DJ Foodielow-carb, low carb, sugar free, sugar-free, gluten-free, gluten free, primal, paleo

Orange-Buttermilk Coffee Cake Doughnuts with Hazelnut Streusel

Prep: 20 mins | Cook: 20 mins | Total: 45 mins | Servings:6


Orange-Buttermilk Coffee Cake Doughnuts with Hazelnut Streusel
Orange-Buttermilk Coffee Cake Doughnuts with Hazelnut Streusel
Orange-Buttermilk Coffee Cake Doughnuts with Hazelnut Streusel
Let’s face it. These doughnuts are lies. They’re not really doughnuts. They’re muffins that are disguising themselves as doughnuts. Or, they’re coffee cake, disguising themselves as doughnuts. I mean... they don’t even have coffee in them! *slaps knee*

In all seriousness, when I think of doughnuts, I typically think about a fried ring of yeast leavened wheat-based dough. However, the doughnut category isn’t limited to just that. There are a wide variety of treats, from holes, to buns, to swirls, to cake doughnuts, to crullers, to fritters, to cream-filled, to old-fashioned, to bars and bearclaws, and more. So, it’s definitely reasonable to squeeze these into the doughnut category. They juuuuuuust squeak in under the cake doughnut category line, but... I think we all know that this is just a round squat muffin with a hole in it. Plausible deniability?

There’s nothing wrong with a disguied muffin, mind you. Different shapes can be fun. I mean, snow would be nowhere near as much fun if every flake were the same, right? Riiiiight?!

Shapes are fun. Toppings are fun. Different flavors are fun. Heck, taking an idea and transitioning it into another idea is fun. Coffee Cake Doughnuts? Fun!

I like fun. Who doesn't? It’s fun!

Here’s where there’s a bit of a disconnect, though. Most doughnuts are fried. Most doughnuts are somewhat light and a bit chewy. These are not that.

And, that’s true. It’s a totally fair and valid point. It doesn’t make these little doughnuts any less yummy, but it does make them a bit more challenging to properly present. These are not your every day common doughnut. They're softer, more brittle and less chewy, but they're still sweet, soft and satisfying. They're just tasty in a new way!

The big issue comes down to the different flours. Wheat based flours have a wildly different structural makeup than nut based. Aside from the starch, which crystalizes and colors in different ways, the biggest behavioral difference is the gluten, which performs like glue, holding it all together in a nice chewy internal structure. When losing this protein, we lose the sticky gum that keeps the dough intact, rather than separating into a million individual pieces when it hits the surface of the hot oil.

I DO have some ideas, but it’ll involve some of those wonky exotic ingredients many loathe to buy, but I think it would be fun to investigate and report. Someday, perhaps.

For now... Coffee Cake Doughnuts. Enjoy!

. .
Orange-Buttermilk Coffee Cake DoughnutsCaloriesFatProteinCarbsFiberSA'sNet Carbs
3/4 cup (84g)  almond flour (Buy Now) 480421818909
1 1/2 scoop (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) (45g)  sugar-free vanilla whey protein (Buy Now) 165037.51.5001.5
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp (42g)  coconut flour (Buy Now) 1864.510.5271809
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp (90g)  'Swerve' or other sugar replacement (Buy Now) 000900900
3/4 tsp (3g)  baking soda0000000
1/2 tsp (2g)  salt0000000
6 large (300g)  whole fresh eggs42930133003
1/2 cup (122.5g)  buttermilk49146006
1/4 cup (62g)  fresh orange juice (juice of 1 small orange)28006006
Orange Hazelnut StreuselCaloriesFatProteinCarbsFiberSA'sNet Carbs
1/2 cup (56g)  hazelnut flour (Buy Now) 36034810604
1/2 cup (56g)  chopped hazelnuts361358.59.55.504
2 tbsp (30g)  'Swerve' or other sugar replacement (Buy Now) 000300300
1 tbsp (14g)  melted butter1001100000
1 tbsp (9g)  yacón syrup (substitute: blackstrap molasses)25006600
1/2 tsp (1g)  cinnamon, ground2.
1/2 tsp (1g)  fresh orange zest (peel from a small orange).970.01.25.1100.14
1/4 tsp (.5g)  nutmeg, freshly ground2.
1 dash (0g)  salt0000000
Totals (of 6 Servings):2189.07157.69g99.58g208.31g45.25g120g43.06g
Per Serving:364.8526.28g16.6g34.72g7.54g20g7.18g *


