I remember the days when I used to eat a cake-like muffin or a donut some mornings on the way to work, or grab one of these sweets inevitably offered in morning meetings. Back then I couldn’t quite understand why I felt hollow, jittery, and even cranky a mere hour later after consuming. Oh, and hungry. Like, give-me-a-buffet hungry. Eventually after a lot of research and self-discovery I learned that I’m more of a protein gal who needs a fair amount of protein at every meal and that gluten — especially wheat — can wreak havoc on my overall disposition and physiology.

Now I usually begin my day with a smoothie but I still like food with texture and bulk instead of just drinking my meal. And I’m always looking for something to offer guests who come for tea or as a compliment to a brunch (where I ensure there are plenty of protein choices too). As well, muffins are easy to transport to work or for those running around times.

What about presenting a muffin in a donut shape? Cool. Essentially, these are muffins that look like a donut but hey, loads of fun to offer like this. Kind of bumps up the muffin to a higher level just by switching the pan. After all, I was dying to use my fairly new donut pans I purchased so this was the excuse to do so. And when one mentions donuts… folks flock!

I like to challenge myself to develop recipes that are gluten-free and dairy-free since sadly, my body can have troubles digesting dairy. That’s where extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil are great choices with loads of health benefits in both too. While these donut muffins are lighter in protein than I need for a complete meal, they are exactly the snack I’m looking for. As well, the fibre, oil, and other great ingredients help to quash sugar swings that can happen after consuming other sweeter muffins or donuts.

Don’t forget to make the icing-like glaze: the balsamic vinegar adds extra robust taste and the carob powder is the perfect substitute for cacao powder; some folks are sensitive to any caffeine so the carob really does a great job to deliver a chocolaty taste. And remember if you don’t have donut pans, muffin pans will work very well. Just watch the cooking time.

Hope you try this recipe out so you can enjoy these very moist and delicious donut muffins too!

Cherry Applesauce Pecan Donut Muffins w/Carob Cherry Glaze

Dairy-free and gluten-free moist company or anytime muffins that look like donuts!

Course Breakfast, Snack
Keyword dairyfree, donut, glutenfree, muffin, snack
Servings 16 muffins
Author Loretta Friedrich



  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour gluten-free
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour heaping, organic if possible
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp mineral salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 cup pecans fresh, crushed, reserve some for top


  • 1 cup applesauce unsweetened, homemade preferred
  • 1/2 cup almond milk unsweetened
  • 2 eggs farm
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dark balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp raw honey liquid
  • 1/2 cup cherries fresh or thawed from frozen, chopped finely or blended


  • 4 Tbsp carob powder use cacao if you'd rather
  • 1 cup cherries fresh or thawed from frozen, chopped finely or blended
  • 1 tsp dark balsamic vinegar or if you have, used a balsamic reduction
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey liquid
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil warmed slightly


  1. Preheat over to 375F. Thaw cherries. Set aside.

  2. If you don’t have oat flour, then use quick cooking oats and make a flour-like powder in a food processor. Place in mixing bowl and add the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix well.

  3. Add wet ingredients except cherries to another bowl. When cherries are thawed, add them to mini blender and blend until texture preference. Add cherries to the wet bowl. Mix well.

  4. Fold dry ingredients into the wet until just mixed. Add this mixture to donut pans, ΒΎ full or use paper-lined muffin pans.

  5. Place in oven and if using donut pans, bake for around 14 minutes. If muffin, bake for around 20.

  6. Meanwhile, make the glaze: blend the cherries then add the rest and blend.

  7. When donut or muffins are baked and cooled, use a knife and coat top with glaze. Sprinkle some reserved crushed pecans on top if you like.