vanilla bean ricotta donuts

This is the ideal brunch recipe.  When you’re lazy, sleepy, and expected to whip up a storm, these come together in one bowl, and are done and dusted within 20 minutes.  Unlike Aunt Jemima’s, these emerge from the kitchen to ohhs and ahhhs.  Plus they look oh-so-elegant when served with chocolate sauce and lemon wedges.

I imagine whipping these up on a hazy Sunday morning, wearing an adorable, little striped robe and sheepskin slippers.  There would be sunflowers on my windowsill in a little glass vase.
There would be frothy lattes in Antropologie teacups and music would be playing from a creaky record player.  I’d sprinkle these with powdered sugar, and the air would smell like lemons and vanilla. 

I know these kinds of things exist somewhere, I’ve seen them on Pinterest. 

But in reality, I don’t own an adorable striped robe, nor a creaky record player. In reality, I don’t have jars of sunflowers on my kitchen window sill, rather, I have half a batch of buttercream leftover from my attempt at making a s’mores flavored cupcake. 
In reality, I eat these on Tuesday afternoons standing up at the kitchen counter. With a jar on honey in one hand, and my iPhone in the other. 
In reality, I am wearing my dad’s “Old Guys Rule” shirt. 

It’s OK. No problem-o.  Life’s not supposed to happen like it does on Pinterest. 
No one in their right mind has the energy to go pick sunflowers before their first mug of coffee.  Life’s not supposed to be that sensible. I burned my mouth four times eating donut balls that were too fresh from the pot.  Did I learn my lesson? No. I’d totally do it all over again.  See? Nonsensical.
I guess life’s kind of nonsensical like that.  It’s messy, fun, and sweet… kind of like these sinfully quick, deep-fried balls of dough dunked in honey. 

With love, 

If you do happen to have an adorable, little striped robe and a creaky record player, I respect you.

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
8 oz (1/2 lb) ricotta, whole or skim
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Canola oil, for frying (or another oil with a high smoke point)
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
Deep-fry thermometer

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add sugar, eggs, ricotta, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Mix until just combined.

Pour the oil into a deep, heavy pot. Leave at least two inches of space at the top for safety. Using a deep-fry thermometer, heat the oil over medium until it reaches 325-375 degrees F.

Fry a test doughnut: Using a small ice cream scoop or a spoon, drop a scoop of batter in and turn it occasionally. It should take 3-4 minutes to turn golden brown. Carefully remove and cut in half to check if it’s cooked all the way through. Test another if needed.

Fry the remaining doughnuts. Don’t overcrowd the pot; fry in batches. Place doughnuts on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil.  Depending on how big you scoop them, this should make around 12 donuts. 

Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve warm with honey, jam, or melted chocolate.

Adapted from A Cup of Jo

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

sweet potato doughnuts

When I saw the pictures of these sweet potato doughnuts on Fifteen Spatulas, I had to make them.  Hers looked so fluffy and gorgeous — just like this fluffy orange kitchen sponge that I love.

When it comes to doughnuts, health isn’t really a selling point.  If I want healthy for breakfast, I’d rather grab some Greek yogurt or egg whites rather than some cardboard-like healthy imposter of a doughnut.

But these taste amazing, like fluffy, sweet, doughy orange clouds and just happen to be way healthier than your average doughnut. Sweet potatoes just happen to be full of beta carotene and other antioxidants.  These just happen to be delicious with just a few tablespoons of butter in the batter, and just happen to be baked, not fried.  They also just happen to be dunked in butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar.  So we have nothing to worry about.

My dad’s a total traditionalist and I was worried he wouldn’t be too keen on a doughnut with a vegetable in it.  I was pleasantly surprised, he loved them, and ate two right out of the oven before I could photograph them!  The sweet potato flavor adds a subtle sweetness and a pretty orange color. This makes the perfect winter treat alongside a big mug of warm apple cider.

With love,


One 12-ounce sweet potato

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup whole milk

1 envelope instant dry yeast

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon dark rum

1 large egg

2 large egg yolks

3 1/4 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling


1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  1. Prick the sweet potato all over with a fork and cook it in a microwave
    at high power for 10 minutes, until tender. Let cool, then peel and
    puree the sweet potato; you should have about 1 cup.

  2. In a small skillet, cook the butter over moderate heat until nutty and
    lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Scrape the browned butter and solids
    into a small bowl and let cool.

