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Sugar-coated mini donuts of my childhood

Last night, I was caught watching the OWN station on television.

I don’t usually make a habit of it typically

but there was something about the Jane Fonda interview

that rapidly caught my attention.

It touched my heart deeply, partly because I empathized a lot of what she was saying.

But the thing that she said that struck me most

was something that Katherine Hepburn told her on the set of a movie they both starred in.

Jane Fonda’s character

was set to do a back flip into the water…

something that Jane Fonda in real life was terrified of.

She, however, made it a point to practice every time she was not on set,

in hopes to not only master her ability but her fear as well.

Jane talks about how bruised she became from endless failed attempt after attempt,

as she back-dove into the water countless times until finally,

she did it.

And out from the bushes, came Katherine Hepburn,

who was secretly watching her.

She said to her:

“You have now earned my respect, Jane. You have faced your fears.

We must teach our children this:

You have to face your fears or else you’ll get soggy.”

Baked Cake Donut Recipe

Adapted from the Norpro Recipe from the pan

Gluten, egg, dairy free

Makes 20 mini donuts


  • 1/2 c. sorghum flour (I use Authentic Foods brand)
  • 1/2 c. Brown rice flour (Authentic Foods)
  • 1/4 c. potato starch (not flour!)
  • 1/4 c. arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • (OR 1 1/2 c. regular flour and omit xanthan gum)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk (1/2 Tb apple cider vinegar + 1/2 c. non-dairy milk)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer + 2 Tbs warm water, mixed til frothy
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together until fully combined.
  3. Make a well in the center of the bowl. Add all the remainder of wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just incorporated.
  4. Grease a Norpro mini donut pan.
  5. Place 1/2 batter into a ziploc baggie. Cut the corner of one side to use as an opening. This part is important in the shape of the donuts: Using one hand to firmly keep the dough flowing out of the hole, squirt the dough out in a circle in the pan. The more intact the dough comes out, the better the results in the end. (My first batch ended up pretty good but as I got more used to pouring the batter, the better the 2nd batch became. Holy cow, was the 2nd batch SO GOOD!)
  6. Bake 8 minutes. Allow to sit in the pan for 3 minutes after you take it out of the oven.
  7. Fill a bigger ziploc baggie with either powdered sugar (1/2 c.)  or cinnamon (1 Tb) and sugar (1/2 c.) mix. Place 4 donuts at a time into baggie while still warm and gently shake until all donuts are completely covered in a topping.

I love that imagery.


When I think of soggy, I imagine bread that is:



No life.

Not it’s truest potential.


As I sat there in tears, listening to the beauty of those words,

I realized what great timing it was.

After making the baked donuts yesterday morning,

(which by the way are FABULOUS–a must make!!)

I stood there, reminiscing about a past post I had written about basically giving up in baking.

Looking back, I realize that my resignation was based out of fear.

GF/Vegan baking is, and continues to be, an area of weakness for me but,

because I refuse to allow it to conquer me with fear,

I do it daily.

It’s almost like a spiritual practice for me because it teaches me about life and myself.

I don’t claim to be knowledgable as a baker what-so-ever;

in fact I am still learning every day new rules, new techniques.

I have a lot of failures but I have a lot of successes as well.

For me, I find great enjoyment in the process though.

Really, when you break it down,

I am simply someone who doesn’t want to become soggy in her life.


83 Comments Post a comment
  1. Paige #

    Do you think this would work if you fried them instead of baking? I know it’s not nearly as healthy, but I have a little man with a ton of allergies and I’m trying to get his food as close to the ‘real thing’ as I can.

    Just found your blog, I can’t wait to look through all the recipes. What a great resource!

    January 18, 2013
    • Hey Paige! If my calculations are correct, everything tastes good fried 🙂 ha. Not sure how you would go about it but I say give it a shot and let me know. And just so you know, they taste pretty darn comparable to the real thing when they are baked 😉

      January 18, 2013
  2. Karen #

    Just discovered your wonderful blog! Could these be made with an oil other than coconut?

    December 6, 2012
    • Hi Karen, welcome! Yes yes yes–use whatever oil you might like 🙂 So glad you are here.

      December 7, 2012
  3. These look absolutely fabulous and mouth watering!

