Good Bites: Low Carb Sugar-Free Cake Doughnuts

Chilly weather, fewer hours of daylight…these seem to be triggers for carb cravings (at least for me). In an effort to avoid packing on the pounds over the winter, I look for ways to satisfy the cravings without consuming too many simple carbs and sugar – but that doesn’t mean doughnuts are off the table!

Before I get into the nuts and bolts of the doughnut recipe, there is scientifically-backed support for the benefits of a low carb diet. I’m guessing that many – if not most – readers who find themselves here are interested in eating for wellness (as I am) and know that a diet high in processed foods and refined sugar is not optimal. Sugar, in fact, has been shown to have deleterious health effects if consumed in “excessive” amounts.

Some of the ways that I reduce sugar usage include: using sugar alternatives like stevia and erythritol; relying on fruit such as raisins or figs to naturally sweeten a dish; cutting the amount of cane sugar in a recipe at least in half (adding an alternative sweetener if really needed); and not using commercially-produced, processed foods – including condiments – because many are loaded with sugar.

Ok, so now that we’ve gotten the “why” out of the way, let’s move on to the “how”. This is my kind of recipe: you basically mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients in separate bowls, stir the wet into the dry, and spoon the batter into a doughnut pan. The batter is pretty sticky (as you might expect with an almond flour and egg mix), but I was able to spoon it into the molds easily. A problem occurred, though, when I put it into the oven.

Grease the pan well!

The recipe says to only fill the cavities in the pan about 3/4 full. Well, I did that, then realized that there was a bit left over…but not enough to use another doughnut pan, so I decided to just add a little more to each cavity. The end result was that the cavities were completely full, and when the doughnuts began to bake, they rose and spread out – almost over the sides of the pan!

What’s the lesson learned? Follow those instructions and don’t fill the blasted cavities so full. I got it! I had placed a drip pan under the doughnut pan to catch any overflow, but it (fortunately) didn’t actually escape the pan. What did happen was that the doughnuts coming out of the oven looked more like muffin tops – completely smooth – than doughnuts with the characteristic holes in the middle. No problem – just cut those doughnut holes out with a butter knife!

The other challenge I faced making this recipe for the first time was that I decided to bake it in my new air fryer oven, which I knew would likely bake them much more quickly than the full-sized oven. Without a recipe book for the air fryer oven (it’s a nice AFO, but come on, Instant Brands, where the hell is the recipe book so people can get an idea of how long some of these things should cook for??), I had to wing it, watching the doughnuts turning golden, then brown, and trying to gauge when to pull them before they crossed over to burned. Ultimately, it only took about 7 minutes at 400 degrees for these to be completely done.

Once the doughnuts had been flipped out of the pan onto the cooling rack and the holes had been punched, a sprinkle of erythritol (totally optional, they taste just as good without it) made them look even more like full-carb cake doughnuts. I opted not to put additional cinnamon in the topping, as the recipe suggests, because the flavor is already quite (pleasantly) pronounced in the doughnuts themselves.

So there you have it: easy, quick to make, low carb, and satisfying. I’ll definitely be making these doughnuts again!