Baking Summer Memories & Red, White, and Blueberry Donuts

July 2, 2021

by Katie Martino Lopez

I do not know about you, but MY official start to summer was always the Fourth of July! Memorial Day is usually everyone’s unofficial summer kickoff, but as a child there was just something so exciting to me about July 4th. Growing up on the South Shore of Long Island, we belonged to a beach club and our days were spent getting on to the beach by 10 in the morning and just swimming, digging, lounging and kite flying all day. It was awesome…but nothing could top the Fourth of July!  We sat on the beach and watched the nearby fireworks show light up the sky while munching on every snack imaginable. Life was easier as an 80’s kid and I feel unbelievably lucky to have those memories and my parents and older brothers for providing them.

Life now is getting back to normal but still…different. There is a little something that we’ve kind of lost and I want to give that back to my kids, especially after what all our amazing children have endured at school. They need time to decompress, reconnect socially and not have to hear the word “virtual”. I declare Summer 2021 the Summer of Anything Goes for my squad!

My three boys are enrolled in Camp Mom this summer. I highly advise it as it is cheap, and pj’s are always optional! I took a summer off from feeling the pressures of what I feel like the boys “should” be doing as opposed to just letting it ride. I asked them what they wanted to and all three gave me various thoughts. My oldest is going to a STEM and robotics camp for a week, my middle guy will be playing dek hockey with his little brother and a Sandlot baseball league, the little guy wanted to continue his hockey skating lessons. Stuff to do, but not too much to feel overscheduled and pressure.

We are going to our favorite vacation spot on the East End for a few days to celebrate my mom’s 75th birthday. As all my fellow allergy parents know, this is no small feat. There will be much food preparation and planning involved that I will need a vacation from our vacation! Much of the fun of summer is BBQing with friends and family and this is, of course, is always a challenge. Sometimes it is so overwhelming to go to functions like that, but I feel like this summer I am so grateful we can be together again that the good outweighs the bad. Casey has been hearing about “safe” and “unsafe” for 4 ½ years now, and I am blown away by what he knows and how to advocate for himself already.  We are prepared to take on the summer safely!

I thought this recipe for Red, White, and Blueberry Frosted Donuts would bring a smile to our Top 8+ free faces. Do not tell the kids but there is some fruit snuck in there! They are great for a barbecue or beach day, and who does not love a donut? As always, all my recipes on Katie Bakes for Casey are customizable for your safe needs. I have all ingredients and substitutions listed.

Enjoy the summer my friends, be well, and remember…life is short so eat dessert first…safely!

Gluten-Free Vegan Red, White, and Blueberry Donuts

Top 8-Free, Seed-Free, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan

Ingredients and Substitutions

Flour: I use gluten free flour here but regular all-purpose is perfectly fine if you do not need to avoid. I do recommend using a scale to measure because different blends are sensitive to weight. The proportion is 140 g. per 1 cup of flour. An overmeasurement on the flour will cause it to be gummy. If your gluten free flour blend does not contain xanthan gum, add ¼ tsp. per 1 c. of flour. The xanthan gum is necessary to give the donut structure. I use King Arthur Measure for Measure gluten free flour blend.

Vegan butter and shortening: Again, this is a recipe where any of your safe substitutions will work, whether it is vegan shortening (I like Spectrum), vegan butter or margarine, or real butter. I do not recommend using coconut oil or vegetable oil for this. You need a solid fat for the and the donut base is a creamed fat cake method preparation. I prefer shortening for this recipe to give the donut a real authentic texture.

Milk/Yogurt: Any safe milk or yogurt will work well here. I have used both Casey’s safe coconut milk and regular milk. For yogurt I use So Delicious unsweetened coconut yogurt, but whatever your safe brand is will be fine. The yogurt works for two reasons. First, it adds moisture, especially when the recipe is done egg free. Second, the acid helps react with the leavening and increases the rise on the donut, making it taller and not too dense if you are using the egg free version. A small amount is also needed for the donut icing.

Egg: All egg substitutes can work well in here because there is only one in the recipe and the donut base is done by creaming the fat with the sugar. During the creaming method, little air pockets are formed inside the fat which helps the donut rise. I have used egg, applesauce, and egg replacer. For the vegan version I tested and the donut in the picture, I use unsweetened applesauce. I found it was the better egg free option for moisture. If you prefer egg replacer, I like Ener-G brand, and I always like using a baking powder egg. To make a baking powder egg, mix 2 tbls. water, 2 tsp. baking powder and 1 tsp. oil. Do not prepare until you are ready to use it. 

Confectioner’s Sugar for Icing: To make the donut icing we need to use confectioner’s sugar. For those with a corn allergy this can be difficult as confectioner’s sugar is granulated sugar ground fine with cornstarch. There are corn free versions I like such as Wholesome brand. Casey could not have corn until he was 3 and this was our go to. Wholesome is also just a great, allergy friendly brand and I use many of their products.

