A donut pan is a baking pan with donut-shaped circular impressions in it, designed essentially for the sole purpose of baking donuts. Baked donuts tend to be lower in fat, making them an excellent alternative to traditional fried donuts for people who trying to eat a more healthy diet. A number of donut recipes can be used with a donut pan, ranging from yeasty cake donuts to more dense old fashioneds.
As a general rule, a donut pan is made from a heavy, nonstick material. A nonstick pan allows bakers to pour dough directly into the pan without needing to grease the pan or line it with paper. The heaviness of a good donut pan allows it to distribute heat slowly and evenly through the donut without burning it. Donuts produced in the pan will tend to have a lighter taste, and they can have a range of textures depending on what kind of recipe is used.
To make quick cake donuts in a donut pan, sift together two cups of flour, three quarters of a cup of sugar, two teaspoons of baking powder, and one teaspoon of salt. Add spices such as ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon if desired for a more complex and interesting flavor, or add cocoa for chocolate donuts. Cut in a tablespoon of butter. In a separate bowl, gently beat two eggs and blend in three quarters of a cup milk and one teaspoon of vanilla. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients to make a batter.
When filling a donut pan with batter, be aware that the batter will rise, so make sure to stop short of the top of each donut-shaped depression in the pan. Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius) oven for eight to 10 minutes, until the donuts and golden brown and slightly springy. The donuts can be served plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or glazed.
A basic glaze combines a hot liquid such as water or coffee with confectioner's sugar and a flavoring of choice. Maple and vanilla are both common, but you can also experiment with flavors like lemon, orange, or chocolate. For more of a chocolate feel, sift cocoa together with the confectioner's sugar before adding the liquid, and use vanilla extract and/or chocolate oil. As is the case with fried donuts, baked doughnuts are best served warm and dipped in a warm glaze, although they can be refreshed briefly in an oven or toaster.