    June 25, 2012
    • Thank you Jessica! They are seriously soooooo good 🙂

      June 26, 2012
  4. vegancharlie #

    Reblogged this on The Adventures of Vegan Charlie and commented:
    Dear god now I really want to make some donuts… I don’t have a donut tray though.. But I will wait…I am craving baked goods for some strange reason today.

    March 12, 2012
  5. Mia Ybarra-Klar #

    I am so hungry for one of those little rascals, or 2, maybe more, anyway they look yummy.
    I really like your quote as well.
    Continue on this journey, you have many followers

    January 13, 2012
    • I think it is difficult to only eat 1, especially once they pop out of the oven 🙂 Thank you so much for such sweet and thoughtful comments, Mia! xo

      January 13, 2012
  6. I am SO happy you never gave up on baking- cause you are truly a talented girl!

    I just got my donut pan for Christmas and haven’t broken it in yet- your post just motivated me to get my *ss in the kitchen to make some amazing donuts!

    January 12, 2012
    • Get that talented baking bottom into the kitchen and use that donut pan, missy! I cannot wait to see what you cook…

      January 12, 2012
  7. Great post! I will admit that I kept cracking up because of the image placement below the last line of your sentences.
    “…but there was something about the Jane Fonda interview that rapidly caught my attention.” [doughnuts] “…something that Jane Fonda in real life was terrified of.” [sugar coated mini doughnuts]
    Are you sure there wasn’t some subconscious fear of hers (dougnuts) that you happen to know about? 😉
    Anyway, I’m glad that you conquered that baking fear. Look at all the amazing food you’ve made! Hurray!

    January 11, 2012
    • Maybe I was subconsciously placing my fears on that??? But I’m not afraid of donuts…or am I??? Eek! What if I really am and my inner self is trying to tell me something??? Thank you for bringing this up. I am calling my therapist tonight 🙂 *giggling* Thank you, Stephanissima xo

      January 11, 2012
      • You must conquer that fear of doughnuts. ::nods seriously::
        Forget the old doughnut image of it being some unhealthy, nearly forbidden food! Its healthiness depends on what you put in it! *snicker*

        January 12, 2012
        • You know what? I LIKE the way you think! I am sticking with you.

          January 12, 2012
  8. Oh, my gosh! Those donuts look so absolutely delicious!

    That’s a great story about continuing to challenge ourselves. I know that you like fortune cookie messages, and a week or two ago I got a great one that speaks to this idea in a way. It said something like, “Don’t get too attached to one definition of yourself.” Jane Fonda could have decided she was inept in the water, you could have decided you were inept as a baker, and both of you could have used that as an excuse to stop. Instead you used it as a reason to grow, and that’s a beautiful thing! Too many times people decide that there’s a point at which they stop growing, learning, and discovering. It’s easy to stay within our own comfort zones where we feel safe, secure, and confident. But how many journeys and discoveries do we miss by staying within those confines? It’s a great reminder, Cara! Thank you!

    And now with your contest I’ll be challenging myself too! First of all, I don’t think I’ve ever come up with my own baked dessert recipe, period. And two, I’ve never done any gluten free baking. This will be a fun experiment!

    January 10, 2012
    • May I steal that fortune and pretend that I actually got it, because I really love it. It is going to be one of my newest favorite quotes. Thank you so much for sharing that…
      At least you can use another recipe as inspiration, without a doubt. I cannot wait to see what you come up with, Cahdrique! Knowing what you are already capable of, you are going to be incredible! xoxo

      January 10, 2012
  9. Mini donuts rule, but OWN sure doesn’t! Oprah scares the crap out of me! She actually believes her own hype.

    January 10, 2012
    • I agree, which is why I had to specify that it is unusual for me to watch 🙂 ha.

      January 10, 2012
  10. Lou #

    So so true, Cara… baking is like life – trial and error – you screw something up, the results are not good, so you take that little lesson, and use it the next time around.

    …. and then sometimes the results are as good as these doughnuts look!! Happy Days!

    What does sourghum flour taste like? It’s one flour I haven’t tried (yet).

    Again, baking = life, always a new discovery to be made!

