Quick Chocolate Lovers’ Cake Donuts (Vegan, Gluten Free)

There’s a lovely quote from Walden by Henry David Thoreau that reads, “How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.” For me, it’s more like, how many new eras in my life have been dated by the eating of a donut: There’s the life changing Oreo donut that Meu & I had in Wisconsin (that’s a story for another time), the caramel donut I still dream about that I ate while studying abroad in college, the old fashioned donuts I got far too frequently at the farmer’s market by my old apartment, the pumpkin donuts from our beloved Pumpkin Festival that we served at my wedding.

Donuts are my love language. I wanted to find a way to invite more donuts into my life, but that required that I lighten them up a bit. Thus, Quick Chocolate Lovers’ Cake Donuts (Vegan, Gluten Free) were born.

Making Delicious Gluten Free, Vegan Chocolate Donuts

These gluten-free, vegan chocolate donuts are definitely for the chocolate lovers in your life. Moist but with a hearty chew, these super chocolatey donuts are made with unsweetened cocoa powder and oat flour. The deep chocolate flavor is sweetened by the glaze, and the combination will keep you wanting more. 

I love baking with oat flour, which you can make in seconds if you have oats and a food processor or blender on hand. Here’s a note about oats, though: According to Quaker Oats, while oats are naturally gluten free, they are often processed in plants that also process gluten-containing foods. That’s the case for most oat brands. So if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, be sure to pick up oats that specifically say they are gluten free.

These donuts are also dairy free, using almond milk in place of dairy milk and natural unsweetened cocoa powder rather than blocks of chocolate. Baked rather than fried, these donuts are an indulgence you won’t have to feel too guilty about enjoying.

Putting Together the Batter

The batter for these gluten-free, vegan chocolate donuts whips up in minutes. First, you will pulse the oats in a food processor until they have become a fine flour, about 30-40 seconds. Now you have oat flour! It makes me feel like I’ve done a magic trick–old-fashioned oats in, oat flour out.

Next, we’ll add the rest of our dry ingredients: the cocoa, the leaveners, and the salt. This recipe uses two leavening agents–baking powder and baking soda–to help give the donuts a good rise.

Put the dry ingredients aside, then move on to the wet ingredients plus brown sugar. I find chocolate and brown sugar to be a beautiful pair. Mix brown sugar, almond milk, vegetable oil, water, and vanilla together, then add that mixture to your dry ingredients.

Spoon or pipe your mixture into donut pans, and you are just minutes away from rich, chocolatey donut goodness.

Glazing & Baking

While the donuts are baking, you can throw together the glaze, enjoy some coffee, dream about donuts, etc. Once they are out of the oven, they’ll need a few minutes to cool before you dunk them in the powdered sugar glaze (is anything more satisfying than glazing a donut?).

These make the perfect Saturday morning treat, afternoon pick me up, or post-dinner dessert. There is no wrong time to eat a donut (put that on my gravestone, please).

A Few Notes:

  • Don’t have a donut pan? Turn these into mini muffins!
  • The glaze uses powdered sugar, which is sometimes gluten free, and sometimes not. Double check your package depending on your needs, or make your own.
  • Here’s a variation of the glaze for those of you who love chocolate and coffee: Replace the almond milk with freshly brewed coffee. It’s not a super strong coffee flavor, but it’s a beautiful hint of coffee.
  • A well-greased pan will make your life a lot easier when the donuts are ready to pop out. I used vegan butter to line the donut pan, but you could use vegan cooking spray or dairy butter if you don’t follow a vegan diet.
  • Looking for more tasty sweet treats? Try Meu’s Soft and Rich Red Velvet Cookies with Hidden Beets!
  • Are you team donut or doughnut? Let us know in the comments!
  • As a librarian, I feel like I should say that yes, eras in my life have also been dated by books. Both donuts and books make pretty good mile markers for life, I must say.

Happy baking,

Quick Chocolate Lovers’ Cake Donuts (Vegan, Gluten Free)

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Ifyougiveagirlanoven@gmail.com Course: Sweets, BreakfastDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



Gluten free and vegan chocolate cake donuts with oat flour are the perfect decadent treat for the chocolate and donut lovers in your life.


  • Donut Batter
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free old-fashioned oats

  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Hershey’s (not an ad, just a gluten-free, vegan choice)

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or soy milk

  • 2 Tablespoons water

  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil or other neutral oil

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Glaze
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free powdered sugar

  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened almond milk or soy milk


  • Make the donuts
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a donut pan with vegan butter or cooking spray.
  • Place oats in the base of a food processor (or blender) and pulse until the oats are a fine flour, about 30-40 seconds.
  • Pour oat flour into a medium-sized bowl, and add cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together.
  • In a small bowl, add brown sugar, almond milk, water, oil, and vanilla extract. Stir together.
  • Add the milk/sugar mixture to the oat mixture. Stir together until just combined.
  • Transfer the batter to a piping bag and pipe into prepared donut pan (or use two spoons to spoon the batter into the prepared pan).
  • Bake for 7-9 minutes until donuts are set.
  • Make the glaze
  • Whisk powdered sugar and almond milk in a bowl until smooth.
  • Glaze the donuts
  • Let donuts cool for 5 minutes before taking them out of the pan. Let the donuts cool completely before glazing.
  • To glaze, either dip one half of the donut into the glaze, or pour glaze over donuts.

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