Did you know there’s been a donut pan saga in our home?
I’ve been contemplating making baked donuts for the blog since the very beginning, but I always had a hard time justifying a donut pan when my recipes require just standard, minimal equipment. I don’t even own a stand mixer! Yes, I take this minimalist stuff seriously.
Fast forward nearly 5 years and practically everyone has a donut pan – except me. I’ve watched as other bloggers put out the most fabulous-looking baked donut recipes, and all the while, I – a longtime donut lover – have sat idly by, thinking they weren’t for me.
Enough! I recently realized that it would be worth it if I put it to good use. Besides, what if I created a donut that was not only simple to make, but also undetectably vegan and gluten-free? Clearly, I bought the donut pan and haven’t looked back since. Friends, let’s make DONUTS (finally)!
This recipe is simple, requiring basic ingredients and 30 minutes to prepare! And they’re naturally sweetened and (vegan) butter-free!
The base is adapted from my 1- Bowl Vegan GF Chocolate Hazelnut Cake (hubba), only in place of the flax egg, I tested out aquafaba! No surprise – it totally worked. However, I also included some workarounds in the notes if you don’t have (or are afraid of) aquafaba.
While your donuts bake, why not make an optional (but highly recommended) naturally-sweetened coconut oil glaze? That’s what I said! Doooo it! Doooo it!
I hope you all LOVE these donuts! They’re:
Quick to make
& Undetectably Vegan + GF
These donuts would make the perfect lazy weekend breakfast treat or healthier dessert! The optional glaze kind of seals the deal, in my opinion. Plus, it allows for fun toppings like cacao nibs, coconut flakes, and sprinkles!
If you try this recipe, let us know how it goes by leaving a comment, rating it, and tagging a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) aquafaba* (the liquid in a can of chickpeas)
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) unsweetened plain almond milk (warmed in the microwave or on stovetop)
- 1/4 cup (60 g) melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup (63 g) organic cane sugar or coconut sugar (donuts are fluffier with cane sugar)
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup or agave nectar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/3 cup (80 g) unsweetened applesauce (or other hearty fruit puree, such as beets)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp (70 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (if clumpy, sift)
- 3/4 cup (140 g) almond flour*
- 1 cup + 2 Tbsp (180 g) gluten-free flour blend*
- 3 Tbsp (45 g) coconut oil, melted
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup
- 5 Tbsp (28 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (if clumpy, sift)
- Pinch sea salt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and lightly grease two donut pans*.
- To a small mixing bowl, add aquafaba and use a mixer (or whisk) to vigorously blend until soft peaks form - about 1-2 minutes. Set aside. (If yours doesn’t quite whip up into soft peaks, it’s OK. Just get them as fluffy as possible! A sprinkle of cream of tartar helps them firm up.)
- Warm almond milk in the microwave. This way, it doesn’t harden the coconut oil. Set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the melted coconut oil. Then add the coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and sea salt and whisk vigorously to combine - about 45 seconds. Then add applesauce and warmed almond milk and whisk once more to combine.
- Add baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder (sifted if clumpy), almond flour, and gluten-free flour and whisk to combine.
- Lastly, add the whipped aquafaba and gently stir/whisk in, trying to be as gentle as possible. If the batter appears too thin at this point, add 1 Tbsp each almond flour or gluten-free flour at a time until it thickens up. It should be semi-thick and more scoopable than pourable.
- Divide batter evenly between donut tins, filling all the way full. There should be 11-12 donuts.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top appears dry and fluffy. Time will vary if you sub ingredients.
- In the meantime, make glaze (optional). To a small mixing bowl, add melted coconut oil, maple syrup, sifted cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. You should have a slightly thick glaze. If too thick, thin with a little maple syrup or more coconut oil. If too thin, add cocoa powder.
- Taste and adjust sweetness if needed by adding more maple syrup. Set aside. Prepare any other toppings, such as coconut flakes, cacao nibs, or sprinkles, at this time.
- Remove donuts from oven and let cool for 1-2 minutes. Then grab the tins with a towel and tap on the counter 2 times to loosen. Then gently invert onto a cooling rack. Let cool for 5 minutes (the longer they cool, the more they'll firm up).
- Dip in glaze. Then top with desired toppings, such as sprinkles, coconut flakes, or cacao nibs!
- Best when fresh. Store cooled leftovers covered at room temperature up to 3 days or in the freezer up to 1 month (best if stored unglazed).
*I've been preferring almond flour over almond meal because it yields a lighter, fluffier (less dense) baked good. But you can try subbing almond meal. Or, if you have a nut allergy, try subbing a 1/2 +1/2 mix of GF flour and oat flour.
*If not gluten-free, sub the GF blend for all-purpose flour. I haven't tested it this way and can't guarantee the results.
*If you don't have donut pans, you can try baking these in a standard muffin tin! Fill slightly more than 1/2 full and bake for about the same amount of time or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
*Recipe adapted from my Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 12 donuts without the glaze.