Baked. Cake or Raised, but baked. Never as good as fried, but at home, when I don’t want to mess with a fryer, because I don’t have a reliable fryer, I’ll bake. And you know? Baked will do, more than do, in a pinch.
The internet is full of doughnut & donut recipes but the ones I found most reliable, the way a doughnut should be, using ingredients most likely already in your pantry, are those from Lara Ferroni’s Doughnut. The Vanilla Cake, a standby and perfect covered in powdered sugar, is reason enough to buy the book.
The Doughnut recipe that really wowed me, though, was the Baked Raised. I got a nifty twisty pan from William Sonoma to make these:I left that photo huge on purpose! I did tweak the recipe, using less yeast (just add more time), less salt, a bit more flour, but those aren’t big changes. This dough is very slack (read sticky) but it needs to be. The finished doughnuts are light, airy, and REALLY close to their fried sisters.
Some keys with baking donuts: there should be extra fat in the batter to compensate for the oil lost from frying; use the right pan, which for me is the Norpro brand (you need the wells to be deep enough for good proportions); use a pan for baked raised (I cut the doughnuts then placed the circles of dough into pan’s well); you REALLY don’t want to over bake; as with any and all baking projects, measure key ingredients with a scale; and finally, make these when the weather permits walking some of them off.