Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Donut Cake (vegan)

This time of year I sometimes get the feeling that eating gluten-free is harder than it seems. Like when Fall rolls around and you wish you could go to the local orchard and have that fresh cider and warm donut while enjoying the orchard beauty. Or with the holidays, you get that nostalgic love for something special to wake up to on Christmas morning. Gluten-free eating is an adventure for sure. Living gluten-free was one of the best, healthiest choices I ever made in my life and I never regret it. Yet, that doesn't mean that it isn't hard or seemingly impossible some days. I think you know what I mean.

The holidays.

The beautiful, sacred, family-filled space that can be the best of times and the worst of times. I hope and pray for your sake that you have family and friends in your life that will support you and love on you when it comes to the 'food' scene at your holiday table. Because we are a culture that surrounds ourselves with comfort and traditions of the holiday season it is hard to sometimes change what you have been doing since the beginning of time (or at least hard to change your aunt, mother-in-law or grandma's mind).

My best suggestion is that you try not to change everything all in one meal with your family and friends. Really, it isn't worth having to pull teeth for people to understand your dietary restrictions. If they are willing and want to understand and change, then that is another thing. But from my experience (and with talking with many others with similar diet restrictions), it is always harder than easier it seems. So, with that in mind, my best move to have a joyful holiday when it comes to food, bring a dish that you know you can eat. That means, you bring the spinach salad, quinoa stirfry, or green beans. If you want to make sure to have a dessert that you can eat, then you make the gluten-free cake, the fresh pie or the healthy cookies. Don't require everyone to change just for you. Just introduce a little more of the healthier food choices by bringing a dish to pass. That's how I survive the holidays. It is kinda fun to experiment making a dish, and then when you have others try it at the dinner you would be surprised how people find it more inviting to hear more about how you eat or what you eat.

Also, another thing I tell people about bringing food to a gathering. "Don't take it personal!" That is if you brought a special healthier version of pumpkin pie, maybe you made it from scratch, or it is raw, or whatever, and it is delicious in your opinion! Yet, you can't get your dad to try it because he is just too used to the norm. Well then, don't take it personally! Just remember not every one is at the same place you are at with loving fresh foods or wanting to eat healthy. So introduce and share what you can and when you can, but don't expect it to blow their minds as much as it might yours! :) Just another point of advice from my own experience. I love to share my food with people, but sometimes it is just more exciting for me to have a gluten-free cookie than them. But that is ok. I will leave a few dishes I have made over the holidays at the end of this post so that if you are looking for a dish to share you have a few to try out.

But let's get back to my original reason for thinking about holiday eating... this recipe.

There is an orchard I used to go to in college that was a walk away from my dorm building. I would go with my friends for a cup of cider and a yummy warm donut. There is something about this time of year that would make a gluten-free person ache for a donut more than usual. So, what do you do... you make a treat of your own to enjoy and then still go to the orchard to stock up on apples for winter.

Gluten-free flours can be a bit hard to start using and seem like a new language for beginners. Yet, just start somewhere... like buying a GF flour mix and finding a recipe to try out. This recipe is a good one for that too. The flours can be found at any health store, and may even be found in your regular grocery store now since they are starting to stock GF options at more and more stores.
This is a slice of the gooey, cinnamon, apple cake bread. It really does taste like a donut to me. I can't keep my fingers away from stealing a piece. I hope you try this one out... it is really yummy and you will make it again and again... like maybe on Christmas morning, or just for a fun breakfast treat.

Apple Cinnamon Donut Bread Recipe

1 ts. of baking powder
1/2 ts. of sea salt
1/2 cup of hard extra virgin coconut oil

1 cup of finely diced apple slices

1 cup of sucanat, or powdered sweetener like beet, date, palm or coconut sugar
2 TB of cinnamon
1/2 cup of melted Earth Balance (soy free option) or melted coconut oil

Mix the flour, dry ingredients, and hard coconut oil together in a large mixing bowl first. Then you will have a crumbly flour mix, that is when you add the cup of coconut milk and mix more with a spatula or spoon. This will turn into a sticky batter that will kinda resemble a biscuit mix batter. Then dice the apple and toss that into the batter as well. Then mix together the melted oil or earth balance spread with the sucanat and cinnamon. This will turn into a syrup or gooey mix. Then take the batter and roll chunks of it, or like donut holes and place them in the bottom of a funnel cake or bundt pan. Roll lots of the chunks of batter and then pour the gooey filling over top the batter, you may need to mix the batter a bit with the filling in the pan so that the batter gets coated with the filling all over. You layer the donut-hole pieces of batter that are coated in the filling on top of each other in the pan. You could make this kinda like a monkey bread recipe if that is easier, but ultimately you are just tossing the batter and the filling together in the pan so that they can all bake up together nicely. It will taste good no matter what it looks like.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. This bread or cake, will serve up to 8 people.

Eat warm from the oven with some fresh apple cider and soak up the rich yumminess!!!

I hope you enjoy! Here are some more ideas for holiday treats and dishes to try out:

Much love to you today!




  1. This looks delicious! I can't wait to try it! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great tips for the holidays! It definitely is hard, but I think you're right that the best thing to do is to bring something you can share with everyone.

  3. MMMMMMMMM,..This applz cinnamon donut bread looks so delectable, Stephanie!

    Yummie food!

  4. YUM! I cannot wait to make this! I love baking with So Delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  5. Very well-written post and great tips. I too share in the "I'm more excited than others" when I bring "healthy" treats to share. I may present a vegan, grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free cookie and rave about it, but it just doesn't quite translate to the masses. :) They do still eat "real" donuts and cookies, after all. But I do remind myself that I feel wonderful after eating MY cookies - lol! I love this cake. I think I need some tomorrow with my coffee.

  6. Stephanie, how would anyone not love that dessert? Wow! Yes, some people are definitely afraid to try new things! Our little food blogger world is actually more adventurous than most!

  7. This recipe was pretty easy to make and came out great. After the 30 minutes, the donut rolls were still visible, so I used a spatula to press down the cake into the bundt mold. I cooked another five minutes. When I rotated the pan to release the cake, the shape held perfectly. I used the spatula again to scoop out the extra residue of cinnamon sugar filling and drizzled over the top. It was the centerpiece for our Christmas morning celebration. My husband thought you couldn't tell the difference!

    Thanks for sharing the recipe with us! If I make this again, I'd like to try adding some vanilla extract to the dough as I used unsweetened So Delicious coconut milk in lieu of the Vanilla, which is creamy, but not flavored.

  8. Leslie- I too made this recipe for Christmas morning at my house! Glad you enjoyed and pulled off a GF/DF vegan treat for Christmas without too much disappointment. Much love to you!

    1. Hi Stephanie, just saw your reply while bookmarking this recipe to my Pinterest. Disappointment...far from it. It was the highlight of our Christmas morning, for sure! I love that you made this recipe to celebrate as well. In solidarity, girlfriend!