spice cake donuts w/ chocolate hard shell

When I saw that the NYT did an article about Thomas Keller's chocolate shell ice cream topping. I knew instantly I had to use it on a donut. This magic shell coating is really intended for ice cream. But who am I to resist a little kitchen culinary experiment?
For a great little ditty and tutorial on using it for ice cream go see my friend Irvin at eat the love . Oh what fun it would be to use this on a fresh, warm, crispy donut? Right? But sadly they do not harden as fast as they do for ice cream. I'm sure it has to do with the coldness of the ice cream makes the chocolate shell harden. But if you let them set up in the fridge they do harden and taste AMAZING!
I mean who doesn't love a deep fried crispy donut with a hard chocolate shell? These were good--really good. If you don't want the hard shell, the plain donuts are good as is or with a good dusting of cinnamon-sugar or a good old fashioned glaze. Mmmm donuts! But who doesn't want a chocolate bath? Come on now.

spice cake donuts with chocolate hard shell
print recipe

2 TB shortening
2 TB unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 cup heavy cream
2 ts high quality vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 oversized ts nutmeg
1 oversized ts cinnamon
1 ts salt

In a small bowl or glass mix the heavy cream, vanilla and eggs until well beaten.
In a medium bowl mix the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. I went ahead and sifted it too.
Cream the butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the cream/egg mixture and mix till well combined. Next add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined—don’t overmix! Transfer this to board and cover with plastic wrap. Let it refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or overnight).
When ready to make the donuts, unwrap and place on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle or square with at least 1/2-inch thickness.
Using a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter cut out the donuts. If the cutter gets stuck in dough just dip it in flour before each cut. Place the doughnuts and holes on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Fill large/tall heavy bottomed pan with about 1/3 full of vegetable oil. Heat oil over medium heat until it reaches 375° degrees.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.
Remember to fry in small batches—don’t overcrowd the pan or the oil temperature drops way down and the donuts will start to absorb the oil. Fry the doughnuts (and holes), turning once until they are golden brown (about 2-3 minutes each side).
Once the donuts are done place them on the paper towels to absorb some oil and cool down.

Cook Notes:
When you are ready to dip the donuts in the chocolate use this recipe (below). Keep in mind once the hard shell is on the donuts it does not harden immediately like it does for ice cream. So you will need to let the donuts harden in the fridge to set up. And only use bittersweet chocolate as it states in the recipe. I was tempted to use milk chocolate and it was way too sweet.
The donut recipe above I halved and had more than enough chocolate dipping sauce below. If you do want to make the full batch recipe of donuts you might need to double the chocolate dipping sauce ingredients. If you don’t want coat the donuts in chocolate feel free to coat them in a cinnamon-sugar mix when they are fresh out of the deep fryer. 2 TB of cinnamon for every ½ cup of white sugar.
PLEASE make sure to spray you rack with non stick spray to prevent the dipped donuts from sticking to the rack once they are hardened.

chocolate hard shell for donuts (can be used for ice cream topping)
adapted from Thomas Keller

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 TB virgin coconut oil

Melt the chocolate in a small metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
Stir in the coconut oil and heat until dissolved, about 1 minute.
Keep the liquid lukewarm until ready to pour over the ice cream.
Chocolate will harden into a shell within a few seconds when spooned over ice cream.
Yield: 3/4 cup

To assemble:
If you hate getting your hands covered in chocolate then wear a plastic/rubber glove. Dip the donuts right in the chocolate. Turn over and coat the other side. Place on a rack that has been sprayed with non stick spray. The donuts will harden and stick to the rack if not sprayed. Let them sit a bit before putting in fridge to set up. You have to place them in the fridge to set up all the way—they don’t do it on their own.
If you want sprinkles, coconut, nuts, etc.. on your donuts, make sure to put them on when the chocolate is still wet.


