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!
Michele @ Alwayzbakin says
OMIGOSH, they look like masterpieces! It looks like you really nailed it. I wish you could share!
That looks FANTASTIC. I bet my kids would propose again if I made this. Pinned it!
Thanks so much, Hannah!!
Dough is too limp to roll. Had to chuck the dough and use another tried and true recipe. Perhaps it can be dropped like a hush puppy, but it certainly cannot be rolled.
I was able to roll the dough. After allowing the dough to sit in the refrigerator for an hour it became a little less tacky. And having been warned that it would be so, I floured my working counter space, generously.
I had no problem, rolling and cutting the dough.
It you Charles. The chilled dough rolls fine. Try 2 pieces of parchment with dough dusted with flourbon each side to roll between. Delicious, crunchy edged, glazy goodness.
I agree with ya, sometimes the classics are the best. I’d take a boxfull of these over an bacon oreo moonshine donut any day!
Thank you so much, Annie! These were the bomb!!
I can’t wait to make these tomorrow morning. I’m from Portland and will also have to try Blue Star. Thanks for the recipe, I agree with buttermilk old fashion donuts being the best.
Shawn, yes, Blue Star is a must! I thought it was easily the best donut I’ve ever had – anywhere! Second to these, of course 🙂
Alice Downing says
Hi Haley, this recipe looks divine, cannot wait to try it! Do you use the same amount of all purpose flour when substituting it for the cake flour? Thanks, Alice
Hi Alice, that’s a good question! I have not tried making this with the all-purpose flour, so I cannot say for sure.
Alice Downing says
Hi Haley, I made these fabulous doughnuts with AP flour and forgot about adding extra to make up for not using pastry flour…the dough was very soft and sticky but firmed up some in the fridge. They turned out fabulous!Just like your pics! The bits and pieces I kneaded them lightly and made bars. I found that the extra flour from the light kneading made them much easier to handle. I did not need to slash the tops of the bars as they make the signature cut on their ow while frying.I used 1/4 tsp nutmeg and I could hardly taste it, will use more next time.I would use Massey vanilla bean paste in the glaze next tie for more pronounced vanilla flavor. Definitely make these again soon! Thanks so much..Alice
Alice, so happy you loved these doughnuts! I love the idea of adding vanilla bean paste next time, too. 🙂
Nancy McNerney says
VERY wet dough after an hour in the frig. I probably added another 2 cups of cake flour as I kneaded the dough to be able to handle it. If I were to make these again, I would add more flour from the get-go.
Good flavor in the finished product.
I had the same issue.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who had this problem. I’ve made lots of bread, and often with high-hydration dough, so I’ve had experience with wet dough, and I’m pretty good at dealing with it. Not with these though. This recipe (as well as any serious recipe that involves a lot of flour) should list weight in grams for flour amount; and preferably all dry ingredients. Also, if I were to try these again, I might even put the dough in the freezer instead the the refrigerator, in order to make it easier to work with.
This looks delicious! My daughter will devour ’em all! I pinned your site.Best Portable Induction Cooktop
They look sooooooooooooo good – can they be baked instead of fried?
Hi Debbie! This recipe does require the doughnuts to be fried, but I will see about making a buttermilk cake doughnut which can be baked!
Leslie Warren says
Any luck with a baked version?
Hi Les, this recipe won’t work as baked doughnuts due to the fact that it’s a dough that was developed to be deep-fried. It isn’t a thinner batter that you could easily bake.
You say to put all glaze ingredients into a saucepan but then never say to cook them. Should I do this over medium heat or just not at all?
Ah yes, will fix that! Yes, bring it over low heat until it comes together in the saucepan.
Thank you SO much for this recipe. I’m originally from Portland and am now living in New York where cake donuts are pretty much all you can get. Buttermilk Old Fashioned are my favorite and now, after 12 year, I can finally have them.
Val, woohoo! Glad you enjoyed!
I am glad you got to try Blue Star. I second that they have the most amazing donuts, I have yet to come across anything that comes close. It’s truly a sad day when you go to Blue Star and they closed early because they sold out of donuts.
As for VooDoo, I wish you had a chance to try them when they first were established and were a late night hit. Originally they were open crazy hours, something like 8pm-8am catering to the “last call” bar crowd offering donuts like NyQuil and Pepto donuts… the hype is no longer warranted IMO.
More importantly, thank you for sharing this recipe. This style of donut is favorite and I look forward to trying my hand at creating them!
Greg, I totally wish I could have tried Voodoo in their hayday! Sounds better than the ones I tried. Enjoy these!
I have made these twice and they don’t taste good at all! They are heavy and stodgy. The buttermilk flavor doesn’t come though and they are more like a hush puppy. They are impossible to roll and become too flour laden. So on the second batch I didn’t even attempt to roll them out, I just scooped them with a small cookie scoop. They are still flavorless and very heavy. I am sorry to say this but this recipe is not a 5 star recipe and if you read the 5 star ratings, they are from people who didn’t even make them and are just rating these doughnut off of looks. I am an experienced baker and can say with confidence that these doughnuts are lacking a richness, a good mouth feel, as well as being dull and uninspiring!!
Reta Shepard says
Dear Haley, alias the domestic rebel, I love, love, love these doughnuts! Couple months ago I invited my grand-daughter over to make em with me. Of course, I couldn’t find your receipe….. I think cause I wrote them out as “donuts”! These are NOT “donuts” They are “doughnuts”!
Today I found your receipe, my grand-daughter coming back tonite to make “doughnuts” this time. Last time I was so disappointed, but I’m sure tonite will be a huge success.
Thank you for posting your receipe! Reta Shepard from northern Michigan, about 50 miles south of the Mackinaw bridge.