Buttermilk Doughnuts are an old-fashioned recipe for what people would call fry cakes back in the day. They are a cake like homemade doughnut that is deep fried until golden brown. When they come out of the hot grease, they will be nice and thick with a cracked and crispy exterior.
Fry Cakes are a delicious way to treat your family on the weekend. They are a little time intensive, but so worth the end result. The vanilla flavored cake encased in the crispy brown exterior is melt in your mouth delicious. If you have never tried a homemade buttermilk doughnut, then you need to read on, because it an experience that everyone needs to have!
Documenting Mom’s Homemade Buttermilk Doughnuts
My mom has always been an amazing maker of all things bread-like. Three things she would make regularly in the home were biscuits, bread, and doughnuts. I remember as a young girl, I would watch her make her doughnuts, and anxiously wait until they would come out of the hot grease. We loved to eat them warm, either shaken up with a little powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or dipped in some pure maple syrup.
If you have never eaten a freshly made fry cake, then you are certainly missing out. There is nothing else like it. So, because I felt this method of making an old fashioned doughnut should not disappear, I decided to document my Mom making her homemade buttermilk doughnuts and share it with all of my readers.
Old Fashioned Doughnut making FAQ’s
An old fashioned doughnut is a cake like ring of fried dough that has been leavened with baking powder. It has a tender interior with a crispy exterior.
No, a yeast cake is a doughnut made with active yeast. The interior will be more like a sweet yeast bread and exterior is smooth and golden brown.
A cider doughnut is similar only in the fact that it is not a yeast doughnut. Cider doughnuts typically are made with apple cider and dipped in a cinnamon sugar coating.
How to make Homemade Buttermilk Doughnuts
Mom’s Homemade Buttermilk Doughnuts, an old fashioned fry cake recipe.
- Gather together your ingredients
- Blend together the wet ingredients
To a blender, sugar, add the eggs, oil, buttermilk, and lemon juice.
- Blend wet ingredients
Blend wet ingredients together until well incorporated.
- Measure dry ingredients
Measure dry ingredients and add together with flour in sifter, then sift into mixing bowl. (see recipe card for specifics)
- Mix with a hand mixer.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and begin mixing with a hand mixer.
- Add flour and mix by hand
Add more flour, a little at a time, and mix by hand until dough becomes stiff. Cover and chill in refrigerator at least 30 minutes.
- Remove dough from refrigerator.
Remove dough from refrigerator and gently pat out and shape the dough until about 1″ thick.
- Cut into doughnut shapes
Rather than a doughnut cutter, mom uses a biscuit cutter for a larger doughnut.
- Cut out doughnut hole
Using the center of your doughnut hole cutter, make a hole in your doughnut cutout.
- Set the doughnuts aside to rest
After the doughnuts are prepared for frying, set them aside and heat the oil.
- Add the shortening to your frying dish
Add vegetable shortening to a a large heavy bottomed stock pot. Melt the shortening over a medium heat until temperature reached 375 degrees.
Fry homemade buttermilk doughnuts until golden brown.
- Remove and drain
Remove doughnuts from hot oil and drain on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels.
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I mentioned in my post that my mom likes to use her biscuit cutter instead of a doughnut cutter as she loves to have bigger doughnuts than a regular sized doughnut cutter will make. If you already have a doughnut cutter that is great, if you want your doughnuts to be bigger, go ahead and get a biscuit cutter like hers and just take the center of your doughnut cutter and use it to make the hole in your doughnut the same way she does!
About Mom’s handwritten recipe card
The recipe card shown in this post does not show the recipe the way my mother makes it. She has made these doughnuts for longer than I have been around, and the recipe has evolved with her over the years.
The card is the original recipe my Nanny used and she passed it on to mom. You can use the card for ingredients, or you can follow my recipe card below and make your buttermilk doughnuts the way mom makes them today!
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- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 cups flour
- 3 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg or cinnamon
- 2 cups vegetable oil for frying
- In a blender, combine the sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, lemon juice, and vanilla.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift 2 cups of flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
- Using a hand mixer, blend the wet and dry ingredients together until a sticky dough forms.
- Gradually add the remaining 2 cups of flour to the dough until it becomes stiff and pliable.
- Cover dough and place in refrigerator to chill up to 30 minutes.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and pat down and out with floured hands until round and approximately 1" thick.
- Cut out doughnuts with cutter and set aside on floured board.
- Once doughnuts are cut, let rest while you prepare the vegetable shortening for frying.
- Add shortening to a large frying pot and heat until 375 degrees.
- Gently place doughnuts in hot grease. Once they go into the grease, they will sink, then float up to the top, with the hot oil bubbling around them.
- Cook for approximately 2 minutes per side, until golden brown.
- Be sure oil does not get too cool or too hot. Temperature should be maintained at 375 degrees.
- Remove fried doughnuts from hot grease and transfer to a paper towel lined cookie sheet.
- Let any excess oil drain from doughnut and cool at least 5 minutes before handling.
Serving Size:1 doughnut
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 194 Total Fat: 13g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 11mg Sodium: 276mg Carbohydrates: 17g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 6g Protein: 2g