I have a particular weakness for doughnuts (perhaps originating from childhood days spent at Southport Fair) but had, until this week, never made one. I was asked to make doughnuts to help publicise the fabulous event that is the Vogue Sugar Ball, whose publicity shot is this wonderful image: How could I resist?! Practice commenced. I think it has always been the yeast and rising aspect that's put me off; I'm not very patient when it comes to waiting for things to rise. Fortunately I had enough things to get on with to fill the wait so, in this instance, I didn't mind. The first dilemma was deciding on hole size. The doughnuts need a second rising once cut into shape and this obviously affects the hole diameter! I experimented with a range of holes and found a bit bigger than you'd think before the second rise, was actually best. The tricky bit then was getting the rather sticky, soft uncooked doughnuts into the hot oil without spoiling their doughnut-y shape. Assisted by my lovely mum we started frying our offerings, one at a time, in the bubbling oil and very soon my kitchen smelt like the fairground. Once the doughnuts were out of the pan, whilst they were still hot, the glaze needed to be applied. Making the glaze demystified for me why it is so gorgeously, irresistibly wonderful; it's icing sugar stirred into melted butter with just a tad of boiled water to thin it. Butter is such a magic ingredient, making all things delicious and the buttery glaze soaking into the hot from the pan doughnuts was just too good to resist. Fortunately, in the Annexe, I have very helpful neighbours who saved me and my mum from eating all our trial run offerings ourselves. Although not all the doughnuts would have passed the looks test, they did go down well on the taste test. I decided that to make the transition from tray to pan easier next time, and to, hopefully maintain the ring, after cutting the doughnut shapes I'd put the doughnuts on individual squares of greaseproof for their second rising so they could just be tipped off the paper into the pan when their turn came. This did work much better. Second run was an improvement looks-wise. The best 20 went in the Sugarball goody bags and the spares, well, I'm afraid I did eat 3 for my lunch before handing away the rest!