Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Donuts

Breakfast and BrunchBakingGluten-Free

Gather your friends for breakfast and make these tender, sprinkle-topped chocolate cake donuts! They're vegan and gluten-free, so everyone can enjoy them. And did we mention chocolate?

Photography Credit: Megan Gordon

We have a great vegan donut shop here in Seattle called Mighty O, and when out of town guests come to visit, my husband and I like to bring them in to check it out. Sometimes it can take a little arm-twisting (no, really, I swear they’re good!), and I get it: I’ve had my fair share of ho-hum vegan baked goods.

But these donuts are truly exceptional because they taste like a traditional donut you ate while growing up as a kid. The texture is spot on—super tender and light.

So, I figured it was time to try my hand at making them at home. I went one step further and made my version gluten-free, so everyone could enjoy them.

USE A DONUT PAN TO MAKE HOMEMADE DONUTS

These are baked donuts (as opposed to fried) and while I generally try not to write recipes that require special equipment, you do need a donut pan to pull these off. That said, donut pans are relatively inexpensive and are widely stocked at kitchen supply stores and online outlets—I used Wilton’s Donut Pan for this recipe.

Once you’ve got your donut pan, you’re well on your way to tender, fragrant chocolaty morning donuts!

Vegan Gluten-Free Doughnut Recipe glaze the donuts

HOW TO MAKE VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE DONUTS

A few things to know before making this recipe:

I use coconut oil for this recipe because I love its sweet, natural fragrance and think it pairs really well with chocolate. That said, you can use any oil you’d like.

Do be sure that your coconut oil is completely melted but not hot. After you warm the oil and it becomes liquid, let it sit at room temperature to cool for a good ten minutes. This ensures that once you add it to the other liquid ingredients, the mixture will remain smooth.

Use any non-dairy milk that you like and warm it up before mixing into the batter. I like soy or oat milk for this recipe. If you use it straight from the refrigerator while it’s cold, there’s a chance that your coconut oil will seize due to the temperature difference between the two liquids. It’s best if the milk and the oil are the same temperature.

If you’ve never baked gluten-free before, I highly recommend using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour Blend for this recipe. If you’re using a different blend, double check the ingredients. If it doesn’t contain xanthan gum (or another binding ingredient like guar gum or psyllium husks), I recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum to ensure success.

This batter is quite thick and sticky, so you’ll need to spoon the dough into the donut molds and then press it in each mold with your fingertips. Do your best to smooth out the tops — they’ll ultimately be the bottom of the donut so if they’re a little ugly it’s not the end of the world.

Vegan Gluten-Free Donut Recipe

BEST EATEN SAME DAY

These donuts are really best eaten the day they’re made, so invite a few friends over this weekend, and settle in for a cozy breakfast together. The donuts have a mild cocoa flavor and a lovely, light texture, and the glaze packs a rich, chocolaty punch. If you are seeking a slightly indulgent morning or brunch treat, look no further.

MORE GREAT GLUTEN-FREE TREATS!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Donuts Recipe

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  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Cooling time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 10 donuts

If you've never baked gluten-free before, we highly recommend using Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour Blend for this recipe. If you're using a different blend, double check the ingredients. If it doesn’t contain xanthan gum (or another binding ingredient like guar gum or psyllium husks), we recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum to ensure success.

Note that the FDA does list coconut as a tree nut, though many people with tree nut allergies are fine with coconut. If you're not sure if the person or people eating your cookies has a tree nut allergy that includes coconut, check with them before making this recipe, or substitute another fat in place of the coconut oil (we recommend butter if there are no dairy allergies, or vegan EarthBalance if there are).

Ingredients

For the donuts:

  • 1 tablespoon flax meal
  • 1 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (215g) gluten free flour blend, such as Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour Blend
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (30g) unsweetened dairy-free cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and liquid, but slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm non-dairy milk, such as soy milk or oat milk

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup (115g) powdered sugar (make sure it's gluten-free)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened dairy-free cocoa powder
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons non-dairy milk, such as soy milk or oat milk
  • Rainbow sprinkles, to top

Special equipment:

Method

1 Prepare the flax "egg": Combine the flax meal with 2 1/2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Let stand for 7 to 10 minutes to thicken. (This will be used as an egg replacer in this recipe.)

2 Preheat the oven and prepare pans: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly spray two full-sized donut baking pans with nonstick cooking spray, and set it aside.

3 Mix dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt until smooth.

4 Mix wet ingredients: In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the oil, flax egg, vanilla, vinegar, and non-dairy milk until smooth.

5 Combine dry and wet ingredients: Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir to combine, making sure all the dry bits are incorporated.

6 Fill the donut pan: Use a kitchen spoon to scoop the dough into the wells of the donut pan, stopping when each is almost full (these donuts don’t rise a ton, so I fill the indents almost to the top). The dough will be thick and sticky, so use your fingers or the back of a spoon to gently press it into the indentation.

Vegan Gluten-Free Doughnut Recipe

7 Bake: Bake donuts for 9 to 10 minutes, or until they spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

8 Cool: Allow donuts to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Donut Recipe remove from pan and cool

9 Make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Be sure there aren’t any clumps, and if there are, sift the ingredients so your glaze will be smooth.

Add 2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk and whisk well. You’re looking for a smooth, pourable glaze. If your glaze is too thick, add additional non-dairy milk one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

10 Glaze the donuts: Cut a piece of parchment paper the same size (or slightly larger) as your wire cooling rack and place under your cooling rack to catch drips. Dip one side of each doughnut in the glaze and place glaze-side up on the cooling rack. Allow any excess to drip off.

Vegan Gluten-Free Doughnut Recipe glaze the donuts

11 Sprinkle and serve: While the glaze is still wet, sprinkle the tops of each donut with colorful sprinkles. Let the donuts set at room temperature for at least 25 minutes to allow the glaze to firm up. Serve immediately, or cover leftovers and store at room temperature for up to 1 day.

Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Doughnut Recipe top with sprinkles

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Megan Gordon

Megan Gordon is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Simply Recipes. She's the author of Whole Grain Mornings and her blog, A Sweet Spoonful, focuses on healthy seasonal cooking and baking.

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2 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Lisa

    We love Mighty O! We go every time we’re in Seattle. And they are the best vegan “cake” donuts EVER! Now, if you want an amazing vegan “fried” donut, come to Las Vegas and try Ronald’s!

Vegan Gluten-Free Donut RecipeGluten-Free Chocolate Cake Donuts