Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Donuts

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Donuts

Rich gluten free chocolate cake donuts with a thick glaze will satisfy your donut cravings, and they’re ready in minutes. Make any day into a celebration, easily.

image of one chocolate glazed donut with a bite taken

Why you need a great gluten free donut recipe

I started baking gluten free donuts when my gluten free son was in grammar school. They constantly bring Dunkin Donuts into school to celebrate absolutely anything (or nothing). I wanted him to have something just like what everyone else was eating.

If you have a kid with dietary restrictions, you do not enjoy the celebration days. Especially when my son was little, and I just didn’t trust anyone to make sure he wasn’t mindlessly eating something that wasn’t safe for him.

stack of gluten free chocolate cake donuts in a stack

…even if you don’t really eat donuts

But even if you’re the one who is gluten free, and you’re long past grammar school birthday parties, you still need a gluten free donut recipe. Even if you never really liked donuts before you went gluten free, you will have that day when you realize you “can’t” have one.

I believe that just knowing you can make a great gluten free donut has power. That’s true whether you even make the donuts or not. Ever.


two images, one of cake donut batter in the pan and one of baked donuts

Baking donuts in a donut pan

I baked these in the oven in a simple nonstick Wilton donut pan. Be sure the donut pan you use has a tall enough center.

If your donut pan has a super short center column (button?), the batter may rise over it and close it up. And what’s a donut without a hole?

They bake in just a few minutes in the oven. You can also make them as miniature donuts that way, too. If you’re trying to mimic Dunkin Donuts, though, go with the full-sized donuts.

removing gluten free chocolate cake donuts from a donut maker

Baking donuts in a donut maker

If you happen to own one of the mini electric donut makers, I highly recommend baking these donuts in it. Just heat the machine, and pipe the batter into the wells, filling the lower half of the wells completely.

Close the machine, and let them bake. They’ll be ready in about 3 minutes, but you’ll know it’s time to remove the donuts when they start to smell amazing.

You can’t really beat those little machines for quick and easy. I have the Babycakes Donut Makers you see in the how-to video here, but there are also a bunch of companies that make a version of them. I’m sure they all work similarly.

gluten free chocolate cake donut batter

I’m not proud of it, but I’ve impulse-bought more than one of the Dash brand miniature electric baking appliances. There may or may not be a single-waffle maker in my kitchen (there is ?).

If you can bake something miniature, and better yet without turning on the oven, I can’t help myself. They’re adorable, and neater and easier and the whole kitchen is nice and cool.

just glazed and decorated chocolate cake donuts from a donut pan

Ingredients and substitutions


There is dairy in two forms in these donuts: butter, and cream. Each can be replaced without much effect on the recipe.

The butter in the donuts can be replaced with Melt or Miyoko’s Kitchen brand vegan butter. Earth Balance buttery sticks, which are not usually my favorite butter replacement, should work here, too.

In place of the cream, try canned coconut milk. Don’t try using just coconut cream, though, which is too thick and doesn’t have enough moisture. Shake up that can first.


The combination of oil and cocoa powder is what makes these donuts rich and chocolatey. The butter gives them richness. It’s the combination of all 3 ingredients that makes rich donuts without melted chocolate in the batter.

You can use any neutral oil you like. Grapeseed, canola, vegetable, or peanut oil will all work just fine.


There are two eggs in this recipe. You should be able to replace them both with one “chia egg” each.

To make one chia egg, combine 1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel. I wouldn’t recommend trying simpler replacements, like applesauce.


According to Signature Brands, Cake Mate and Betty Crocker brand sprinkles and nonpareils are gluten free (at least in the U.S.). I figure if I’m going to give my kids a sugar rush before school, I’m going all the way, but of course the decorative touches are optional.

