Bakery/ Brunch

Cake vs. Yeast Donuts | Vegan Donut Making

Doughnut or donut. Cake vs. yeast. Frosted or dusted with sugar? Donuts can be complex, but they don’t have to be. I’m going to show you how to make baked cake donuts as well as give you a little lesson in the varieties of donuts.

A Little History Lesson

The widely accepted spelling of the word is doughnut. However, in the US it’s more popular to spell it donut. Often, I use the spellings interchangeably.

Anyway, donut-like pastries have existed for centuries. In simple terms, a donut is a fried or cooked slab of dough. Dutch settlers introduced olykoeks. or oil cakes to North America. Early donuts didn’t have a hole in the center. According to legend, a 16-year- old named Hanson Crockett Gregory created the modern donut shape. Most historians believe that Gregory tore out the center of his donut to get rid of the raw dough. Ring-shaped donuts became much easier to fry and there were no soggy parts.

The two main types of donuts are yeast/raised donuts and cake donuts. Cake donuts are made using a simple batter of flour, liquid, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Yeast donuts use an enriched dough similar to brioche and require proofing. Cake donuts are sweeter, but usually more crumbly. Yeast donuts are airy and resemble a sweetened bread. Traditionally, both types are fried. However, cake donuts can be baked for a healthier option.

Some common donut varieties include cider donuts, crullers, Long Johns, jelly donuts, sour cream donuts, cronuts, and Boston cream. Many modern bakeries have themed donuts like maple bacon and monster donuts.

I can’t forget to talk about the toppings! A simple glaze or a dusting of cinnamon/sugar are common toppings. Sprinkle frosted donuts are another classic. I’ve seen donuts with cereal and chocolate chips on top. The opportunities are endless. Personally, I like jelly donuts with cinnamon and sugar on top.

You might be thinking that this is all common knowledge. But, I find the origins of baked goods and pastries fascinating. Whoever decided to put sweetened dough into hot oil is a genius.

How to Make Vegan Donuts

Lucky for us, it’s not laborious to veganize donuts. The major differences between vegan and regular donuts are eggs and fat. Not all, but a fair amount of donuts use eggs or egg whites and usually butter or shortening that contains animal fat. Only a few substitutions are needed, such as flax eggs and dairy-free butter. Frying donuts is the same as most recipes call for vegetable oil. For baked donuts, all you need is a donut pan.

A word of caution…I would stay away from recipes that claim to be sugar and fat-free. While baked cake donuts are a healthier option. Some type of fat and/or sweetener are required to make donuts. I can imagine that these ultra-healthy donuts taste like soggy bread. Just go ahead and let yourself have an indulgent donut!

If you are interested in a fried jelly donut, check out my vegan holiday recipes. See the recipe card below for these chocolate glazed cake donuts!

What You Will Need

For these chocolate glazed donuts, you will need:

  • Donut pan. I use one with an assortment of shapes.
  • Cooking spray.
  • Unbleached all-purpose flour.
  • Cane sugar.
  • Baking powder.
  • Cinnamon.
  • Salt.
  • Ground flaxseeds.
  • Dairy-free butter. I like Country Crock plant butters or Earth Balance.
  • Non-dairy milk.
  • Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Powdered sugar.
  • Cocoa powder.
  • Vanilla extract.
  • Mixing bowls and other basic baking supplies.

The full instructions are listed below. If you can bake a cake, you can make this no problem!

*I use affiliate links. I might earn a commission from qualifying purchases. I am no longer affiliated with Target and Amazon. Old links are still present, but I no longer earn a commission from Target and Amazon affiliate links. Ready my disclaimer & content policy to learn more about the affiliate links I use.

Chocolate Glazed Vegan Donuts

Healthy(ish) & baked cake donuts with chocolate gaze. 
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 9 mins
Total Time 39 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings


For the Batter

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour sifted
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 5 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter melted

For the Glaze

  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Mix water and flaxseed together and set aside for later. Sift the flour and add sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk the ingredients to remove any lumps.
  • Add lemon juice to the soy milk and allow to curdle. Add the flax eggs and butter to the mixture. Stir in soy milk and mix until just combined.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease donut pan. Fill each cavity about 1/2-2/3 full.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the middle is baked. Insert a toothpick and if it comes out clean, the donuts are done! Let cool for about 10 minutes before removing donuts from the pan.
  • For the glaze, sift together the powdered sugar anc cocoa powder. Slowly mix in the non-dairy milk until a desired texture is achieved. If the glaze is too sweet, add a pinch of salt. Add more liquid as necessary.
  • To glaze the donuts, flip a donut upside down and dip into the glaze. Place on parchment to dry and repeat this process with each one.
  • Serve fresh. Donuts keep for 3-5 days.


This recipe was adapted from Simply Stacie. 
Adding lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to soy milk creates a buttermilk substitute. 
Do not overfill donut cavities. If you overfill, the donuts will not have a hole in the center. 
Keyword baked, chocolate, donuts, doughnuts, vegan

P.S. If you recreate any of my recipes, please tag me on Instagram @authentically_vegan. Thank you for reading! Let me know in the comments if you are a fan of donuts.

To get more than 30 vegan brunch recipes, check out my ebook.

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  • Reply
    Alyssa Maher
    February 17, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Can’t wait to try these!

    • Reply
      February 17, 2020 at 12:15 pm

      Let me know how they turn out!

  • Reply
    Lir Blay
    February 19, 2020 at 4:51 am

    I’m usually not a big donuts fan, but your post just made me really wanna try and make them! 🙂

    • Reply
      February 19, 2020 at 8:31 am

      😊yay, I’m glad this inspired you!

  • Reply
    February 19, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    Looks delicious and easy enough. Saw a similar recipe the other day.

    • Reply
      February 19, 2020 at 4:01 pm

      Thank you! These recipes are fairly common, hope you like mine.

      • Reply
        February 19, 2020 at 4:08 pm

        You are certainly welcome. I’m sure your recipe will be delightful.

      • Reply
        February 19, 2020 at 6:08 pm

        You are quite welcome! Look forward to trying your recipe 😊

  • Reply
    February 20, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    These look so good! I definitely need to give them a try!

    • Reply
      February 21, 2020 at 8:53 am

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy them!

  • Reply
    Eliza Gillum
    February 23, 2020 at 1:09 am

    These look so delicious yummy

    • Reply
      February 23, 2020 at 10:10 am

      Thank you very much!

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