Baked Carrot Cake Donuts are soft and cakey with a warming mix of spices, coconut and carrot. They’re also gluten-free with an irresistible white chocolate and coconut topping, and can easily be made dairy-free.
*This post was originally published in March 2018. It has been updated with new photos and text, including helpful tips for readers and minor adjustments to the recipe.
Easter is just a few days away, and it will be a different kind of celebration this year. While we won’t be getting together with family, I still hope to bake some goodies and drop them off on doorsteps.
And these carrot cake donuts will definitely be in the goodie packages…..if I don’t eat them all first!
Details on a few ingredients
Oat flour – This is a whole-grain flour made simply from rolled oats. It’s high in fibre and normally gluten-free. It’s great in muffins and pancakes, and works well in donuts too.
Protein powder – Vanilla protein powder adds a hint of sweetness to these donuts as well as some extra protein. This recipe has been tested with a plant-based protein powder that’s gluten-free and vegan. I haven’t tested it with whey protein or unflavoured protein powder.
Apple sauce – I love adding apple sauce to baked goods for added moisture. It doesn’t affect the taste but enhances the texture. This recipe calls for unsweetened apple sauce in order to minimize the amount of added sugar. But if you only have sweetened apple sauce, you can still use it. Just note that your donuts will be sweeter.
Liquid egg whites – I always have liquid egg whites on hand to make omelettes and protein pancakes, so I used a quarter of a cup in this recipe. If you only have eggs, I would suggest using the egg whites from two whole eggs.
How to make baked carrot cake donuts
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, except the coconut.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, except the carrot.
Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Mix in the coconut and carrot.
Use non-stick cooking spray to generously grease a 12-cavity mini donut pan. Sprinkle some chopped walnuts into each cavity.
Spoon the batter into the donut cavities, spreading evenly but being careful not to disturb the walnuts on the bottom.
Bake on 350F for 13-15 minutes.
Let the donuts cool completely before topping with melted chocolate and toasted coconut.
Frequently asked questions
Unfortunately, I haven’t tested these donuts with other flours. Oat flour is not often substituted for all-purpose or whole wheat flour on a 1:1 ratio, so I wouldn’t recommend substituting. However, if you have rolled oats, you can easily make oat flour by blitzing the oats in the blender until they resemble the texture of flour.
You can store them without the chocolate topping in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. However, once they are topped with chocolate, I suggest storing them in the fridge as they firm up and the white chocolate hardens. They should last for 5-6 days in the fridge.
Yes, but I recommend freezing them without the chocolate and coconut topping. Just wait for the donuts to cool completely and then arrange them in a single layer in a freezer safe container. If you need to store them in layers, just do so with a sheet of parchment or wax paper in between the layers. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, let them thaw in the refrigerator and then top with melted chocolate and coconut.
Recipe tips and substitutions
- Oat flour and protein powder can often be lumpy. If this is the case with yours, just sift the dry ingredients together before combining them with the wet mixture.
- I often use flaked and shredded coconut in recipes, but I find medium works best in this recipe as it has a finer texture. I also make sure to use unsweetened coconut. You can still use sweetened, but it will add more sugar to your donuts.
- To keep these donuts gluten-free, use certified gluten-free protein powder and oat flour.
- To keep them dairy-free, make sure the protein powder is dairy-free and forego the white chocolate topping.
- This recipe makes 12 mini-donuts, which results in donuts that are about 3-inches in diameter. If you only have a 6-cavity pan that makes larger donuts, you will need to increase the baking time.
Other gluten-free baked donut recipes
More carrot cake recipes
- Carrot Cake Loaf (with cashew cream frosting)
- Carrot Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Coconut Carrot Cake (dairy-free and egg-free bundt cake)
- Small Carrot Cake Recipe (single layer carrot cake)
If you make these carrot cake donuts, please leave a comment and rating below to let me know how it turned out!
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Carrot Cake Donuts (Gluten-Free)
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 90 minutes
- Yield: 12
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
Carrot Cake Donuts are soft and cakey with a warming mix of spices, coconut and carrot. They’re also gluten-free with an irresistible white chocolate and coconut topping, and can easily be made dairy-free.
- 1/3 cup chopped raw walnuts
- 1 1/4 cup oat flour
- 1/4 cup vanilla plant-based protein powder
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup liquid egg whites
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup finely grated carrot
- 1/2 cup unsweetened medium coconut
- 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/2 tablespoon virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil
- 1/4 cup toasted unsweetened coconut
- Pre-heat oven to 350F and generously grease a 12-cavity mini donut pan with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle the walnuts into each cavity.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oat flour, protein powder, spices, baking soda and salt. Sift together, if lumpy.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the almond milk, apple sauce, oil, egg whites and honey.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
- Stir in the carrot and coconut.
