These generous doughnuts look (and taste) divine. If you prefer, dispense with the icing and simply roll them in cinnamon and caster sugar before tucking in. If you can, make the bumblebees a day in advance so they have time to set.
Hands-on time: 45 minutes, plus rising and 1 hour for the bees
Frying time: about 15 minutes
Skill level: Needs skill
For the dough:
550g strong white bread flour
70g caster sugar
finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
2 tsp salt
14g fast-action dried yeast
150ml hand-hot water
125g unsalted butter, softened
1 litre sunflower oil, for frying
For the bees:
60ml liquid pasteurised egg white
250g icing sugar
yellow and black food-colouring gels or pastes
For the honeycomb:
4 tbsp glucose syrup
yellow food-colouring gel or paste
For the lemon glaze:
6 tbsp lemon juice
300g icing sugar
edible gold leaf
gold lustre, optional
You will also need:
3 baking trays lined with baking paper
3 small disposable piping bags
Sheet of baking paper
9cm and 4cm round cutters
Step 1 – Make the bees. Put the egg white and icing sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater and beat together for about 5 minutes, until smooth and stiff enough to pipe. Colour two thirds of the icing yellow, separate out 1 tablespoon of the remaining icing to leave white, and colour the remainder black. Cover the white and black icings tightly with cling film.
Step 2 – Place the yellow icing in a small disposable piping bag and snip the end. Pipe 12–18 teardrop shapes on a tray lined with baking paper. Allow to set for 1 hour.
Step 3 – Once the yellow teardrops have set, place the black icing in another small piping bag. Snip the end and pipe an eye and 3 stripes on each yellow teardrop to make a bee. Cover the remaining black icing tightly and set aside. Place the white icing in the remaining small piping bag and pipe 2 tiny wings on the tops of the bees. Leave the bees to set for at least 2 hours, or overnight if possible.
Step 4 – Make the dough. Place the flour, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the water and mix on a slow speed for 5–8 minutes, until smooth.
Step 5 – Add the softened butter. Mix for a further 2 minutes to incorporate the butter and you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. Cover the bowl and leave to rise for about 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Step 6 – Meanwhile, make the honeycomb. Heat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/325°F/Gas 5. Squeeze 12 small blobs of glucose (each about half to 1 teaspoon in size) onto a sheet of baking paper and, using a cocktail stick, swirl each with a little yellow food colouring. Bake for 1 hour, then leave to cool.
Step 7 – When the dough is ready, tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly. Roll out to about 2.5cm thick and use the 9cm cutter to stamp out 9 circles. Use the 4cm cutter to cut out the centre of each circle, and re-roll and cut all the trimmings until you have 12 doughnuts in total.
Step 8 – Place the doughnuts on the remaining lined baking trays and cover with oiled cling film. Leave to prove for about 20–30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Step 9 – Heat the oil in the deep-fat fryer to 180°C. Deep fry 2 or 3 doughnuts at a time for about 45 seconds on each side, until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and leave to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Step 10 – Make the lemon glaze. Mix both the ingredients in a bowl until combined, then cover with cling film and set aside until you’re ready to decorate the doughnuts.
Step 11 – When the doughnuts have cooled, dip each into the glaze to coat, or spoon the glaze over the tops of the doughnuts if you prefer (it’s less messy!). Carefully transfer the bees onto the doughnuts. Pipe “bzzz…” with reserved black icing, then finish with a piece of honeycomb, a little gold leaf, and a spray of gold lustre, if using. Eat the same day.