Success in making good fried cakes depends as much on the cooking as the mixing. In the first place, there should be boiling lard enough to free them from the bottom of the kettle, so that they swim on the top, and the lard should never be so hot as to smoke or so cool as not to be at the boiling point; if it is, they soak grease and are spoiled. If it is at the right heat, the doughnuts will in about ten minutes be of a delicate brown outside and nicely cooked inside. Five or six minutes will cook a cruller. Try the fat by dropping a bit of the dough in first; if it is right, the fat will boil up when it is dropped in. They should be turned over almost constantly, which causes them to rise and brown evenly. When they are sufficiently cooked, raise them from the hot fat and drain them until every drop ceases dripping.
One and a half cupfuls of sugar, one cupful of sour milk, two eggs, two scant tablespoonfuls of melted butter, half a nutmeg grated, a large teaspoonful of cinnamon, a teaspoonful of salt and one of soda; make a little stiffer than biscuit dough, roll out a quarter of an inch thick, and cut with a fried-cake cutter, with a hole in the centre. Fry in hot lard.
These can be made with sweet milk and baking powder, using two heaping teaspoonfuls of the baking powder in place of soda.
Old-fashioned "raised doughnuts" are seldom seen nowadays, but are easily made. Make a sponge as for bread, using a pint of warm water or milk, and a large half cupful of yeast; when the sponge is very light, add half a cupful of butter or sweet lard, a coffeecupful of sugar, a teaspoonful of salt and one small teaspoonful of soda dissolved in a little water, one tablespoonful of cinnamon, a little grated nutmeg; stir in now two well-beaten eggs, add sifted flour until it is the consistency of biscuit dough, knead it well, cover and let rise; then roll the dough out into a sheet half an inch thick, cut out with a very small biscuit-cutter, or in strips half an inch wide and three inches long, place them on greased tins, cover them well and let them rise before frying them. Drop them in very hot lard. Raised cakes require longer time than cakes made with baking powder. Sift powdered sugar over them as fast as they are fried, while warm. Our grandmothers put allspice into these cakes; that, however, is a matter of taste.
Warm a teacupful of lard in a pint of milk; when nearly cool add enough flour to make a thick batter and add a small cupful of yeast; beat it well and set it to rise; when light work in gradually and carefully three cupfuls of sugar, the whipped whites of six eggs, half a teaspoonful of soda dissolved in a spoonful of milk, one teaspoonful of salt, a teaspoonful of ground cinnamon and half of a nutmeg grated; then work in gradually enough flour to make it stiff enough to roll out; let it rise again and when very light roll it out in a sheet an inch thick; cut into rounds; put into the centre of each round a large Sultana raisin, seeded, and mold into perfectly round balls; flatten a little; let them stand a few minutes before boiling them; have plenty of lard in the pot and when it boils drop in the cakes; when they are a light brown take them out with a perforated skimmer; drain on soft white paper and roll, while warm, in fine powdered sugar.
Purcell's Bakery, New York City.