    January 10, 2012
    • Love this, Lou! You are so right. I always *love* hearing from you 🙂
      Sorghum, to me, is one of my favorite flours to use in an all purpose mix. It gives baked goods a nice texture similar to regular wheat. Plus, it has a slight color tint to it, which I favor because my fav all-purpose mix from Authentic Foods tends to give food a white look. As for taste, this is a hard one, seeing that I mix it in with brown rice and starches. However, with that said, the overall flavor of these donuts, at least, taste so much like the real thing, it’s insane! Hopefully this helps…

      January 10, 2012
  11. Yummy Yummy. Gosh I love Donuts. You are the best Cara. Surely going to try these. =D

    January 9, 2012
    • You and I are the same–I am such a sucker for donuts, it’s ridiculous! 🙂 I hope you try the recipe. Better yet, I hope you like it!! xo

      January 9, 2012
  12. haha, no way! I made donuts too. We think alike, Cara.
    AND. I think that you are an incredibly innovative gluten-free baker. If only I could get my hands on some of these goods around here. If a gluten-free (and vegan) bakery opened up around here I would pack up with my sleeping bag and stay there for the rest of my life.
    You should sell these donuts to me (the food, donuts).

    January 9, 2012
    • How about when I start up my own bakery, I will let you sleep next to the oven 🙂
      And get out with the donut making twinsie mentality! Plus, I have been thinking about KitKats and what do YOU do? Invent an amazing raw version. Let’s do a trade off. Donuts for candy bars, what do you say???

      January 9, 2012
      • SCORE.
        Wait. So you ARE starting your own bakery? You said w-h-e-n.

        uhh..well, raw candy doesn’t transport easily. It has to stay properly refrigerated.

        January 9, 2012
        • That is why you will live in the bakery. You have to make me raw treats in person 🙂 And yes, when. Greg and I have been talking about it and daydreaming. We have even picked our spot… ha

          January 9, 2012
          • NO WAY. That’s so awesome!
            woooo! Finally!

            January 9, 2012
            • Well, we are in daydreaming stage but realize that it is probably in the future 🙂

              January 9, 2012
  13. Thanks for sharing that with us, it’s so true!

    And these donuts look amazingly good and guess what I finally found? A DONUT PAN! Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂

    January 9, 2012
    • HECK YEAH! Donut makers unite 🙂 Enjoy your fresh-out-of-the-oven baked donuts, Mandee! xo

      January 9, 2012
  14. These donuts are amazing! And so are you!

    January 9, 2012
    • xoxo!! Thank you so much for thinking so, Kelly! You are so sweet ❤

      January 9, 2012
  15. We must be on the same wavelength- I’ve had donuts on the brain for three weeks now!!! I went out a bought a pan last week and guess what I am trying to make now?!? 🙂
    These look incredible and PERFECT I must say – you’ve out done yourself this time.
    Oh and what do I hear about GF/vegan baking a weakness —– UMMM NO MAAM, you’ve got this thing all figured out – you are fabulous and very very talented!!!! Positive thinking, remember? 🙂 Hugs!

    January 9, 2012
    • just a little typo I thought I’d point out – looks like your recipe calls for 14 cups of arrowroot 🙂
      I do love me some arrowroot but this would be one pricey donut, hehe!

      January 9, 2012
      • HAHA. Oh no, 14 cups IS what is required. Could you imagine???! Thanks for the catch Nora!!! I owe you my life (or a baked donut). 🙂

        January 9, 2012
    • Oh Nora. You are like therapy but free 🙂 Now go make some donuts and make me proud!

      January 9, 2012
  16. these donuts look gorgeous!! i need a mini donut pan like right now.. adding this to my gifts for this year list!:)) so far i have an icecream maker and mini donut pan, I also need to clean up the whole kitchen and re-organize.. now how do i add that to the list so it magically happens.. sigh
    you have so much patience to keep at it.. i give up quite easily.. but i am inspired by your non stop pretty creations!

    January 9, 2012
    • Thank you for reminding me, I want an ice cream maker also! First part of the year: conquer GF/vegan bread making; 2nd part: conquer vegan ice cream making <–small goals for 2012, wouldn't you say? Oh, and just put my name on the list for that kitchen re-organization. I love doing stuff like that 🙂

      January 9, 2012
      • ok fine.. i will pay for tickets and cook for u.. and u can take as many days to organize my kitchen.. :D:D
        not many goals for me.. just get the energy up to a level where i can start fostering again!

        January 9, 2012
        • When can I move in, er visit? 🙂

          January 9, 2012
  17. also? I have had a doughnut pan (two of them – a mini too!) for over a year. used it once.


    January 9, 2012
    • Get your mini donut-making buns in order, sister!

