The Rabbit Sweettooth: [almost] Vegan Upside-Down Apple Cinnamon Donuts with Maple-Sriracha glaze

“You eat so healthy.”


Wow, what a keen observation! I certainly have never heard such an original remark, and will likely consider this expression for the rest of today’s happenings.

But in all actuality, this phrase doesn’t phase me anymore for the amount of times it has been said. Yes, I am aware my choice in food resembles a rabbit’s diet, and I have no defense to back this up, but is there really something so wrong about enjoying carrots & guac, or a medley of peas, carrots, and corn kernels dozed in cherry-bbq sauce?

With all this being said, you may be wondering if this post’s title about donuts is simply to get you to click on it or what we in advertising land deem, ‘digital bait’; essentially a string of words beckoning audiences via instant value, think ’10 ways you can….’ or ‘How __________ out did Guinness World Record Holder in ___________’. Hmm, I want to know, CLICK.

My version of this concept involves dessert, or the exclusive invite of your sweet tastebud. Seems irregular that I would choose to bake over cooking, but this must mean it’s a special occasion right?

Right you are Harry!

Right you are Harry!

In our strategy department at the agency,  our curious bunch often has candid conversations, no topic untouchable. Most recently, the question of a lone waffle-donut prolonged a multi-day discussion on the reasoning behind its forever alone disposition.


People be hatin’ on the waffle donut.


Inspiring our very own Chief Strategy Officer, Jen lit up her Macbook pecking the keys in deep sugary thought. Dissecting the importance of irreverent conversation when hoping for a groundbreaking A-ha! moment, the continuation of this mysterious donut discussion made it to an executive brainstorm[& this blog post].

“Boy, if our clients only heard us,” half-jokes our head of finance. “They’d think we were really professional.”


“When I get back to my own department, I tell the waffle donut story. Planning is happy to waffle-riff. We cover the gamut of topics – who is the real target for the waffle donut anyway? What is the waffle donut’s true competitive set? Someone suggests she’s eaten one before, chosen because it is less sweet. Someone else argues that the maple bar is the true donut aberration…


…So are ten minutes spent on existential questions involving pastry minutes well-spent? Are donut-identity concerns “professional?”


If fostering irreverence is our goal, then the answer is yes.”


In light of these insights, I considered how I could add my own take on the hybrid pastry. So, in a probably too detailed explanation of this choice, the car engine was ignited to begin my quest for a donut pan.

You would think any well off retailer would carry this, but to my demise, the creviced mold apparently isn’t a commodity. Disappointed by Target, Safeway, QFC and T.J. MAXX, luck was vacant at Bed, Bath & Beyond. With pan in hand as I descended the Northgate escalator, I pondered the personal touches I could make to call this batch my own.


Inspired by The Soap Queen’s take on a Vegan Maple-Sriacha variety, these thoughts would be had at the grocery store. Luckily I already was in possession of several of the ingredients, but in true innovative rabbit fashion, my cart filled with a few extra ‘secret’ ingredients. Don’t worry, I’ll share them with you below.

Following a short bit of traffic and a cued personal concert in my car, my kitchen became a shop for ‘fostering irreverence’ in taste.


Faced with this selection of ingredients, my eyes narrowed in on the Saigon cinnamon begging for its partner in crime. Swinging open the crisper drawer revealing a purchased bag of sweet fuji apples, the Soap Queen’s title of these treats soon would receive an update.

Also noting a recent discovery on the all encompassing foodie haven, Food52, incorporating an upside-down element became my next endeavor. Every Christmas holiday, our family switches turns on hosting the epic dinner. Delighting in the aspect of owning the dessert factor, the finished beauty of this website’s Double Layer Cranberry Ginger Upside-down cake was my inspiration(& hopefully will prompt a future post).


Transforming the mild flavor of the donut itself, I was so kind to give the apples a bath. A Caramel Apple Cider tea bath that is. Taking a slick knife to the giving skin, the chopped bits soaked up the luscious crispness of this Republic of tea variety & of course more cinnamon. Once marinaded to a flavorful bite, the glory of this pan was now in high demand.



Saving about a third of the apple for a match stix garnish, the reimagined batter was next. While previously calling for coconut oil, and apple cider vinegar, working with what you got sometimes yields grand results. Choosing to spoon several dollops of smooth greek yogurt into the mix, the final texture of the donut simply melts in the mouth.


so good

If you disregard any ingredients, don’t, I repeat don’t forget the greek yogurt!


Facing strong baking competition at the agency, watching the sweet and spicy flavors perplex my coworker’s tastebuds, and lead them back to my desk for seconds, I feel happy to have adequately contributed. I could go on for several more paragraphs about all the feels, but in reality, visuals are the persuasion factor. Sadly I lost a majority of this documentation, but if you think about, decisions are based on that one impression which hopefully below will inspire your next donut recipe, or office acceptance.

How will you tastefully inspire someone today? Feel free to write in the comments below and check out my original post on Instagram!

donutsNote: I am that baker who does ‘a little bit of this’, ‘a lot of that’. These measurements are by no means completely accurate, but feel free to use as a basis for your own kitchen genius.

Upside Down Apple Cinnamon donuts drizzled with Maple-Sriracha Glaze & Carmel Apple Cider tea bathed Fuji match stix

2 eggs
6 tablespoons water
1.5 cups Brown Rice flour (or Spelt to be gluten-free)
5 packets cup stevia
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup unsweetened Vanilla almond milk
1/3 cup nonfat greek yogurt
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
3 small Fuji apples, diced – save one half for the ‘match stix’



3/4 cup sifted confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons agave maple syrup
2 tablespoons Sriracha
red sprinkles – optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour (or flour substitute), stevia, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon(feel free to add a lot!), salt and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, mix together the almond milk, greek yogurt and applesauce. Slowly add to the flour mixture, and mix until thoroughly combined. Add eggs.

Wash the apples. Place one apple vertically(stem facing away from you at the top). Using a sharp knife, cut into two halves. Place one halve with the inside facing up toward you. Cutting as close as possible to the inner seeds, slice the left side of the half, and then the right; this should leave you with cubic remain of the stem + seeds. Taking the other two thirds of the apple, flip the inside of the apple onto the cutting board. Cut vertically into slices, then turn to cut horizontally.

Repeat with the other two apples. With one of the halves, repeat the same process, but up to the last two steps. Once cut into slices, cut around the skin, into long ‘match stix’. Save these for the garnish.

Layer the diced apples onto the bottom of your greased pan. Transfer the batter on top of the apples, and let bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the center comes out clean when a toothpick is inserted. Remove from the oven and transfer to cooling racks.

While the doughnuts cool, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, maple syrup, and sriracha.

* to be more ‘glaze-like, use more sugar.

Drizzle using a whisk about 5 inches above the laid out donuts. Take four match stix apples. Place four on each donut to create a square. Shake red sprinkles into hand and pinch across the donuts if desired.


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