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Vegan Crème Brûlée Doughnuts

Soft, pillowy baked doughnuts filled with a delicious vegan pastry cream and topped with a crunchy caramelised topping. These vegan crème brûlée doughnuts are delicious, easy to make and best of all, do not require any frying!

This incredible recipe has been made in collaboration with Panasonic. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. (For more information along with affiliated links, check out my disclosure policy.)

Holding a creme brulee doughnut

Vegan Crème Brûlée Doughnuts

Crème Brûlée has been making a comeback recently. I’ve seen lots of different variations of it all over social media and I’m not complaining! There’s something about the light and silky smooth pastry cream topped with a thin, crisp layer of caramel which is irresistible. Combine the two together in a doughnut, and you have the best combination EVER! These vegan crème brûlée doughnuts are sure to be a hit for whoever you make them for, just make sure they have more than one… as they’ll be going back for seconds, trust me!

If you love these doughnuts, make sure to check out my Vegan Air Fryer Doughnuts here.

close up of a creme brulee doughnut

What is crème brûlée?

The answer is in the name – crème (a cream filling) and brûlée (torched caramel layer). It is also known as ‘burnt cream’ or ‘Trinity’ cream. A tasty dessert consisting of a rich custard base topped with a layer of hardened caramelised sugar. It’s rich and creamy and has a sweet yet tangy flavour. In my recipe, I have adapted the classic crème brûlée to make these fun and unique doughnuts. This recipe still contains elements from the original dessert, but made into a baked doughnut with a homemade pastry cream / vanilla custard along with a crisp caramelised coating on top. Yum!

Single creme brulee doughnut on grease proof paper

Reasons why you’ll love these doughnuts:

  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Easy to make
  • No frying required
  • The doughnuts are baked
  • Pastry cream is delicious
  • Caramel layer hardens and cracks beautifully
  • Fun for everyone to make
  • Healthier than fried doughnuts
  • Simple ingredients
Breaking open a cream filled doughnut

Ingredients to make vegan crème brûlée doughnuts

  • Caster sugar : Use a fine white caster sugar.
  • Cornstarch / cornflour : Helps to thicken the pastry cream.
  • Nutritional yeast : Allows the doughnuts to rise beautifully.
  • Turmeric : Use a pinch of turmeric to give the pastry cream its creamy colour.
  • Dairy-free milk : Soya milk works best for this recipe, but you can use almond, oat or cashew milk for example.
  • Vanilla : Use vanilla extract or seeds from a vanilla pod.
  • Vegan butter : Make sure to use a vegan block butter, such as Naturli Vegan Block or Flora Plant Butter.
  • Active dry yeast : Helps to give the doughnuts a light and airy texture.
  • Plain flour / all purpose flour : Use plain flour for this recipe, not self raising flour.
  • Sunflower oil : Be sure to use a neutral flavoured oil, sunflower is best!
  • Water : Mixed with sugar makes the perfect caramel topping. You can simply use tap water for this.

How to bake doughnuts

Did you know you can BAKE doughnuts! Yes, you heard correctly, and they taste great! This recipe uses an oven to perfectly bake the doughnuts, with no deep frying required! Im super excited to partner with Panasonic to bring you this scrumptious recipe!

The oven I used to bake these tasty little doughnuts is the Panasonic Combi Oven. I used two of the Panasonic 4 in 1 Combination Microwave Oven settings. Just a couple of the amazing and extensive variety of features this oven has to offer!

Baked doughnuts can be placed on the baking tray, glazed with some dairy-free milk and baked to perfection at 180 degrees celcius.
To help melt the butter and cook the pastry cream filling, I used the microwave setting. I love microwaves for melting chocolate, butter etc. It helps drastically speed up the process rather than melting on the hob which is time consuming and also creates more washing up!
I really love this addition to my kitchen. It’s a powerful machine with a ton of fun and exciting features which makes cooking and baking a breeze! It’s also portable so can be moved to any area you wish to bake from.

How to make Vegan Crème Brûlée Doughnuts

You won’t be able to tell these delightful doughnuts are baked! From their scrumptious airy and dough like texture to the cream filling and crisp caramel topping, they are the PERFECT baked doughnut! Find the full recipe, method and ingredients list in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

  1. Dough

    Mix all of the doughnut ingredients together and allow to come together into a soft dough ball. Place into a lightly greased bowl and allow to prove in somewhere warm until doubled in size.
    Turn out the dough on a floured surface, roll then chomp out the doughnuts using a medium sized round cookie cutter. Place back on a lined tray, prove again, brush with milk then bake until golden.

  2. Pastry cream

    Whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium sized saucepan, allow the butter to melt. Once the cream has thickened, pour into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and allow to cool down. Once cool give it another whisk, transfer into a piping bag. Poke a hole in the side of the doughnuts and fill with the cream.

  3. Caramel topping

    Add the water and sugar into a saucepan, simmer and allow it to turn amber in colour, Dip the tops of each doughnut in the caramel, allow any excess to drip off. The caramel will harden as it cools.
    Tuck in and enjoy!

Close up of a baked creme brulee doughnut

If you make, and love this recipe, please leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating below. Thank you & happy baking! Make sure to tag me in your photos on Instagram and Facebook! And if you want to pin this recipe for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, above or below this post, or on any of the photos. Happy baking all!