      January 9, 2012
  18. against your warnings, here I am! 🙂 I am SO happy you have conquered your fear – NOW all you have to do is realize you ARE an extremely talented baker!! you ARE.

    seriously, these look BETTER than anything in a doughnut shop – they are perfect. I can almost taste them now… and yes, I have not had a doughnut since I turned the fresh beach doughnut away – and I am now craving them even more! give me back my brain, please.

    or not. fill it with your baking knowledge first.

    January 9, 2012
    • BAHA. I will fill your brain with useless movie quotes and that is about it (that is all that remains in there).
      I warned you and now if you write a post about how you are craving donuts again, you can’t blame me! 🙂

      January 9, 2012
  19. I love the Source, in Hermosa. I once lived in the valley but spent all my time in Venice. And I lived in Westchester.

    January 9, 2012
    • Checking the restaurant out now… How fun! We used to be neighbors 🙂 But now you live in God’s country, which I don’t blame you. One day, I would like to head up north myself…

      January 9, 2012
  20. Fork, they look wicked. You’re coming up with some genuinely good recipes at the moment – I’m truly loving the blog.

    January 9, 2012
    • At least you can overlook my cheesy titles 🙂 In fact, tomorrow, I’m going to come up with a really GOOD one, just for you!! P.S. You said “fork”. *snickering*

      January 9, 2012
      • Now, now. Don’t get too excited. I look forward to criticising you tomorrow – see you then 😀

        January 9, 2012
        • YES! I would hate for your approval anyway 🙂 HA.

          January 9, 2012
  21. Yummy!!

    January 9, 2012
    • Thanks for stopping by, Jilb! 🙂

      January 9, 2012
  22. Lovely post, my friend. I know Redondo well. I used to live in LA. My family lives in Playa. My crazy sister works in Manhattan Beach. Have you eaten at the Source?
    Soggy 🙂 Now I can’t get katherine Hepburn’s voice out of my head. Now Katherine is telling me, If you never take a risk you will feel like a hole in a donut.

    January 9, 2012
    • REALLY??? Where in LA did you once live, GiGi? Maybe I will contact your crazy sister. hehe. And I haven’t eaten at the Source, in fact, I have never heard of it (I rarely eat out these days)…

      January 9, 2012
  23. Awww. What a sweet story!

    Also: DONUTS. I know I say this about like everything you post, but it’s because it’s true: I’ve been meaning to try making these for years (well, donuts in general, not this recipe!) but have been too scared of screwing it up. But you know, maybe I’d rather have soggy donuts than be a soggy person…

    Also also: I am reeeeeeeally excited because I thought of not one but TWO ideas for the V-Day contest! Now I just need to actually figure out how to make them…

    January 9, 2012
    • Get the heck out! TWO??? I am smelling a winner already 🙂

      And amen to rather eating soggy donuts than being a soggy person. I love that!

      January 9, 2012
  24. My son: I really wish I tood have onea dohz donuts. I never had onea dohz before. And dohz ones and dohz ones… What are dohz donuts talled? I really like donuts.

    Dangit, Cara! Now I have to buy a donut pan…

    January 9, 2012
      First the waffle iron, now the donut pan. You should really stop looking online when your cuties are around 🙂 <–snickering

      January 9, 2012
      • No, YOU should get one of those Amazon link thingies on the side that pays you money every time somebody buys something you linked to on your site. You’d get major bank outta Washington State… 🙂

        January 9, 2012
        • Putting one of those Amazon link thingies on the side now! 🙂

          January 9, 2012
  25. Laurel #

    What a wonderful story. You always share so much of your beauty with us. Thank you. On the other hand I am incredibly glad I do not own a donut pan because baked donuts are one of my favorite things in the world. 🙂 P.S. The only way to get good at baking, or music, or art of any kind is to practice. Even Mozart took a few lessons in the beginning. xox

    January 9, 2012
    • Preach it, sister. “Practice makes perfect” right? Or at least that is what I always heard from my mother while taking piano lessons. Isn’t it funny how we want/expect things to come easily to us without having to the hardwork? I think that is greatest lesson I take from GF/V baking. It’s very much like a beautiful woman you are trying desperately hard to date. You have to work for it. You have to woo her, court her, romance her, tell her nice things about herself, etc. It’s true isn’t it??? ha. It can be so fickle, you have to be gentle, patient, and pursue it often.

