I think air-fried donuts are my new favorite obsession. They’re lighter and fluffier than their fried counterparts, making them so snackable and healthy (or at least healthier)! Today I’m making these Vegan Birthday Cake Air Fryer Donuts. These vanilla yeast donuts are glazed in dairy-free white chocolate and topped with colorful sprinkles. They remind me so much of a good old fashioned funfetti cake.
Prepping the Yeast
The first step to these from scratch vegan birthday cake air fryer donuts is prepping the yeast. In order for yeast to rise, it needs to be ‘fed’. Yeast is activated by warming it and ‘feeding’ it with a little sugar. You’ll want to warm your almond milk in the microwave (or on the stovetop) until it’s warm to the touch but not scalding. If the milk is too hot, it will kill the yeast. A good test is to dab a bit of the warm milk on your wrist. If it’s not scalding, it should be close to the right temperature.
You’ll want to divide the warm milk and sugar in half and combine half of each into a small bowl. Once the sugar dissolves slightly, you can add in the yeast. It should bubble and froth up after a few minutes. If your yeast isn’t frothing up, then it’s likely not activated and it won’t rise the dough properly.
The First Rise
To make the dough, you’ll cream the remaining sugar and vegan butter together in a large bowl. Then, you’ll mix in the Just Egg (or Egg Replacer), spices, vanilla, coconut oil, and the frothy yeast mixture. Once combined, you’ll gradually want to mix in the flour (about 1 cup at a time), until the mixture forms a soft dough ball.
A note about the egg replacer: my preferred method for making these donuts is with Just Egg or Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer. The texture is light and airy, yet rich. I’ve tried using a Flax Egg instead and the texture came out breadier. Not bad (and actually, my fiance really liked the texture), but it just doesn’t turn out as rich as the Just Egg.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead it for about 4-5 minutes until the exterior surface is smooth and no longer sticky. The dough will need to rise after being kneaded. You’ll want to oil a bowl (with a little melted vegan butter or cooking spray). Then place the dough ball into the bowl.
To keep the dough from drying out, cover the bowl with a damp, but not soaking wet, paper towel or tea towel. In order to rise, the dough needs to be placed in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours. I like to place mine in my microwave (make sure not to run it!) or in my oven (turned off).
The dough is done rising when you can poke it with your finger and the indention stays in the dough (see image above). Be sure to not over proof the dough! This will make the donuts have a less delicate texture.
Cutting Out the Donuts
After the first rise, turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle (or a blob shape like I did, haha!) about 3/4 of an inch thick.
Using a biscuit cutter, circular cookie cutter, or even a glass (about 2-3 inches in diameter), cut out your donuts. I got about 10 donuts out of my rolled out dough, and then re-rolled the scraps to cut out 2-4 more donuts. To cut out the hole, use a smaller cookie cutter (about 3/4 of an inch in diameter) or a tiny glass.
Transfer your cut out donuts to a parchment-lined baking pan and cover them back up with a damp towel. The donuts will need to rise for a second time, about 45 minutes until they are puffed up about double in size.
Time to Glaze!
While the donuts cool, you can go ahead and make the glaze. I like to melt my white chocolate chips in the microwave since it’s the fastest and easiest method. I find that microwaving the white chocolate chips on high for about a minute until they’re softened but not completely liquidy, makes the best glaze.
White chocolate, or at least the vegan white chocolate I’ve worked with, melts a bit differently than dark chocolate. If you microwave it too long, all the sugars will dissolve and it will become liquidy– which is not the texture we want! The white chocolate should be soft and spreadable like the consistency of frosting prior to adding in the coconut cream and maple butter.
Then once melted, you can stir in the room temperature coconut cream and maple butter. If you don’t have maple butter, substitute in half the amount of maple syrup. Be sure to use room temperature coconut cream and maple butter, as adding cold ingredients to the white chocolate will make it seize up.
Once the donuts have cooled, you can dunk one side into the glaze. Then place them onto a cooling rack to drip of any excess glaze. While the glaze is still wet, top the donuts off with some vegan sprinkles or chopped white chocolate.