  3. In the same skillet, heat the milk until just warm, about 105°. Pour the
    warm milk into the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the
    dough hook. Add the yeast and let stand for 5 minutes. Gently mix in the
    granulated sugar, light brown sugar, salt, vanilla seeds, nutmeg and
    rum. Add the sweet potato puree, browned butter and solids, egg and egg
    yolks and beat until combined. Add the 3 1/4 cups of bread flour and
    beat at medium speed until the dough is evenly moistened, about 2
    minutes. Increase the speed to moderately high and beat until a soft
    dough forms, about 5 minutes. Gather the dough into a ball and transfer
    to a buttered bowl. Cover and let rise in a draft-free place for 1 hour.

  4. Punch down the dough and let stand for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured
    surface, roll out the dough 1/2 inch thick. Using a 2 3/4-inch round
    cutter, stamp out as many rounds as possible. Using a smaller round
    cutter (1 inch), stamp out the centers. Transfer the doughnuts and holes
    to 2 parchment paper–lined baking sheets. Cover loosely with plastic
    wrap and let the doughnuts and holes rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

  5. Preheat the oven to 400° and position racks in the upper and lower
    thirds. Bake the holes for 10 minutes and the doughnuts for about 20
    minutes, until risen and golden.

  6. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Put half of the hot
    doughnuts in a large bowl and drizzle with some of the melted butter;
    toss and turn to coat. Sprinkle with some of the cinnamon sugar and toss
    and turn until evenly coated. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts,
    butter and cinnamon sugar. Transfer the doughnuts to a platter; serve.

apple cider doughnuts

Baked doughnuts are alright… but there is nothing more fabulous than a home fried doughnut. I cannot possibly compare these yeasted doughnuts to their oven-baked counterpart. Sure, they are a bit more trouble, but nothing on earth is more satisfying than fried dough.

Just kidding. Nothing is more satisfying than fried dough dipped in sugar, apple cider, and cinnamon. 

 These fried treats embody the spicy, warm flavors of fall that I love.  When I was little, my parents took me to this farm near our house every fall.  There were hayrides, big slides, and towers of hay to climb on.  Every year, we would go on the hayride.  I loved it because it wasn’t the scary kind of hayride — instead of gore and ghosts, there were dancing pumpkins and fun music. We would also buy and decorate pumpkins, munch on kettlecorn, and sip warm, apple cider. 

These doughnuts best eaten when still piping hot from the pot.  It is nearly impossible to describe the sensation of biting into a piping hot cider donuts — with their crisp, fried outsides and fluffy insides. They are not nearly as good on the second day, so make these when you have company, or when you are by yourself — as they aren’t too difficult to finish!  These doughnuts are perfect on a crisp fall morning, with a big pumpkin spice latte on the side (we might as well go all out, right?).

What treat conjures up fall memories for you?

With love,


  • Doughnuts
  • 1-1/8 cup Whole Milk, Warm
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons (one Package) Instant Or Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 whole Large Eggs, Beaten
  • 1-1/4 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • Shortening


