Spiced Chocolate Donuts

Donuts used to be my biggest vice. They would cause me to make sudden detours on day trips, drive across state lines, and go wildly out of my way just because someone had good frosting or amazing dough or a flavor I just couldn’t get out of my head. I could easily have eaten 3 donuts a day, and sometimes I did. And then, gluten.

I thought donuts were lost to me. I tried dozens of recipes, but none of them worked. Even for cake style donuts (think blueberry, or chocolate glazed), there was just something wrong. So I decided that maybe I needed to go out on my own and get creative.

One day I made a bundt cake, using a recipe from the 1950’s. It was delicious. The top was crisp and chewy, and the inside stayed moist. Then it hit me, this would be the starting point for my donut batter!

I had to make quite a few edits to make them gluten free, but ultimately these come together as the most wonderful, chocolaty, chewy baked donuts. With a hint of spice and rich dark chocolate flavor, they’ll satisfy almost any craving. They’re not super crumbly, so you can glaze and frost them easily – and when I brought a batch in for my coworkers they got rave reviews, even from people who freaking love gluten.


For the donuts:

  • 3 Cups Flour (any Cup for Cup Gluten Free blend)
  • 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Ancho Chili
  • 1 tsp. Roasted Cinnamon (regular cinnamon is fine if you don’t have this, but the roasted version gives it a richer, spicier taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 3/4 Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt

For the glaze:

  • 2 Cups Confectioners Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 1 tsp. Coffee Extract (you can use vanilla, but the coffee plays nicely with the spices. Rum would be a good choice too!)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Thoroughly grease a donut pan (I used a 6 cavity pan for normal size donuts. Here’s the one I have.) with coconut oil. I have tried butter, and spray, and the coconut oil just does it best! Trust me, there’s nothing worse than making these beautiful donuts and having to break them getting them out of the pan!
  2. Whisk together your dry ingredients and spices. Add the water and gently whisk, getting rid of as many bumps as possible without over-mixing. Add in the oil and applesauce and stir again to incorporate.
  3. Using a soup spoon or a tablespoon, drop batter into the prepared donut pans. One donut usually takes about 2 tbsp. of batter. Tempting as it is to really fill the pan up, don’t do it! They will lose their shape (and the hole in the middle) when baking if you pile the batter in too high.
  4. Bake for 14 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan before pulling them out (a fork or butter knife around the edges does wonders) and letting them finish cooling on a wire rack.
  5. As your donuts are cooling, whisk together all ingredients for the glaze. Put down a sheet of wax paper or parchment to contain the mess and let the glazed donuts set on. Once your donuts are cool, dip them into the glaze, rounded/crumbly side down, and place them on the paper to set. The glaze will harden. In the photos where the glaze looks shiny, it is still wet. It will turn to a matte finish when they’re ready.



This recipe makes about 36 donuts. You can cut it in half if you’re not trying to feed a small army 🙂

They’ll keep for about 5 days. If your house is warm, pop them in the fridge. It won’t affect the taste or the quality as long as they’re in an airtight container.

If you store them touching, the glaze may rub off from one donut to another. To prevent this, use a cupcake carrier.

Do NOT skimp on the oil for the pan. You want the donuts coming out smoothly so they look nice and you can glaze them properly.




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