From Chef To Chef’s

Cardamom And Orange Infused Quarkbällchen / Doughnuts

The last couple of weeks I’ve had my head down (mostly) and have been trying to get a lot of paperwork and organization done. The big “T” has been looming in our house and I have been procrastinating on this for as long as I possibly can. 

The big “T” word? That would be the tax return paperwork! It’s the kind of job I dislike doing and although it really is a no brainer – just listing and sorting the paperwork I always seem to find something more urgent, creative, and interesting to do.

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Doughnut or Donut?

The official dictionary spelling of the word is doughnut with donut generally being listed as a variant of the preferred original spelling.

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Add to this more paperwork in the form of invoicing, working on a script for a new concept with a client, and help on 9th Grade assignments I was feeling kind of low. Although I have had my camera in my hands a few times it was mostly for quick test shoots to test a background or an idea. My day job at the university was also sucking the last bit from me and I was missing the creativity

I covet a few continuous hours where I can simply cook and photograph a few recipes for the blog! I admire those people who find the time and the focus to experiment and work on their creativity. Although my ideas are oozing, I am not finding the time to really realize them at the moment.

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Dunkin’ Donuts was founded in 1950, and that is precisely when the use of donut first started to pick up steam. Ten years later in 1960 it went up like a rocket.

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A forced break – often a must to review and to get a better overview, took me into the kitchen in search of something to cook and experiment. The look on my face must have alerted my husband as he warned that paperwork for the tax return really needed priority. I do not remember what I barked but obviously I bit hard as he retreated to tend to the wound. I had no time to be sorry or to tend to my guilty conscious my mind was set and I really needed to satisfy a deep inner craving.

My deep fat frying cravings are – well hidden fairly deeply! I hardly ever deep fat fry – usually turn to baking the items or simply not going there at all. It would be like waking up the sleeping giant. But every now and then I will buy an extra bottle of oil for the sole purpose of making pakoras, churros or … doughnuts.

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Preferred Spelling?

Although both spellings are acceptable, many style guides prefer the traditional doughnut, a preference that is also supported by popular usage. Garner’s Modern American Usage list doughnut as the preferred spelling. It states that donut or worse yet do-nut “should be reserved for eatery names and advertising,” not the world of publishing.

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So as last week seemed longer than usual and I needed something to nibble on and I wanted to work on bringing my creative photography mojo back to the surface after being buried under all the paperwork for days! The kitchen, my favorite spice, a jar of tangy quark, flour … the deep fat fryer and me! What happened was sublime in more ways than one.

Quarkbällchen are a popular treat in Germany and are often sold at markets and bakeries. What makes them quintessentially different, and much tastier than its American counterpart the doughnut, is that it makes use of quark (find my homemade recipe for quark), which is a silky yogurt-like fresh cheese widely available in Germany. The quark adds extra moisture, giving the treats a milky flavor and a lighter smoother texture. Literally translated Quarkbällchen means “little quark balls” and although small do not be mislead – they are dangerous and one will never be enough. In my version I infused the batter with a good pinch of cardamom and orange zest to give it a warm, zesty flavor. Both work amazingly with the tangy quark.

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Prep Time:
Total Time:
Makes roughly 20 doughnuts


  • 250g flour
  • 125g sugar
  • 250g quark
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • zest of 1 organic orange
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • extra sugar to coat the doughnuts
  • 500g neutral flavored oil to deep fat fry


  1. Using your fingers rub together the orange zest and sugar to really get the flavors out. In a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together flour, sugar and orange zest, quark, baking powder, salt and cardamom powder into a thick and sticky dough.
  2. Pour the oil in a pot and bring it up to approx. 170 C (see note below). Alternatively, use a deep fat fryer.
  3. Using an ice-cream scoop, scoop out balls of dough and roll them quickly in the palm of your hands. Carefully drop into the oil – one by one. Make sure never to overfill the pot with your doughnuts, otherwise the temperature of the oil will drop and the dough will soak up too much fat.
  4. Fry the doughnuts for 3 to 5 minutes turning them around with a slotted spoon to ensure they are evenly colored on all sides.
  5. Spread out some paper towels on a plate. Put the extra sugar into a plate. Take the doughnuts our of the hot oil and allow to drip on the paper towels. While the doughuts are still hot, place them on the plate with extra sugar and coat them well.
  6. Serve while still warm!


  • To test for the perfect temperature – immerse a wooden skewer into the oil and if bubbles start forming around it – the oil has reached the right temperature to fry.
  • To ensure crispy and not soggy doughnuts it is vital to keep the temperature of the oil at a constant level – 170 C is perfect
  • As always with dealing with hot oil – be careful not to splash and keep a good distance from the pot when dropping in the doughnuts


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These are fluffy, soft and light, these sweet sugared pillowy balls of dough will melt in your mouth. You will notice after your first bite that they are moister and tangier than the American style donuts. That is the first realization and as you continue you will taste the tangy quark, infused with my favorite cardamom and that wonderful not of orange to perk up the flavors. It was the much needed break to get me back in front of my desk, of course with a few of these and a cup of steaming green chai!

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You might like these special sweet treats from What’s for lunch, Honey?:

All photographs and written content on What’s For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2017 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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