Dark Chocolate Coconut Donuts (vegan, gluten-free)

by kelly vass in ,

What's better than donuts and coffee? Donuts with coffee *in them*! 

I couldn't be more excited to share this post with you today. If you know me, you know that I love donuts. In my world, there are few things more sinfully satisfying than a hot donut fresh out of the frier and a cup of perfectly brewed black coffee to start my day. I've tried to make them before and failed miserably, but this time, I think I nailed it.

vegan gf coconut chocolate donuts-3.jpg

When I spent a summer in Galway, I was smitten with the Donut Man, who sold cinnamon-kissed rings of fried heaven for 50 cents. He was only at the farmer's market one day a week, so I made sure to make our time together count....by buying an entire bag of donuts to last me the week until we met again. When I flew back to the US, there was a donut-shaped hole in my heart.

When I moved to Philly, I fell hard for a new donut shop that made hot donuts to make your knees buckle and also brewed some pretty solid coffee. It was a 30+ minute bike ride across the city, but despite the distance, I found myself sitting at the counter with a donut and coffee in hand every weekend. It wasn't just about eating for me. I loved parking myself on a stool at the counter and watching bliss wash over customer's faces as they savored that first bite. I wanted in on that, but I still hadn't a clue how to make a good donut.

Though I live in New England now, I can recreate that first-bite bliss at home for my friends and family thanks to Keurig Green Mountain and a baked donut pan. When I tried Green Mountain Island Coconut coffee for the first time, I instantly thought of some amazing coconut donuts I'd eaten last spring. These donuts are dark, moist and fudgy with a rich hint of coffee and a lovely coconut undertone. I was worried that the coconut flavor would either be lost or overpowering, but it strikes a perfect balance thanks to the addition of coconut oil. Best of all, they're vegan and gluten-free and you won't be able to tell! (I gave them to my mom, a very picky eater, and she ate one without knowing and then asked for another!)

Green Mountain's new flavor, Island Coconut, is the perfect way to ring in spring. The rich flavor of coffee and the tropical taste of coconut will have you thinking about sunshine and warm weather to come. After the treacherous winter we've had this year, warm thoughts and hot coffee are exactly what I need to start my day and welcome spring! 

Be sure to look for Green Mountain Island Coconut Coffee in stores beginning March 24th. I've also teamed up with Keurig Green Mountain and a lovely group of New England and New York-area bloggers to give you a chance to win some Green Mountain Island Coconut Coffee and a beautiful white Keurig (say it with me now...OoOoOoH!). The giveaway ends on March 27th, so use the rafflecopter to enter (you'll find it after the recipe for these guys!).

Be sure to check out Keurig Green Mountain on Twitter and Facebook. Plus, check out some amazing Island Coconut coffee-inspired recipes from my blogging pals below!

Good luck & happy baking! 

Check out these delicious recipes  from my friends:

All Day I Dream About Food
Bakeaholic Mama
Healthy Delicious
Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Nutmeg Nanny
Running to the Kitchen
Spiced Blog
Sugar Free Mom
Yankee Kitchen Ninja


Isn't she lovely?

Isn't she lovely?

Dark Chocolate Coconut Coffee Donuts

Vegan, Gluten-Free
Author: Kelly Vass
Makes: 12 regular baked donuts or 18 mini baked donuts


For the donuts:

  • 1 cup sweet white rice flour
  • 3/4 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup organic brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons hot water mixed with 2 tablespoons ground flax meal
  • 1/2 cup milk of your choice (I used almond)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup brewed Green Mountain Island Coconut Coffee 


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. If making regular-size baked donuts, grease 2 regular-size donut pans. If making minis, grease 3 mini donut pans. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sweet rice flour, sorghum flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, brown sugar, salt and cocoa powder. Stir until well combined, making sure to break up any cocoa or brown sugar lumps. 
  3. In a small bowl, combine the hot water and flax. Stir a few times, set aside and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes. 
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the milk, vinegar, coffee and vanilla extract. Add the flax mixture and the coconut oil to the dry ingredients and mix together until just combined. 
  5. Spoon mixture into the donut pans, about 2/3 of the way full. (Tip: I filled a piping bag with batter and piped it into each cavity. You could also do this with a ziplock bag with the end cut off)
  6. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your donuts. Mini's should take about 15 minutes and regular donuts should take slightly longer. Once baked, allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 
  7. Dust with powdered sugar, top with your favorite frosting or eat plain, but definitely serve these with a cup of Green Mountain Coffee Island Coconut and enjoy!

Giveaway is sponsored by Keurig Green Mountain and ends March 27th at 12am. Contest open to US residents only; winners must be 18 or older. Winners will be notified via email.

