|Baked donuts, Take 3: Recreating Erin McKenna's gluten-free, vegan cake donuts|
I have never made donuts and had never tasted a baked one for that matter. So this was brand new territory for me and I didn't know what to expect. I tried four recipes in my search for something that was not only tasty but reminiscent of the taste of a true donut without the milk, eggs, and loads of extra oil and fat. Then I made a fifth batch of donuts that was a hybrid of the others. Somehow I am able to still fit into my pants...
The Lindsay Nixon's recipe appealed to me because there was chocolate involved. Plus, it called for whole wheat flour (which I had) and proclaimed itself low fat. As my husband would tell you, it definitely had that "healthy" taste to it. It was dense but not very chocolaty or rich. These were our least favorites.
The second recipe from Ryan's Baking Blog substituted ground flaxseed and water for egg. I liked the hint of nutmeg and was a big fan of the refreshing tang of the lemon icing. Instead of using all-purpose flour I used a mix of all-purpose flour and white whole wheat flour. The texture wasn't quite for me (might have been the white whole wheat flour) as it was a little too dense.
The third recipe, featured on Bon Appetit's blog in April 2011, was for plain cake donuts. The recipe comes from Erin McKenna, who founded the trailblazing gluten-free, wheat-free, vegan bakery Babycakes NYC. The cake donut is one of many in her cookbook Babycakes Covers the Classics. With Babycakes good name and the gluten-free/wheat-free option, I was excited to try the recipe. But I was skeptical as to whether there was a misprint in the ingredients list. "1/4 cup of vanilla extract." Holy cow. I've never used that much vanilla extract in one sitting! The whole time I was making and baking these, I kept second-guessing myself about adding so much vanilla.
GAW friends, I'm happy to report that the donuts came out delicious! Having so much vanilla actually helped the donuts come out a little crispy on the outside while the inside was nice and fluffy. These donuts tasted even better after spending some time in the refrigerator overnight. The next day I let the container of donuts come to room temperature before serving. The only change I will make for next time is to shorten the overall baking time, fill my pans a little more, and try adding 1/4 teaspoon each of little nutmeg and cinnamon in the batter. I think the nutmeg taste, in particular, definitely conjures up real fried donuts.
I was pretty happy with the Babycakes donut recipe but decided to press on and try another. I utilized Cybele Pascal's recipe for gluten-free vegan baked donuts for my fourth and fifth test batches of donuts. Cybele Pascal is a beacon of light in the food allergy world. She bakes up recipes that are free of the top 8 food allergens. I have been told by two moms of kids with multiple food allergies that Pascal's The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook is a must-have.
|Pascal's GF vegan donuts in the making|
|Pascal's GF vegan donuts -- this batch with coconut oil in place of shortening.|
Below are the recipes for my favorite combination -- Erin McKenna's donuts and Ryan's lemony icing. I was able to get by with only a half-batch of the icing so you may want to start with that amount. Please remember to check if your sugars are vegan if you want a truly animal-free donut. In also included pictures from all the donut trials. Icing and decorating the donuts are fun steps to get your little bakers involved. I've hyperlinked the recipes I tried out. Let me know which one was your family's favorite!
Plain Cake Donut
Makes 1 dozen donuts
Adapted from Babycakes founder Erin McKenna's recipe that appeared in Bon Appetit's April 2011 edition and in her cookbook Babycakes Covers the Classics.
1 cup vegan sugar
3/4 cup white or brown rice flour
1/3 cup garbanzo and fava bean flour, or more brown rice flour (I opted for more brown rice flour)
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup arrowroot
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup melted refined coconut oil or canola oil, plus extra for greasing the baking pans
6 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Brush 2 six-mold donut trays with oil and set aside.
- Mix together dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
- Create a well in the dry mixture and add in oil, applesauce, vanilla, and hot water. Mix dry and wet ingredients together until just combined. Be careful not to overmix or it will toughen the batter.
- Add batter to donut pans so that each cavity is 3/4 full.
- Bake for 6 minutes. Then rotate and bake an additional 6 minutes or until donuts have begun to turn golden brown.
- Cool in pans for a couple minutes. Then transfer to wire rack for complete cooling. Finish with icing and sprinkles or another preferred topping such as cinnamon sugar.
From Ryan's Baking Blog's donut recipe
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 generous cup of powdered sugar
- In a small bowl, mix together lemon juice and sugar until sugar has completely dissolved and icing appears smooth. Add more powdered sugar if the icing is too runny. Add more lemon juice to thin out the mix.
- Dip one side of the donut into icing. Hold donut, face-down, over the icing bowl to allow excess icing to drip off the donut.
- Turn donut over and sprinkle rainbow jimmies, colored sugar crystals, nonpareils, or other safe candy decorations onto the icing. Then carefully place finished donut onto large plate to allow icing to set.
- Store cooled leftover donuts in refrigerator. Before serving, let them warm back up to room temperature.
|Donuts made from the recipe at Ryan's Baking Blog|
|We loved the simple lemony icing.|
|Low fat chocolate donuts was our first test. It wouldn't be our last!|
|Icing was everyone's favorite part of the donut-making process.|