We had been married just about six weeks, but I wanted to have a get-together in our first apartment and share some homemade treats with them. In addition to caramel dipped apples and appetizers, I thought fresh doughnuts would impress them as I had been making them with my mother years ago. Fresh, warm doughnuts are just next to heaven! The cruller, however is somewhat labor intensive and even commercially has to be done by hand, but in my opinion, it's well worth the time.
Crullers date back to the 19th century and the name comes from the Dutch word "krullen," meaning to curl. Throughout Europe and especially, Germany, they're eaten on Shrove Tuesday. In North American, they can typically be found in Canada, New England, Mid-Atlantic and North Central states and as far west as California. In some regions the name cruller has been substituted for just dunking sticks. In addition, the term "Chinese cruller" is applied to the youtiao that is found in East and Southeast Asia.
My first attempt at making crullers came out perfect, in spite of the hours it took to make them, so when I saw this pan, I thought, "could it be possible to recreate this memory with a lot less time?" Well, sadly, no, but as you can see, it does make for a very pretty cake that would be welcomed by guests and family for sure. They're just the right size with a cup of tea for an afternoon break!
Baked Crullers - a Tea Cake
6 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla powder (or 1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract)
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cup Cake Flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees. Lightly spray the pan with a non-stick baking spray and set aside.
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together completely. Add the vanilla powder (or extract).
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl between additions. In a small bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking soda together. Add to the batter along with the sour cream and mix to combine.
Divide the batter among the six cruller forms on the pan.
Bake in the preheated oven 18-22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes before turning them out onto a rack. Prepare a glaze, if desired, or you can immediately coat them with sugar and cinnamon.
1 1/2 cups confections sugar
3-4 T. milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla powder or 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients to a smooth glaze and pour over the cakes.
If you like a cinnamon/sugar coating, mix 1/4 cup sugar with 1 T cinnamon in a paper bag and place a warm cake inside. Shake to coat and repeat with the other 5 cakes.