Monday, June 29, 2015

Doughnut Cake

This cake.  I mean, have you ever had a doughnut cake?  It's quite literally, a cake made of doughnuts.  If this wasn't a thing before, here is its moment.

It was a few weeks ago when my husband left town for five days to visit his parents, but as I was overwhelmed with work and couldn't take any vacation, I stayed home.  So for his return, I had to make a special dessert.  I've never known anyone who loves doughnuts as much as he does, and I just knew that finally, it was the moment for a doughnut cake.

He even got his own little mini doughnut cake on a teeny tiny cake stand.  I want to serve everything on that little cake stand.

There are layers of soft, melt-in-your-mouth glazed doughnuts - which, no, I didn't make myself this time; but everything except the doughnuts I made from scratch.  Spoonfuls of homemade vanilla bean custard fill all the nooks and crannies between the doughnuts.  Fluffy salted vanilla buttercream separate each layer of doughnuts.  Big flakes of natural coconut add crunch and texture.  And rich chocolate ganache tops it all off.

It's completely customizable with your own flavor combinations of custard and buttercream.  What about jam instead of custard, paired with salted chocolate buttercream?  Or lemon custard with a beautifully pink raspberry buttercream?

And while I sprinkled it with coconut for crunch, there is always toffee bits, or crushed nuts, or even cereal!  Or salty crispy bacon!  There is a doughnut shop here in town that tops their doughnuts with sugar cereal instead of sprinkles.  They're pretty fantastic.

Each slice of this cake is a beautiful mess.  A tangle of fried dough, velvety custard and buttercream that melts on your tongue.  Not to mention the silky chocolate ganache.

Doughnut Cake

  • 9 large doughnuts
  • vanilla bean custard (recipe below)
  • salted vanilla buttercream (recipe below), or any other flavor buttercream
  • natural coconut, crushed nuts, toffee bits, sprinkles, etc, for a crunchy element
  • ganache (recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons cream
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces heavy whipping cream
(Make one day in advance.)
In a saucepan, whisk together the milk, cream, vanilla, sugar, corn starch and egg yolks.  Whisking constantly, cook over medium low heat, until the custard thickens, then continue cooking for one more minute.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter.  Pour through a mesh strainer to remove any bits of cooked egg, then cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for one minute.  Add the powdered sugar and meringue powder and mix on low to combine.  Add the vanilla, salt and cream, and whip on medium high for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.

(Make right before assembling).
Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl.  Warm the cream in a saucepan over low heat, just until it simmers around the edges.  Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate.  Let stand for 3 minutes, then stir until smooth and shiny.

Cut 6 of the doughnuts in half for a total of 12 halves, and keep 3 whole.  There will be 3 layers of cake, each with 1 whole doughnut and 4 halves. Place a whole doughnut in the center of a 10-inch cake board, using a little buttercream under the doughnut to adhere it to the cake board.  Arrange 4 halves around the sides.  Spoon 1/3 of the chilled custard into all the cracks and crevices.  Sprinkle with some of the coconut or whatever topping you're using for texture and crunch.  Pipe 1/3 of the buttercream on top of the doughnuts.

Repeat with a 2nd and 3rd layer of doughnuts, custard and buttercream.

Pour the ganache over the top, letting it drip over the sides.  Top with the coconut or other toppings before the ganache sets.  Refrigerate for an hour before serving.

This cake is best served the same day it's assembled, since doughnuts become rather stale after a day or two, but it's still good the second day, since the custard will keep the doughnuts moist.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen