My Sugar Donut Muffins are always a favorite when I bake a batch. They’re tasty plain, but they’re also a good base for donut-like variations. For instance, you could fill them with preserves to make jelly donut muffins or with lemon curd to make these Mini Lemon Donut Muffins with Lemon Curd.
These mini muffins have a buttermilk and lemon cake base and are baked in mini muffin pans to produce bite-sized treats. The muffins are dipped in butter and rolled in sugar just after baking to give them a slightly crisp, sugary exterior that is reminiscent of the exterior of a deep fried donut. They’re fluffy and tender, and the cake itself is not too sweet, which means that their sugary exterior balances well with the cake. After baking, I piped a little bit of lemon curd into the center of the muffins for a spring twist.
I make my own lemon curd for the filling of these muffins, usually using a recipe for Lower Fat Lemon Curd to keep in the spirit of lightness with the baked donuts (and because it is delicious). Store bought lemon curd can be used if you don’t want to make your own. Similarly, I used fresh lemon zest in the muffin batter, but you could use lemon oil or lemon extract in place of the vanilla extract if you don’t have a lemon on hand to zest. Fresh zest and homemade curd are going to take your muffins over the top, but these are tasty, lemony treats no matter how you put them together.
This recipe could also be made into regular sized muffins for a larger treat. Follow the directions for the full sized Sugar Donut Muffins for baking times and fill them with lemon curd after baking.
Mini Lemon Donut Muffins with Lemon Curd
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking power
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 tsp lemon zest
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar, for rolling
2/3 cup lemon curd (pref. homemade)
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a mini muffin tin with cooking spray or vegetable oil.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, beat together sugar and egg until light in color. Beat in vegetable oil, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Gradually add in flour mixture in two or three additions, alternating with additions of buttermilk.
Divide batter evenly into prepared mini muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full (approx 1 tbsp batter).
Bake for 9-11 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Place melted butter in a small bowl. Place sugar for rolling in a small bowl or deep-sided plate.
Remove donuts from pan, dip the tops in melted butter and roll in sugar. Place on a cooling rack to allow sugar to set.
When donuts are cooled, fit a pastry bag or ziploc bag with small round pastry tip. Place lemon curd into pastry bag. Poke a small hole in the side of each donut with the pastry tip and pipe a small amount of curd into the center of each donut (approx 1 tsp).
If no pastry tip is available, I recommend using the cone method for filling these muffins.
Makes about 3 dozen mini muffins