Dairy free possible,  Dessert,  Easy,  Great for kids,  Once a Foodie recipes,  Refined sugar free

Healthier baked carrot cake donuts [refined sugar and dairy free]

Healthier baked carrot cake donuts on a cooling rack.

Hello all! How are you going? Do you wish it was baked donuts time where you are? I sure do.

The kids and I have just come back from 4 nights at the Gold Coast (which, if you don’t know, is a region south of Brisbane on Australia’s east coast famous for its long sandy beaches, surfing spots and elaborate system of inland canals and waterways, which is also home to theme parks such as Dreamworld, Sea World and Wet’n’Wild as well as inland, hiking trails crisscrossing Lamington National Park’s mountain ridges and valleys, home to rare birds and rainforest – thanks Google).

And let me say, it was wonderful. The only thing which could have possibly made it better would be if we had brought some of these delicious healthier baked carrot cake donuts with us!

Healthier baked carrot cake donuts on a cooling rack.

Healthier baked donuts – a delicious snack

If you follow me on Instagram, you might already know I am a big fan of my Wilton mini donut pan. I’ve had it for about 12 months now and the kids and I have made a few different kinds of donuts in it. I only have one other donut recipe on the blog so far – these gorgeous zucchini pancake donuts – but there are others which I need to write up.

The beauty of baked donuts is that they are healthier (not fried) and cakier (if that’s a word – the texture is just lovely). As a bonus, anything tastes better in a donut shape and the mini size helps ensure that you can control your portions better (if that’s usually a problem for you). Either way, you won’t be sorry.

Healthier baked carrot cake donuts on a red plate.

What makes these baked carrot cake donuts healthier?

These healthier baked carrot cake donuts are refined sugar free and contain healthier ingredients such as oats, carrots, linseed and almond meal and Greek (or plant based) yoghurt. If you switch up the spelt flour, you can make then gluten free.

These do have some flour in them but it’s wholemeal spelt flour (rather than bleached plain white flour). If you want to make this dairy free, use plant-based yoghurt, such as coconut yoghurt or almond yoghurt, instead of Greek yoghurt.

And yes, the texture is just delightful – as you can probably see from some of these photos – soft and squishy, scented with coconut, carrot, cinnamon and dotted with bits of crunchy walnuts.

And that soft texture is beautifully contrasted with the crunchy chocolate topping. But do not fear, this doesn’t make the donuts unhealthy or overly sweet. Firstly, I have used sugar free chocolate bits (dark and white – I like the Noshu brand) and, secondly, there isn’t much there – just enough to give you that nice textural contrast and a hint of sweetness. Plus, don’t they look amazing, drizzled in that yummy chocolate goodness?

Healthier baked carrot cake donuts on a cooling rack.
Healthier baked carrot cake donuts in a baking tin.

Baked donuts for every occasion – thank you Leanne!

I imagine these baked donuts would be perfect for any informal occasion, like a lazy afternoon tea, a nice picnic, a gathering with friends or family, or even just to have with your cup of tea in the morning. But they would be fabulous even for a fancier occasion such as a high tea or a birthday party.

The inspiration for these donuts came from a wonderful recipe for Carrot cake donuts (gluten free) from one of my friends, Leanne, which she’s featured on her gorgeous blog Crumb Top Baking.

If you are not familiar with Leanne’s blog, you absolutely need to check it out – this is not the first recipe I have made from her blog and they have all turned out absolutely wonderful (plus she has more baked donut recipes if carrot cake isn’t your thing!). I love Leanne’s writing style and her step by step photos and I find myself returning to her blog over and over again.

I have changed a few ingredients and some of the method in this recipe, in particular substituting linseed (flaxseed) meal for the protein powder which Leanne uses, to make it more child-friendly, if you – like me – have young children and are not sure about including protein powders in their meals just yet.