Disclosure: I was given sample of Green Mountain Island Coconut coffee, but as always, all opinions, donut obsessions and caffeine addictions are my own. 

A Nod to My Roots: Apple Butter Dobos Torte with Spiced Caramel Icing for My Blogaversary & a Giveaway!

by kellybakes in , ,

I am self-reflective almost to a fault. I look back at my life, my choices, my emotions all the time. I'd like to think this makes me a better person and that I keep making changes to get me on that path, but it seems the more I reflect, the more I realize how many aspects of my life could use a tweak, a nudge and sometimes even an overhaul.

apple butter dobos torte with spiced caramel icing

Take this blog, for example. It wasn't always this riveting little piece of the internet you see before you. In fact, it isn't even my first blog. Before we dive into the fun stuff like giveaways, cake and presents, let's sojourn through my past awkward and unguided (and very apparently so) past incarnations of blogs.

Cooking Is Love - Picture it: UConn, 2007 [Sofia from Golden Girls, anyone?] Armed with rudimentary cooking skills, chipping non-stick cookwear and a roommate who tolerated my late-night baking binges [thanks, Claire!], I graduated from the angsty land of Livejournal and tried to chronicle my attempts to feed myself via Blogger. Though the title would suggest posts about cooking, nearly all cooking posts that ever existed were deleted in the overly-critical, self-deprecating attitude I was sporting at the time. highlights include: over-use of the on-camera flash and complete ignorance of the macro feature what the name suggests: a blog chronicling my cooking adventureswhat the blog actually features: baking posts, or a photographic journey through three levels of cake decorating classes

2009 - Way More Than Cheesesteak - At this juncture, I was between going to pastry school and grad school but got accepted to the latter before I could apply to the former. Grad school proved to be nothing like I'd hoped or wanted it to be and I found solace standing tip-toe in front of my Kitchenaid, mixing, measuring and covering my galley kitchen in flour.
what the blog title suggests: photographic and descriptive evidence that there is way more to eat in Philadelphia than just cheesesteak [attention: everyone in CT]
what the blog actually features: photographic and descriptive evidence that I spent more time researching French pastries than French literary theorists.

2010 - No Small Potatoes -  The summer I ate my way through Ireland and found wifi to tell you about it.
what the title suggests: An effort to photographically chronicle all eating adventures through the Emerald Isle, while disproving stereotypes about Irish cuisine.
what the blog actually features:
 For once, I was actually spot on. Good Irish food and large potatoes.
highlights include: sprawling fields of green grass, cows, and the Cliffs of Mohr not captured: I return to the US and to WMtC lugging two suitcases, an oversized carryon, a purse and a bag full of Jameson, brown bread and Baileys bought at the airport, all while casually sipping an iced caramel macchiato and getting strange looks from everyone I encounter.

2011 - My first foodblogging conference! Here, I realized that there are people who are big deal bloggers, who take nice pictures, write well, have followers who aren't their mom (love you, mom!) and who have since become my friends :) After realizing that my blog was more about what I baked than actually eating in the city (ya know, because I lived in the 'burbs and all...), I decided to drop the whole what-I'm-eating-in-Philly gig and go with what I'd always wanted to do: narrate my life through food.

apple butter dobos torte with spiced caramel icing

...so here we are. Present day. I haven't quite managed to execute that goal all the time. I often got caught up with wanting pretty pictures (hence the post dearth during the months I was sans camera) or feeling the pressure of needing to be like everybody else. Now that I have a shiny camera, I do still want pretty pictures (and I'm working on figuring out how to do that and it's certainly giving my ego a few knocks), but I think I'm finally comfortable with putting out content that's true to what I had in mind all along. That means telling my story primarily with words through the lens of food. That also means there might be more paragraphs than pictures and there may not even be recipes. I've realized that after grad school momentarily stole the joy out of writing, my main focus is putting confidence back in my voice (metaphorically and literally), rather than worrying about teaching y'all how to bake.

This past year has taught me what it means to be a blogger, especially with regards to connecting within the amazing, supportive community that exists. I'm so lucky to have met so many talented bloggers during this past year, who have graciously offered everything from rides to conferences to advice on photography and blogging etiquette to long-distance baking projects, have mentored me and encouraged me to speak up when I wasn't sure I should even whisper. I am truly blessed to occupy this tiny space in the bloggosphere and have you all--readers, fellow bloggers, and friends--to thank :)

apple butter dobos torte with spiced caramel frosting

So, as a nod to my roots, both personally and blog-i-torily (umm... go with me on that one...), I wanted to do two things.

