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Lemon Curd Cake Donuts with Cream Cheese Glaze

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  • Author: Elizabeth Buuck
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 Donuts 1x


Pillowy fried lemon cake donuts dunked in lemon glaze and topped with lemon cream cheese frosting and a swirl of tart lemon curd.



For the Lemon Donuts

  • 1 C (200 g) Granulated Sugar
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Lemon Extract
  • 2 Lg Eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 C (75 g) Salted Butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 C (225 g) Full Fat Sour Cream
  • 3 1/2 C (465 g) All Purpose Flour
  • 1 TBSP Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

For the Lemon Glaze

  • 2 C (240 g) Powdered Sugar
  • 1/3 C Hot Water
  • 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice

For the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 TBSP Salted Butter, at room temperature
  • 4 oz (110 g) Full Fat Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 C (240 g) Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Zest of 1/2 of a Lemon (plus extra zest for on top!)


For the Lemon Donuts

  • Add the sugar to a large mixing bowl and zest one lemon into the sugar. Use your fingertips to massage the lemon zest into the sugar. 
  • Add the vanilla and lemon extracts and the eggs. Use a mixer to whip the eggs into the lemon sugar until it becomes light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • While continuing to mix, drizzle in the cooled melted butter.
  • Add the sour cream and mix until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients into the wet and use a rubber spatula to fold together until combined. It will be a thick dough similar to cookie dough.
  • Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour, up to overnight.
  • When you’re ready to fry, add the canola oil to a heavy bottomed pot.
  • Also take a moment to set up your cooling rack. Line a large baking sheet with paper towel and set a cooling rack on top.
  • Add 3 inches of oil to the pot. Set the burner to medium high and bring the oil to 350 degrees.
  • While the oil comes to temperature, roll and cut out the donuts. Place a sheet of parchment on the counter and lightly dust it with flour. Roll the dough out to 1″ thickness. 
  • Use a 2 1/4″ donut cutter to cut out 12 donuts. Save the middles and scraps to fry up as donut holes.
  • When the oil reaches 350-360 degrees, carefully add 3-4 donuts at a time. Do this by lowering the donut into the oil, then gently dropping it away from your body.
  • The donuts will sink to the bottom of the oil, then float to the top after 30-45 seconds. Once the donuts are floating, let them cook on that same side for 2 more minutes, then flip and cook on the opposite side for another 2 minutes. 
  • Remove from oil and place on the cooling rack.

For the Lemon Glaze

  • While the donuts cool, make the lemon glaze. Use a wide but shallow bowl to whisk all of the glaze ingredients together until smooth. 
  • Once the donuts are cool enough to handle, dunk them into the glaze coating the entire donut with the glaze.
  • Return the donut to the cooling rack to allow the glaze to set up.

For the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In a small/medium mixing bowl, whip together the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract with a whisk or an electric hand mixer until smooth.
  • Mix in the powdered sugar until smooth.
  • Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and mix until combined.
  • It should be super soft and silky, but not runny. If it’s too thin, add 1-2 TBSP of powdered sugar until it reaches your desired consistency. 
  • Add about 1.5 TBSP of the lemon cream cheese frosting to the center of each donut. Use an offset spatula or the back side of a spoon to spread the frosting almost to the edge.
  • Add 1 tsp of lemon curd to the center and swirl it into the frosting.
  • Top with extra lemon zest and enjoy immediately.