Very Vanilla Chocolate Covered Donuts

and they’re gluten free and vegan!

Very Vanilla Chocolate Covered Donuts gluten free vegan

here’s the scene: It’s March of 2011, and Jason and I have been going out for less then a year. His parents came down to see us and somehow I ended up going to Harris Teeter with them, but without Jason. He’d had a long day or something.

There was a huge display of donuts right at the entrance, and his dad popped two bags into the cart. J-Pops slipped an impish grin at J-Mama, who half-shrugged and rolled her eyes. I now realize it’s the same reaction that I have when Jason orders pizza behind my back.

Since that day, almost any time J-Pops is there, donuts are there too. They’re known as PoppyDonuts, since the grandkids call him Poppy. (My niece and nephew. I don’t have kids, but I do have houseplants that have been alive for over a year.)  J-Pop’s/Poppy’s influence is spilling over onto the kids. I once found a little travel diary my niece had made, and the only entry read “DONUt eat.

J-Pop’s birthday is coming up and I decided to make him some copycat chocolate covered donuts.

Very Vanilla Chocolate Covered Donuts

I wanted them to taste awesome. I don’t want to comment on the taste of commercial donuts, because there are always some child throwback foods that you’re not going to let go of, no matter your current palate.

I will say that these are a vanilla explosion, think sugar cookies and fresh churned vanilla ice cream and cake batter pizzelles. Yeah. Like that. I really hammed up the nilla and I’m proud of it. A few weeks ago, thanks to Awesome McHockeyBaker Peabody, I won some Rodelle vanilla goodies. Among the treats was a bottle of vanilla bean paste. It’s more syrupy than paste-like, but it’s one of the most magical foodstuffs I’ve ever had the pleasure of using in baking. The house smelled like the inside of an ice cream cone. Better than the inside of an ice cream cone. Then I topped them off with a very generous layer of chocolate fudge, woo!

I meant to take them over there today, but probably won’t get over there until tomorrow. I used to think I had bad willpower when it came to food, but if these can sit around my house all day uneaten, then maybe I’m not so bad.

(okay, I had two, just to make sure they were good. and um, they are. I need to hide them from Jason or else they won’t make it through the night.)

Very Vanilla Chocolate Covered Donuts

Very Vanilla Chocolate Covered Donuts (poppy donuts)


  • 1 cup of of 1 to 1 gluten free flour mix (like bob's in the blue bag)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of Rodelle Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • topping
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 5 1/2 tbsp chocolate chips
  • sprinkles!


  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda.
  3. Combine almond milk, oil, vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract, and sugar.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones, and mix until all the lumpiness is gone.
  5. Spoon the batter into a ziplock and pipe into a donut pan. Fill the batter 1/2 way up.
  6. Bake for 7 - 8 minutes. Repeat for second batch.
  7. Mix the syrup and chocolate over a double boiler.
  8. Plop the top of the donuts into the chocolate. Top with sprinkles!
  9. Enjoy


The vanilla bean paste adds a lot of the sweetness. If you can't find it, I suggest substituting with maple syrup.

slightly adapted from seasonal cravings

Cajeta Cardamom Chocolate Donuts

cajeta cardamom donuts gluten free

Yikes. That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? So are these.

I’d been wanting a donut pan for a while, but last Friday sent me over the edge. So many people had lovely amazing donuts! I wanted them all. The moment I got off of work, I drove right over to Michaels to pick one up. My co-worker was asked me why I was rushing out the door and I was all “ahhh I gotta go buy a donut pan!”

I’d made a batch of Rick Bayless’ cajeta last week too, without any real plans for it. You don’t have to make your own cajeta for these, but it does enhance the flavor. Rick recipe calls for one cinnamon stick, but I used twice that and got great results. But if you are short on time (cajeta is no quick caramel sauce, it’s a labor of love), you can just pick up a jar at the Mexican food aisle of the grocery store or at the Mexican grocery.

cardamom cajeta donuts gluten free

If you’re not familiar with cajeta, it’s a deep, rich, very thick caramel made from goat’s milk. It’s sort of like dulce de leche, but dulce de leche is from cow’s milk. Often, dulce will be reduced even more from its caramel state to become a solid fudge.

cardamom cajeta donuts gluten free

BGE was hovering over me the hole – er, whole – time I was making these. He got mighty pouty when I told him he couldn’t have them until they were frosted and photographed. He started referring to the blog as a person. “Oh the blog is hungry! The blog’s gotta be fed! None for poor me.”

I rolled my eyes and told him he could have all of them as soon as I took the pictures. Then I made him a chicken sandwich and he did a little dance in the living room.


Cajeta Cardamom Chocolate Donuts


    for the donuts:
  • 1 cup of gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup unsweet almond milk
  • 2 1/2 tbsp homemade or store bought cajeta (warmed till a just-pourable consistency BEFORE measuring)
  • for the topping
  • 1/4 cup cajeta
  • chopped nuts ( I used pistachios to mimic the green of a cardamom pod)
  • 4 oz of dark chocolate
  • -OR-
  • 2 oz of dark chocolate plus 2 oz of Mexican chocolate (the chocolate pucks with the granny on them) plus 1 tsp coconut oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 425
  2. Combine flour, cardamom, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Sift together.
  3. In a food processor, combine the cajeta, the almond milk, extract, and banana. You may have to scrape the cajeta down a little bit if it's sticking to the sides.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, mix well.
  5. Scoop the batter into a pastry bag and pipe into a greased donut pan. Fill about 3/4 of the way up.
  6. Bake for 10-12 min.
  7. Turn out the donuts out of the pan and let them cool.
  8. While the donuts are cooling, work on the topping.
  9. For the cajeta topping, place the uncovered jar of cajeta in a water bath over medium heat. Spread the cajeta on the donuts or pour it into a shallow dish so you can dip them. Chop up a little more chocolate and sprinkle it onto the cajeta topping, along with some nuts.
  10. For the chocolate topping, melt all the chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler. Then dip your donuts in, sprinkle on more nuts, and you're done!

adapted from Sarah Bakes Gluten Free Treats