Simple Gluten-Free Donuts from Cake Mix
These scrumptious gluten-free donuts are whipped up in just 20 minutes or less because we start with cake mix and a sweet way to start the day!
I remember going to get donuts when I was a kid. It was this huge deal to go to the Southern Maid donut shop to get hot donuts in the morning on special occasions. And sometimes the special occasion was just that we all wanted donuts :) I remember these donuts so vividly. How they stretched as you bit into them when they were hot… how I loved the orange iced the best but sometimes there were strawberry iced and those were pretty darn amazing, too. Seeing that green and white box on the little kitchen table in the break area at my Mimmie’s work was always great because I knew that whoever they belonged to would always give me a donut from the box :) And did you know that the only commercial Elvis Presley made during his lifetime was for Southern Maid donuts? Approved by The King? No wonder I loved them :)
These days I haven’t found a gluten-free donut that is anywhere near my memories of donuts out of that box with the pretty southern maid on it, but these quick and easy gluten-free donuts are the best option I have found for the GF home baker. We start off with a box of gluten free cake mix, add a few ingredients and then ice and doll these babies up and they come together really quickly. I promise that if you get really gung-ho with the donut toppings, chances are you’re going to have plenty of wheat eaters who love these donuts despite their gluten-free status!
And I absolutely did doll these guys up like you wouldn’t believe…
Now before we go all full on into this recipe, which is super quick and easy let’s cover one of my most favorite donut discussions… donut toppings.
Our Favorite Homemade Donut Toppings
- Sprinkles by Sweets Indeed – Most are GF – Check before purchasing to be sure…
- Crushed Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
- Crushed Chocolate Chip Cookies (not shown)
- Nonpareil Sprinkles (my fave because of the sweet crunch!)
- Jimmies Sprinkles
- Fruity Pebbles
- Cocoa Pebbles (not pictured)
- Marshmallows (ours are picked from Lucky Charms cereal – if it is humid, the marshmallows will get sticky and messy, just FYI)
Donut Icing Recipe
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- splash of vanilla extract (or other extract)
- a few drops of food coloring
Place all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until you get a very thick, but still drippy icing. If the icing will not run (albeit slowly) off of the back of a spoon, add more milk, just a tiny bit at a time until it does.
*note – adding more than a few drops of food coloring can alter the consistency of the icing. If going heavy with the color, reduce your milk or other liquids and then add as needed for the right consistency. If your icing becomes too runny it will make a huge mess when it drips down the sides of your donuts and there’s actually a lot of waste. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, to increase the thickness if needed.
Modifications to our Icing Recipe
Now as far as toppings go, you don’t even have to have them. If you add a little splash of maple extract instead of vanilla to your icing, BOOM! maple iced donuts that don’t NEED any toppings. But if you’re into bacon, I hear bacon on top of maple donuts is pretty fab, I’ve just never had the guts to try it! You can also use natural flavors in place of your extract. I will make lemon or orange icing by substituting fresh lemon juice for both the milk and vanilla extract. (ooh, and bonus points if you add in a little citrus zest!)
With a small batch recipe for the icing, you can make a dozen different flavors or colors to go with your dozen donuts! But, if you are just going with a one-off, feel free to increase the recipe, too! What we have here is an icing that will dry nice and firm making them easy to stack for carrying or storing without making a mess. Take care, though, after a few days, if you’re donuts can possibly last that long :), the icing will become a bit brittle and susceptible to cracking.
The recipe that I have shared below will yield an icing that is thick, but runny enough to slowly drip down the sides. But not so runny that it will pool up beneath and around the donut.
Simple Gluten-Free Donuts from Cake Mix
Now I’ve tried many, many boxed mixes for gluten free donuts but so far the only results I have been consistently happy with are from King Arthur Gluten Free Cake Mixes, which you can buy in some grocery stores and online at Amazon (see ingredients list below for links). Pillsbury mixes are probably my next favorite option, should you not be able to find King Arthur GF Mixes near you. I simply cannot make the Betty Crocker mixes be the right texture to not be too dry and crumble like a cookie, or too loose and fall apart like a GF cupcake. We have found that with the King Arthur mix donuts that their texture is PERFECT after the donuts have sat overnight. We always eat 1 or 2 fresh from the oven, but they’re a bit soft. They really shine with the perfect cake donut texture the next morning. So if making them for breakfast, whip them up before you hit the hay and they’ll be perfect the next day!
- 1 box of King Arthur Gluten Free Cake Mix (chocolate or yellow)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
- 1 cup of water
- Wilton Donut Pan
- non-stick cooking spray
- large piping bags (no tip needed)
- Prepare pan with non-stick cooking spray and preheat your oven to 350°,
- Mix all ingredients together until well incorporated.
- Transfer wet mixture to 2 large piping bags, no piping tip necessary. FYI – it’s a large quantity of wet batter and it’s easier to handle if using 2 bags.
- Cut off the bottom of the piping bag 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch away from the bottom tip. Pipe a circle in the donut pan for each. Try to make your batter levels consistent with one another for an even bake. I strive for 3/4 full for every cavity.
- Bake for 11-14 minutes, or until a pick comes away clean.
- Allow to cool in the pan for 4 minutes and then allow to finish cooling removed from the pan on a wire rack.
- Ice and add toppings as desired and enjoy!
Ooh, and a quick note… if you’re making your donuts for a crowd and you want anybody grabbing a GF donut to feel more “normal”, we LOVE taking our donuts around in a cardboard cake carrier you can purchase from Walmart or a craft store. You should see the looks on faces when the Celiac littles also get to choose their donut from a paper box! It’s a small thing, but it can feel like a big thing :)