Our first donut recipe is hands down one of our favorites. Why? Well, for one, it’s the result of excessive testing (we’re talking days, guys) and two, we take donuts seriously, so if they’re anything less than perfect, they ain’t gon’ cut it. They gotta be fresh, soft, pillowy, tender, and never, ever cake-y. Lord knows we ain’t about pretentious cupcakes. Here’s the main reason that recipe’s one of our favorites though: it’s on par with our favorite donut shops and it’s better than any recipe we’ve tried online. In case you’re curious, Donatsu and Donut Friend are our faves, so if you ever catch us on our birthdays, you know what to… okay, I’ll stop now.
What we’re saying is if you don’t live in LA, there’s a high percentage that these may be the best donuts you’ve ever had. Big statement, we know.
Now, the directions alone are like the opening book to the trilogy of a fantasy series, so we’re not going to waste too much of your time here. We are, however, gonna cover some key points.
Numba 1: “I don’t like filling.” “Filling sucks.” “Who put pudding in the donuts?” are not acceptable here. This filling’s fire and yes it’s better than that Dunkin’ Donuts shit you ate as a kid, stuffed with “raspberry jam,” that you’re so traumatized by.
Numba 2: Here’s where I actually tell you a lil about the filling. Truthfully, going against the title of this post, it’s kind of hard to call something “vegan pastry cream,” because real pastry has hella egg yolks in it, which there’s currently no substitutes for. That being said, we use a combination of flour, starch, and tried-and-true VeganEgg by Follow Your Heart. The result is a stable, silky cream that comes together in minutes. Boo-yah.
Numba 3: I mean it. Use cake flour. Don’t settle for the all-purpose you already have in your cupboard. Cake flour’s going to get you donuts that are light, delicate, and melt-in-your-mouth. All-purpose is gonna get you donuts that are less light, delicate, and well, you get the point.
Numba 4: I know, they look so pretty when they’re golden brown in the fryer, but when they’re golden brown in the fryer, they’ll be a ‘lil tough and bready later. Do yourself a favor and cook them for no more than 35 seconds per side. They’ll be light beige instead of deep mahogany brown, but we promise, when you’re eating them two hours after you cook them, you’ll be thankful. To be honest, we even overcooked the ones in these photos (hence the brown exterior), which resulted in a slightly dry and tough exterior hours later.
Numba 5: After you let the dough rise for the first time, be sure to knead it a couple of times to reform some of the gluten. If you don’t do this, they won’t capture enough air on their second rise, which will result in flat and dense donuts. No bueno. Speaking of rise time, for the love of God, let them rise for at least 45 minutes the second time around. This part is the difference between “meh” donuts and donuts that make you wanna tell the world “these are the best donuts ever”… kinda like I’m doing now.
Numba 6: “He said he was gonna keep this short, right? Even though he’s already on his sixth one?” What can I say, writing’s fun, eh? Anyways, figuring out how much filling to squeeze into the donuts can be a pretty menacing task. Thankfully, we have a trick for that: before you stuff your donut, measure its weight. Then, pipe exactly one ounce of filling into the center, thus raising the weight of your donut by an ounce. This way, each donut has exactly two tablespoons of filling, which we think to a be a perfect portion.
Numba 7: Instant yeast is just like active dry yeast, only less annoying. Reason being is you don’t have to mix it with warm water and let it sit for 10 minutes before it works! You just throw it right in with dry ingredients. But, if you only have active dry yeast laying around, mix it separately with the warm water in the recipe and move on with your life.
Numba 8: Just kidding. Numba 7 was the last one!
Seriously though guys, these donuts are fried, doughy perfection. If you’re confident in your baking skills, we promise you’ll be in love with the results. All in all, they’re:
- Soft, airy, and delicate
- Silky, smooth, and rich
- Sweet, toasty, and deep
- Your new fave donuts ;)
If you like what your eyes are tasting, then share this recipe with your friends on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest at @noeggsorham! For more flame-emoji photos, geeky food talk, and mouth-watering dishes, subscribe to our email list. Tag us in a photo when you create one of our recipes at home so we can share it!
Homer Would Be Proud
Espresso Cookie Butter Pastry Cream Filled Donuts (vegan)
Fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth raised doughnuts are coated with sugar crystals and filled with sweet, silky, and toasty bavarian-style cream.
