Guest Post: Cardamom-Spiced Pumpkin Donuts (or… how I survive fall in the Northeast), Paleovangelist

We discovered the Paleovangelist through her Instagram account, and were hooked on her creations from the very beginning. Danielle, i.e. the Paleovangelist, has a knack for creating inventive, flavorful savory dishes. We love watching her feed to see what her day-to-day eats look like, and find her stance on real life paleo living to be a great source of inspiration!

And for today’s guest post, Danielle couldn’t have picked a better topic – an approach and recipe to help folks navigate the season of temptations in a way that is practical. 

Take it away Danielle! 


Back in the years, which I now classify as B.P. (Before Paleo), fall meant a few things to me: beautiful foliage, apple picking, pumpkin patches and “food.” I put food in quotes because what I counted as food back then I don’t hold in such high regard now: pumpkin muffins from the local coffee chain, soy-milk lattes filled with sugar, fried everything at the state fair and, of course, candy apples.

Pumpkin Donuts, Paleo Parents Guest Post: Cardamom-Spiced Pumpkin Donuts (or... how I survive fall in the Northeast), Paleovangelist

Reflecting on my dietary habits of autumns past sometimes makes me cringe, but I know I’m not alone. I’m sure many of you reading this remember putting these same foods into your bodies. Some of us may even still treat ourselves with these foods from time to time. It’s hard not to. Just like heading to your grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving dinner becomes a lot more complicated while following a Paleo lifestyle (try watching your grandmother’s face when you say you don’t want a slice of her famous bread!), enjoying each new season – and the treats that come with it – can also be more challenging.

The Challenges of a Real Food Lifestyle

It took me almost a full year of eating paleo to stop treating myself with gluten-filled foods. For months, when new seasonal treats hit the shelves, I convinced myself that I deserved just one pumpkin muffin, just one gingerbread milkshake and just five (ok, 10) pieces of Halloween candy. The fact is, no matter how much we believe in a primal lifestyle, and no matter how good we feel eating nutrient dense real food, we’re still human. We want to celebrate holidays and special times with friends and family, we want to carry forward family traditions and we want to fit in.

When so many of our traditions (and even our everyday interactions in our offices and schools) revolve around treats, it can be a major hurdle to start, or stick to, a Paleo lifestyle. Personally, it wasn’t until I spent my honeymoon last December eating bread, pasta and desserts, and subsequently spent the last two nights of our vacation trying not to be physically sick, that I realized I couldn’t keep treating myself in the conventional way.

Learning to Treat Ourselves

So what’s a real food-loving human to do? We have a few choices. We can eat the traditional treats with our family. If you can tolerate gluten without feeling sick, then this is by no means the wrong choice. There are no paleo police waiting for you to treat yourself. But if you do choose this option, make sure you treat yourself wisely. Don’t eat all of the treats; just choose a couple of favorites. Don’t let a day of treating yourself turn into a weekend, and then a week.

The other option- and the one I subscribe to these days- is to make paleo-friendly treats. This can be a bit daunting when first starting a Paleo diet, especially when looking at the list of non-conventional ingredients you need to make many Paleo baked goods. But Paleo-friendly treats don’t need to be complicated! And while they may not be exactly the same as the treats you grew up with, they can be just as delicious.

Pumpkin Donuts, Paleo Parents Guest Post: Cardamom-Spiced Pumpkin Donuts (or... how I survive fall in the Northeast), Paleovangelist

My favorite fall treats to make this year are my Cardamom-Spiced Pumpkin Donuts. They’re grain-, dairy- and nut-free, so they’re great for sending with your children for fall parties at school. They’d also make a great addition to a Halloween party, Thanksgiving table or post-apple picking get together.

These donuts have joined me at several brunches already this fall, and have been devoured by paleo and non-paleo foodies alike. I hope you’ll find these make a simple addition to your celebrations this autumn.

Cardamom-Spiced Pumpkin Donuts



  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl, being sure to mix thoroughly until any lumps are gone.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients together in a medium bowl until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined fully. The dough should be wet, but able to be rolled into a ball.
  4. Grease a donut pan with coconut oil or ghee and press the dough into each of the six donut molds. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the donuts comes out clean. Carefully remove the donuts from the pan and place on a cooling rack.
  5. While the donuts are cooling, mix together the melted coconut oil, honey, water and vanilla. Once the donuts have cooled, spread the frosting on top or place the frosting into a plastic bag, cut one corner off the bag and use it to drizzle the frosting on the donut.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Danielle Gagnon is the author of everything at and is passionate about sharing her love for real food. Danielle began following a Paleo lifestyle in January 2014 after years of yo-yo dieting left her overweight and sick. Through this lifestyle change Danielle lost 30 pounds and found a passion for cooking. Today, she spends her time enjoying her New Hampshire home, biking, hiking and cooking with her husband and their dog, Jazz. You can join Danielle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more real food recipes and healthy inspiration.[/author_info] [/author]

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