Fruit for the Donut: I chose to use freeze dried fruit (strawberries and blueberries) for the donuts which gave them almost candy type taste. My husband tasted it and the first thing he said was that it tasted like a Dunkin’ blueberry donut! Freeze dried fruit is NOT the same as regular dried. It is light and airy and when pressed crushes easily. I buy mine at Trader Joe’s. They are free from cross contamination of all of Casey’s allergens and as usual they have great customer service. You can use fresh strawberries and blueberries as well.

Decorations: Have fun! Sprinkles, crushed candy and crushed dried fruit work great! Decorations/garnish on the top of a baked good are usually done to indicate what is in the product.

Top 8+ Free Red, White, and Blueberry Donuts

Prep Time: 10 minutes for batter, 5 for topping

Cook Time: about 20 minutes

Total Time: about 40 minutes

Yield: 12 donuts 


Donut Base: 

  • ¾ c. (6 oz.) sugar
  • 3 oz. (1/3 c.) vegan shortening, safe or regular butter, room temperature
  • ¾ c. (6 oz.) safe milk, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature (or: ¼ c. unsweetened applesauce OR 1 Ener-G egg OR 1 baking powder egg- 2 Tbls. water, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. oil)
  • 2 Tbls. yogurt, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 c. (10 oz. 280 g.) gluten free flour blend (with xanthan gum) or all-purpose flour (add ¼ tsp. per c. xanthan gum if your blend does not contain)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ c. lightly crushed freeze-dried blueberries and strawberries OR fresh blueberries and strawberries, cut small and tossed with 1 Tbls. safe flour from above measurement

Donut Icing: 

  • 1 ½ c. sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tbls. safe milk (use 2 Tbls. for a thick icing, 3 for thinner)
  • Optional - Crushed freeze-dried fruit, sprinkles, crushed cookies, candy, or safe food coloring to tint


  1. Preheat oven to 350° and lightly grease 2 6-donut molds.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients together and set aside. If using fresh fruit, take out 1 Tbls. and set aside.
  3. If using fresh fruit, cut small and toss with the reserved 1 Tbls. flour.
  4. Using a mixer, cream together sugar and fat until lighter in color. Do not overmix or the fat (especially butter) will soften too much. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl. You might have to add a drop of the milk to help the mixture come together to blend properly.
  5. Blend in egg or egg replacer, milk, yogurt, and vanilla. Note: If using a baking powder egg, do not make it until the last minute. Do not panic if it looks watery and broken, almost like scrambled eggs - it is a lot of liquid for the small amount of fat to absorb and it won’t. It will come together when you add the flour mixture.
  6. Add dry ingredients, crushed freeze-dried fruit or fresh fruit, and mix by hand until blended.
  7. Using a piping bag or a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped, fill the 12 donut cavities with the batter, do not overfill! No worries if you do not have a piping bag, just use a tablespoon and fill, spreading it evenly around so it is not higher in any spots.
  8. Bake immediately for approximately 20 minutes, checking about 5 minutes before timer stops. Do not overbake or they will be chewy and tough. A toothpick or paring knife will come out clean when done.
  9. When the donuts are done, cool the pans completely on a wire rack before adding the topping. Flip the donuts up on their sides but keep in the cup. This is important (ESPECIALLY if gluten free!) because the donut’s structure will continue to set as it cools, and you do not want them to fall apart when you do the topping and pulling the donuts up and keeping them on the rack ensures better air flow so the bottoms will not be soggy from condensation as it cools.
  10. While donuts are cooling prepare the icing: In a medium bowl, sift confectioner’s sugar to remove lumps. Add safe milk and vanilla and whisk until smooth. If not using right away put plastic directly on the surface.  If the icing is too thick, DRIZZLE in more milk. If it is too thin, add more sugar. If tinting with color, do so now.
  11. Icing the donuts: When the donuts have cooled, set them up on a cooling rack or glazing screen. Turn upside down and dip the smooth size straight down into the icing. Do not dip further then the top or it will drip down the donut and be difficult to eat. While still upside down, gently shake and twirl the donut to get the excess off. Turn upright and place on the cooling rack/screen to let any icing drip and set up. Add any toppings while the icing is still tacky, or it will not stick. Let dry completely for best texture.
  12. Store at room temperature in a very airtight container for up to 3 days, the sugar will begin to melt quickly as it absorbs any moisture. Unglazed donuts freeze well, individually wrapped for a month. DO NOT store in the refrigerator-they will stale quickly.

Recipe Notes: 

  • As stated earlier, this recipe freezes wonderfully for at least a month. Cool completely and either wrap individually or place all in a freezer safe zip top or container.
  • The cooling process is critical! It is so important to let this cool completely when using gluten free flour. It is very delicate, and it needs the time to let the donut set and the crumbs firm up again. Flip the donuts on their side in the pan while cooling so condensation does not build up.
  • Although a pastry bag is not necessary to get the donuts in the pan, it does make things easier! They can be bought very inexpensively on Amazon and are multipurpose! I promise you will use them all the time!