1. These mixes can be made in one bowl, you just have to be careful. Per the instructions, we recommend adding the boiling water and oil to packet #2 in one bowl and then adding that mixture to a bowl containing packet #1. However, if you want one fewer bowl to wash, you can combine packet #2 with the water and oil, mix well and then add packet #1 to the wet mixture and stir just until the dry flour mix is incorporated. The one caveat here is that there will likely be a bit of liquid on the bottom of the bowl. Simply use a rubber spatula to gently fold the mixture from the bottom to incorporate the liquid into the batter. You should only fold a few times as you don't want to over mix.
2. These donuts come together super quick but are even quicker when you make the icing the night before. In fact, we think the icing flavor improves if left to sit a bit (on the counter, not fridge). Additionally, because we use unsweetened shredded coconut in the German Chocolate Cake icing, the German Chocolate icing benefits from the extra time as the coconut softens a bit more. Note, when you make the icing in advance you will likely need to add a little water later to thin it out. Start with 1/2 teaspoon of water, stir well and add another 1/2 teaspoon only if necessary.
3. When finishing your donuts, you may find it easiest to ice and top a few at a time rather than icing all six at once and following with the toppings. In a warm kitchen the icing can begin to set before you have had a chance to top all the donuts and the toppings may not adhere as well.
4. We prefer (and use) refined coconut oil in our donuts. Though slight, both vegetable oil and canola oil can take away from the clean vanilla flavor. If you love the taste of coconut, feel free to swap refined coconut oil for virgin coconut oil.
5. When it comes to vegan butter we use two different kinds, depending on the icing/donut we're making. For most of our donuts we have found that Earth Balance Sticks (we use the soy free version) work best as they are the most flavor neutral. However, for our German Chocolate Cake donut mix we prefer Miyoko's European Style Cultured Vegan Butter. Miyoko's lends a cream cheese-like lactic acid flavor that works well with the coconut and pecan topping. Please note, Miyoko's butter does contain cashew.
6. Give the donut pan a good coat of oil. There doesn't have to be a lake of oil in there but make sure that the whole donut well and stem are oiled. Nothing worse than a donut that has to be coaxed out of the pan because it's clinging to the stem!
7. Be patient and let them cool. We know this is a tough one but the cooler they are the better they look when you frost them. You want a nice full coverage coat of icing. If you try to ice them while they are still warm, you will end up with a sheer glaze on the donut and a whole lot of wasted icing on the plate.
8. Resist the urge to pipe the donuts into the pan with a plastic bag. We know everybody says it's so much simpler to put the batter in a ziploc, snip the corner, and voila, perfectly piped donuts but that short term decision has a lasting consequence. That bag will remain in the landfill long after those donuts were enjoyed. Take a few extra minutes and spoon the batter into the pan. We promise you, they will be just as pretty and taste just as good, plus you'll feel good about your eco-friendly choice!
9. You do not need a donut pan to make these mixes.
A standard size muffin pan will do just fine (although they look like a cupcake instead of a donut). Here in Denver, we bake them for 20 minutes. The mix yields 8 cupcakes, instead of 6 donuts. Note, if you make them as cupcakes you will have a good amount of icing leftover as the surface area is smaller than that of a donut.
We have also had success making one package of mix in a standard loaf pan. Recommended baking time for a loaf is 28-30 minutes. Once done, let cool in pan until completely cooled. To keep the loaf extra moist, we recommend applying a light layer of icing over the entire surface like you were frosting a cake and then drizzling the remaining icing over the loaf. Serves 8.
10. Storing leftovers - Okay, it's unlikely that you will have leftovers but it could happen. Donuts do not hold up well when stored in a food storage container with the lid snapped on unless you plan to refrigerate them (see below). Seems contrary, right?! Both the donut and icing will become soft and gooey in a matter of hours. Best bet? Leave the food storage lid partially off or off entirely. Enjoy those slightly firm day olds with your morning cup of coffee. Best dunkers EVER!
11. If you enjoy cold cake, you’ll love these donuts chilled. The trick here is to let them cool completely after icing and topping then store in a airtight container in the refrigerator. Donuts kept in an airtight container can last for a few days. Just be sure to let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before serving.