1.) PRESENTS. That's right. Presents for me, presents for you. My present is coming on Thursday (more on that later!) Your present is a fantastic giveaway! The Philadelphia-area foodblogger, Iris McCarthy (@PalatePrincess) gave me two copies of her book, The Food Lovers' Guide to Philadelphia and I've got one that could be yours. (And who knows, maybe I'll even grab a bite with the winner if they're in town!) To enter, leave a comment with a favorite birthday tradition you have. For additional chances to win, you can like Palate Princess on facebook or follow her on twitter! (Just leave a comment and let me know that you've done so!) I'll use a random number generator to pick the winner on Thursday, November 1st. The winner will be notified via email.

2.) Make a cake, duh. Though I'm a pie person [I was born the day after Pi Day, c'mon!], I've never not had cake for my birthday. So, in keeping with the "where I came from" mentality, I reached back to my dad's Hungarian side and decided to make a dobos torte with an autumnal spin. It's normally made with chocolate frosting, but I wanted to make something that would represent who I am, only in dessert form: multi-layered, small, pretty sweet and kinda spicy. My layers were a little off-kilter, but then again, I'm not perfect either ;)

Happy baking, happy giveaway entering and happy bloggaversary Charlie Brown! ...er, kellybakes! (and yes, I sometimes refer to myself in the blog-person)


**Disclaimer: I was given two free copies of A Food Lover's Guide to Philadelphia; one to keep and one to give to a lucky reader. The opinions expressed here are (as always and forevermore) my own. The end.

Screen shot 2012-11-01 at 12.37.05 AM
Screen shot 2012-11-01 at 12.37.05 AM

**And the winner is...**  ProgressiveGrae! Based on the actual comments (not mine) you've randomly been selected as the winner! woohoo! I'll be contacting you shortly! :]

Apple Butter Dobos Torte with Spiced Caramel Icing

Recipe Type






kelly bakes (frosting), dobos torte sponge cake very slightly adapted from Kaffeehaus by Rick Rodgers

Prep time:

30 mins

Cook time:

30 mins

Total time:

1 hour

A traditional dobos torte is five layers of sponge cake with chocolate frosting in between. I made mine with 6" round layers because I wanted a personal-sized cake, but the original recipe called for 9" rounds. Because this cake is by no means traditional, you can either make the 9" rounds or the 6" and use the extra layers to make a taller torte!


  • For the sponge cake:
  • 6 large eggs, separated & at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 C powdered sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup cake flour (or 1 cup all purpose flour + 2 T cornstarch)
  • 2 C apple butter
  • For the icing
  • 2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 stick of butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 C half and half, divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp clove
  • Special tools: parchment sheets for lining pans + a pencil


For the sponge

  1. Position oven rack in the center and preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Using a round cake pan (9" for traditional torte, 6" for personal-sized), trace 1-2 circles onto parchment (1 for a 9" round, 2 for a 6"). Flip parchment over so that pencil side touches the cookie sheet, not the cake.
  3. In a mixer, beat egg whites to soft peaks then gradually add 2/3 C powdered sugar. Continue beating until whites become glossy, stiff peaks. Set aside.
  4. Beat together egg yolks, vanilla and remaining 2/3 C powdered sugar on medium - high until the yolks turn pale yellow and thickens.
  5. Stir 1/4 of the beaten egg whites into the yolks to lighten them then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining whites.
  6. Combine flour & salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs and carefully fold in. Continue with the remaining flour.
  7. Using a 1/2 C measuring cup, scoop batter onto one of the baking sheets in the center of the traced circle. Using an off-set spatula, spread the batter into an even layer, filling the traced circles. Place in oven and bake for 5 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned and the center springs back when poked with your finger.
  8. While this sheet is baking, repeat the process with the next sheet (trace circle(s), flip parchment over and fill with batter).
  9. When the first sheet is done, invert to a flat surface and ever-so-gently remove the parchment sheet from the back. Slide the cake back onto the paper and let it stand until cool. Let the baking sheet cool and line with new parchment.
  10. Repeat tracing & baking steps with remaining batter.

For the frosting

  1. In a bowl, combine powdered sugar and spices. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in sauce pan. Add brown sugar, salt and 1/4 C half and half over medium-low heat and cook until sugar dissolves (approx 2-3 minutes). Remove from heat and add vanilla, stirring to combine.
  3. Pour caramel into powdered sugar and beat with hand beaters, adding half and half until the frosting reaches desired consistency.


  1. Spread a small dollop of frosting n a cardboard round or plate. Place one layer of sponge cake on top. Using small offset spatula, spread a thin, even layer of apple butter onto sponge cake, stopping just before the edges. Top with another layer of sponge cake.
  2. Repeat process until there are five layers of sponge cake, but add apple butter to the top layer.
  3. Use small offset spatula to frost the cake.
  4. Slice, admire your handiwork & enjoy!