Pumpkin Spice Donuts With Cacao Icing

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These Pumpkin Spice Donuts are vegan and gluten, nut and processed sugar-free. As a special treat, they are iced with a simple blend of raw cacao, coconut oil and rice malt syrup – one of the best sugar subs there is. UPDATE: This recipe has been featured in Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar Chocolate eBook alongside 70+ others! 

Vegan Gluten Free Pumpkin Donuts with Cacao Glaze Icing

Inspired by our recent trip to the US and the amazing assortment of pumpkins and squashes available at local stores, markets, and basically on every street corner in the form of jack-o-lanterns and other Halloween creatures, I’ve decided to bake some pumpkin spice donuts.

Pumpkins for Halloween

The basic recipe for these particular baked donuts came from a vegan cinnamon sugar version I’ve made previously. This time, however, I wanted to make them processed sugar free and gluten free as well… 

Vegan Gluten Free Pumpkin Donuts with Chocolate Glaze Icing (1)

It may have been a way of trying to detox after a week in the US although, with the exception of trying Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream ice cream, a visit to a San Diego dessert bar one night and trying a ‘King’ Sundae at Searsucker – Top Chef’s Brian Malarkey’s cool dining room , we have been pretty good on the sugar front. Oh, and yes, we did try “cowboy caviar“. 

Vegan Gluten Free Pumpkin Donuts with Cacao Glaze Icing

I digress… This particular donut dough took a little trial and error – it can’t be overmixed or otherwise the donuts get “gummy”, so bearing that in mind be gentle as the final result is really worth it.

And the icing?

Cacao Glaze Icing for Donuts

Well, the cacao icing is what really makes these donuts stand out. It is smooth, chocolatey and lightly sweet from the Pure Harvest organic rice malt syrup, which itself is recommended as the best refined sugar substitute around. Amazing taste-wise, sugar-free-wise and of course allergy-wise. 

Pumpkin Spice Donuts With Cacao Icing | And a Giveaway
Recipe type: Donuts, Baking, Cakes, Icing, Vegan, Low sugar, Gluten free,
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-8
The dough took a little trial and error - it can't be overmixed or otherwise the donuts get "gummy", so bear that in mind. The cacao icing is what really makes these donuts stand out. It is smooth, chocolatey and lightly sweet from the rice malt syrup, which itself is recommended as the best refined sugar substitute around. Amazing taste-wise, sugar-free-wise and of course allergy-wise. Makes about 16 medium donuts.
For the Pumpkin Donuts - dry ingredients:
  • 2 cups plain gluten-free flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp ginger powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt, ground
For the Pumpkin Donuts - wet ingredients:
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree (or canned pumpkin)
  • 1 tbsp rice malt syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup rice milk
For the Cacao Icing:
  • 8 tbsp rice malt syrup
  • 6 tsp raw cacao powder
  • 4 tsp extra virgin coconut oil (in solid form)
Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan-forced, 350F, gas mark 4). Grease donut pan with a little coconut oil.
To prepare the Pumpkin Spice Donuts:
  1. In a large bowl mix together all dry ingredients.
  2. In another bowl mix wet ingredients until well combined.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold through, but just until the ingredients are incorporated, Do not overmix.
  4. Pipe or spoon batter into donut pan and spread around to leave the middle (hole) exposed.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 7-8 minutes, then flip the donuts and bake for a further 5 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
  6. Repeat the process with any remaining batter.
To prepare the Cacao Icing:
  1. In a bowl mix together rice malt syrup and cacao until it is smooth and has no lumps.
  2. Add unmelted coconut oil and mix again until the icing is smooth.
To glaze the Donuts:
  1. Dip each cooled donut into the icing and place on a wire rack to drip dry.


Last but not least, since these little babies are baked, I am giving away one 12-hole donut pan to one lucky Wholesome Cook reader. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post to enter and register via Rafflecopter below. Bonus entries are available for sharing via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Open worldwide. Giveaway closes midnight November 7 EST (click here to convert this time). Winner will be announced on this post on November 8.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway! Congratulations to Sara! I will be in touch to get your mailing details. Stay tuned for another exciting giveaway later this month (hint: ice cream).

