Baked Doughnuts

17 Feb

Let me talk to you about art.

I know this is a baking blog, but I cannot be separated from my love of art, and this is important, so bear with me.

I’m sure my dedication to art and art history is very mysterious to many, and probably very funny to some.  I’m thinking mostly of my high school French teacher who apparently reads this blog sometimes (hello!).  It’s probably funny to her, that I’m doing a minor in art history, because I couldn’t stand art museums for a long time and had no real interest in art.

Yes, this is the same blog with all the pictures of the Art Institute.  My feelings about art and museums changed on a class trip to Paris when I was subjected to a tour of Musée d’Orsay that I was not happy about.

Aha, so now you see what I mean.

But I can say without exaggeration that that trip to that museum is why I am an art history minor.  For real.

That’s actually not what I wanted to talk about though.  I want to talk about contemporary Chinese art, because so few people do.  I actually can’t say much about it because I can’t find much about it.  I’m very sad, though, because my school has this great art history department, but only offers classes on ancient asian art.  We have two professors who specialize in that, which is nice and all, but there is zero representation of modern Asian art.  We’ve got modern Latin America, African Architecture, some classes on various world cities (the only Asian city is Kyoto, and the class covers the Heian period to the Meiji era).

I know you’re probably shocked and dismayed now.  I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to cause emotional trauma in a post with doughnuts in the title.  But my point is that there’s this hole in the art world where contemporary Chinese art should go, and I know there a lot of people filling it slowly, slowly, especially in New York where I tragically am not.  But it’s a big hole, all right.  So here’s my little contribution to its filling:



I found an article the other day mentioning this gallery called the Red Gate Gallery in Beijing, which is hosting an exhibition on up-and-coming Chinese artists nominated by some of the old guard.  A lot of the pieces were really interesting and beautiful, but Chen Ke’s work stuck out for, I should think, obvious reasons.



I won’t say too much more about this, since you came here for baking, not art criticism, but aren’t these stunning?  It’s incredible how subtle and varied his art is, considering it’s done in thick oil paint, all in shades of red.  I strongly encourage you to check out the rest of the gallery and Chen Ke’ work, and then tell everyone you know, because look at those paintings.


So doughnuts?



I went to Sur La Table with my gift cards to get a loaf pan for something else I want to make (soon!), and I was walking around the store looking at all the neat things I wasn’t planning on buying because I’m very careful about spending money.

But then I thought, dude I have gift cards.  Gift cards intended to be used for things I wouldn’t ordinarily buy.

So I grabbed myself a doughnut pan.  And then booked it back to the apartment to try it out ASAP.

I googled this recipe while I was in the store so I would know what to pick up on my way back.  Of course, in my moment of need, it was the Washington Post that came through for me.  I had no idea they did recipes!  Someday I’ll talk about my deep love for that paper.  Not today, though, don’t worry.


  • One doughnut pan.  You could probably just pour the batter in muffin cups and make doughnut holes, but you could also just stay in bed and resign yourself to having a boring life. I don’t know, it’s up to you.
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • a pinch of cardamom (like, a hamster’s pinch, not a person’s pinch)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 8 tbsp butter (melted, for topping)
  • cinnamon and sugar (for topping)  (or chocolate sauce or whatever you want)


Sift together the dry ingredients.



Look, a nice powdery tri-color!



In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla until combined.  Pour into the dry ingredients and mix until just blended.  Don’t overmix or they’ll have a weird consistency.


Fill each ring in the doughnut pan ~3/4 of the way full.



Bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a tester stuck into the side comes out clean.  These baked really fast for me, but it might be my oven…

Let the doughnuts cool for 5 minutes before removing them.  I slid a knife gently around the circumference of each and then very carefully levered them out.  Once the doughnuts are sufficiently cooled, get the rest of the melted butter and brush all over the doughnuts.  I actually dipped mine in butter but that’s pretty disgusting, so I recommend brushing.

Then, roll them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.



Don’t those look delicious?  They are, trust me.  They’re sort of strange because they’re baked, so the consistency is more cake-like than doughnut-like, but they are very good nonetheless.



To save me and my roommate from eating all of them I sat around in my usual place at the library and gave them out to people.  It is a very good way to get lots of Happy Valentine’s Days, let me tell you.



Now, I’ve read a lot of books lately.  Like, one every few days.  Mostly Murakami, because when am I not reading mostly Murakami?  But also some of my favorite Chinese writers, and a Somerset Maugham that takes place in China.  BUT.  I am going to recommend something that is not by an Asian author, and not about anywhere in Asia.

I’m sorry, I must have shocked you pretty badly.

I was reading one of those Best 100 Novels lists, because… I don’t know, I just like them.  I like seeing how many I’ve read (not many, but almost always the top 3, which tend to be Ulysses, The Great Gatsby, and Portrait of the Artist).  I saw one list had Bolaño, and since I never read him I thought I’d check it out.

I hate to try to describe the plot, because it’s sort of an epic surrounding a poetry movement in Mexico as these young poets try to find an identity amidst all the Latin American poetry that either sucks or is too brilliant to aspire to.  But of course, it’s about all kinds of things aside from that.  I suppose if you really want to know you’ll just have to read it…

It’s a book that feels fast and dangerous, reckless and very young, with characters that think they’re immortal and expect nothing less from their lives than a total poetry revolution.  Maybe I would describe it as a coming-of-age book, but of a particular slice of a certain generation in Latin America.  If that doesn’t sound interesting, then don’t read the book because it will sound totally obnoxious.  Otherwise, knock yourself out.


2 Responses to “Baked Doughnuts”

  1. ecm5420 17/02/2013 at 2:21 pm #

    Stunningly entertaining, more!

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