Chai Spice Donut Holes or Cake Pops

So, when did “donut holes” become “cake pops?”

Things like this make me feel old.

At any rate, I bought myself a Cake Pop Bakery over the Christmas holiday and finally got around to trying out some recipes. My favorite so far: Chai Spice Donut Holes (or Cake Pops). And, they’re vegan!

Is it too much that I dunk them in chai tea?

Look at these. How could you not?

Chai Spice Donut Holes

Chai Spice Donut Holes

This also gave me another excuse to use the new KitchenAid stand mixer. I’m in love!

May your breakfasts and snacks be equally dunkable!


Chai Spice Donut Holes

by Shelly Hokanson

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Keywords: bake sweets snack dessert vegan vegetarian donut

Ingredients (9 large donut holes)

Single Batch (9 large donut holes)

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugan
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup vanilla soymilk or almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Egg Replacer for 1 Egg, prepared per package instructions, or 1 flax egg
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • or, for a lower fat option, eliminate the Earth Balance and use a total of 4 tbsp applesauce instead. The result will be a more dense but equally tasty donut hole!
  • Note: This recipe works great doubled or tripled. It scales well!


Preheat donut hole or cake pop maker.

In your mixer bowl, whisk together dry ingredients to combine thoroughly: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, ginger, cardamom, allspice, and cinnamon.

In a small saucepan, mix together wet ingredients over medium-low heat until Earth Balance is melted: soymilk, vinegar, vanilla, egg replacer, and Earth Balance. Don’t let the mixture get hot; remove it from heat immediately once the Earth Balance is melted. It should be warm but not hot.

If you’re not using Earth Balance, you can skip the heating of the wet ingredients.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix on low until a soft dough forms. It will be sticky but nice and elastic.

Spoon dough into donut baker. Don’t overfill. A medium cookie dough scoop works well for this. The top of the dough should be flat and flush with the donut hole rim or slightly below.

Bake as directed in your donut hole/cake pop maker. (Mine suggests 5-7 minutes, and for this particular recipe, 6 1/2 to 7 minutes is perfect).

Allow donut holes to cool completely before frosting or decorating, if desired.

These little bites are so flavorful that I prefer them without frosting, but if you’re so inclined, here are some ideas:

The Frosting


Whisk together 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1 tbsp vanilla soymilk. Dunk donut holes to coat and let drip dry on a cooling rack (with parchment underneath).

Chocolate Frosting:

Melt 6oz of sweet or semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips or dark chocolate in the microwave (stirring every 15-30 seconds until smooth) or double boiler. Dip each donut hole in the chocolate and let drip dry on a cooling rack (with parchment underneath).

Other ideas: Roll donut holes in cocoa powder or cinnamon and sugar. Dip iced or chocolate frosted donut holes in sprinkles or crushed nuts. Experiment with different frostings.

If you want to turn these into cake pops, dip the end of a wooden skewer into frosting and then insert into the center of the donut hole. (The frosting will help secure the cake to the stick).

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The One Where I Made Donuts

This may be the most delicious baked good I’ve ever made in my life.

No joke, people.

Chocolate frosted donut

Chocolate frosted donut


Some backstory: my favorite food bloggers have been taunting me with baked donut recipes for ages. There’s this apple cider donut recipe from Peas & Thank You. Then, there’s this mini donut recipe from Vegan Yum Yum. I loved donuts as a kid, but have avoided them like the plague for the last few years (because, well, I can only run off so many calories, people!) Baked donuts – and homemade ones, particularly – don’t have to be so evil.

Upon deciding that I might be able to find some homemade donut wiggle-room in my diet, I set out to find donut baking pans – which were surprisingly hard to find! I eventually snagged this 6-donut pan at Bed Bath and Beyond, but don’t get too excited if you’re seeking your own; they’ve been out of stock for a while. Unfortunately, I only bought one. I should have bought at least 2 – maybe 4!

Armed with my one 6-donut pan, I knew someday I’d make some donuts.

It wasn’t until this glorious beast graced my kitchen counter that I found myself inspired to embark on donut-making:

New KitchenAid Pro 550HD Stand Mixer

New KitchenAid Pro 550HD Stand Mixer

I got a really great deal at Costco – $269! This is the KitchenAid Pro 550HD 5.5 quart stand mixer. It’s got the commercial-style bowl lift (instead of the tilt-head, like the Artisan models). I’ve wanted a stand mixer pretty much my whole life, but could never justify spending the money. My plan was to get married and put it on my Gift Registry. As it turns out, I could be waiting a very long time for a stand mixer… so, Merry Christmas to Me!

Using this mixer gives me flashbacks to standing on a chair in my grandma’s kitchen, helping her bake cookies. I’ve got memories of her mixer that I haven’t recalled for 30 years – but in a deja-vu moment, raising the lever that lifts the mixer bowl brought me straight back to gram’s kitchen. It was pretty wild!

Now properly armed, I got to work making the donut recipe from Vegan Yum Yum. I was reading it out of the cookbook, but the one on the web site is the same.

Happy disaster

Happy disaster

I was also simultaneously working on a cookie recipe and a bread recipe. Ahhh, the happy disaster known as my kitchen! I love my kitchen! I especially like that lift-up cabinet door. Turns out, it’s really convenient! I just leave it open while I’m working, and my spices and gadgets are easy to get to but out of the way. I wish the cabinet above it was easier to reach. I’m too short.

But check out the view of the mountains in the background! Love love love. Virginia is beautiful.

Getting back to the baking. OK, don’t shoot me for the Splenda/sugar mix. I know Splenda is evil, but so are junk food calories – and I bought this bag of Splenda baking mix before I went whole-foods organic, and couldn’t bear to throw it away when I was cleaning out my cabinets of processed crap. So I still bake with it sometimes… and when it’s gone, it’s gone. I swear.

/end confession

The important thing is that these donuts are insanely delicious and absolutely perfect in their flavors. I can’t even begin to describe how heavenly tasty they are. You must make them. Now.



Even if you totally fail at drizzling chocolate on top, like I did:

Iced donut with chocolate

Iced donut with chocolate

They still taste amazing.