto the surface; sift another layer of flour over dough. Working quickly, pat dough into an even 1/2-inch thickness. Dip cutter in flour and, cutting as closely together as possible, cut out the doughnuts and holes. Place holes and doughnuts on a floured surface. Working quickly, gather scraps of dough together, pat into 1/2-inch thickness, and cut out remaining doughnuts and holes.

  6. 6.

    Fry doughnuts and holes immediately according to these instructions.

  7. 7.

    Sift a layer of nonmelting icing sugar or powdered sugar over doughnuts and holes.