Vegan Birthday Cake Yeast Donuts
And there you have it! How to make the best vegan air fryer birthday cake donuts. These donuts are so delicious, decadent, fluffy, and you honestly won’t miss the fried version. And they kind of remind me of a funfetti birthday cake! They take a bit of time to make, but oh, it’s worth it!
This recipe makes a pretty big batch, so you can definitely freeze any extras.
Place the donuts (uncovered) on a baking sheet into the freezer for 10 minutes. This is just enough time for the glaze to harden so it won’t stick to the plastic wrap when wrapping them up. Make sure to tightly wrap the donuts to prevent any freezer burn. I like to wrap mine in plastic wrap and then place them in an airtight freezer bag.
You can order vegan friendly sprinkles online!
If you’re looking for more vegan desserts, check out these recipes!How to Make Vegan Chocolate Yeast Donuts
Vegan Baked Brown Sugar Grapefruit Donuts
Vegan Cream-Filled Gingerbread Donuts
If you made this recipe, I’d love to know! Be sure to leave a rating and comment!
Vegan Birthday Cake Air Fryer Donuts
These vegan birthday cake air fryer donuts make the tastiest healthier dessert. The vanilla yeast donut is fluffy and sweet covered in a white chocolate glaze.
- 1 cup warm almond milk
- ⅓ cup of sugar
- 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast, or one package
- ¼ cup Just Egg, equivalent of 2 eggs *
- ¼ cup coconut oil , melted
- ¼ cup softened vegan butter, salted
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp nutmeg, optional
- 4 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅛ tsp salt , if not using salted vegan butter
Vanilla White Chocolate Glaze
- 1/2 cup vegan white chocolate chips + 1 tbsp to add after the mixture has been heated
- 2 tbsp coconut cream
- 2 tsp maple butter *
- Vegan sprinkles to top
To Make the Donuts:
- Divide the almond milk and sugar in half. Combine ½ cup of the warm almond milk and half of the sugar into a small bowl. Mix until the sugar dissolves slightly. Add the yeast and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. The yeast should begin to bubble and froth up after a few minutes.
- In another large bowl, cream the remaining sugar with the vegan butter. Add the Just Egg, the remaining almond milk, and coconut oil. Add the vanilla extract, nutmeg, and salt (if using). Add the frothy yeast mixture. Mix to combine.
- Add the flour to the liquid mixture, 1 cup at a time, stirring until it forms a soft dough. You should be able to easily form a ball with the dough, but it shouldn’t be too sticky to the touch.
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 4 minutes until the outer surface is smooth. Oil a bowl and place the ball in it. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or paper towel, and let rise for about 1 ½ hours or double in size.
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and roll it out into a rectangle about ¾ of an inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or a glass cut the dough into 2-3” diameter circles. Use a smaller circular cutter to cut out the holes.
- Place the cut donuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with a tea towel. Let rise again until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F.
- Line your air fryer basket with parchment paper and spray with oil. Place the donuts about 2 inches apart from each other in the basket. You may need to do multiple batches to cook all of the donuts. Spray the tops of the donuts with more oil.
- Air fry for 6 minutes, flipping them halfway. Then, remove from the basket and let cool on a wire rack.
The Birthday Cake Vanilla Glaze:
- Heat the vegan white chocolate in the microwave until the chips are just beginning to melt (about 1 minute on high). Add in the remaining 1 tablespoon, and stir until the chocolate is spreadable.
- Add the room temperature coconut cream and maple butter. The glaze should be a thick yet drizzle-able consistency.
- Once the donuts are cooled, glaze the donuts by dipping one side into the glaze. Immediately top with sprinkles while the glaze is still wet. Let the glaze harden. To speed this up, you can place the donuts into the freezer for 5 minutes.
If you don't have maple butter, you can substitute 1 tsp maple syrup.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 203Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 84mgFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 2g
Nutritional info is an estimate.
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