I am also not using oat flour like Leanne is (which means my recipe is not gluten free) and instead I have used a mix of almond meal, wholemeal spelt flour and rolled oats, which makes these quite nutritious. I have subbed in yoghurt for the apple sauce (I didn’t have any), I pop the walnuts straight into the batter, I use whole eggs (and not just egg whites) and my toppings are a little different – but otherwise the amounts are very heavily based on Leanne’s – you don’t change a good thing when you see it, right!? Thank you Leanne for your ongoing inspiration!

Healthier baked carrot cake donuts on a cooling rack.

Recipe

Healthier baked carrot cake donuts on a cooling rack.
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5 from 11 votes

Healthier baked carrot cake donuts [refined sugar and dairy free]

Author Katerina | Once a Foodie

Ingredients

Dry ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup linseed (flaxseed) meal
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats (not quick cook oats)
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes (or shredded coconut)
  • 1/2 cup grated or blitzed up carrot (you will need about 2 small carrots) (I blitz them up in my mini food processor)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly crushed or chopped

Wet ingredients

  • 1/2 cup macadamia (or other plant based) milk
  • 1/4 cup macadamia oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup plant based or Greek yoghurt
  • scant 1/4 cup honey
  • squeeze of vanilla paste

Chocolate topping

  • handful of chocolate chips (preferably sugar free), white
  • handful of chocolate chips (preferably sugar free), dark
  • drizzle of MCT oil

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C and spray your 12-hole mini donut pan with coconut oil spray (or grease with coconut oil)
  • Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. (And yes, the carrot goes in there because you want the carrot bits covered in the flour mix so they disperse through the donut mixture evenly.)
  • In a separate bowl (or a measuring jug), whisk the wet ingredients together.
  • Pour the wet ingredients mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated (don't overmix).
  • Gently pour the mixture into the mini donut pan, trying not to spill too much (yes, it's hard) – but it doesn't need to be perfect (just wipe off any spillage with a wet paper towel).
  • If you have a mini donut pan with more than 12 holes, then keep on filling. Otherwise you are likely to have some mixture left over. I usually make a couple of smaller cake shapes (like stars or love hearts – these are forms/tins for mini tea cakes) so do what you can – otherwise you can reserve the rest of the mixture in the fridge and do another round with the same mini donut tin once the first 12 donuts have been baked.
  • Bake in the over for about 17 to 19 minutes until golden on top. Take out of the oven and let cool completely.
  • If you're baking additional cake shapes with the leftover mixture, if they are deeper, they will need more time. Depending on what you're using, I suggest extra 10 minutes but it will really depend on what form you're using. Test with a cake tester to make sure they're baked through.
  • When the donuts are completely cool, place them onto a cooling rack. Then melt the chocolate chips. I just pop them on a small plate each (white chips on one small plate and dark chips on another small plate) and heat in the microwave in 15 second intervals. Mix with a spoon after each interval until melted.
  • Once melted, drizzle a little bit of MCT oil onto each plate and mix together until gorgeous and shiny.
  • I then simply gather a little of the chocolate mixture on a spoon and go to town drizzling the cool donuts until my heart's content. Drizzle one type of chocolate first, then the other for best effect.

Notes

This recipe makes about 16 to 18 mini donuts – I only have a 12-hole mini pan so I make 12 mini donuts and 2 larger cake shapes.
This recipe is based on Leanne’s Carrot cake donuts (gluten free) which is featured on her excellent blog Crumb Top Baking.
 
You have found this delightful recipe on Once a Foodie – onceafoodie.com. It was lovely to see you. Please come visit again.
 
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Healthier baked carrot cake donuts on a red plate.

Recipe notes

This recipe makes about 16 to 18 mini donuts – I only have a 12-hole mini pan so I make 12 mini donuts and 2 larger cake shapes.

This recipe is based on Leanne’s Carrot cake donuts (gluten free) which is featured on her excellent blog Crumb Top Baking.

Healthier baked carrot cake donuts on a red plate.

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