“Take a step back. You’re standing too close,” I texted my mom. She sent me a picture of a painting she was working on, worried that she’d added too much detail to the foreground. It’s a line I’d learned from my art teachers over the years. I’d heard it so often, it involuntarily came out. “It looks fine. Just take a step back. You’re standing too close.”
Have you ever stood really close to a painting? Like nose-nearly-touching close? It’s nothing but shapes, lines, dots, and color. It doesn’t look like much. In fact, it looks like nothing at all. But when you step back, all the individual pieces come together to make something, to make sense. To make baked blueberry cake donuts.
Last week, I was convinced I could make french toast flavored baked donuts inspired by Girl vs. Dough’s French Toast Bagels. I tried brushing them with an egg wash and sprinkling with sugar before baking. They were too reluctant to leave the pan. So I tried dunking already baked donuts in a maple egg mixture, then baked them some more. The flavor was right but the texture was off—much too soggy for a donut. Then I tried pan frying them on a skillet. They tasted like burnt marshmallows and looked like burnt donuts. You’d unfollow me. I know it.
If at first you don’t succeed, you actually don’t have to keep trying. I should have just made Stephanie’s bagels rather than trying to crossbreed them with the finicky nature of baked donuts. But I was convinced I could do it.
I eventually took the advice I gave to my mom the other day, the advice I’d been given many times. Take a step back. You’re too close. (And put your donut pans away.) So I tucked my pans, half-baked idea, and deflated ego away.
I was never a huge donut lover growing up. But give me a blueberry cake donut? Don’t ask for a bite. It was the only shelf I looked to at Dunkin’ D growing up. If it was empty, another flavor wouldn’t do. I didn’t even mind the awful film it left in my mouth.
And then it hit me like it does when you step away from something and let it breath. Baked Blueberry Cake Donuts. It’s not an earth shattering discovery (though it felt like it). It wont make the news tomorrow. But they will make the breakfast table. Again and again and again and again.
- 1/3 c. + 1 tbsp. whole milk
- 1 tsp. vinegar
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg, fresh
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 c. frozen wild blueberries
- 1 c. powdered sugar
- 3 tbsp. whole milk
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a small bowl, mix together milk and vinegar. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes to curdle. Melt butter in a small bowl and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, whisk together flours, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Into the cooled butter, whisk in sugar, honey, and egg until evenly combined. Add in curdled milk. (Side note, dip honey measuring utensil in the melted butter first for easy honey removal.)
- Stir blueberries into dry ingredients. Then stir together wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Over-mixing will create a dense donut.
- Spray donut pan. Add batter to a piping bag and pipe evenly into the pan.
- Bake for 7-8 minutes. Allow to cool 1 minute before turning pan over to remove donuts onto a cooling rack.
- Meanwhile, make glaze. In a flat-bottomed bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and salt until smooth.Once donuts have cooled, about 10 minutes, glaze both sides. Place on cooling rack and allow to dry, about 20 minutes. Serve. If storing leftovers, remove from cooling rack and store uncovered.