This recipe is from my second cookbook, Gluten Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy. under the name “Yeast Free Chocolate Doughnuts.” There are at least eight other recipes for gluten free donuts here on the blog. Some are yeast-raised, others are not. They’re all amazing!


image of three chocolate cake donuts on a plate

image of 3 chocolate cake donuts: batter, glazed on tray, and in a stack

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 15 mini doughnuts


For the donuts
1 1/2 cups (210g) all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Better Batter)

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

6 tablespoons (30 g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2/3 cup (145g) packed light brown sugar

4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

4 tablespoons (55 g) canola oil (or other neutral oil)

2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (14 tablespoons) heavy cream, at room temperature

For the glaze
1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon (5 g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder

2 to 4 teaspoons milk (any kind)

Gluten free sprinkles, for decorating (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 350° F. Grease a miniature donut pan or muffin tin and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour,  xanthan gum, 6 tablespoons cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, nutmeg, and brown sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, oil, eggs, vanilla, and cream, mixing to combine after each addition until combined. The batter will be thick.

  • Fill the wells of the donut pan or muffin tin about 2/3 of the way full. For perfectly even donuts, transfer the batter to a large piping bag with an open tip, and pipe the batter into each well. Place in the center of the oven and bake for about 8 minutes, or until the donuts are just set. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • While the donuts are cooling, make the glaze. In a small bowl, place the confectioner’s sugar, remaining 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, and 2 teaspoons milk or buttermilk and mix to combine. Add more milk or buttermilk by the half teaspoon until you have a smooth, but pourable liquid. Working quickly, dip the top of each of the cooled doughnuts in the glaze, turn back and forth a bit to coat well, invert the doughnut so the glaze is facing up, sprinkle with the optional sprinkles, and place the donut, glazed side up, to a piece of parchment paper. Allow the donut to sit until the glaze is set.

  • Variation: Bake these doughnuts in a BabyCakes Mini Doughnut Maker or similar mini machine. Instead of preheating your oven, warm the doughnut maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Follow Step 2 above to make the batter. In Step 3, fill the bottom of the wells completely with batter (made easier if you place the donut batter in a piping bag fitted with a medium-size open piping tip), then close and secure the lid. Allow to bake for 3 minutes or until the donuts begin to smell fragrant. Open the doughnut maker, and remove the doughnuts with the remover tool included in the package. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, and return to Step 4 of the recipe.

  • Adapted from the Gluten Free Yeast Free Chocolate Donuts in Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick and Easy: 100 Recipes For the Food You Love—Fast! by Nicole Hunn by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group.  Copyright (c) 2012.

    Originally published on the blog in October 2012. Photos and text, video updated. Recipe unchanged


Comments are closed.

  • Sarah Goffman
    October 5, 2020 at 12:13 PM

    I used King Author’s Gluten Free All-purpose Flour and it worked perfectly.

    I love this receipe. I will be making these many times in the future.

  • Kerry
    July 29, 2020 at 11:44 PM

    have yout tried this recipes with King Author’s Gluten Free All-purpose Flour? Here in New England (USA) I haven’t seen the The Better Batter Flour here. Easy enough to order online but I know all flour is not created equal; I wanted to ask and inquire if you used that flour because it worked better than any others? I’ve been looking for recipes for years and tried some which failed miserably using various flours.

    • Nicole Hunn
      July 30, 2020 at 8:12 AM

      Hi, Kerry, no, that flour blend isn’t properly balanced and won’t work. Please click over to the all purpose gluten free flour blends page, which is linked every time one of my recipes calls for an all purpose gluten free flour blend.

  • Brooke
    May 31, 2020 at 2:55 PM

    We were BLOWN AWAY by how yummy these were. We used coconut oil for the oil and flax eggs instead, and these were absolutely PERFECT. Thank you for yet another incredible recipe to add to our favorites.

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 31, 2020 at 4:24 PM

      I’m so glad the flax egg worked well here, Brooke, and that you were so happy with the donuts! Thank you so much for letting me know. ?

  • Marie C.
    May 27, 2020 at 10:59 AM

    What happens if I don’t have Cream of Tarter? Do I really need it or any other substitutions? Also can I make these in a muffin pan that has no holes and what can I use to make the holes while baking?

