Sourdough discard cinnamon sugar cake donuts
Don’t throw out that sourdough starter! Use a cup’s worth and make the softest, most delicate cinnamon sugar cake donuts this side of the Mississippi.
Waste not, want not.
That’s what old people say. And in this case it’s waste not, want dough-nots. See what I did there?
With a heaping cup of sourdough discard on hand you can make a giant batch of these donuts which are by no other fitting description completely melt in your mouth devine.
The scoop on sourdough starter discard
If you stumbled in to this post you may not be sure what I mean by sourdough discard. For those of us who are embracing the movement back to healthy bread–real bread–that means making wild yeast leavened sourdough (<–that’s a link to my class where I teach sourdough baking) which is made with a starter.
Each day you take out half and feed your starter to keep it alive and active so it can make bread.
But throwing away that half of the starter feels wasteful, so a lot of people use it to add a tangy flavor to other baked goods–like these cake donuts.
Do these donuts taste like sourdough?
That’s a big negative. In fact, they just tasted like cake donuts to me but you have to keep in mind we aren’t using the starter to rise these donuts: Baking powder does the heavy lifting.
What’s the difference between a cake donut and a regular one?
Cake donuts are made from flour, eggs, sugar and a leavening agent like baking powder which gives them a cake-like crumbly texture.
“Regular” donuts like you would buy in most bakeries slathered in chocolate or glazed to the heavens are made with yeast and required to rise a couple of times before they are fried.
Can these donuts be baked instead of fried?
I didn’t test them baked because I am a donut purist. I use refined coconut oil and not vegetable oil for frying and never look back.
If you wanted to bake them, they would likely work okay. May have a tad of a flat side, but if you don’t mind that then that’s fine with me. I’d probably bake them around 375 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes but that’s just a guess.
What if I don’t have any sourdough starter? Can I make these anyway?
Yes! I would recommend adding something to make up the difference in moisture. Maybe a cup of sour cream or whole milk plain yogurt would be a good swap.
Sourdough cake donuts steps in pictures
- Cream butter and sugar.
- Add eggs, starter, vanilla and milk.
- Add dry ingredients.
- Allow dough to sit and “firm” slightly.
- Roll out to 3/4″ thick then cut circles.
- Fry 1 to 2 minutes per side, toss in cinnamon sugar.
Looking for a regular yeasted donut? Try this version or bake your next batch of apple cider donuts.
Sourdough discard cinnamon sugar cake donuts
For the cinnamon sugar
- 1 1/2 cups sugar granulated or raw cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
For the donuts
- 8 tablespoons butter salted or unsalted and softened
- 1/2 cup sugar coconut sugar would work too
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sourdough starter you can swap in sour cream or plain greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups refined coconut oil for frying
- In a small bowl mix the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
- In a medium bowl use a hand mixer to cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, sourdough starter, vanilla and milk and mix well.
- Add the flour, baking powder and salt and beat just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Allow the dough to sit 2 to 3 minutes to firm slightly. The dough should be soft but workable.
- Lightly flour your counter and turn out the dough. Dust the top with flour and roll about 3/4" thick.
- Use a round cutter to cut circles about 3 inches wide and a smaller cutter to cut out the centers.
- Heat the oil over medium high heat in a heavy pot or skillet to a depth of about 3 inches. Just deep enough that the donuts don't stick to the bottom until the oil reaches 375 degrees.
- Add the donuts in batches of 3 or 4, turning when golden brown on one side–about 2 minutes. Cook 1 to 2 minutes more then transfer to the cinnamon sugar and toss to coat.
- Serve warm or at room temperature and may also be frozen for up to 2 months.
Thanks for sharing! Do they keep long?
A day or two at the very most.
This looks so good! What a fun recipe to make with kids!
how many 3ish” doughnuts does this make?
Hmmm…Emilee I’m not totally sure but I’m going to guess about 18-24 plus donut holes. –Rachel
Delightful, quick easy doughnut recipe. It is like a cake doughnut even when fried. I baked some as well and was amazed at how much they puffed up in the oven, and since cinnamon sugar didn’t stay on a snear of butter first helped. They would be fantastic with a glaze. The flavor of both versions was great. My 9 yr old son said both were really good but fried was softer and fluffier so he liked those best. Definitely worth trying this recipe.
Thanks for your feedback SK!
Thanks for sharing! Does it keep long?
A couple of days at the most if you keep them in something airtight and rewarm them slightly. –Rachel
This looks so good! What a fun way to use sourdough discard!
I’m a newbie. I’m assuming you are talking about using discard that has not been fed? If I am correct, does that mean I can use my discard straight from the refrigerator, or do I need to let it come to room temperature?
You’re right Lisa. You can use it straight from the refrigerator. –Rachel