By Kelley Lindberg
A couple of weeks ago, I tried a recipe from Allergymoms.com’s Facebook page for cake donuts. The first time I tried the recipe, the donuts tore up when I tried to get them out of the pan, and the chocolate glaze was a granular mess. So Michelle Fogg, fearless leader of the Utah Food AllergyNetwork (UFAN), told me how to get the donuts out of the pan without falling apart. That made all the difference! So the recipe was basically sound (thank you, Allergymoms!,) but some of the instructions just needed a little tweaking. Then I experimented with some different glazes, different cake mixes, and different flavors. I finally came up with some good variations that were easy to make and met with rave reviews from the group I made them for (teens, tweens, and adults).
So here is my adapted recipe. The main differences from the original Allergymoms.com recipe is that you absolutely must FLOUR the greased pan, and let the donuts cool completely in the pan (instead of the one minute the original recipe called for), and instead of using melted chocolate chips to make the glaze, just add a teaspoon or two of cocoa powder to the powdered sugar glaze. And you’ll need more powdered sugar to glaze a dozen donuts than the 1 cup called for in the original, so make sure you have at least half a bag on hand.
As a bonus, I tried freezing the donuts (because I was taking them on a camping trip and they had to stay good for 2 days), and they freeze and thaw really well, even with the glaze on them.
I tried both Cherrybrook Kitchen and Duncan Hines cake mixes (several DH flavors are nut-free, egg-free, and milk-free, but read the label carefully because not all flavors are safe). I prefer Duncan Hines – the cake was lighter and softer, but held together well through the glazing process. I made them nut-free, milk-free, and egg-free, but I did NOT use the gluten-free variety of either brand so I can’t vouch for the gluten-free version (although I have used Duncan Hines gluten-free cake mix in the past to make other recipes, and it has worked great). If you use the Duncan Hines cake mix, just substitute a safe egg replacer for the eggs called for on the box. See “Replacing Eggs in Recipes” for egg replacement ideas.
Another trick: when the cake mix calls for water, I use rice milk instead. It makes the cake a little richer and more moist. This works great when making cupcakes, too.
Okay, here’s the corrected recipe, with variations:
Easy Milk-Free, Egg-Free, Peanut-Free, Tree-Nut-Free Donuts
(Original recipe credit to Allergymoms.com, adapted by Kelley J. P. Lindberg, FoodAllergyFeast.com)
1 box of safe cake mix (plus ingredients called for on the box)
Rice milk (optional – use instead of water in the cake mix)
3 c. safe powdered sugar
Few tablespoons water
Safe margarine or shortening for greasing pan
Few tablespoons of safe flour for flouring greased pan
For optional variations:
Safe chocolate chips
Safe cocoa (powder)
Maple syrup or other flavoring extracts
Safe food coloring
Prepare the cake mix as directed on the box, with the following substitutions: try using rice milk instead of the water, and if using Duncan Hines cake mix, use an egg replacer to substitute for the eggs called for on the box. If you’re at high altitude (like in Utah), be sure you follow the high-altitude directions on the Duncan Hines mix (there aren’t any on the Cherrybrook Kitchen mix).
Grease and flour a non-stick donut baking pan. (Be sure you grease AND flour it – otherwise the donuts may tear up when you try to get them out of the pan.) Then pour the batter into the pan, filling each donut mold about 2/3 full.
Bake 10 – 15 minutes at 350 degrees until the top of the donut springs back when you touch it gently with a fingertip.
Let the donuts cool completely in the pan (10 minutes).
To glaze: In a cereal-sized bowl, mix about 1 1/2 c. safe powdered sugar with a small amount of water (start with a tablespoon or two, then add a teaspoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency, which should be thin enough to drizzle from a spoon, but not watery). Then dip one side of a cooled donut into the glaze, then set it on a rack (glazed side up) and immediately top with sprinkles (if using). If the glaze is too thick, it may be hard to dunk the donut and then get it back out of the glaze without tearing, so you may have to add a little water to thin it. Conversely, if the glaze seems too thin, just add a little more sugar. When you’ve used up that glaze, make more. Repeat until you’ve glazed all of your donuts.
Eat immediately (best!) or freeze in a single layer in an airtight container. To thaw, let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
Duncan Hines mix makes about 2 dozen donuts. Cherrybook Kitchen mix makes about one dozen donuts.
Yellow cake donuts: Use a yellow cake mix, glaze with white powdered sugar glaze, then immediately top with sprinkles while the glaze is still warm. Alternatively, you can glaze the donuts with white glaze, then make another bowl of glaze, adding food coloring to this batch. Then use a spoon to drizzle the colored glaze in a zig-zag pattern over the glazed donuts.
Chocolate cake donuts: Use a chocolate cake mix and prepare according to the instructions, but add 1 c. safe chocolate chips to the batter. To make a chocolate glaze, add a teaspoon of safe cocoa powder (such as Hershey’s cocoa) to the white powdered sugar, then mix with a small amount of water. Taste the glaze – add more cocoa if necessary to achieve your desired taste. Top donuts with sprinkles or Enjoy Life Foods mini chocolate chips if desired.
Maple-Spice cake donuts: Use a Duncan Hines spice cake mix. To make a maple-flavored glaze, add 3-4 tablespoons of maple syrup to the powdered sugar first, then add a small amount of water to thin the mixture to glaze consistency. You may add more maple syrup to taste (if it gets too thin, just add more sugar!).
Blueberry cake donuts: Start with a yellow cake mix. Drain 1 can of blueberries and rinse well (or use 1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh blueberries). Add to cake batter and bake as usual. When glazing, dip in white glaze first. Then color a second bowl of glaze with blue food coloring and drizzle the blue glaze over the glazed donuts in a zig-zag pattern. The blueberries will make these donuts more moist and sticky, so they may be a little gooier when eaten.
Chocolate chip cake donuts: Use a yellow cake mix, and add 1 c. safe chocolate chips to the batter. Glaze with white glaze, then add a small amount of cocoa powder to the remaining glaze, and drizzle the chocolate glaze over the glazed donuts in a zig-zag pattern.