Orange Juice Is The Secret Ingredient To Brighten Up Carrot Cake Donuts

Although delicious at any time of the year, one can argue that carrot cake is actually an authentically autumn dessert, filled as it is with many of the warm aromatic spices of the season, including vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Just in time for autumn, Tasting Table recipe developer Jessica Morone has come up with an ingenious recipe that combines the decadence of a carrot cake with the convenience of a donut with her Baked Carrot Cake Donuts. Since these carrot cake donuts are baked in the oven, rather than deep fried in hot oil, they're light and fluffy, and surprisingly quick and easy to make, taking less than 30 minutes total, which includes time for prepping, baking, and glazing.

In addition to coming up with a deliciously portable way to enjoy carrot cake in the form of a carrot cake donut, Morone also includes an unexpected ingredient (cake): "The special ingredient in these is the orange juice," says Morone. The recipe calls for ¾ cup of orange juice. "It seems like a lot of juice to add, but the orange flavor is actually very subtle," Morone explains. "These don't taste like you are eating orange donuts at all."

Why orange juice works in carrot cake donuts

Cooking and baking with orange juice is nothing new, finding its way into recipes as diverse as sauteed salmon and creamy pasta to pound cake and banana bread. Oranges and carrots also go well together. The two pair nicely in a juice and adding orange juice to the cooking process can give you more flavorful cooked carrots. In the case of these carrot cake donuts, Morone notes that adding orange juice "really brings out the flavor of the carrots."

The acidity in orange juice can provide a nice brightness to dishes, as well as balance the sweetness in many desserts. Orange (in the form of zest, typically) is often added to recipes that include spices such as vanilla and cinnamon (both of which can be found in this recipe) to help bring out their natural flavors. Adding orange juice can also add more moistness to baked goods, including carrot cakes and carrot cake donuts.

Morone likes to enjoy her carrot cake donuts, which she considers a "great autumn breakfast or dessert," with coffee or tea, but they would be delicious with a glass of orange juice (or orange carrot juice) as well.