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79 Responses to Pumpkin Spice Donuts With Cacao Icing

  1. Kerry Anne says:

    Yuuuum! What a great idea – love the icing!

  2. Renee says:

    Those look delicious and I would love to try baking them but alas I have no donut pan so I’m trying my luck at your giveaway. Thank you for this great recipe.

  3. Sasha says:

    Beautiful photos. Must try this recipe asap. Thanks fro sharing.

  4. Rebecca says:

    GF donuts, I can’t wait to try them, it’s been 5 long years since I had a donut. Love the glaze as well! Thank you so much. I’ve also entered your comp – fingers crossed!

  5. Maria says:

    These look delicious! Will definitely be trying these! xoxo

  6. jaderose1 says:

    They look divine, yum! Donuts are my ultimate weakness so I’ve always wanted try making some at home. Thanks for the awesome recipe. 🙂
    (I’ve just voted for you in the recipe writing comp too – good luck and hope you win! xx)

  7. Anne S says:

    Wow, they sound delicious and not that hard to make. And healthy too. Mmmmm

  8. Jaan L says:

    We all love donuts so much, but rarely eat them since they aren’t healthy. BUT now with your recipe, YEAH!, we can start enjoying donuts once again. Thanks a million

  9. Jodie says:

    Yum, i could really go for one of these right now 🙂

  10. Tessa says:

    Beautiful doughnuts! I really like that they are baked and not fried. Lovely photography as usual!

  11. I’ve voted!! Good luck, you deserve it!

  12. Effie Bakkalis says:

    The donuts look so yummo! Thanks for the giveaway too 🙂

  13. Winston says:

    I voted for you. You’re #2 with a bullet. Good luck!

  14. ROBYN LITTLE says:

    You just can’t go wrong with pumpkin – it is so delicious and so versatile. The doughnuts look delicious.

  15. I voted! Looks like a great weekend ahead – can you bring some of these doughnuts?

  16. Nicole-Lynn says:

    Wow, those donuts look awesome! I love making sweets and treats for my hubby, friends and family! Thanks for the opportunity.


  17. Miri says:

    Wow, these look so yummie, got to try them soon! I hope I can find a way around the donut pan, since I haven´t got one and they´re not available in this part of Germany…

  18. Andrea says:

    Those doughnuts look awesome!

  19. heather says:

    I’m always lured in by the doughnut recipes, then saddened when I remember the pretty little rings require a special pan. These are so tempting!

  20. Deb says:

    My son LoVeS donuts but I hate the processed ones you buy in stores. I would bake him some homemade donuts I am sure he would love! Great giveaway

  21. katherine says:

    So craving these right now.

  22. kaylie says:

    This would be so much fun!

  23. Sara says:

    Those doughnuts look totally delicious – yum! 🙂

  24. Shannon C says:

    Those look wonderful!

  25. Oh my! we were just talking about pumpkin donuts today in my lab! delicious

  26. These look gorgeous, especially that cacoa topping! I also had no idea Stephen Colbert had an ice cream flavour, that is soooo cool hehe

  27. your donuts look great, thanks for the great giveaway ive always wanted a donut pan just never really had the founds.

  28. These look delicious! Fingers crossed 🙂

  29. Wow! Yummy! Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

  30. justaudrey says:

    Those look yummy!

  31. Adrianna says:

    Looks amazing!

  32. I don’t think I’ve eaten baked donuts much, but they sound much healthier than fried! Good luck to everyone in the competition 🙂

  33. zosia says:

    Everytime I go into a cookware store, I find a donut pan, but never buy it 🙁 (unemployed!)
    I’d love to win and make some gluten-free donuts 🙂 (PUMPKIN ones!)

    By the way – are you Polish? 😉

  34. WOW, I just made these for breakfast and they are amazing! The spices are perfect and the doughnuts have the perfect soft on the inside, yet crunchy on top consistency. YUM!
    I needed to use about 1/2 c more liquid to get the dough to form, but I guess that really depends on the moisture of your pumpkin and the flours you use (I used part coconut flour).
    Thanks so much for sharing this winner with us, Martyna!