- Spoon the batter into the donut cavities, spreading evenly but being careful not to disturb the walnuts on the bottom.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into a donut comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the topping, melt the white chocolate chips and coconut oil in the microwave for two 30-second intervals, stirring in between intervals. Dip the tops of the donuts in the white chocolate and top with toasted coconut.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy within 5-6 days.
- If you don’t have oat flour, you can make your own by blitzing rolled oats in the blender until they resemble the texture of flour.
- If you don’t have liquid egg whites, you can use the egg whites from two whole eggs (2 tablespoons of liquid egg whites is approximately equal to the egg white from one whole egg).
- For gluten-free donuts, ensure your oat flour and protein powder are certified gluten-free.
- For dairy-free donuts, use vegan protein powder and forego the white chocolate topping.
- Be sure to check out the FAQ as well as the tips and substitutions section above the recipe for more detailed advice and suggestions for making this recipe.
Keywords: gluten-free donuts, baked donuts, protein donuts
This recipe looks amazing! I plan to make these this weekend I do have the regular size donut pan. Any suggestions for the increased baking time? Will the clean toothpick test for doneness work on these donuts?
Hi Christy! I would just add another 2 minutes to the baking time, and then check for doneness with a toothpick. If it doesn’t come out clean, bake for another minute or two. For a 6-cavity, regular-sized donut pan, you will get about 8-9 donuts out of this recipe. Please let me know how it goes if you try them!
What can I use in place of protein powder? These look amazing, but we don’t use protein powder.
Hi Christel! Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, I have only tested these donuts with protein powder so I’m not able to advise on a replacement. You could try leaving out the protein powder and adding more oat flour, but again, I haven’t tested this so I can’t say for certain how it would turn out.
Tasia ~ two sugar bugs says
I’m sitting here drinking my coffee and wishing I was munching on one of these donuts too! I love the walnuts baked into the tops! And for me, that white chocolate and coconut topping would not be optional!😉
Thanks Tasia! These donuts really do go well with coffee!
We LOVED your peanut butter banana protein donuts and I know these would be a hit as well. I will definitely try these next! And I baked and dropped off goodies on my family’s doorsteps…it was so strange not spending Easter with them. Hope you enjoyed your holiday and I love these new photos!
It was a different holiday but we made the best of it. I hope you and your family did too. Thanks for making and sharing my PB donuts. Hope you get to try the carrot ones too!
I love carrot cake and love donuts so this is right up my alley! I also love that you snuck in some protein too!
Thanks Christie! They make a nice treat!
Katherine | Love In My Oven says
Your new photos are fantastic, Leanne! These look so delicious! I need to get my hands on some protein powder so I can make these for the munchkins and I soon!
Thanks Katherine! Hope you get to try them!
These donuts are completely drool worthy, Leanne! You’re the queen of delicious, nutritious treats!
Aww thanks so much Marissa! Appreciate it!
Alexandra @ It's Not Complicated Recipes says
These are just so lovely –
What a great idea, a nice twist on such a classic Easter dessert.
So great, Leanne!
Thanks so much Alex!
These look absolutely amazing, Leanne! What an incredibly delicious and special breakfast — or snack, if you ask me! 😉 Beautiful photos, as well. Aren’t reshoots so fun?
Re-shoots are fun! Thanks Monica. And donuts for breakfast works for me!
Do you by chance have the nutritional facts on these doughnuts? Made them exactly how it said.
Hi Taylor. I’m sorry I don’t have the nutritional information to provide at the moment. I’ve been working to update my posts to include this information, but haven’t gotten to this recipe yet. I’ll bump this one up in the queue and have that information included within the next day or two!
Carrot cake in donut form? Count me in! And the fact that these are gluten free makes me really happy. I can’t wait to make these!
I need to buy a doughnut pan soon! This carrit cake is in my list now and I love how you added to nuts right at the end, gives a pretty visual too to the cake.
Thank you! I bought my donut pan about a year ago, and it’s been great for making healthy donuts! And I love baking walnuts or pecans into the tops of the donuts! Hope you get a chance to make these soon!
Hi! Is there a way to reduce the oil? Also, do you have nutritional info per donut? Thx :))
Hi Melina! I’ve never tried making these donuts with less oil. I usually try to include some healthy fats in my baked goods, so I’m not sure how the texture of these donuts would work if they had less than 1/4 cup of evoo. As for the nutritional information, I don’t have that available right now, but I’m actually working on including it for all my recipes, so it will be available soon! Thanks for stopping by!