The recipe for these beautiful Lemon and Rose Doughnuts come from Joudie Kalla’s book Palestine on a Plate – Memories from my mother’s kitchen. It is probably the most non Palestinian recipe and as Joudie mentions, doughnuts aren’t typically Palestinian but the essence of the Middle East really shine through in these doughnuts. Fragrant rose water, tangy lemon icing and dried rose buds make for a delicious and beautiful sweet treat and with Valentines Day around the corner, I thought these are perfectly fitting as an alternative to usual chocolate recipes.
Lemon and Rose Doughnuts
I came across Joudie on Instagram sometime last year and had been an ardent follower of her food since then. And when news came of her book I knew it was one that I wanted to get at some point. The book is a tribute to her family, mother and home and packed with recipes for the most delicious Palestinian food. Recipes with names like Auntie Shahla’s Sfiha (Strudel Pastry with Minced Lamb and Sumac), Feta Bil Furon (Oven-baked Feta Wrapped in Vine Leaves with Spiced Oil), M’sabaha (Warm Chunky Chickpeas with Cumin, Garlic and Yoghurt) and SabanekhWa Jibneh (Spinach and Cheese Parcels) all beg to be made and tasted.

Lemon and Rose Doughnuts

The doughnuts are deliciously moist and the best baked doughnuts I have made so far. I used oil rather than butter which delivered a chiffon cake textured doughnut. The batter was quite thick so I added a few tablespoons of milk to make it a bit thinner and then spooned the batter in the doughnut tin. You use about 3 tablespoons or so per cavity. The batter will “melt” around the doughnut ring while baking.

The recipe is perfectly suited for other flavours, omit the lemon zest and add some coffee for example or a teaspoon or so cinnamon for a spiced doughnut.

Similarly you can change the icing topping as you please. I added a few drops of pink food colouring gel to half the icing so that I had a batch of white and dark pink doughnuts. Replace the edible rose bud petals with chopped nuts, seeds like poppy seeds or any candy decoration of your choice.

(If you live in Cape Town, I found the rose buds sold as a tea at New Asian Spice supermarket in Sea Point.)


Lemon and Rose Doughnuts

Congrats to Manda Overturf and Celeste Glöss. You both receive a bottle of Baleia Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Check your mail for details. Hope you enjoy using it as much as I do.

Lemon and Rose Doughnuts


  • 320g flour
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp bicarb of soda
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 180g double cream plain yoghurt
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 115g vegetable oil (or melted butter)
  • few teaspoons milk if the batter is too thick
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Icing:
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 2tbsp rose water
  • 2tbsp lemon juice
  • Pink gel food colouring (optional)
  • Dried edible rose buds & petals


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (fan) or 200 degrees C
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl
  3. Place the wet ingredients in a bowl and whisk until just combined
  4. Mix the wet with the dry ingredients until a smooth batter
  5. (If the batter is too thick add a few tbsp of full cream milk until you have a thinner consistency)
  6. Lightly grease or spray a 6 hole doughnut tin
  7. Fill the holes with the batter to about one third full and bake for 12 minutes until lightly brown and cooked
  8. Remove from the oven, gently tip the tin over so the doughnuts fall out and bake the next batch of doughnuts
  9. Once the doughnuts have cooled down, prepare the icing
  10. Mix the the sugar with the rose water and lemon juice until a thick paste (if too thick add a splash more lemon juice)
  11. Mix in the colouring if used and dip the doughnuts into the icing
  12. Sprinkle with the rose petals while the icing is still wet so that they stick
  13. The doughnuts will keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container
  14. From Palestine on a Plate by Joudie Kalla
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