  35. those donuts sounds so good. i knew i shouldn’t have looked at them before going to bed. now i just want one.

  36. Michelle V says:

    Thankyou for the opportunity; this would be very welcome in my household!

  37. You always have amazing food photography to entertain us whenever we visit your blog and it’s been so much fun. I love donuts and pumpkin spice + cacao icing seem like a perfect donut flavor that I’d enjoy with my coffee! Really nice!!!

  38. Jasmine says:

    Yummo! Thanks so much 🙂

  39. jasmine1485 says:

    Argh! This would make gluten free doughnuts so much easier to make! I have tried making them before and cutting with a glass, but it was very tricky and the dough got stuck everywhere. :S Those pictures of your pumpkin spice doughnuts look edible themselves!

  40. Nicole Zois says:

    Wow these sound amazing. with a toddler who is allergic to just about everything these will be amazing. will try them tomorrow!!!

  41. It looks so yummy. My little is gonna love it!

  42. Nashy says:

    That looks delicious! definitely going to try that out((:

  43. Oh, my gosh. Those donuts look AMAZING! It’s probably for the best that vegan donuts are not widely available where I live, but I still wouldn’t mind an occasional indulgence! 🙂 Thanks for the cool giveaway!!

  44. Megan says:

    I would love me a pan (: !!! Lovely + simple icing recipe!

  45. Adrienne says:

    I will definitely make these if I have a donut pan. Donut pan added to wishlist.

  46. Denise Malia says:

    Thank you for this recipe! Can’t wit to try it! ღ (◠‿◠) ♥

  47. These look so amazingly delicious!!! I’m always in need of pumpkin. 😉

  48. Kristen N. says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe and giveaway!

  49. I was just talking to my friend about how we needed donut pans! I love baked donuts much more than fried, anyway. 😉 Thanks for putting on this giveaway!

  50. Alanna says:

    Pumpkin, chocolate, AND vegan?? I think I’m in love!

  51. isayveegun says:

    I’m definitely going to give this recipe a try!

  52. I’m just excited to know these pans exist. Love what you did with it!

  53. rsmacaalay says:

    As always your recipes are so tempting, the picture says it all

  54. Michelle Wong says:

    Yes! Finally, a good opportunity and an easier way to make more yummy stuff!

  55. Yummy Martyna… now if it wasn’t for all the indulgence at #EDB2012, I could eat one of these right now. Great to meet you, BTW!

  56. karlene says:

    Brilliant give away – thanks

  57. Michelle Gray says:

    Suits our lifestyle perfectly, brilliant!!!!!

  58. Angie Boylan says:

    Probably the only way my kids would eat pumpkin!

  59. oh these look so good and pumkins a hit in our home my kids just love pumkin soup and pie so ill be trying these 🙂

  60. Lee says:

    Wow..a healthier donut option, they look fantastic, I bet the kids wouldn’t even know pumpkin was in them!

  61. cquek says:

    that looks absolutely fantastic! great photos as always

  62. Rosa Mayland says:

    Those doughnuts look very tempting! I love those flavors. So autumnal.



  63. Gary says:

    The doughnuts look awesome! What sort of gluten-free flour did you use? Does it matter if I use rice flour or buckwheat flour?

    Many thanks,


    • Hi Gary, I used a pre-mixed gluten free flour (White Wings brand here in Australia). Most pre-mixed plain gluten free flour blends can be used. You could mix your own by using 2 parts rice flour + 1/3 parts tapioca flour + 2/3 potato starch. 🙂 Happy baking!

  64. Jacki says:

    Hi Martyna, I am going to make these – they look absolutely delicious!

    What can I substitute for the apple sauce? I am on a low FODMAP diet and can’t tolerate apples 🙁


    • Hi Jacki, I would probably go with either the same amount of blended banana (which may not work for you on FODMAP), or potentially just the same amount of water or [non-dairy] milk… Bear in mind that sweetness will decrease so you may need to add about 1/4 tsp Stevia drops into the batter.

  65. Nandita says:

    Do you have a gluten free, egg free, nut free, soy free recipe for a regular donut?



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