Autumn is here and the leaves have started to fall. I love the change of seasons, and this one happens to be one of my favorites. Apple picking, mums being sold, and the sight of pumpkin fields always makes me happy.

I really start to crave apple cider this time of year, and look for ways to incorporate it in my cooking. I decided to make a gluten-free baked donut recipe and was so happy with the result. It only uses coconut sugar in the batter, so these aren’t over-the-top sweet, which I love. I decided to grate a whole apple into the batter for flavor and texture – and hey, the added fiber is a bonus.

These are perfect for dessert, or with your morning cup of coffee or tea. Makes about 15 donuts.


  • 8 tbls unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups apple cider, reduced down to ½ cup
  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled and grated
  • 2 ¼ cups King Arthur gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Coconut spray cooking oil for pan
  • Optional powdered sugar to dust on top


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a donut pan with coconut spray and set aside.
  2. Heat your apple cider in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down slightly and reduce until you have ½ cup. It’ll take about 20-30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar until smooth. Mix in the eggs, grated apple and vanilla. Pour in the buttermilk and the cooled ½ cup of reduced apple cider and mix until smooth. Gently stir in the flour mixture until blended, being careful not to over mix.
  5. Pour the mixture into a gallon ziploc bag and snip the bottom corner of the bag. Carefully fill each donut mold about ½ to ¾ full, pinching the bottom of the bag as you move to the next mold (batter will be thin). Bake for about 10-13 minutes or until they spring back when gently touched.
  6. Pop donuts out of the pan and let cool slightly on a wire rack. Optional: dust with powdered sugar, and serve immediately. If making ahead, store in an airtight container for up to two days.

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About the Author

Claudia Laffin

Claudia Laffin is a food photographer and owner of The Traveling Spoon Personal Chef, serving clients in and around Asheville, North Carolina. She has been a health food advocate and natural lifestyle follower for over 20 years. During that time she enjoyed working in numerous stores in the health food industry, including Earth Fare! Claudia’s desire to bring health food to more people motivated her to start her personal chef business. She loves cooking healthy, organic, non processed and delicious food for busy families in their own homes and helping them find a path to a healthier life. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram to see what new things she’s cooking up!