Make Gatlinburg’s Famous Cinnamon Cake Donuts at Home

When you simply cannot go another day without a taste of the sheer decadence served at The Donut Friar, it’s time to try your hand at creating homemade goodness all your own. By whipping up a cinnamon cake donut at home, you can savor all the delicious flavors found in Gatlinburg’s famous treat. Although that might sound like quite a feat, you can actually make quick work of it by simply following this recipe. Here’s what to do to make donut magic happen in your very own kitchen.

Gather Your Ingredients

To streamline the donut-making process, get all your ingredients and other supplies together before you start cooking. In fact, it’s best to measure everything out and put each ingredient in separate containers if you have the space. Called mise en place, this practice lets you just throw it all together as you go, reducing the risk of leaving out any key ingredients.

The ingredients you will need include:

  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-gallon vegetable oil

In addition to all that, take a moment to mix ½ cup white granulated sugar with one teaspoon of cinnamon. You’ll roll the piping hot donuts in this mixture right as they come out of the fryer to take their flavors to the next level.

As for the cooking tools, you will need a deep fryer filled up to the max line with vegetable oil. Also, get a mixing bowl, spatula, mixer with dough hooks, rolling pin, donut cutter, spider skimmer, tongs, plastic wrap, and paper towels.

Mix Up the Dough

You’ll start your journey toward tasty cinnamon-sugar cake donuts by making the dough. To do that, just add ½ cup of white granulated sugar, two teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice to your mixing bowl.

Once you have all that mixed together, drop in your egg plus ½ cup milk and two tablespoons of melted butter. Mix all your ingredients together until well combined before moving on to the next step.

Prepare to Start Frying

Bring out your mixer next and keep a spatula on hand for scraping down the sides. With your dough hooks spinning slowly, gradually add 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour to your wet ingredients.

Scrape the sides of the bowl, and then turn the mixer up to medium and let the dough hooks work their magic. As they work the dough, add in the last ½ cup of flour.

Check the consistency of the dough after it’s well combined to gauge its stickiness level. The dough should feel soft to the touch and lightly sticky but shouldn’t stick to your hands too much. If it does, then just add a bit more flour until it feels just right.

After that, wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Then, put it in the fridge to chill for at least one hour.

Roll Out Your Dough

Pull your dough out of the fridge after one hour has passed, and turn on your deep fryer. As the oil warms up to the 360- to 370-degree Fahrenheit range, you’ll want to create your donuts out of the dough.

To do that, you’ll just need to spread a bit of flour onto your counter or another surface, and then roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Once the dough is about ½ inch thick across, you can cut out the donut shapes with your donut cutter. Create all six donuts before moving on to the next step.

Fry Your Donuts

After the oil reaches about 360 degrees, carefully drop two donuts into the oil. Let them fry long enough to start puffing up, and then flip them over to brown the other side. Flip them once or twice more during the three-minute cooking time to evenly brown each side and cook them through.

As soon as the donuts look golden brown, scoop them out of the oil one at a time with the spider skimmer. If you have trouble, you can bring out the tongs, although they might squish your fluffy donuts a bit.

Upon lifting the donuts out of the oil, put them on the paper towels to drain for about 60 seconds. After that, immediately roll them in your bowl of sweet cinnamon sugar until fully coated. Repeat with the rest of the donuts, and then turn off the oil and let it cool before covering.

To enjoy all the flavors at their best, definitely dig into your donuts right away. The warm dough pairs perfectly with the cinnamon sugar, creating a flavor combination to remember.

The recipe makes six big, fluffy cinnamon-sugar donuts, so make sure you have plenty of hungry bellies to feed before you whip up each batch. If you prefer to keep them around for later, put them in an air-tight container and they’ll stay good for at least a few days. Since the dough doesn’t need yeast, it’s quick and easy to make any time you want another taste of Gatlinburg’s favorite donuts.

Need the real thing in your life despite your efforts at handcrafting the perfect homemade donut? Well, then you’ll just have to start planning your trip to The Donut Friar to get your fill. While you’re there, don’t hesitate to try their many other donut varieties as well, such as the powdered cake donuts. You never know. You might just come back home inspired to dream up your own variations on this awesome recipe.