Strawberry Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts

It’s obvious looking here, here, and here that I’m obsessed with doughnuts. The day I told my girls we were driving to Philly to try a new (to me) doughnut place they thought I was crazy. Back then, we were still living in Brooklyn. Philadelphia was a mere 90 minute drive away. There are a lot of awful bad doughnuts out there, so the prospect of a great ones 80 miles away seemed an effortless drive. This new recipe I’m sharing for Strawberry Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts makes the drive less tempting, especially since I’m now four hours from Philly.

So, what happens when you take a doughnut addicted gal and throw her knee-deep in strawberry season? It was inevitable I would play around combining the two. Most doughnut shops would do this with a strawberry glaze on top. Not me. I wanted little jam-like pockets of strawberry, and I most definitely didn’t want the waiting involved making raised doughnuts (read: yeast-based doughnuts).

I wasn’t going to let a silly little thing like time stand between me and making strawberry doughnuts. That’s when the idea of cake doughnuts came to mind. Since they’re baking powder based, there’s no rising time involved. The batter just needs a quick rest, about as long as it takes for the oil to heat.

These Strawberry Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts are ready from start to finish in about 20 minutes.

The batter is quite similar to that of buttermilk pancake batter. In fact, when made this way, this type of doughnut is generally referred to as a fritter. I was even going to call them fritters. One bite, though, and the taste screams doughnut, so that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. If you wanted to take the time to roll these out, and shape them with a doughnut cutter, go for it. I like the bite size nature of these. Think of them as doughnut holes without having to make the actual doughnut.

Strawberry Buttermilk Doughnuts | Get the recipe at In Jennie's Kitchen

A few notes before you ask. No, you can’t use regular milk in here. It will result in dense doughnuts, and that is never a good thing. You can sour your own milk. This is not my preferred way, as experience has taught me nothing quite gives the effect of an excellent quality buttermilk. I know, though, that not everyone has access to buttermilk. I had no luck finding any during my stay in Paris four years ago. Also, I can’t believe that amazing trip was four years ago. Calgon, take me away. But I digress.

To sour your own buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar to a measuring cup. Add enough milk to reach the 1 cup line. Let it sit for 5 minutes. You’ll notice the milk will be curdled and thick. Yes, you can use lemon juice in place of cider vinegar. I notice a difference in the body of the resulting soured milk, though, so if you were wondering what would jennie do, then I’d always choose cider in a pinch.

Strawberry Buttermilk Doughnuts | Get the recipe at In Jennie's Kitchen

I’m kind of crazy for uniform shapes when baking. Cookie scoops are my best friend, and I own them in various sizes. If you’re OCD like me when it comes to this, then I highly suggest you stock up on them, too. Of course, I wouldn’t let not owning a scoop stop me from making these. I mean, that would be even crazier than my obession with cookie scoops.

Fresh from the fryer, these are everything a cake doughnut should be. A crispy bite gives way to a light, tender cake inside, dotted with bits of warm fresh strawberries. When it come to finishing these, you can certainly skip the roll through cinnamon sugar, but I implore you to try it both ways. I thought for sure I’d prefer them plain, and well, that faint bit of cinnamon sugar on the outside just seals the deal (cinnamon and I have a complicated relationship, so that’s saying a lot, folks).

While I’m madly in love, head over heels with these doughnuts, don’t go worrying about me. I still own this shirt, so my doughnut quest road trip days are far from over. I’m just saying that when the craving kicks this Strawberry Buttermilk Cake Doughnut recipe means I can satiate it myself while I plot the course for my next delicious adventure.

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: Makes 12 two-inch fritters


  • For the batter:
  • 1 cup (150 grams) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons (36 grams) sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) fine sea salt
  • Friendly grated nutmeg
  • Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 medium sized strawberries, chopped
  • Canola or Safflower oil, for frying
  • To finish:
  • Granulated Natural Cane Sugar
  • Ground cinnamon


  1. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest to a medium bowl. Whisk to blend everything together.
  2. Using a fork or whisk, beat the buttermilk and egg together in a small bowl. Pour over the flour mixture. Add the strawberries. Stir together just until it forms a thick batter (a spoon should be able to stand freely in the batter). Let it rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Add 1½-inches (4-cm) of oil to an 8-inch skillet. Heat until shimmering.
  4. Meanwhile, add some sugar and cinnamon (as much or little as you like) to a small bowl, and stir to mix, if you’d like to coat the doughnuts. Also, set up a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
  5. Once the oil is ready, drop 1½ tablespoonfuls of batter into the oil. You should be able to fit 6 in the pan. Cook until deeply golden underneath, and the batter looks cooked halfway through. Using a fork, flip the doughnuts. Continue cooking until golden all around. Transfer the doughnuts to the wire rack. Let drain for 15 seconds, then roll in the cinnamon sugar, if you like. Let cool a few more minutes before trying to eat. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  6. Doughnuts are best eaten within 2 hours.