The Difference Between Baking And Frying Cake Donuts

Cake donuts are dense, fluffy, and delicious treats that can satisfy just about any sweet tooth. But while we often associate yeasted donuts with the deep fryer and cake donuts with the oven, cake donuts can actually be either baked or fried. And whether you fry your donuts in hot oil or bake them in the oven will have an impact on the mouthfeel and flavor of the donut. 

When you bake cake donuts, they end up with a slightly crumbier and flakier texture, while fried ones will have a crispier outside with an airier texture in the middle. This depends partly on the exact recipe you use, but often, baked donuts come out slightly denser, chewier, and crumbier than ones that are fried, while fried donuts will have more of that melt-in-your-mouth texture. This means that your cooking method will not only dictate flavor and texture but also ingredients and techniques.

The pros and cons of frying and baking cake donuts

Deep-frying is a method that's great for making starchy foods, like donuts, crispy on the outside without overcooking the inside. Deep-frying your cake donuts may get you the closest to the texture and flavor of your favorite donut shop, but there are some advantages to using the oven for home bakers.

While many prefer the light and crispy texture of a fried donut, leaving the deep fryer in the cabinet and baking your cake donuts instead makes for healthier, less oily donuts. It's also safer and easier to clean up, given that you don't have to deal with lots of hot oil. Baked cake donuts won't have the same rich, greasy bite as a fried donut, but there's still plenty to enjoy about the flavor and texture of a baked cake donut. Whether you choose to bake or fry your donuts, think about the textures you want to achieve and pick a recipe that works best for your desired cooking method.

If you're frying your donuts, you can often work with a looser and more hydrated dough, because piping it into hot oil will help the donuts keep their shape. If you're baking, you'll want a more structured and stiff dough that will hold up in the oven. Whether you're baking or frying, your basic ingredients will remain the same, including your chemical leavening agent; cake donuts will always use baking powder or soda and not yeast.