Lemon doughnuts generally involve fried dough filled with sticky, tart-sweet yellow goo that tastes more of sugar than of serious lemon. So we decided to reinvent the lemon doughnut as a baked treat that is at once lighter and more deliciously lemony. We started with a golden cake-style baked doughnut, which we flecked with the potent flavor of real lemon zest. We then top the doughnuts with a simple powdered sugar-lemon juice glaze. The result is wonderful.
Baked Lemon Doughnuts
Start to finish: 45 minutes
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Coat 2 doughnut pans with baking spray; you can use pans designed for either large or small doughnuts. A mini doughnut pan will bake more quickly.
In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla and lemon zest. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl between additions.
Stir in half the flour followed by half the buttermilk, then the remaining flour and finally the remaining buttermilk. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, filling the doughnut wells to about 1/4 inch from the top.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack.
To make the glaze, stir together the lemon juice and powdered sugar. Dip the tops of the doughnuts in the glaze and allow to set or enjoy immediately.
Nutrition information per serving (assumes large doughnuts): 280 calories; 90 calories from fat (32 percent of total calories); 10 g fat (3.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 40 mg cholesterol; 45 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 24 g sugar; 5 g protein; 210 mg sodium.