Makes 10 Cakes, Bread and Pastries




  • 190g strong flour
  • 25g caster sugar
  • zest 1 lemon
  • 8g fresh yeast
  • 10g lemon oil (or good virgin olive oil)
  • 2 medium eggs, at room temperature
  • 45g butter, diced and softened
  • 1 litre vegetable oil, (such as rice bran oil or cotton seed oil), for deep-frying

For the cinnamon sugar

  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1⁄2tsp ground cinnamon

Salted caramel filling

  • 1 x 395g can condensed milk
  • 40g vanilla custard
  • 11⁄2tsp sea salt, or to taste

Vanilla custard filling

  • 500g full-fat milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped or 1tsp vanilla paste
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 40g plain flour

Lemon curd filling

  • 95g caster sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 15g cornflour
  • 90g lemon juice
  • 95g butter, soft and diced

Chocolate custard filling

  • 55g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1⁄2 quantity vanilla custard (see recipe, below)

You will need

  • cook's digital thermometer


You need to use strong flour for this dough, with a high protein content, so it can hold the structure when frying. Make the dough the day before you fry the doughnuts. This allows the yeasty flavour to develop and achieves

a strong dough that is easier to handle. Mix the flour, sugar, a pinch of salt and the lemon zest in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. Combine the yeast, 20ml water, oil and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the flour mixture and mix on a medium speed for 10 minutes, adding more water as needed to make a smooth dough.

Add the softened butter slowly while continuing to mix. Mix for 5 minutes, until the butter is fully incorporated. The dough should come away from the bowl and form a ball that is smooth, shiny and slightly sticky. Use the windowpane test to check the dough – take a small ball of dough and gently stretch it between your hands. You should be able to stretch it very thin without it breaking. If it breaks easily, mix for a few more minutes, then test it again. Leave the dough to rest in the bowl, covered with a damp tea towel, for 1 hour.

After an hour, knock back the dough and fold it by lifting one side up and over the other. Do this 5 or 6 times to develop strength in the dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container, then cover with a damp tea towel and chill overnight to develop a complex, yeasty flavour.

Line 2 trays with baking paper, and spray the paper lightly with oil. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and cut it into 10 equal pieces. With each piece, gently flatten the dough and bring the edges together in the middle to form a rough ball, then turn it over so the seam is at the bottom. Cupping your hand over the dough, use firm pressure to roll it on the work surface until it forms a nice tight, round ball with a smooth, even surface. Cover the doughnuts again with the damp tea towel and leave them to rest for 15-20 minutes.

Take each doughnut and knock it flat, then fold the edges into the middle and turn it over so the seam is at the bottom. Using firm pressure, roll it in your hand on the work surface again. Putting pressure on the doughnut strengthens the dough so it will rise well. Place the doughnuts on the lined trays, evenly spaced to allow for rise. Lightly cover with cling film and leave for 2-3 hours, or until risen by half. Test the doughnut by gently pressing the surface. If this leaves a dent, they’re ready to fry. If the dough springs back, it needs more time.

Heat the oil to 180C in a large, heavy-based saucepan or deep- fryer. The temperature is important. If it’s too hot, the doughnuts will burn and be raw inside; not hot enough, they will become soggy. Fry the doughnuts a few at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, for around a minute on each side, until golden. Use a slotted spoon to turn them and remove them from the oil onto a kitchen paper-lined plate. Set the doughnuts aside to cool, then dust with cinnamon sugar and cut a slit in the side, ready for filling.

Salted caramel filling


Place the still-sealed can of condensed milk in a large saucepan and cover well with water. Bring it to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 3 hours, flipping the can over halfway through cooking. Top up with more water as required, ensuring that the can is always fully submerged. You will end up with a thick, oozing, sweet reduction.

Leave to cool completely, chilled, then open the can and scoop the reduction into a medium-sized bowl. Add the custard and season to taste with sea salt. Be careful not to overmix it once you’ve added the custard, otherwise it will become runny.

Vanilla custard filling


Combine the milk and vanilla (seeds and pod) in a heavy-based saucepan, and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Remove the vanilla pod and discard.

While the milk comes to a simmer, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a medium-sized bowl, until slightly pale. Add the flour and whisk to combine.

Pour the milk over the egg mixture, whisking constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs.

Return the custard to the saucepan and cook over a low heat for around 5 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning.

Alternate between using a whisk and a spatula. The custard will become thick, and just start to bubble. As soon as this happens, remove it from the heat and strain the custard through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Lay a piece of cling film over the surface to avoid a skin forming, then chill the custard to cool it completely. It will keep for 3-5 days, chilled.

Lemon curd filling


In a large metal mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks, then whisk in the cornflour, followed by the lemon juice.

Place the bowl over a saucepan half-filled with water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Place the saucepan over a low heat for around 25 minutes, stirring regularly until the mixture reaches 80C on a cook's thermometer, and becomes very thick. You don’t want the mixture to boil, just to stay warm so it thickens and all the ingredients are cooked.

Once thick consistency, take the curd off the heat. Gradually add the cubes of softened butter and whisk to emulsify. Cool, chilled, for 2-3 hours before using.

Chocolate custard filling


Place the chocolate in a metal mixing bowl. Place the bowl over a pan half-filled with water over a medium heat (ensuring the bowl doesn’t touch the water) and stir the chocolate until it is completely melted, then fold it into the custard (preferably when still warm). Chill until ready to use.

This recipe was taken from the May 2020 issue of Food and Travel.

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Recipe and photography taken from The Tivoli Road Baker by Michael James with Pippa James, photography by Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson (Hardie Grant, £20).
Recipe and photography taken from The Tivoli Road Baker by Michael James with Pippa James, photography by Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson (Hardie Grant, £20).


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