Are you looking for a chocolate donut recipe that’s gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan? Try these gluten-free chocolate cake donuts that are super chocolatey, light, and fluffy!
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I feel like there are two types of people in the word: chocolate donut people and everyone else. Chocolate donuts are my husband’s absolute favorite thing in the world, which is why I’m sharing this recipe with you today.
I’ve written about my vanilla cake donuts, but now I want to let you in on the donut recipe that actually gets made the most in our house: gluten-free chocolate cake donuts.
Even though I love chocolate, chocolate cake and chocolate donuts aren’t always my first choice. But who am I to say no when someone in my house asks for them?
These gluten-free chocolate cake muffins are:
- Super chocolatey
If you love chocolate and you love donuts, this post is for you. I like to make these for special occasions, like birthdays and holidays. But you can make them for a special weekend treat or for a friend if you want to make their day a little brighter.
I’m going to share my gluten-free chocolate cake donuts with you, but first, let’s go over some of the basics of gluten-free donuts.
How do you make donuts gluten-free?
To make donuts gluten-free, you’ll want to use a gluten-free flour or gluten-free flour blend. The gluten-free flour that you use may change how this cake comes out.
Choose one that is a blend with xanthan gum included, or if you make your own gluten-free flour blend at home that includes xanthan gum. This ingredient is vital for the binding nature of your cake, so that it’s not too crumbly.
I like to use my standby King Arthur Measure for Measure flour blend in most of my baking, and I used it for this recipe too.
What do you make your gluten-free donuts in?
I use a 6-cavity donut pan to bake my gluten-free donuts in. I choose to bake these donuts rather than fry them, because 1) I don’t like to deep fry anything (too messy), and 2) it’s easier and faster.
You can find donut pans for baking in both 6 and 12-cavity options in many big box stores or craft stores. You can also find them online through Amazon or other baking websites.
Do I have to use a donut pan?
You don’t have to use a donut pan to enjoy these gluten-free chocolate donuts. Crazy, right? Try one of these ideas if you don’t have a donut pan on hand, but still want to make this recipe.
Create a donut pan with things you already have. Use a muffin tin and some foil to poke your finger to form the foil around it then place it in the center of a muffin cup in your tin, leaving the elevated part in the center. When you pour the batter in, it will fill in around the center, leaving a donut hole.
Bake the gluten-free donut batter in a mini muffin pan. Instead of forming them into donuts, you’ll have mini muffins that taste just like donuts. They will taste the same, but have a different shape than donuts.
Use cookie cutters. Roll the donut batter out to about half an inch thick (you might need to flour the surface and your rolling pin or hands), then use cookie cutters to cut them into circles, and another smaller circle cutter to cut out the center. You can then have donuts and donut holes if you bake both of them on a baking sheet.
Are these gluten-free chocolate cake donuts dairy-free?
These gluten-free chocolate cake donuts are dairy-free, because they don’t include any milk or other dairy products. I’ve swapped almond milk for milk in my recipe. I’ve also used dairy-free milk in the chocolate glaze, making it safe for a dairy-free diet.
Are these gluten-free chocolate cake donuts vegan?
These gluten-free chocolate cake donuts are vegan, because they contain no dairy products or eggs. I don’t eat eggs in my diet, as well as being dairy-free, so I’ve opted to create this recipe without both. These donuts are still light, fluffy, and delicious without the eggs or dairy!
Do these gluten-free chocolate cake donuts freeze well?
I have had success freezing these gluten-free donuts when they last long enough in my house to make it to the freezer – which isn’t often! These freeze better without the glaze added to the top before freezing. You can freeze them after they have defrosted for best results.
I like to wrap these donuts in plastic wrap, then place them in a plastic freezer storage bag. When it’s time to eat one, I take it out of the freezer bag and plastic wrap, and microwave it for about 30 seconds.
What should I decorate my donuts with?
These donuts can be made for any occasion and while I love to enjoy them when they’re simple with the chocolate glaze, they’re also great for decorating with sprinkles and colored sugar. You can also make a vanilla glaze if that’s more your style.
These are great for just about any holiday and you can get creative with the color of sprinkles you use. Try some of these fun and festive ideas!
- Red and green sprinkles or sugar for Christmas
- Red, orange, or yellow sprinkles or leaves for a gluten-free Thanksgiving option
- Red and blue for the 4th of July
- Sprinkles in your favorite color for your birthday
- Black and orange sprinkles for Halloween
How to make gluten-free chocolate cake donuts
Now that we have all the basics covered about these gluten-free donuts, let’s talk about how to actually make them.
Prepare the oven and donut pan
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare the donut pan by spraying it with cooking spray.
Mix together the dry ingredients
In a large bowl, add gluten-free flour blend, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together.
Mix in the wet ingredients
Next, add the vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar, dairy-free milk, and vegetable oil. Whisk together until smooth.
Transfer the donut batter to the donut pan
Spoon or pipe the donut mixture into the donut pan, being careful not to overfill them. The mixture should only reach the top of the pan. If you have extra batter, you can fill up a few silicone baking cups for a couple mini cakes to bake alongside the donuts.
Bake the gluten-free donuts
Place the donut pan in the oven and bake for 10 to 13 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.
Cool the donuts completely
After the donuts have cooled about a minute, transfer them to cool completely on a wire rack. This may take about an hour.
Make the glaze
To prepare your glaze, add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, dairy-free milk, and vanilla to a bowl and whisk together. If the frosting is too thick, add one more tablespoon of dairy-free milk until it’s the consistency you like.
Dip in the glaze
After the donuts have cooled, dip them in the frosting and transfer to a wire rack. I like to put a towel or piece of parchment paper under the rack to make for easier cleanup later.
Decorate and enjoy
Enjoy your donuts plain or decorate them with sprinkles, shredded or flaked coconut, or colored sugar.
For the Donuts
- 1 cup gluten-free flour blend
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened dairy-free milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
For the Chocolate Glaze
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 ½ tbsp unsweetened dairy-free milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, add gluten-free flour blend, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together.
- Next, add the vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar, dairy-free milk, and vegetable oil. Whisk together until smooth.
- Prepare a 6-cavity donut pan by spraying it with cooking spray.
- Spoon the donut mixture into the donut pan, being careful not to overfill them. The mixture should only reach the top of the pan. If you have extra batter, you can fill up a few silicone baking cups for a couple mini chocolate cakes to bake alongside the donuts.
- Place the donut pan in the oven and bake for 10 to 13 minutes. You'll know they're done when a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.
- After the donuts have cooled about a minute, transfer them to cool completely on a wire rack. This may take about an hour.
- To prepare your frosting, add powdered sugar and cocoa powder to a bowl and whisk together.
- Add the dairy-free milk and vanilla and whisk together until smooth. If the frosting is too thick, add one more tablespoon of dairy-free milk until it's the consistency you like.
- After the donuts have cooled, dip them in the chocolate frosting and transfer to a wire rack. I like to put a towel or piece of parchment paper under the rack to make for easier cleanup later.
- Enjoy your donuts plain or decorate them with sprinkles, shredded or flaked coconut, or colored sugar.
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I hope you love these gluten-free chocolate cake donuts as much as my family does! Make them for your next get together, birthday, or as a thank you gift for a friend.