About two weeks ago, I went to Portland, Oregon for a conference.
It was my first time in Portland and I was pretty excited about it. For one, I am sick of California’s shenanigans, and for two, I got to hang out with two of my blogging besties, Barbara and Nicole. Oh, and I guess for three, because Portland is known for their amazing doughnut scene.
And let me preface this by saying, normally I would spell it ‘donut’ because the donut recipes on my blog are just that – donuts. Technically they’re donuts, but they aren’t really made of a dough, and they’re not fried, so I call them the shortened version. But Portland is known for real-deal, authentic, in yo face doughnuts and I couldn’t wait to experience them!
My first stop on my doughnut mission was VooDoo Doughnuts, namely because you hear so much about it and they have quirky flavors. While VooDoo was good, it wasn’t my favorite – but then some other bloggers gently reminded me that there’s an even better doughnut place in PDX, and that’s Blue Star.
Blue Star Doughnuts is legit. It’s airy, light, bright and open with a gorgeous display of doughnuts on white platters instead of in bakery cases. They boasted flavors like Blueberry Basil Cake, Tiramisu, Cointreau Creme Brulee, and of course, the one my eye instantly went to: buttermilk old fashioned.
When you look at me, you don’t automatically think “vanilla.” Maybe it’s because my legs are covered in tattoos. Or maybe it’s because I dress like a cartoon character. Or it could be my studded glasses, platinum blonde hair, or my personality. But honestly? I could give or take wacky flavored things in favor of classic flavors like vanilla. That’s why I always choose sprinkle cake and buttermilk old fashioned doughnuts at shops – they’re an old favorite, a classic standby. They won’t disappoint me like VooDoo’s banana fritter did. And you can’t bury them under pounds of peanut butter, Oreos, chocolate chips and chocolate fudge frosting. They have to taste good – they have no bells and whistles to hide under!
Here, in all of its magnificent glory, is Blue Star’s buttermilk old fashioned:
I mean, the person who came up with this recipe should be sainted. It was that good.
So of course, the second I came home to Sacramento, I had to try to recreate it!
This doughnut recipe is so simple – I promise! If breaking out the fryer makes you break out in hives, I promise it isn’t that bad. And there’s no yeast in this recipe, which makes for a quick and easy dough.
In this recipe I use cake flour, which lends a more tender crumb to these doughnuts. If you don’t have cake flour, feel free to use all-purpose flour – it’ll have a similar texture. I also use good ol’ buttermilk, because they wouldn’t be buttermilk doughnuts without it! Please spring and buy the actual buttermilk, as opposed to the ol’ vinegar in milk trick. That stuff’s great in a pinch, but you want real deal buttermilk here. After all, it is the flavor!
And I have to say, I did a pretty darn good job at these doughnuts! The texture is light and fluffy with that amazing cakey-ness, with a slightly crunchy exterior and a wonderful buttermilk vanilla flavor. The glaze on top is aces, too.
And don’t fret if you don’t have a doughnut cutter – I used fluted biscuit cutters and it worked just fine! Also, if you want to make these buttermilk bars, which are typically found at doughnut shops, feel free to cut them into bar shapes and score the tops for that signature split down the middle look.
But whatever you do, please promise me you’ll make these! Or if nothing else, take me back to Portland.
Easy Homemade Buttermilk Old Fashioned Doughnuts
- 4 Tbsp butter melted
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4-1/2 tsp nutmeg I like a stronger nutmeg flavor, which is essential to homemade doughnuts, so I use 1/2 tsp. Use 1/4 tsp if you prefer a lighter flavor
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3½ cups cake flour or you may use all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- About 6 cups canola or vegetable oil
- FOR GLAZE:
- 3½ cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp corn syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup hot water
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle or dough hook attachment, combine the melted butter and the sugar until sandy and combined, about 30 seconds. Add in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the egg yolk, then the vanilla extract. Add in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt, beating until combined. Add in one cup of flour, then stream in 1/4 cup of buttermilk. Continuing alternating the flour and buttermilk, ending with the flour. Dough will be very sticky. Remove the paddle/dough hook, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
- In a large heavy bottomed sauce pot, heat the oil to about 325 degrees F. as read on a candy or deep fry thermometer. While oil heats, flour a large flat work surface and roll the dough out, flouring it liberally if needed to prevent sticking. Roll out to about 1/2" thickness. Using a doughnut cutter or biscuit cutters, cut out doughnut shapes and doughnut holes, if desired. Reroll and cut as needed.
- When oil is hot, drop the doughnuts into the oil very carefully - I like using a slotted wire spoon for this. Fry the doughnuts for about 90 seconds per side, and doughnut holes for about 45 seconds per side, or until a deep golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined tray.
- Meanwhile, while doughnuts fry, make your glaze. In a sauce pan, bring together the powdered sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and water, stirring until smooth. Drop the hot doughnuts into the glaze mixture and use a fork or spoon to coat them completely in the glaze. Place the glazed doughnuts onto a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet to set, about 20 minutes. Continue frying and glazing remaining doughnuts.
- Doughnuts taste best made the same day, but you can store them airtight at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Light, fluffy, cakey and perfectly glazed, these buttermilk doughnuts are my absolute favorite … and they’ll be yours, too!
Have a super sweet day!