In this post Rebecca – the chef behind Willow and Dove vegan and gluten-free desserts- shares why she became interested in healthy eating and her secret tips on how to make delicious raw vegan doughnuts.

mini raw doughnut vegan and glutenfree willow and dove

Photo credit: Rich Nixon

“As a child, I was quite the fussy eater and at home, we generally ate a lot of processed fast foods and very little fruit and veg, which was a partial reason to me ending up in hospital as a teenager.

This made me really re-think my approach to food and I began reading cook books and watching food programmes, to teach myself the basics of cooking. The love grew and when I finished school, I enrolled at catering college where I trained to be a chef and then spent subsequent years working as a chef around Europe and New Zealand, eventually specialising in the pastry and dessert section.

I returned to the UK, back to my Midlands roots in Nottingham to set up Willow and Dove in September 2015, which back then did a range of cakes with a small amount of vegan and gluten free options.

At the start of the year, I started to become uneasy which the amount of refined sugar and dairy I was using in my baking and began to explore and experiment with plant based options.

My customers on the markets in Nottingham were also requesting more sugar free and vegan options too. In April, I took the decision to make Willow and Dove entirely vegan and gluten free and mostly raw.

vegan chocolate doughnuts healthyandpsyched

Photo credit: Rich Nixon

My years of travel constantly inspire me  – I often look back on photos of markets in Thailand and restaurants in Vietnam to gain inspiration for ideas as well as being constantly inspired by photography, art and eating out.

I’ve had a soft spot for doughnuts for years, but wanted to create a recipe which made them slightly healthier and use bright and quirky toppings without the e-numbers.

Willow and Dove Vegan Doughnut Recipe Raw Chocolate

Photo credit: Rich Nixon

Mini Raw Vegan Doughnut Recipe

serves around 8-10

  • 50g of your favourite nuts – almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts  (I use almonds)
  • 125g Medjool dates (soaked for 10 mins if they are not very sticky)
  • 1 tbsp of your favourite natural sweetener – pure maple syrup, agave, brown rice syrup (I usually use maple)
  • 40g raw cacao powder (or high quality cocoa)

For the topping I make my own raw chocolate from: (or you could use shop bought vegan dark chocolate).

  • 100g cocoa butter
  • 25g raw cacao powder
  • 1-2 tbsp pure maple syrup

For topping ideas:

  • Cacao Nibs
  • Freeze dried fruits such as raspberries
  • Various nuts – pistachios look pretty!


  1. In a food processor, pulse the nuts until you get a coarse powder.
  2. Add the maple syrup and cacao powder and pulse again.
  3. With the motor running, feed in the dates one at a time until you get a thick, dough like ball
  4. Remove the mixture and separate the balls into ping pong ball sized pieces. Using damp hands will give you a nice shine on the mixture!
  5. Flatten each ball slightly and then using the end of a wooden spoon, make a hole in each ball – reshaping slightly if necessary.
  6. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up.
  7. Melt the chocolate or make the chocolate by melting the cocoa butter in a glass bowl over simmering water. Take off the heat and whisk in the cacao powder and maple syrup. Leave to stand for 10-15mins to thicken up slightly before topping your doughnuts.
  8. Sprinkle with the toppings then leave to firm up in the fridge for 15mins.
  9. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days or freeze the mix without the chocolate glaze for up to a month.
  10. Enjoy!!”

Find Rebecca at Sneinton Vegan Market, Nottingham on the first Saturday of every month. For more information visit Willow and Dove on facebook.


P.S. Check out my recreation of these doughnuts- Blog post here

vegan doughnut recipe

And Natalie from Fit and gluten free loves them as well! – Check out her recreation.


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