  1. Damn those look so yummy and tempting, it kinda made me drool.

  2. oh man. these look like my favorite chocolate hard shelled, yellow cake Entenmann's donuts but BETTER.

    Do you deliver? :)

  3. Josh LOVES magic shell! He'd probably go nutso for these donuts. And seriously- when are you opening the bakery! You must you must!

  4. Oh - I'm in trouble! These look phenomenal... My poor thighs!

    Mary xx
    Delightful Bitefuls

  5. wow. i'm glad you put the shell on these donuts, genius i tell you :) although i've told you that before...

  6. Of course you post this on my huge chocolate craving day. I need one of these to cure me. You are too talented as these are totally what I am looking for. Awesome idea.

  7. Wow! These look amazing, so wish i has a deep fryer!!

  8. Oh wow these look good. I'm not usually a big donut person but these I'd definitely go for!

  9. Seriously woman? I was able to contain myself with that last batch and only had 1 1/2, but with these I would horde them all to myself.

  10. I've been dreaming about the hard chocolate shell on ice cream for a few days now, but on doughnuts?! Genius. Sheer genius.

  11. How long do you think hese doughnuts would keep? I usually bring treats in for my co-workers, but have avoided fried things because of the "serve immediately" factor. :)

  12. @laura - yeah they do not keep long at all. sorry :-(
    maybe a baked donut would do better. like a baked buttermilk donut you know?

  13. Can I take a chocolate bath??????

  14. I think we need to call you the Queen of homemade doughnuts. They always look so tempting!!

  15. These remind me of those Entenmann's donuts that I love to no end but refuse to buy because have you SEEN that ingredient list! I can't pronounce a single thing on it!

    This looks good though. You've satisfied all my cravings.

  16. I did not just see those images :O
    You've got to be kidding me right?
    That was absolute food porn! Should have came with a warning!
    Chocolate baths?! Hard shells!? I mean seriously, that stuff is delicious and naughty at the same time.

  17. Great thinking! The chocolate shell on a doughnut is perfect. And, the spice cake flavor sounds great.

  18. Oh those look great what a temptation to go off my diet! Of course, I can't imagine how anyone wouldn't want to get their hands into the chocolate.

  19. When you say "chocolate bath" I imagine immersing myself into a big vat of chocolate ;). Those are super yummy looking!
    I'm doing a giveaway over at my blog for an $80 Amazon.com gift card! Come on over and enter :D
    Have a fab weekend.
    *kisses* HH

  20. I just posted about yeast donuts. Three of my favorite blogs are blogging about donuts today...go figure. These look delicious!

  21. Mmm...donuts are delicious, especially covered in chocolate. :)

  22. Oh my theses look fabulous! Your photo makes me want to bite right into them!

  23. I tell ya, I'm going to have to be sure to have a donut in hand when I come to your blog because I end up totally craving them, what with these donut porn pics! These look astoundingly good. I'm suffering from hunger pangs as we speak (type).

  24. These look so amazing! How did I miss the chocolate shell article? This will definitely be tried by me at my earliest convenience. :-)

  25. Oh, chocolate donuts are my favorites!!! These are mouth-watering and tastefully delicious. Thanks for the recipe. I will definitely try it this weekend.:-)

  26. methinks anyone who says she doesn't like donuts with a chocolate coating is fooling herself. superior work, dawn!

  27. Excellent post Dawn. i never made donuts before I think I will try. Thanks so much!

  28. I would love to break into that hard chocolate shell, yum.....
    Milk,milk :))
    ~Nice Photo~

  29. YUM! I could eat about 5 of those right now :).

  30. Great idea to use the shell on donuts -yum! I need to get my hands on some coconut oil.

  31. I think those could satiate any chocolate craving on earth. Deliciously decadent. Great pics.

  32. I just read a blog called Oven Delights and she made cake pops using cake donuts instead of cake. That's pure genius. I think you should make them too!

  33. Wow--these look amazing! I love the idea of the "chocolate bath"!


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