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Donuts and creme brulee are delicious on their own, so what could be better than combining two delicious desserts into one? These creme brulee cakes are unlike any donut or creme brulee you’ve ever eaten. With a crunchy caramel exterior and a creamy custard center, these donuts are the perfect blend of classic French and American desserts. If you’re looking for two tried-and-true favorites, look no further than these Crunchy Caramel Brûlée Cakes.
- 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Whisk the milk, yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar together. Leave the mixture for 10-15 minutes until it becomes foamy. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a mixer, then add the egg yolks and vanilla, and stir until well combined.
- Add flour, butter, salt and remaining sugar. Attach the dough hook to the mixer and start on low speed, working at medium speed to mix the dough. Knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic.
- Place the dough in a large mixing bowl lightly greased. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm, airless environment for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Whisk sugar, salt, and cornstarch together. Beat egg yolks in a medium-sized mixing bowl until smooth. Add the dry mixture to the egg yolks and continue to beat until combined and pale yellow. It should be about 1 minute.
- Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and gently fold the milk into the egg yolk mixture while whisking to avoid clumps. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, and return to the stove over medium heat.
- While constantly whisking, heat the mixture until it boils and becomes completely thick. Remove pot from heat. Beat the vanilla and butter into the custard until smooth, then transfer the custard to a bowl.
- Cover the custard with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic carefully against the surface of the custard to avoid a skin from forming. Place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours or until completely cooled.
- Poke the risen dough down and turn it out on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough until it is about an inch thick.
- Use a 3-inch cookie cutter or cookie cutter to cut out dough rings. Knead the remaining dough into a ball, then roll out and cut so that you use as much of the dough as possible.
- Place the rounds on a lightly oiled baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch of space between each round. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 20-30 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully place the rounds in the hot oil, working in batches. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown, flip and let cook for another minute or until golden. Remove the rings with a perforated spoon and let the donuts drain onto a plate lined with a paper towel while you fry the rest.
Filling and brûlée
- Add custard to a piping bag fitted with a tube head. Insert a skewer or chopstick into each donut to create a pocket for the custard. Finally, inject the end of the piping bag into a donut and fill it with custard. Set aside on a tray, and repeat with the rest of the donuts and custard.
- Add sugar and water for the caramel (brulee) to a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium. Heat the sugar, gently swirling the pan occasionally until it turns golden. Remove the pan from the heat and rotate it until the color goes a little deeper.
- Working very carefully (wear gloves for extra protection), dip the top of each donut into the caramel. Lift the donuts from the caramel and tilt them away from your fingers to let the excess drip for a few seconds, then set the donuts aside to cool.
- Repeat the process with the rest of the donuts. If you find that the caramel in the saucepan has become too stiff, return it to the heat, rotating the skillet so that it heats up and becomes less sticky. Finally, get a spoonful and crack up that crunchy exterior.