- 12-14 oz cake flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 oz warm water
- 30 grams (1/4 c) powdered sugar
- 2 ¼ tsps instant yeast or 1 package active dry yeast*
- 2 oz full-fat coconut milk
- 2 oz Melt Organic butter
- 1 oz (2 tbsps) aquafaba (liquid from can of chickpeas)
- 1/2 gal refined oil
Espresso Cookie Butter Cream
- 2 cups full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp tapioca or corn starch
- 1 tbsp loosely packed VeganEgg powder by Follow Your Heart
- 1/4 c cookie butter
- 1 tsp espresso powder*
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- small pinch of salt
- granulated sugar
- Combine water, butter, and coconut milk in a small pot over low heat and cook until butter just melts and temperature reaches 120° F, stirring frequently. Pour mixture into the bowl of a stand-up mixer, along with aquafaba, and beat on medium speed until thoroughly mixed; about 1 minute.
- Add in 10 oz of flour, powdered sugar, yeast, and salt. Beat on medium-high speed until dough starts to come together; about 2 minutes.
- Switch over to a dough hook and slowly add in enough flour for dough to form a ball (2-4 more ounces). It should be very moist, but not so sticky that it clings to your fingers. The amount of flour needed will differ from day to day, so use your best judgement here.
- Once you’ve reached a good consistency, knead on medium-high for 3 minutes. Remove from hook, form into a ball, lightly oil your mixer bowl, and place back in bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and store in a warm spot until doubled in size; about 1 hour.
- While dough rises, prepare the pastry cream. Whisk together sugar, flour, starch, VeganEgg powder, and salt in a medium pot. Turn heat to medium and slowly whisk in coconut milk.
- Whisk consistently until mixture begins to thicken and bubble. Continue cooking for a minute, turn off the heat, and stir in cookie butter, espresso powder, and vanilla until smooth.
- Transfer to a cake pan or shallow dish to cool, place a sheet of plastic wrap right atop the surface of the cream, and place in fridge until ready to use (at least 2 hours).
- Gently push air out of dough, plop onto a clean surface coated in a light layer of cake flour, and knead a few times. Shape into a ball, grab a rolling pin (or wine bottle), and roll until dough’s about 1/2 inch thick.
- To cut into shape, use a 2 ½ inch pastry ring or the rim of a wide-mouthed mason jar lid (which is what we used). After you’ve cut out everything you can, reshape dough into a ball, roll out again, and repeat until all of it is used.
- Place donuts on lightly floured cookie sheets, cover with plastic wrap or tea towels, and allow to rise until doubled in size; 45-60 minutes.
- When time’s almost up, heat refined oil in a large dutch oven over high heat until temperature reaches 375° F. Once ready, carefully drop two donuts into the oil and cook for 35 seconds per side; should be beige in color.
- Using a spider tool, transfer donuts to an upside down cooling rack on top of an inverted cookie sheet with a layer of paper towels in between to wick away oil. As soon as they’re cool enough to handle, move to a large bowl with granulated sugar, toss to coat, and move back to cooling rack. Repeat Steps 11 and 12 for remaining donuts.
- Important Note: It’s very tempting to cook the donuts until they’re golden brown in color, which takes about 45 seconds, but we promise they’ll be better if you only cook them for 35 seconds per side. In fact, we slightly overcooked the ones in the photos on this post. The color may be aesthetically pleasing, but it makes the rim of the donuts firm and bready. So we repeat: 35 seconds per side at 375° F.
- Allow to cool for 45 minutes, then poke a hole on the side of each donut using a chopstick and swivel it around to make room on the inside.
- Cut a small corner off of a ziplock bag, then insert a star-shaped pastry tip into the opening. Use a small piece of tape to hold it down, then scoop in chilled pastry cream.
- Place pastry tip in donuts and squeeze until center is full. If you want to be specific about the amount you add, weigh each donut before stuffing, then add one ounce of pastry cream. One ounce equates to two tablespoons, which we think is a perfect amount.
- Enjoy immediately! Store covered at room temperature for 36 hours, although they are best within 12 hours.
*If using active dry yeast in place of instant yeast, first things first, go out and buy yourself some instant yeast. Second off, instead of heating up the water with coconut milk and butter, simply mix the yeast with the warm water (115° F) and let it activate for 10 minutes. Then mix it in with the rest of the liquids in the stand-up mixer.
*Espresso powder’s made from dehydrated, brewed espresso that dissolves easily in liquids. To that point, espresso powder isn’t just ground up espresso beans. But worry not, because espresso powder can be bought in most supermarkets (in the coffee or baking section) for less than $5!