  • 3 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 cup good apple cider

Preparation Instructions

To Make the Dough:
1. Make sure milk is nice and warm, but not overly hot.
2. Add sugar to milk. Stir to dissolve.
3. Add yeast into a small bowl.
4. Pour milk/sugar mixture over yeast. Stir gently, then let sit for 10 minutes.
5. Melt butter in separate bowl until butter is almost melted. Stir to finish melting so butter won’t be overly hot.
6. Add beaten eggs to melted butter, stirring constantly to make sure the butter’s not too hot for the eggs.
7. Add the egg/butter mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.
8. With the mixer on 3 or medium-low speed, pour in the yeast mixture.
9. Allow the dough hook to stir this mixture for a couple of minutes, making sure it’s thoroughly combined.
10. With the mixer still going, add helpings of the flour mixture in 1/4 to 1/2 cup increments until all the flour is gone.
11. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, then turn the mixer on the same speed for five whole minutes.
12. After five minutes, stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl.
13. Turn on the mixer for 30 seconds.
14. Turn off the mixer and allow the dough to sit in the bowl undisturbed for 10 minutes.
15. After 10 minutes, transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Toss the
dough to coat, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place straight
in the fridge.
16. Refrigerate dough for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
To Make the Doughnuts:
1. Remove bowl from fridge and turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.
2. Roll out to 1/4 to 1/3-inch thickness.
3. Using a 3-inch cutter, cut as many rounds as you can, then roll out remaining dough and cut as much as you can, etc.
4. Cut holes out of each round using a 1 1/2-inch cutter.
5. Place both doughnuts and holes on a floured baking sheet.
6. Cover with large tea towel and place in a warm place in your kitchen;
my kitchen is very drafty, so I have to briefly warm the griddle, then
turn it off and set the sheets on top to keep warm.
7. Allow doughnuts to rise undisturbed for at least 1 hour; 1 hour 15
minutes if necessary. Doughuts should be visibly puffier and appear to
be airy.
To Fry the Dougnuts
1. Heat plenty of vegetable shortening in a large pot until the
temperature reaches 375 to 380 degrees—do not let it get hotter than
380 degrees! 375 is ideal; keep the thermometer in the pan to
continually monitor.
2. One to two at a time, gently grab doughnuts and ease them into the
hot oil. Allow them to cook 1 minute on each side; they will brown very
3. Remove doughnuts from the oil with a slotted spoon, allowing all oil to drip off.
4. Place doughnut immediately on several layers of paper towels. Count
to five, then flip it over onto a clean part of the paper towels. Count
to five, then flip it over again; the purpose, obviously, is to drain as
much grease as possible before it soaks into the doughnut.
5. Repeat with remaining doughnuts and holes. The holes will cook more quickly than the doughnuts; about 30 seconds per side.
6. Allow doughnuts to slightly cool.

To Glaze
1. Mix all glaze ingredients in a bowl until completely smooth.
2. One by one, dip doughnuts into the glaze until halfway submerged.
(Note: completely submerge doughnut holes, then remove with slotted
4. Remove from glaze, then turn right side up on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet (to catch dripping glaze.)
5. Serve warm if possible, or room temperature.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

baked donuts

Baked donuts — I’ve attempted them before, and they have always been a disappointment compared to their deep fried counterpart… until now! These are moist and dense– with a cake-like texture that comes pretty close to that of an old fashioned donut, and absolutely delicious no matter how you  decide to top them.
The glazed varieties looked absolutely adorable — but my personal favorite was the “cinnamon toast crunch” donut (although I may be a bit biased due to my cinnamon obsession!). I dipped the soft donut in melted butter, and then quickly rolled it in a mixture of cinnamon, sugar, and crushed up Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. Really the possibilities for toppings are endless — I’d love to see what some of you all dream up! (and now that I’m officially a baked donut convert, expect to see more posts… things are gonna get crazy!)
The dance ensemble at my school had performances this weekend, and I brought these to sell at the bake sale that they hold at intermission. These were perfect for the occasion, as unlike their fried counterparts, they kept really well in an air-tight container overnight and transported beautifully. In fact, they taste even better the next day because the flavor and moisture really sinks in. So keep these in mind for your next bake sale or potluck!
With love,

         1/2 cup butter + 2 tablepoons (or margernine)
    •    1 cup sugar
    •    2 eggs
    •    3 cups flour
    •    4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    •    1/2 teaspoon salt
    •    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    •    1 cup milk
    •    1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your donut pan.
Blend 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter with 1 cup of sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add to the butter and sugar mixture. Blend in the milk and mix together thoroughly.
 Put batter in a large ziploc bag and cut the corner to a 1/2 inch hole. Pipe the batter into greased donut pan about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes, or until doughnuts are golden. Top/decorate as you please — here are a few suggestions:

“Cinnamon Toast Crunch” 
  Combine 1/4 cup of sugar 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon. Add about a half cup of crushed Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter.
While doughnuts are still warm, roll them in melted butter; then in Cinnamon Toast Crunch mixture.

Classic Vanilla Glaze:

  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Gel paste food coloring (if using)

Warm the milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan set over low heat.
Add the confectioners’ sugar and whisk slowly until well combined.
If tinting glaze, using a toothpick, add a drop of gel paste at a time, whisking to combine well, until you’ve reach the desired color.

Dip the donuts into the glaze while warm (or cool).
Add sprinkles or other extras at end as desired.
Classic Chocolate Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon water

In a small microwave-safe bowl, mix the chocolate chips, oil, corn syrup, and water. Microwave for 30 second increments, stirring in-between, until melted.

Dip the donuts into the glaze while warm (or cool).
Add sprinkles or other extras at end as desired.