I'd had my eye out for a doughnut pan for a while and happened to come across one at HomeSense (for a great price) not too long ago. You can also find them them at Amazon and other online stores.
The next step was to decide on a recipe to start out with. I went with a classic nutmeg and cinnamon cake doughnut recipe from King Arthur Flour that seemed relatively simple and had great reviews. I also liked that it required ingredients that I always have on hand. I used buttermilk powder and water as recommended in the recipe, but I think it might have worked out better with yogurt or sour cream. I'll have to try them that way the next time.
When the recipe tells you to fill the cavities 2/3 full and grease the pan generously, they're not kidding. I filled these way too far and had a hard time getting them out of the pan because they rose over the middle bit that makes the whole. They were also hard to get out because I didn't use cooking spray to grease the pans. I think that is key. There is very little fat in the batter to the doughnuts tend to stick. I did grease the pan with oil but I found it really just beaded off the non-stick coating and pooled at the bottom of the pan.
The finished product was quite tasty and looked like "real" doughnuts! I covered them in cinnamon and white sugar after I pried them out of the pan. I didn't use anything to get the coating to stick. I just threw them in a bowl and hoped for the best. I'll admit - I didn't love the first one I had. I found the flavor and texture improved overnight. They got good reviews at the office as well. The texture is definitely similar to a cake doughnut you would find at a coffee shop. There's definitely no mistaking them for a classic, deep fried doughnut but they're good in their own right.
I think the doughnut pan is a winner. I have a lot of ideas for this contraption.
What's your favorite kind of doughnut? And how do you spell it - doughnut or donut?