These strawberry jam vanilla cream doughnuts will satisfy every sweet craving you might have! Fluffy and rich, they are easier to make than it seems. With enriched overnight dough and homemade vanilla cream, you’ll be thinking about these for a long time.
I’ll be honest with you, the week between fat Thursday and the following (not fat) Thursday just might be my favorite week in the whole year, right after any week in December of course. I adore carnival season and all the doughnuts that come with it.
Us Slovenes, we take our doughnuts seriously. Every store sells an abundance of them during this time of year at ridiculously low prices. Bistros, hotels, bakeries and so on all compete, unofficially of course, in who makes the best doughnuts. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get one for free, as many organizations hand them out on the street… just because.
Our most famous doughnuts, the Trojane doughnuts, are especially desired, mostly for their size I think, but also for their flavor. In fact, they fry over 2 million doughnuts each year. That is a big amount for such a tiny company.
While I enjoy tasting doughnuts from various places, this is also the time of year I love to make my own. I grew up watching my Oma make them for the whole family and now I feel like it’s my time. I enjoy filling them with all sorts of fillings, from strawberry jam to plum jam or rosehip jam to creamy vanilla custard or thick chocolate sauce.
About these strawberry jam vanilla cream doughnuts
Even though I mentioned I love a good doughnut during carnival season, I do think these should have a place on any holiday or celebration table. Their crisp shell hides a most wonderful fluffy center with the most amazing rich flavor and a golden aroma. A golden aroma is what I call a mix of rum, lemons and vanilla. It’s unique but familiar and it smells like home.
As you can see, I couldn’t help myself, sometimes I’m a bit over the top. Which is why these fried balls of joy are filled with both strawberry jam and vanilla cream (or custard). Together they create the most amazing filling; think rich vanilla pudding with a strawberry swirl. The strawberry jam is from the store, although homemade would of course be amazing too and the vanilla cream is homemade!
Now, if you’re not in the mood for both, you can of course adjust the filling the your own taste. Once you have the doughnuts fried and ready, the rest is easy. Although with my overnight dough, making the doughnuts isn’t as hard as it seems.
That’s right, this recipe lets you cut the whole process into two parts, so you’re not overworking yourself in one day. I don’t know about you, but I hate cooking if I’m feeling overwhelmed and I don’t want a recipe to do this to you. With that said, you CAN make these in one day too, if you’re feeling rushed.
I like letting the dough rest overnight because this helps it develop even more flavor. On top of that, cold dough is much easier to shape, letting you make doughnuts like a pro.
Originally, when I first published the recipe for these strawberry jam vanilla cream doughnuts in 2016, I coated them with a sugar glaze. It was a spur of the moment type of thing. I now realize that despite my love for sugar glaze, these doughnuts are best with a simple dusting of sugar instead. You can roll them in granulated sugar when warm or dust them with powdered sugar before serving. Both options are delicious.
One last note: as wonderful as I think these strawberry jam vanilla cream doughnuts are, maybe you won’t be in the mood for both fillings. One thing to keep in mind is that if the doughnuts are filled with jam only, they will freeze nicely. That’s one reason why I like to leave out vanilla cream with some, especially if I know we won’t be eating all of the doughnuts in due time.
Whatever you decide, I hope you have fun making and eating these! Also hop on my Instagram profile to watch a step-by-step video of me making these (look under story highlights).
Strawberry jam vanilla cream doughnuts with sugar glaze
- 3 3/4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (240 ml) full fat milk
- 1/4 cup (60 g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 oz (7 g) envelope instant dry yeast
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 stick (60 g) unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (30 g) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or beans from 1 pod)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 480 ml (480 ml) full fat milk
- 1/2 stick (60 g) unsalted butter (cubed)
- 50 fl oz (1.5 l) sunflower oil (or other neutral frying oil)
- 1 jar strawberry jam (you’ll have some leftover)
- granulated or powdered sugar for dusting the doughnuts
Make the dough
- Sift flour into a bowl (or bowl of your stand mixer) and set aside. Warm milk on the stove or in a microwave until it’s warm, but not hot, to the touch. Stir in one teaspoon of sugar and all of the yeast. Set aside until the yeast gets bubbly.
- Meanwhile take another bowl and whisk together reaming sugar with egg yolks, egg, butter, vanilla, rum, salt and lemon zest. Stir the yeast mixture into the flour slowly, then pour in the egg mixture and knead dough with a dough hook for a few minutes until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides.
- The dough will be somewhat sticky, but it should be smooth with no patches of flour visible. Give it a light knead, just a few minutes, with your hands then transfer it to a large oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator. Let proof overnight.
- Shape doughnuts
- The next day, take the dough out of the refrigerator. Let it rest for 10 minutes at room temperature. Then remove it from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured work surface.
- Slice dough into 12 equal pieces (each should weigh between 2.5-3 ounces or 70-80g). Shape each piece into a ball and place it on a piece of parchment paper (or silpat) dusted with flour. Leave enough room between all the dough balls, as they will rise. Cover the doughnuts with a light kitchen towel (or plastic wrap) and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Fry and fill doughnuts
- Pour oil into a large pot suitable for frying (I’m using a cast iron skillet, enamel cookware works nicely too), set over medium heat. Bring the temperature of the oil to 320-340°F (160-170°C).
- Using a thin spatula, pick up one doughnut at a time and place it into the hot oil. You can fry 2-4 at a time, depending on your skillet size. Fry on the first side for 2-3 minutes, then flip over and fry another 2 minutes, until doughnuts are golden brown on the second side too.
- Place fried doughnuts on a platter/pan lined with paper towels. If using granulated sugar, dip and swirl warm donuts into granulated sugar. If using powdered sugar, wait until they are cool.
- Let doughnuts cool to room temperature. Fit two pastry bags with plain round tips (medium sized). Fill one with vanilla cream (if using) and one with strawberry jam. Pierce each doughnut on the side (on the white line) and fill it first with jam, then with vanilla (or the other way around). Set on a serving platter. Dust with sugar, if desired, and serve.
How to make vanilla cream (if using)
- In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar, corn starch, vanilla and salt until fluffy and pale, a few minutes. Warm milk on the stove over medium heat until it barely comes to a simmer. Slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture, while whisking constantly. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until the mixture is bubbly and thick. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Once the vanilla cream is thick, remove it from heat. Stir in the butter and mix until it’s melted. Transfer the cream to a glass container, cover with plastic wrap (so that it touches the cream) and first let it cool to room temperature. Then store it in the refrigerator overnight. (This will thicken it even more.) Use in the doughnuts the next day.
- Why proof dough overnight? Letting your dough rise slowly in the refrigerator results in better overall flavor of the dough. Shaping the doughnuts is also a lot easier when your dough is cold.
- On frying: Make sure the temperature of your oil stays within the given range. This is because oil that is too hot will burn your doughnuts on the outside, leaving them raw on the inside and you don’t want that. Alternately, a temperature that is too low, will only soak your doughnuts with too much oil as they’ll be cooking and not really frying. You want to see bubbles around the doughnuts, knowing they are frying, but not a crazy amount of bubbles bursting out of the pot.
- Doughnuts obviously taste best fresh, but are pretty good on day 2 as well. Doughnuts filled with vanilla cream should be stored in the refrigerator, while doughnuts filled only with jam can be kept at room temperature.
- Freezing doughnuts: I wouldn’t freeze doughnuts with vanilla cream, however doughnuts filled only with jam do freeze really well! Wrap each doughnut individually in plastic first, then place all doughnuts in a large bag or container and freeze.
- Recipe for vanilla cream adapted from All Recipes.