Loukoumades are a popular Greek fried doughnut commonly soaked in honey or chocolate sauce. Cupcake superstar Nick Makrides thought why not have both? So he put the two together.
- 7 g (1 sachet) dried yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 500 ml (2 cups) warm water
- 510 g plain flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying, plus extra for greasing
- 175 g plain flour
- 225 g caster sugar
- 50 g cocoa powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 175 g unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 175 ml full-cream milk
- 250 g unsalted butter, softened
- 250 g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1 tbsp milk (at room temperature) (optional, but recommended)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 125 ml honey
- crushed pistachios or walnuts
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Standing time: 1 h 30 min
1. For the loukoumades, place the yeast, sugar and 125 ml (½ cup) of the warm water into a large mixing bowl. Gently stir to combine, then stand in a warm place for 5 minutes or until it becomes foamy.
2. Meanwhile, place the flour, nutmeg and salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine.
3. Add the remaining 375 ml (1½ cups) of water and the vanilla extract to the foamed yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add to the dry ingredients and stir using a spatula until it reaches a smooth, wet dough consistency. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 1-1½ hours or until doubled in size.
3. Meanwhile, for the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 140°C. Line 16 holes of two cupcake tins with patty cases.
4. Place the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt a large mixing bowl. Using a hand-held mixer, mix on low speed until well combined. Add the softened butter and continue mixing on low speed until the mixture reaches a crumbly, sand-like texture. Add the eggs and milk and mix again on low speed until well combined but do not over-beat. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix for a final 20 seconds. Fill each patty case three-quarters full of batter. Using an ice-cream scoop makes this a quick and easy process, and ensures each case contains exactly the same amount of batter and that the cupcakes will bake evenly. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
5. For the frosting, place the softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. You can also use a hand mixer for this recipe, but if you do use a hand mixer, just make sure your bowl is large. Mix the butter on low speed to begin with, then switch to the highest speed and mix for 5 minutes until the butter is fluffy and turns pale in colour. Stop your mixer and scrape down the side of the bowl using a spatula. Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and mix again on low speed. Make sure it’s on low speed and not any higher - the last thing you need is to end up in a sugar dust storm! (I’m speaking from experience…).
6. Once all the sugar has been incorporated, it’s safe to turn your mixer up to high speed. Continue beating on high speed for about 5–6 minutes, or until the butter turns pale in colour and becomes fluffy again. If you want to soften your buttercream and make it a little smoother, add the milk and continue mixing for another couple of minutes on medium speed. Add the honey and cinnamon to the frosting and mix using a spatula until well combined. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large fluted nozzle and set aside.
7. To cook the loukoumades, fill a deep-fryer or saucepan three-quarters full of oil and heat to 180°C.
8. The next part can seem a little tricky, but keep in mind, if this is your first time attempting to make loukoumades, you get better the more you make each one. Working in small batches, grab a handful of batter in a well-oiled hand and squeeze out tablespoons of batter into the hot oil, using a spoon to cut off the batter. Let the little dollops gently fall into the oil and fry for a couple seconds before you add the next dollop of batter. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until golden all over, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plated lined with paper towel and set aside to cool. Repeat with the remaining batter.
9. To assemble the cupcakes, use an apple corer to remove the centre of each cupcake. Spoon the Nutella into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle. Pipe a little Nutella into the cupcakes and a little into the loukamades. Pipe a double swirl of frosting on top, then top with the loukoumades. Drizzle with more Nutella and sprinkle with pistachios. Best eaten on day of making.
Taste The Sweet Life with Elise Strachan on SBS Food and On Demand.