Earl Grey Cake Doughnuts

January 24, 2023
4 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 4 hours 40 minutes
  • makes 7 doughnuts & 12 doughnut holes
Author Notes

The Earl Grey tea blend has had a very tumultuous history of origin. There’s documentation that dates back to the 2nd Earl Grey in the 1830s; though the origin of tea flavored with bergamot was highly theorized at the time. Some theories link the tea blend to a Chinese mandarin gifting the tea to Earl Grey, while the tea house Jacksons of Piccadilly laid claim to the blend, stating that the recipe had been in production since 1830.

The background of Earl Grey is what gives it a bit more mystique, which lends a certain sense of chicness. A cozy, hot mug of Earl Grey tea can really hit the spot on a cold night. Post holiday season, baking options can seem a bit sparse. There isn’t a wide array of fresh fruit or produce to select from, which is where I pulled the always reliable citrus and a classic tea flavor; bringing together something simple and recognizable, yet special. I’ve always had a certain fondness for cake doughnuts, as they can be made via a majority of pantry and refrigerator staples, not to mention they’re texture is unmatched! A beautifully tender crumb via light brown sugar, plus the addition of whole milk powder, as well as sour cream helps ensure a light, airy doughnut. A perfect sheen of glossy Earl Grey-infused glaze brings it all together.

These Earl Grey cake doughnuts, with just a touch of bergamot oil, are a truly delectable treat that will become a must-make item to fight the winter blues.
Ben Weiner

What You'll Need
  • Doughnut
  • 2 ¼ cups (255 grams) cake flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk powder
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 drops bergamot oil
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) sour cream
  • Glaze
  • 3 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon Earl Grey tea
  • 1 orange, freshly zested and juiced to get 1 tablespoon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon corn syrup
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  1. In a small bowl combine and sift cake flour, baking powder, salt, and milk powder. In a stand mixer, cream together light brown sugar and butter with a paddle attachment. Mix the butter and sugar together for about 2 minutes until properly creamed. Add in the eggs, mix on low for 30 seconds, until it looks slightly lighter in color. Add in the bergamot oil (this ingredient is quite intense and requires about 3 drops at most; it really depends on how much you’re comfortable adding. If adding too much makes you hesitant, reserve adding too much during this step and feel free to incorporate more into the Earl Grey glaze). Add in the sour cream and mix for an additional 30 seconds, add in the sifted dry ingredients, folded in with a rubber spatula to avoid over mixing. It will be properly incorporated when there are no dry spots.
  2. The dough is easier to work with when still soft, so immediately sift flour onto a piece of parchment paper, on a board. Transfer the dough to the prepared parchment paper, gently sift more flour onto the dough and begin to roll it out. Roll the dough starting in the center of the mass and push out (this dough doesn't require to be rolled out too much and is just until you’ve gotten to ½ inch thickness). With the dough still on the board it can be transferred to a refrigerator and let cool for 1 to 2 hours.
  3. Once the dough has had proper resting, begin cutting. Using a 1½ and 3 inch cutter, try to get as many whole doughnuts as possible with the additional doughnut holes. On the first roll there will be six doughnuts and holes in each, scrape up all the remaining dough and let that rest for an additional hour (about one more doughnut can be cut out). Using a 2 inch cutter, gently press into the doughnut around the hole, avoiding pressing through all the way. Once all the doughnuts are prepped let the dough rest an additional 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Once rested, add about 32 ounces of canola oil into a heavy bottomed pot with a deep fry thermometer. Set up a tray with a wire rack and paper towel for blotting the doughnuts.
  5. While the oil is heating up, it’s time to make the glaze. Bring ⅓ cup of water and 2 teaspoon Earl Grey tea leaves to a simmer, once at a simmer turn off the heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Sift 3½ cups of powdered sugar into a bowl and strain in the tea. Add in the zest of one orange, orange juice, corn syrup, honey, salt, and vanilla paste.
  6. When the oil has come to temperature, begin frying the doughnuts. Depending on the size of the frying vessel, 2 to 3 doughnuts can be fried at a time. Gently place the doughnuts with the cut size up into the oil and flip them after 1½ minutes and flip again into total frying for about 3 minutes. The doughnut holes also get a little slit across to help the holes bloom a bit, they require 1 minute on each side in total 2 minutes of frying. Transfer to the wire rack.
  7. The doughnut should rest for 2 minutes before being dipped into the glaze. Let the doughnut fully immerse on each side to be properly coated, using either a fork or chopsticks let the excess glaze drip off and place on the wire rack and let rest for 20 minutes and set. The doughnuts are best on the first day of frying but can be held in an airtight container for up to two days.

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