Blonde Chocolate Crumb Cake Doughnuts

I would be lying if I said this recipe was not just a crumb or coffee cake baked with a hole in it. That’s literally the recipe. However, there is something doubly nostalgic about a crumb cake that also looks like a doughnut, since those are the two coffee shop staple desserts you would usually order with whatever you are trying to satisfy your caffeine fix with. For this recipe, I went with a super caramely brown butter cake with dark brown sugar in it, and I used pieces of blonde chocolate-oat cookie crunch for the crumb instead. The recipe itself came about because I had leftover crunch from when I made the Milkbar Buddy cake, and I had to use the rest of it up somehow(besides just snacking on it), and one of the first things I thought about when it came to crumbs is coffee/crumb cake. Layers of batter baked around layers of a streusel or crumb, it just made perfect sense to use the leftover crumbs in this recipe! I did a scaled version of the crunch in this recipe, since I used about double the amount of the Milkbar Buddy cake recipe, but if you do not want to make the crunch, a quick a fun hack is either crushing up a granola bar, or even using cereal!

For the components, we have a brown butter-buttermilk cake doughnut, that is scented with a bit of nutmeg as an homage to an old fashioned cake doughnut. The cake batter itself will result in a robust crumb, similar to an olive oil cake, but with some loftiness from being made from creaming together your butter with sugar, and then alternating between adding your wet and dry ingredients to develop a more layered gluten structure. A lot of Southern cakes are made with that method, just so that the cake has more body to it, which in this case, is ideal since this cake is being used as a doughnut, so it needs to be sturdy enough to hold! I also spiced it with cinnamon just to match the spicing you would have in a traditional coffee cake. The crunch is essentially a dark brown sugar cookie that is studded with blonde chocolate for a buttery flavor. There are oats in there as well, just to add a nutty and toasty flavor to the crumbs. I finished the doughnuts with a light drizzle of a glaze, made with white chocolate for sweetness, and cream cheese for a little tang, just to give a flavor more reminiscent of a cinnamon bun glaze. I also garnished the top with some sprinkles, just to be silly and whimsical. To tie in with the blonde chocolate, there will also be little blonde chocolate shavings on top, but those are totally optional, if you just want the crumb cake doughnut fix without the little garnishes!

For the blonde chocolate-oat cookie crunch:
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tbsp brown butter
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1oz blonde chocolate, chopped finely

In a bowl, mix together dark brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix in the brown butter and vanilla to form a dough first. Allow the dough to cool down slightly before mixing in the blonde chocolate pieces. Break the dough into smaller clumps, gripping down on them with your fingers to form ridges – this will allow the crunch to bake and break off into smaller pieces for decoration and assembly! Spread the clumpy ridged pieces onto a lined sheet tray. Bake at 300 degrees F for 20 minutes. Allow the crunch pieces to cool down completely before breaking into smaller pieces and storing in an airtight container. You want about thumbnail sized pieces for the top, but also reserve the small fine powdery bits for layering between the batter with.

For the batter:
4 tbsp brown butter
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

In a bowl, whisk together the brown butter with dark and egg until combined. In a cup, mix together your buttermilk with vanilla. In another bowl, sift together the remaining ingredients. Alternate between mixing into the butter-egg mixture your buttermilk and the dry ingredients until everything is combined. Pour into a piping or ziplock bag. Line a doughnut baking mold with either cooking spray or melted butter and fill each mold about 1/4 the way through with the batter. Sprinkle on the finer pieces of crumb, then pipe on more batter, getting each mold to be about 1/2 the way full. Sprinkle on the rest of your crumb. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes. Allow the doughnuts to cool down completely before unmolding.

For the glaze:
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1oz cream cheese
1 tbsp unsalted butter
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a pot, heat up all of the ingredients minus the vanilla. Whisk until melted together. Pour through a sieve to remove any lumps and stir in the vanilla. Transfer to a piping bag and drizzle over the sides of the baked crumb cake doughnuts!

To garnish:
Blonde chocolate
Gold pearl sprinkles

Garnish the sides with some sprinkles just to embrace the doughnut aesthetic! You can also melt down some blonde chocolate and make little stars as well! To do so, partially melt the blonde chocolate over a double boiler. Once the blonde chocolate is half-melted, take off heat and stir until the rest of the chocolate is melted. Continue to stir until the bottom of the bowl is neutral to the touch(it should be about the same temperature as your forehead). Pour onto acetate or parchment and spread the blonde chocolate into a thin layer. Chill down the chocolate in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, then scrape it into thin flakes.

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