      Buying you a donut pan for your birthday, now! 🙂

      January 9, 2012
      • Laurel #

        I love the analogy and you. Now if I could just convince the husband that a sure thing still needs a bit of courting now and then I could win a Nobel prize.

        January 9, 2012
        • Sounds like a challenge… I think you could do it! 🙂

          January 9, 2012
  26. I am so glad that you did not give up baking because of fear! Your recipes are amazing and inspiring! We have vegan donuts springing up in the area and I’m always a bit sad when I can’t join my vegan friends (and husband) in a donut. It just makes me feel different. I’m vegan like them, but different since I’m also GF. Your recipe made me feel like I might be able to be a bit “normal” and have some donuts too! 🙂 I don’t have a donut pan, but I’d still like to try these!

    January 9, 2012
    • Once you get the donut pan, anytime your friends decided they want donuts, simply make a quick batch, tuck away a few into your pockets, and wa-la! Donut time with friends 🙂
      Thank you for your sweet words, Amanda. That really just made my day!

      January 9, 2012
      • Not sure I’ll get the donut pan, but I could always try donut puffs in a muffin pan. LOL! Your post made my day! 🙂

        January 9, 2012
        • I’ll buy you one for your birthday. They are amazing! xo

          January 9, 2012
  27. Wonderful recipe! Those look like the perfect treat – and your photos are beautiful!

    January 9, 2012
    • If I only I can understand that perfect treat really means 1 or 2 to nibble on and not 1/2 dozen 🙂 That’s the problem with having a blog, which I am sure you know quite well–you can’t stop eating the subject at the photoshoot. HA. Thank you, Kathy! xo, Cara

      January 9, 2012
  28. “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” Sometimes we start to get soggy but then we choose our strength. You are stronger than you will ever fully realize. It is a pleasure to know you. Strong women aught to stick together.

    January 9, 2012
    • I like this quote a lot! It reflect a lot for me–thank you for writing it for me to keep 🙂 And you are right, we DO need to stick together and support one another–none of this tear each other down b.s.

      January 9, 2012
  29. oh cara. you don’t give yourself enough credit! you’re an amazing gluten-free baker and make SO MANY amazing items. enough to fill a bakery. where does all of this deliciousness go after you eat it??

    i applaud you for facing your fears and bringing such amazing vegan AND gluten-free baked goods into our little part of the blogpsphere. you are an inspiration to me ❤

    and, by the way, these donuts look FABULOUS. i lovvvved the mini donuts when i was little, especially the cinnamon sugar coated ones and the powdered sugar ones. i would eat WAY to many back in the day when i didn't know what a calorie was 😉

    January 9, 2012
    • Of course you loved donuts when you were a kid. We are twin, remember? We seem to see eye-to-eye on a lot of things…especially our snack love 🙂

      Thank you for what you just said. You are right, sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit. I have a bad memory. ha. But I will say that I am finally getting over that hump–I know I might sound redundant over here about it, but it really does leave me in awe on a daily basis how far one can grow if you just put a little time and effort into it. I cannot believe I actually denounced baking because I wasn’t good at it initially. I guess that is why I loved what Katherine Hepburn said–I get where my life could end up if I don’t face my fears, which is why I back dive into the water every single day.

      Oh, and I usually eat a few pieces of whatever I’m baking, feed some to Greg, and give the rest away. Wanna move next door so I can feed you nonstop??


      January 9, 2012
      • omigosh, i’d love to move next door. you’re in cali, right? although, i don’t wanna lose my girlish figure(imagine me wiggling my hips side to side when you read this). i’d only be able to eat one of each of your treats :*

        January 9, 2012
        • Well, I’m losing my girlish figure fast so I need someone to share with! How about you move next door, I feed you treats, and then we both go for a nice walk along the beach? How does that sound??? A win-win 🙂

          January 9, 2012
          • win-win-win! and you live near the beach? omigosh. where in cali do you live? i reeeeally want to come visit you now 😉

            January 9, 2012
            • Let’s just say that my backyard view is the entire L.A. coast line 🙂 I live in Redondo Beach. Come now!

              January 9, 2012
              • wow, what a lucky girl you are to live there! i feel like i HAVE to come visit you!

                January 9, 2012
                • You are always welcome over here, for reals!!

                  January 9, 2012
  30. These donuts look yummy! Great recipe!

    January 9, 2012
    • Hi Kathleen! Thanks for the comment–the donuts taste just as good as they look 🙂

      January 9, 2012

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