These gluten-free pumpkin spice donuts are a delicious treat for fall. They’re like a moist morsel of cake with the flavors of pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. I made a batch of these for breakfast on the weekend. That delicious scent of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger was so enticing as it wafted through the house.
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Cake donuts are the easiest kind of donuts to make since there is no frying involved. I suppose we could try to convince ourselves that they are a healthier version since it contains pumpkin (a sort of vegetable – – I can hear my daughter now saying, but mom! It’s not a vegetable. It’s a fruit!)…and less fat than a fried donut. But, let’s not bother to pretend and just acknowledge that it is a delicious treat and one worth indulging in once in a while. Especially when it’s pumpkin spice season.
Is it donut or doughnut?
Did you know there is a huge debate over which is the correct spelling? Right now you’re probably thinking…wait she spelled it wrong…(or did she?) In fact, you’ve likely seen it spelled both ways. The term doughnut is often used more in writing/publishing circles and is listed in the Associated Press Style book this way. Did you know our love for donuts goes waaaay back? Donuts have been a part of American culture since the early 1800’s. Apparently, (according to the internet search gods)…doughnut is the more “old-fashioned” and original spelling of our beloved fried dough. The shortened spelling of donut caught on in the late 20th century in America and is now very common. Interestingly, the American company Dunkin’ Donuts was established in 1950. And from then on…the American spelling of “donut” really took off.
Which ever way you decide to spell it…these gluten-free pumpkin spice donuts are really tasty. To make gluten-free donuts you’ll need a special donut pan. I recently found this Norpro Nonstick Donut Pan at a discount clearance retailer. I’m really happy with this particular pan. It’s durable, non-stick and stacks among my other cake pans easily. I’m definitely glad I purchased two of them. I can whip up a dozen donuts in one shot.
This was my first time making gluten-free cake donuts. Gluten-free baking can be a bit tricky. Each kind of all-purpose gluten-free flour blend is a little different. Some simply work better than others in replacing one-to-one all-purpose flour in recipes. I decided to follow a recipe to the letter by King Arthur Flour. Each gluten-free flour blend contains different levels of starches, flours and xanthan gum. This is the substance that makes the flour more “glutenous” or thick. Once you’ve tried a few different brands, you’ll discover which ones translate best with your personal recipes. I would compare the batter of these gluten-free pumpkin spice donuts to a rather thick pumpkin bread recipe. So, if you use a different brand of gluten-free flour, you can adjust it by adding a little more or less. This particular recipe called for an extra dash of xantham gum. I may leave this out next time and use a gluten-free flour blend that I know tends to be a bit “heavier.” King Arthur Flour is a great brand and I usually use it for frying, cooking (like making pancakes) and making gravies in place of all-purpose flour.
Use a cake decorating pastry bag to fill each donut well. Fill each well 3/4 full with the batter. A special pastry tip is not necessary. This enables you to control the batter more easily. You can also use a plastic zip lock bag and snip a corner off if you do not have a pastry bag. Or, if you prefer fill a 1/4 cup measuring cup and do your best to evenly distribute it in the well.
Once the donuts are baked and fresh out of the oven. Allow them to sit for 2 minutes. Then while they are still warm finish them off with the final decorations. Gluten-free pumpkin spice donuts are really tasty finished off with a simple cinnamon-sugar coating. Simply dust the warm donuts with cinnamon and sugar. I decided to do half the batch with cinnamon-sugar. The other half, I drizzled a simple confectioner’s sugar glaze over the tops. While definitely sweeter, the confectioner’s sugar glaze was a big hit with the kids. I’ll provide recipes for both types of toppings in the recipe card.
Are you a donut fan? Or maybe you’re a doughnut fan. Do you have a favorite kind? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I’m looking forward to exploring new flavors of gluten-free donuts in the near future.
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These gluten-free pumpkin spice donuts are a delicious treat for fall. They're like a moist morsel of cake with the flavors of pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice.
- 1/4 cup neutral vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons King Arthur all-purpose gluten-free flour
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease the donut pans.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil, eggs and pumpkin puree. Mix until it is smooth.
In another mixing bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, salt, baking powder and xanthan gum. Then slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet. Whisk the batter until it is smooth.
Fill the wells of the donut pans about 3/4 full in each well.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Allow the donuts to cool in the pan for 2 minutes. Then transfer them to a rack to cool. While still warm, coat the donuts with cinnamon-sugar. Or prepare the glaze and either dip them in the glaze or use a spoon to drizzle the glaze on top.
Store donuts in an air-tight container for 3 - 5 days.
(Optional) Whisk together the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl. Dip each warm donut into the bowl and gently rub the coating on all sides.
(Optional) Combine the confectioner's sugar, vanilla and milk in a bowl. Mix until smooth. Dip each donut top into the glaze. Or use a spoon and generously drizzle the glaze over each donut on the rack.
If you do not have pumpkin pie spice, you can substitute with 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg and 1/4 tsp ground ginger.
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