Mini Cake Donuts (vegan, gf)

So this is a first since I started this blog – over a week without a single post. :(  It’s been driving me crazy that I haven’t had the time to post this week. My plate is WAY too full (as usual) and there just hasn’t been a moment to spare. Actually, I considered posting last night, but after being on the computer ALL day, I decided to unwind a little. It’s just crazy how the days fly by – where did October go?! I think I say that on the first of every month. Meanwhile, emails are piling up, the kitchen has been a disaster zone for days, my office is in its usual disarray, I have a baby shower to throw in a few days… oh, AND I just started a 28-day detox program yesterday. Nothing like throwing fuel on the fire. (For the record, I made this recipe the day before I started the detox! One last hoorah.)

The baby shower is for my friend, Amanda (who happens to be our houseguest right now, along with her hubby). She is due in late January and will hopefully get to move into their new home in mid-December. Hopefully, “Herm” (they don’t know if it’s a him or a her, so they call the baby “Herm”) will stay put until they get all settled in. Since they don’t know the baby’s gender, I chose to do the shower theme in Tiffany Blue. I know it’s blue, but it’s TIFFANY blue – could suit a boy or a girl, right?! Well I hope so cuz there’s no turning back now. All the accessories and decorations are ready to go!

Cupcakes were all the rage for a while. I guess they still are – I mean, when does a cupcake go out of style, really? But the latest craze seems to be donuts. So I jumped on the bandwagon and decided to make donuts for the baby shower. Fortunately, I decided to do a trial run – I learned a few things that will be really helpful when I make the next batch in a few days. Keep reading for helpful tips below.

I was psyched when I found Erin McKenna’s vegan, gluten-free Plain Cake Donut recipe on The recipe is from McKenna’s second cookbook, Babycakes Covers the Classics, which is full of delicious vegan, gluten-free baked goods recipes (notice I didn’t say healthy). The recipe review (by Hannah Sullivan) sold me:  easy to make, requiring relatively little effort and time; each one was evenly cooked, with a crisp bottom crust and plush crumb. Sign me up. Turns out, Sullivan was right. They are quite easy to make and the texture and flavor are surprisingly similar to a non-vegan/gf cake donut. Hubs and Amanda were both fans.

Here’s what I learned:

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do full-size or mini donuts. I tested both sizes. Mini is the way to go. For me, they were easier to work with and well, they’re just super cute. Baby donuts for a baby shower :)

In the STEP 2 photo below (of the batter in the molds), I should have stopped there. That was probably about the right amount of batter per mold. But I had extra batter, so I filled ’em up a little more. Bad idea. The donuts had kind of a muffin top and not much of a donut hole.

I didn’t bake the full-size donuts long enough. I should have known they would require more time since my oven runs cool. But I’ve never made a baked donut before, so I wasn’t sure what ‘done’ looked like. Apparently, it looks a little browner than I thought. Even after allowing them to cool in the mold for 15 minutes, the large ones were a pain to remove from the trays (because they weren’t done – duh). I pretty much butchered them, so they didn’t make it into the glamour shots – only the minis were photo-worthy.

As you can see below, the top of the donuts have a different texture than the bottom. I found it much easier to dip the top side into the icing (the bottom side soaked it up too much).

Next time, I’ll use less food coloring in the icing to achieve a lighter, more baby shower-friendly shade of Tiffany Blue.

Do not overfill the molds with batter, or else you’ll have muffin-top donuts.




⅓ cup melted refined coconut oil or canola oil, plus more for brushing the trays
1 cup vegan sugar
¾ cup white or brown rice flour
⅓ cup garbanzo and fava bean flour (or use all brown rice flour)
½ cup potato starch
¼ cup arrowroot
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. xanthan gum
½ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. baking soda
6 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup vanilla extract (Yes, a quarter cup!)
½ cup hot water

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Brush donut trays (full-size or mini) with coconut oil and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, both flours, potato starch, arrowroot, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, and baking soda. Add the coconut oil, applesauce, vanilla, and hot water and continue mixing with a rubber spatula just to combine.

Using a melon baller or tablespoon, drop 2½ tablespoons batter into each full-size donut mold. I’m not sure what the portion is for the minis, but I think the key is to leave about ¼” of space (maybe a little less for the minis) at the top. Using a toothpick, spread the batter evenly around the molds.

Bake for 8 minutes, rotate the trays, and continue baking until the donuts are golden brown, about 7 minutes more. In the photo below, the donuts were under-baked. They should have been browner in color.

See what I mean by muffin-tops? Don’t overfill your molds!

Let cool in the molds for 5 minutes if sprinkling with toppings such as cinnamon sugar, or 15 minutes if using glaze or icing. Run a knife around the donuts in the molds, lift them out and place them on a baking sheet. Coat them with your choice of topping.

For the icing, I used the basic powdered sugar, non-dairy milk and vanilla recipe. I think I the ratio I used was about ½ cup of powdered sugar to 1 tablespoon of coconut milk to ¼ teaspoon of vanilla. To get the Tiffany Blue color, I added Wilton Icing Colors (concentrated paste) in Sky Blue and Buttercup Yellow (warning! – a little teeny bit – like the tip of a toothpick – of this paste goes a LONG way). I mixed in the blue first, then added a little yellow at a time. As I mentioned before, I was better off dipping the tops of the donuts into the icing (versus the bottoms). I had to dip each one 2 or 3 times to get a nice, even coat. Then I sprinkled right away with white dots.

I’m sure it’s been done, but how fun would a tower of donuts be in lieu of a wedding cake?!

Stay tuned, I’ll be sharing more recipes from the baby shower menu soon!


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    • says

      Thanks, Mandi ;) There’s more where those came from. Maybe I’ll take them out of the freezer and ice them so he can bring them in on Friday.

  1. says

    Sweet Breakfast at Tiffany’s…you are so spinningly talented! Thank you for the recipe and your helpful notes and all the fabulous photos! Tiffany’s should give you an honorary sterling silver spatula for these blue beauties. ;)

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