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creme brulee doughnuts with a caramel topping

Vegan Crème Brûlée Doughnuts


Description

The BEST Vegan Crème Brûlée Doughnuts – Baked doughnuts with a homemade pastry cream and caramel topping. Easy to make, no-egg, no-dairy, vegan!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Ingredients for the pastry cream

  • 35g of caster sugar
  • 15g of cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutritional yeast
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • 250ml of dairy-free milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract/ 1 vanilla bean pod (seeds only)
  • 60g of vegan butter

Ingredients for the doughnuts

  • 260ml of dairy-free milk
  • 14g of active dry yeast
  • 60g of caster sugar
  • 400g of plain flour
  • 40ml of sunflower oil
  • 80g of dairy-free butter

Ingredients for the sugar coating

  • 200g of caster sugar
  • 60ml of water

Instructions

Method (pastry cream)

  1. Add the sugar, cornstarch, yeast and a tiny pinch of turmeric into a microwave safe bowl and give it a stir together to combine.
  2. Pour in the milk, vanilla and chopped butter. Place the bowl into the Panasonic combi oven, set to the microwave setting on low setting. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Continue until the pastry cream begins to thicken (approximately 4-5 minutes).
  3. Transfer the cream into a heatproof bowl or container, allow to cool slightly, then cover the top with some clingfilm. Doing this will prevent the cream from forming a skin. Use immediately or chill in the fridge in a sealed container until ready to use. The cream will thicken, so you’ll want to whisk it vigorously or smooth it using an immersion blender before using.  Transfer into a piping bag fitted with a round tip nozzle.

Method (doughnuts)

  1. Pour the dairy-free milk into a saucepan, place on the hob and heat on low until warm. You don’t want the milk to be too hot or it can kill the yeast, it just needs to be warm. Sprinkle in the yeast and a teaspoon of the sugar, stir to combine then cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 5-10 minutes to activate. You’ll know the yeast is activated when it’s frothy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift in the flour and sugar. Stir to combine.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan on the hob over low until fully melted.
  4. Once the yeast mixture has frothed up, pour into the dry ingredients along with the oil and melted butter.
  5. If you’re using a stand mixer, place the bowl on the mixer and attach a dough hook. Begin to knead the dough on a low speed until it starts to come together. You can also knead by hand on a floured work surface, but this will take longer. The dough should start to become smooth and elastic after 3-5 minutes. Once it looks like it’s coming together, turn out on a clean worktop dusting with flour and knead until smooth and elastic. It should feel soft and pillowy. Do not over knead!
  6. Place the dough into the greased bowl and cover with a tea towel. Place the bowl into a warm area for 1 – 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size. After 30 minutes, check on the dough. You should start to see the dough rising. If it isn’t, place the bowl into a warmer area and wait longer.
  7. Once risen and doubled in size, turn out the dough onto a floured work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle, approximately 1  – 1 & 1/2  inch thick. This dough doesn’t make too make doughnuts so try not to roll it too thin. If you roll them too thin, you risk them not puffing up in the oven. Use a cookie cutter to cut as many doughnuts out from the dough, and place onto a lined baking tray. Gather up the excess dough and repeat.
  8. Cover the doughnuts with a tea towel and allow to rest in a warm area for 1 – 2 hours or until risen and puffy again.
  9. Once the doughnuts have risen, preheat the Panasonic combi oven to the oven setting at 180ºC fan and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Place a few doughnuts onto the lined tray and bake a few at a time, making sure they have room to puff up and bake. Keep an eye on the doughnuts to prevent them from burning / over baking.
  10. Bake the doughnuts in the oven for around 8 – 10 minutes or until they are golden in colour. You can check & flip the doughnuts half way through to make sure they are evenly baked and golden. Repeat until all doughnuts are baked.
  11. Remove from the oven and repeat for the rest of the doughnuts.

Method (filling and coating)

  1. Fill a piping bag with the pastry cream. Poke a hole in the side of the doughnuts and pipe in a generous amount of cream.
  2. Add the sugar and water into a saucepan over a high heat, swirling the pan to ensue all the sugar dissolves evenly. Once the sugar mixture begins to bubble, reduce the heat to low /medium and heat until your ‘caramel’ turns golden in colour swirling the pan occasionally, make sure you do not stir the caramel. Once golden, remove the pan from the heat and swirl to allow the colour of the caramel to deepen slightly.
  3. Hot sugar syrup will burn, so be very careful and make sure it doesn’t get on your skin! Dip the top of each doughnut into the caramel syrup. Wear a heat proof glove for extra protection on your hands. Lift the doughnut from the caramel and tilt it away from your fingers, to allow any excess caramel to drip off. Place the doughnut aside to cool, and repeat for the other doughnuts. If you find the caramel in the pot is going a little hard, return it to the heat for a few seconds until it becomes liquid again.  
  4. Tuck in and enjoy!! 

Notes

To store: Store the doughnuts in an air tight, sealed container at room temperature. Best enjoyed on day of making but can be stored overnight.

Be VERY careful! The caramel syrup is EXTREMELY HOT. Make sure it doesn’t spit or get on your skin. You can use a heat protective glove or use kitchen tongues to help lower the doughnuts into the caramel. 

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8-10 minutes
  • Category: Doughnuts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: baked doughnuts, creme brulee, crème brûlée, vegan doughnuts

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2 Comments

  1. Angie
    June 5, 2023 / 9:43 pm

    These taste amazing. Can’t believe you can bake doughnuts.

  2. Jord
    October 16, 2023 / 3:03 pm

    It was a really good recipe!! I think that the soy milk gave it a slightly funky flavour which was interesting but I liked it! I also personally made the mistake of not heating the caramel long enough and using turbinado sugar instead of caster sugar because we ran out and then the topping became a little crunchy after and didn’t harden, but that was totally my bad lol. I recommend making this!

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