Lemon Poppy Seed Doughnuts are a beautiful sweet treat, bursting with real lemon flavor.
I have a weakness for doughnuts, and not just the fancy kind. I worked in a small, family owned grocery store as a teenager, and I will never forget the smell of fresh cake donuts making its way through the store as we set up to open early each morning. I suppose that is why I have always preferred the simplest flavors. A plain cake doughnut just out of the fryer and a strong cup of black coffee is a dream breakfast for me.
Rarely do I indulge in these kinds of earthly delights, but with the recent emergence of specialty doughnut shops here in Manhattan, it has become harder and harder to avoid. With incredible shops like Doughnut Plant and Dough within blocks of our apartment, it is difficult to resist the magnetic pull that beckons me. I limit my intake to special occasions: birthday parties at work, treats for visitors from out of town. I am forever changed since I first sampled such unique and innovative flavors like Très Leche and Matcha Green Tea.
Our Lemon Poppy Seed Doughnuts came about simply because I could not get doughnuts out of my head. I had been pestering Keith to make them for some time now. So when we came across these doughnut pans from USA Pans, it was as if the stars had aligned. Would it be possible to make a cake doughnut that was baked instead of fried, leaving me to feel satisfied and less guilty? The answer: a resounding YES.
After some experimentation, we chose a classic lemon pound cake recipe, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, and turned it into a delicious cake donut, packed with just the right amount of sweetness and a punch of lemon flavor. The poppy seeds add a bit of texture to each bite that I just love. Keith crafted a lemony-sugar icing that finishes this treat off perfectly. This little indulge makes a simple doughnut lover like me one happy girl.
- 1 ½ C cake flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 ¼ C sugar
- 2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
- 2 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 4 eggs
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ⅓ C poppy seeds
- For the icing:
- ½ C powdered sugar
- ¼ C fresh lemon juice
- pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- spray doughnut pan(s) cooking spray
- In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- Toss 1 Tbsp flour mixture with ½ cup poppy seeds in small bowl. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk thoroughly.
- Pulse sugar and lemon zest in food processor until combined.
- Add lemon juice, eggs, and vanilla and process until combined.
- With food processor running, add melted butter in steady stream (this should take about 20 sec.)
- Transfer mixture into large bowl.
- Sift flour mixture into egg mixture in parts, whisking gently after each part.
- Fold in poppy seed mixture until all is combined.
- Pour batter into donut pans, dividing evenly and filling to the top.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce temp to 325 degrees and continue baking until golden brown.
- Let donuts cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then turn them onto wire rack. Let them cool at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
- For the icing:
- In a medium saucepan bring sugar and lemon juice to just boiling. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes
- Dip donuts in icing and allow to cool on rack until icing sets. About 5 minutes