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 27, 2020 at 11:28 AM

      Yes, you need all of the ingredients, Marie. In place of cream of tartar, you can try using 1 teaspoonful of freshly squeezed lemon juice. I discuss making these in a muffin pan. You cannot make holes without a donut pan!

  • Patricia Ray
    May 24, 2020 at 11:53 AM

    I have read some of your recipes I am a new member I have not baked, Yet Though I am anxious and excited too try your recipes I was recently diagnosed as pre- diabetic so your recipes will be most beneficial to my health Thank You For all your precious time in reaching out to others

  • Laurie
    May 22, 2020 at 4:51 PM

    I live overseas. Can I buy an online version?

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 22, 2020 at 6:52 PM

      Hi, Laurie, If you’d like to buy a copy of GFOAS Quick & Easy, you can absolutely buy it as an eBook. You can also order a physical copy from Book Depository, which has free worldwide delivery.

  • Amber
    August 11, 2016 at 9:50 AM

    Thank you! My 4 year old has multiple food allergies and has been asking to try donuts for months. With some substitutions, I was able to make these safe for the whole family to enjoy. We are taking them on a camping trip, can’t wait for her to share them with her friends. Many thanks.

  • Alexis (GF in Orlando)
    January 31, 2016 at 3:06 PM

    This is my favorite donut recipe! I have successfully made them with Better Batter and Cup4Cup flour, and I always use my Babycakes donut machine. I like to make the glaze with half & half, and I freeze them glazed. One minute on defrost in the microwave, and they are good to go for easy breakfasts on school days. Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Connie
    September 18, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Your new book looks and sounds amazing! I have a gluten-free (and dairy-free) website and would love to review your new book and share it with my readers. Please let me know if you’re interested. 

    • September 18, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      Hi, Connie,
      That sounds great. I will forward your email address to my publisher to make sure they get a review copy to you. Thanks again!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Janineroode
    September 17, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Yippee! Just made the donuts…..fabulous! Thank you!

  • Angela
    September 16, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    I just ordered both books, I can hardly wait as I’ve been frustrated with the cost of g/f food. Looking forward to checking out the delicious looking recipes!!

  • Marilyn
    September 15, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    Got your first book, pre-ordered the second book & got 10 lbs. of Better Batter today – I’m ready to bake! Thank you, Nicole – you rock!

    • gfshoestring
      September 16, 2012 at 10:38 PM

      You are ready, Marilyn! Thank you for your support in buying the books. It means a lot to me. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Kelly
    September 14, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    My 3 year old daughter has never had doughnuts.  Not once in her precious little life.  And now I have this lovely little recipe staring me in the face as we head into a three day weekend AND a typhoon here in Japan…and I have no heavy cream in the house!  How can I be stuck in the house with no heavy cream?  That  should be in our disaster preparedness kit from now on, I think.  

    The good part is that she doesn’t know what she’s missing out on..so a few more days won’t make a difference if I don’t lose my mind and mention it to her…

  • Cheryl
    September 14, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    I made a batch for breakfast this morning, we put them in mini muffin pans like donut holes.  Delish!  You just sold a book :)

  • September 13, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    I’m so excited for your new book!  The last time I pre-ordered anything was when Harry Potter was in his heyday.  And I tell you- I think I’m more excited for your book than any book the teenage wizard put out!  Because really… who isn’t in love with the idea of snack crackers?  And English muffins?  I’m pretty sure my whole mouth just filled with saliva.  Thank you Nicole- for ALL of your hard work in the kitchen- as a gluten free mom myself- I know how hard it is to make it work in the kitchen and you have absolutely taken it to a whole new level.  And I love you for it!!!  You have made my life easier and my son’s life so much tastier!  

    love jess

  • Margaret
    September 13, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    I pre ordered your book.  My first book of yours is almost worn out already.  I can’t wait to get the next one!

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