If you don’t know by now, I absolutely adore the squishy, sticky and stretchy texture of foods made with glutinous rice flour (also called sweet rice flour). You’ll find endless varieties of both sweet and savoury foods made of glutinous rice flour in many parts of Asia. Outside of the region, the one that people are probably most familiar with is mochi. Mochi actually specifically refers to Japanese rice cakes, but you’ll see the term used loosely these days to describe any kind of soft and chewy food made of glutinous rice flour.
I had leftover pumpkin puree from making a pumpkin layer cake, so I needed to find a use for it. I’ve made steamed Pumpkin Mochi and Pumpkin Mochi Ice Cream, so I started thinking along the lines of something mochi-like, and settled on pumpkin mochi donuts! I originally wanted to make fried mochi donut holes (imagine how ooey gooey they’d be!), but baking is just less of a mess than deep frying, and of course, healthier too. It also meant I could finally use my donut pan, which I’d purchased years ago but had never used!
These donuts are simply awesome! The great thing is that they’re actually really easy to make (certainly less time-consuming than traditional yeast donuts) and they’re gluten-free too! They’re best eaten fresh, on the day they’re made (yes, I’m giving you the go-ahead to gobble them all up!). I really would not recommend keeping them for the next day. If you do have leftovers, you can store them in an air-tight container at room temperature. Do keep in mind though that by day 2, the sugar coating will have mostly melted, and the donut texture changes to something more akin to a cake donut (which is not necessarily a bad thing, but you won’t get that satisfying chew).
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BAKED PUMPKIN MOCHI DONUTS
Makes 15 donuts
3/4 cup (87g) glutinous rice flour
3/4 cup (87g) tapioca flour
2 teaspoons (10g) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 cup (210g) pure pumpkin puree
1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
2/3 cup (135g) whole milk
3 tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cinnamon sugar coating:
3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a donut pan.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: glutinous rice flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
3. In another large bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, milk, 3 tablespoons melted butter, eggs and vanilla until combined.
4. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well incorporated and there are no lumps.
5. Fill a pastry bag with some of the batter, snip off the tip of the bag (you’ll want about a 1/2″ opening), and pipe the batter into the donut molds. Fill to the brim.
6. Bake for about 20 minutes until edges are browned and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 5 to 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a cooling rack. It’s not necessary to cool them completely. As soon as the donuts are cool enough to handle, you can go on to Step 7.
7. In a medium shallow bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Using a pastry brush, brush melted butter all over the donut, then toss in the cinnamon sugar (you can also dip the donut in the melted butter, but I find that this results in excess butter on the donut, which causes the sugar coating to clump).
8. Donuts are best enjoyed immediately!