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (177° C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, whey protein powder, coconut flour, sugar replacement, baking soda and salt. With a whisk or a fork, combine the dry ingredients so they are evenly mixed and distributed in and amongst one another.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and orange juice. Whip until eggs are lemony in color.
  4. Quickly whisk egg mixture into dry ingredients, in the larger bowl. The batter should be a thick pancake batter. These ingredients tend to be a bit inconsistent from brand to brand and grind to grind. You may need to add a little water (or almond milk, if you have any lying around) to thin it out.
  5. Once the batter is well mixed, divide your batter into a greased doughnut pan. I have a variety of molds and use three small silicone doughnut pans, each holding 6 little doughnuts.
  6. Note: It is at this point that you can pour your batter into virtually any manner of mold, including something like a 9”x9” baking pan, for regular coffee cake. Just remember that there is no gluten in this batter, so it can very much collapse under its own weight. Try not to make anything over about 2-inches (5 cm) in height. If you do opt to go for something a little taller and grander, don’t forget you can add things like xanthan gum, chia and tapioca flour. A bit of each will give you a slightly lighter, more cakier and slightly more structurally sound goodies.
  7. In a separate bowl, combine the hazelnut flour, chopped hazelnuts, sugar replacement, melted butter, (molasses, honey or yacón), cinnamon, orange zest, nutmeg and salt. Mix until the mixture is evenly coated with butter and molasses.
  8. Note: In this case we need the molasses, honey or yacón because it functions like glue, holding the streusel together in clumps. You CAN omit this, but the result will be a bit flatter in appearance (potentially more refined, if that’s your goal).
  9. Squeeze small handfuls of the streusel inside your fist, compressing little boulders of it. Gently break these up and scatter evenly over the top of the batter in the doughnut molds. Continue forming fist-boulders, then breaking them into craggly crogs all over the top of the batter, until there is no more streusel in the bowl.
  10. Bake for about 13 to 18 minutes, or until the surface is dry and the streusel is clearly beginning to crisp and turn golden.
  11. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. Enjoy warm!

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* Learn More: More about this recipe and nutrition ...


Every time I see gluten mentioned, and the comment that it holds the bread together and makes it rise or something like that, I wonder if adding gluten to our breads with almond, coconut, hazelnut, etc flours would help at all.  Or is the gluten what has the carbs?  If one is not gluten intolerant, even if it added a few carbs, it might be worth it to have better bread.  Have you ever tried it?

 Rose  9/18/2018


---Reply posted by DJ on 9/18/2018

Hi Rose.  Technically gluten is a protein.  It has no carbs.  So, depending on your world view, you can definitely go and purchase gluten and add it to recipes.  It can and does help.  Some of my first and older recipes use gluten and other various wheat and grain based isolates.  They help and work and go a great distance towards making breads that look the part.  I've found that the flavor isn't always spot on, but they're good enough.  However, I found a few things … 1.  These kinds of things stalled my weight.  I don't know why, but I suspect it had to do with #2.  2.  Over time, I realized that wheat (and I believe it's the actual gluten) would trigger me and cause cravings.  As a result, I would eat more (potentially low-carb wheat based treats) … causing my weight to stall.  It's also no fun to be stuck in an obsessive mental doughnut loop.  I found that as I removed these ingredients from my diet that my weight started to come off, I felt "cleaner and clearer" and cravings completely dissipated.  Finally, there have been studies that suggest a full 50%o or more of the population has varying degrees of issues related to gluten intolerance, even if it's not extreme … something might be going on.  In the long run, I personally decided it wasn't worth it.  Cake doughnuts are tasty in their own right.  Sure, it's a shift, but … one I'm more than happy to live with.  I hope this helps! :-D