Sufganiyot (Jelly Donut) Cake

By • November 21, 2014 16 Comments

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Author Notes: Finally, Hanukkah has a cake to call its own! AND it tastes like a donut!

Brioche adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking Chez Moi. Filling from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.
Sarah Jampel

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Serves at least 8

For the brioche dough:

  • 1/4 cup warm whole milk
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup sugar (or up to 1/2 cup if you want a sweeter cake)
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 cups (374 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten, at room temperature
  • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided (12 of the tablespoons at room temperature, cut into small cubes; 4 tablespoons for melting)
  • Sugar (plain or vanilla-scented), for coating

For the raspberry whipped cream filling:

  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 cup raspberry preserves (preferably seedless)
  1. Add the warm milk and water into the bowl of a stand mixer with a pinch of sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over top and step away for 3 minutes. The mixture may bubble (or not -- mine didn't); stir it with a wooden spoon or spatula until it looks creamy.
  2. Attach the dough hook to the mixer, then add the flour and salt to the bowl and pulse the mixer a few times in order to make the flour damp. Then mix at medium-low speed (scrape down the bowl as needed) until you have a shaggy mass, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and decrease the speed to low. Pour in the beaten eggs in 3 additions, making sure that each is incorporated before you add the next part. Then, beat in the rest of the sugar and increase the speed to medium. Beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough starts to come together.
  4. Return the mixer to low speed and add the 12 tablespoons of butter that you've cut into small chunks. Wait until each is incorporated before adding the next one. There is a lot of butter in this recipe, which means this part is going to take some time and you might get antsy. Be patient. (I found that scraping down the sides of the bowl and aiming the butter cubes into different areas of the bowl helped ease my mind.) When all of the butter is incorporated, your dough will be very soft and silky.
  5. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides and begins winding its way up the dough hook, about 10 minutes. It's important to let the mixer do its thing at this stage -- I set a timer and stepped away so that I wouldn't be tempted to stop the process prematurely.
  6. Lightly butter a large bowl and scrape the dough into it. Cover it with plastic film and let it rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, an hour or so. (In the winter, I recommend using the aid of a space heater.)
  7. Deflate the dough by lifting it up on the sides and letting it plop down into the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Deflate the dough every thirty minutes or so until it stops rising, about 2 hours (so you'll slap down your dough about 4 times). Then press plastic wrap around the surface of the dough and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
  8. When you're finally ready to bake the dough, butter two 8- or 9-inch cake pans. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half. Shape each half into a bowl, cupping it and pushing out the air. Place the balls seam side-down, one in each cake pan, and cover with parchment paper. Let them rise in a warm place for 60 to 90 minutes, until the dough balls are nearly doubled.
  9. Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 400° F. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the tops are golden and you can feel that there is dry air inside of the dough balls when you tap them.
  10. As soon as your dough is close to being finished, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan and ready a bowl with sugar. Take the cakes out of the oven when they're finished and, while they're still hot, douse them with the melted butter. You should hear the butter sizzle a bit as it hits the hot pan -- that's what you're looking for. Use a spoon to generously sprinkle the sugar over the cakes. It should adhere to the melted butter.
  11. While the cakes cool, make the raspberry whipped cream. Chill the mixing bowl and beater for at least 15 minutes (I do this in the freezer to expedite the process). Beat the cream in the bowl until you have soft peaks (you'll be able to see beater marks in the cream, but it will still be light and cloud-like). Add the preserves and beat until they're incorporated and the peaks are a bit stiffer.
  12. Let your cakes cool completely before carefully slicing them through their bellies, like hamburgers. Use a spatula to apply a generous amount of jammy whipped cream to the bottom halves of the cakes, then sandwich it with the cake tops.
  13. This cake will be messy to eat and the filling will ooze out, so share with unfussy guests and use napkins accordingly.

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