Vanilla Cake Donuts with Maple Glaze

We trust Joanna Gaines with our life…and our donuts

Who’s ready for #DemoDay? Demo Day=Best Day.

Wait…something here isn’t right. Oh, yeah. We momentarily forgot we’re a food blog, not home renovation experts. We did get the right family at least. Chip and Joanna Gaines might have gotten their start on the hit HGTV show Fixer Upper, but since then they’ve expanded tenfold into all manner of homemaking products, from decor to what we’ll be talking about today–cookbooks!

Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering is a collection of Joanna Gaines’ favorite recipes from her home and restaurant, divided into six categories: breakfast, lunch, dinner, small plates, snacks, and desserts. After perusing the book and trying out several of the recipes, we’ve determined there’s one thing that won’t ever need fixing up, and that’s Joanna Gaines’ taste. Specifically, her recipe for Vanilla Cake Donuts with Maple Glaze.

Last week, we took you to Gates Donuts for some of the most incredible cake donuts we’ve ever had, so this recipe was the perfect opportunity for us to try our hand at it ourselves. Here’s how it went:

fizz & fork’s first deep fry

The Process

The dough for these donuts was pretty easy to make, just your classic mixing and kneading. The one relatively-unique step was the vanilla bean pod scraping. For that step, it’s easiest to lay the pod flat on a cutting board and use the edge of a paring knife to scrape as many seeds as possible from the walls of the pod. 

Now, full disclosure, we had never deep fried anything before this. We can go ham with an air fryer or sizzle things up on a stovetop any day, but this was a whole new ball game. A ball game, which, as it turns out, was pretty easy. The trickiest part of this was getting the temperature right, but once we got it heated up, the actual frying was simple, and Joanna’s instructions are easy to follow. After letting them cool a bit, we whipped together the simple maple glaze and dipped them in to complete the donut!

The Results

We didn’t even wait for these to cool before chomping down. Joanna Gaines never disappoints. Most of them were thick and moist with a gorgeous golden crunch on the outsides. A few of our donuts, however, were still doughy in the center, so we recommend that you leave your thicker ones in the oil for another minute or so longer than it says. Ensuring that your temperature doesn’t get too high will make it so that you can leave them in longer without burning the outside. The aftereffect of this experience? Nothing can stop us now that we can make our own donuts. Nothing.

The maple glaze makes all the difference

What should you know before you make Vanilla Cake Donuts with Maple Glaze?

  • Don’t substitute regular flour for cake flour! However, if you can’t find cake flour at your local grocery store, you can actually make it yourself. Measure out one cup of all-purpose flour, then remove two tablespoons and replace it with corn starch, and there you have it–a quick and easy cake flour substitute.
  • You are going to need a lot of vegetable oil. We are deep frying, after all, so make sure you get plenty of oil to fill your cast iron. It would be awful to mold a bunch of perfect donut dough only to be short on oil and not able to fry them up.
  • The thermometer is crucial for this recipe! You’ll have to adjust the oven settings as you go as the oil changes in temperature, so it’s imperative to have a good thermometer that you use frequently to make sure the donuts can get to that perfect golden color.
Brb going to fry up some oil for the next batch

When should you make Vanilla Cake Donuts with Maple Glaze?

These donuts, because of the maple and vanilla flavor profile, make a wonderful fall or winter breakfast. Served warm with a mug of hot apple cider? We can’t think of anything more cozy and comforting. Another option is to make these on a birthday morning! Add some colorful sprinkles and they’re perfectly festive to celebrate another trip around the sun. 


Everyone have a great week and we’ll see you back here next Wednesday! In the meantime, we’ll be busy channeling our inner Joanna Gaines by completely redecorating our homes and ordering Magnolia Table Volume 2.

Gates Donut Shop

Welcome to Corpus Christi’s favorite donut.

Open the gates, everybody! It’s time to visit Gates Donut Shop in Mindy’s hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas. We’re taking a bit of a detour today by not covering a full-service restaurant, but we felt the best way to introduce our first coverage of the Corpus Christi area was to show something iconic, and Gates Donuts certainly fits the bill. The simple storefront is a Corpus landmark, and tourists and locals alike flock to the block-letter sign.

The spread (what we didn’t devour on the way home)

The Donuts

The donuts at Gates fall under three umbrella categories–cake, glazed, filled, and specialty. From the cake section, we ordered chocolate and classic, but the option list goes on and on, from blueberry to cinnamon sugar. In our opinion, the best way to judge a donut place is by their take on the classic cake, and Gates Donuts did not disappoint. Their cake donuts are thick, sugary, and not one crumb could be called dry. They’re truly *chef’s kiss.*

The ever-important ooze of the chocolate-filled donut

From the filled collection, we ordered chocolate and apple. We were sorely tempted by the raspberry as well, but a line must be drawn somewhere! The apple-filled donut was more akin to a very puffy apple turnover. As for the chocolate, well, if you can see the delightful ooze in the photo above, you can probably guess how that went. 

Tragically, we arrived too late for them to still have our prime choice of glazed, the buttermilks, but we were able to  pick up some traditional glazed donuts. While happy with what we did get, we beg of you to learn from our dire mistakes and Get. There. Early. We’re probably cheating a bit by saying this but we actually *have* been to Gates before and, all bias aside, their buttermilk donuts alone are worth the trip. Buttermilk disappointment aside, we were able to get two of the Gates Donut pièce de résistance–the maple bacon bar. This house special is a flaky maple Long John topped with a full slab of thick-sliced bacon, and it is a salty-sweet paradise. Bacon lovers rejoice for this one. Our general consensus of the entire smorgasbord is that 82 years of business is a pretty good indicator you’re not going to get a bad donut.

The “More”

We couldn’t exactly do “fizz” this week since this hometown joint is not exactly the type of place to serve trendy cocktails or artisan sodas. What they do have, however, are items that are not donuts. We ordered a plain sausage kolache and a jalapeno and cheese kolache. These kolaches were good, but we wouldn’t go farther than that. They’re not going to knock your socks off, but still–a solid kolache that will make for a solid, satisfying breakfast.

Then come their fried (!)  cinnamon rolls, available with or without a pecan topping. Those things are monstrous but even so, you may not want to share. To quench your thirst in the most breakfast-friendly way, they also have coffee, cappuccinos, and a variety of milk. Aside from these highlights, Gates Donuts also has the most adorable iced cookies to match every holiday, including Texas-shaped ones, and have the option for custom orders for parties or events!

Spot the tiny chef’s hat!

Things to Know Before You Go:

  • Some donuts, including the fan favorite buttermilks, are only available on weekends.
  • Plan to take your goodies elsewhere. Gates Donut Shop is drive-thru only and there’s no outdoor seating available.
  • Favorites sell out quick! Gates donuts are made each day, which means that they’re always fresh and moist, but also that there’s only a limited number of each flavor available. If you’re after a specific type, go early.
The iconic Gates sign

When Should You Make Your Own Trip to Gates Donut Shop?

Early weekend mornings! If you’re in Corpus, that means you’re in easy driving distance of the beach, so our suggestion would be to go right when Gates opens (6 am), pick up a batch of your favorite donuts and a coffee or two, and head on out to the beach to enjoy the sunrise. It may be early, but those views and those flavors can’t be beat.

Are you from Corpus or a frequent beach-loving visitor? Comment your favorite restaurants in the Sparkling City by the Bay so we don’t miss a thing!