Wordless Wednesday: Drink Up!

Ani’s Day and Night – Latte and Matcha, Hot and Iced
Pretty Cute Coffee – Prickly In Pink (Matcha Latte) and Blueberry Lemonade
Dr. Pepper Museum – Soda Fountain
Fonda San Miguel – Numero Uno Margarita
JuiceLand – Cosmic Charley
Nori – Spicy Agave Margarita and Lavender Tea

Doing Doughnuts Around Austin, Texas

Dollars to doughnuts, deep-fried balls of yeasted batter have ostensibly fueled generations. Running the gamut from cheap sustenance to high-end indulgences, there’s truly a doughnut for every day of the year. Having survived the low-carb craze, sugar-free evangelists, and fat phobics, it’s safe to say that our beloved olykoeks (“oily cakes”) aren’t going anywhere.

Like any city worth its sprinkles, Austin, Texas has its fair share of doughnut purveyors, waking up before sunrise to feed the hungry hordes. What you may not know is that many of them include vegan varieties, free of the usual eggs and dairy that define conventional pastries. Next time cravings strike, here are all the bakeries turning out dough from scratch, with plentiful plant-based treats.

Best Vegan Doughnuts in Austin, TX

Knead Doughnut and Coffee Bike

Brought to you by the same culinary talent behind The Forking Vegan trailer, this young upstart is slinging fried delights at sporadic pop-ups, online sales, and regular stock at Dear Diary Coffee. More local cafes are quickly joining that list as word spreads about this new addition to the sweets scene. Large and slightly daunting, they look heavy but seem to melt in your mouth like an ethereal sprinkled cloud. From strawberry shortcake to purple rain and everything in between, this is a perfect example of the vegan option matching and quickly exceeding the original dish. Yes, these are doughnuts that could convert omnivores with very little effort. I swore I wouldn’t pick favorites for this list, but… Let’s just say they’re at the top here for a reason.

Wheatsville Food Coop

After a heartbreaking absence following pandemic-related worker shortages, vegan doughnuts are back and better than ever at both Wheatsville locations. These are by far the most accessible fried treats in town, ready and waiting to come home with you following your next grocery run. The Austin cream pie are most famous, but keep an eye out for seasonal specialties, such as pumpkin spice in the fall or rainbow glazed during Pride Month. For a real splurge, don’t miss the apple fritters that are roughly the size of a dinner plate.

The Salty Donut

Watch your language! These small batch doughnuts served with craft coffee could make you curse like a sailor. This Miami-based mini chain makes sure that at least one, sometimes two vegan options are in the case at all times. While I would have never otherwise ordered a passionfruit and dark chocolate combo, it’s a testament to their frying prowess that I found myself hoovering up every last crumb. Though the yeasted cakes are thick and slightly bready, they’re tender all the way through and not remotely oily. Icings seem to melt in your mouth, exploding with rich flavor, adding just the right amount of sweetness to the neutral base.

Mr. Natural

Think “cupcake,” not “pastry,” and you’ll set your taste buds up for success. These sweet rings are a different breed from the rest, being both gluten-free and baked, not fried. Best known for their plant-based Mexican specialties, both locations also boast homemade treats, such as conchas, tres leches cake, and yes, gluten free chocolate donuts. Small but substantial, you can really sink your teeth into these babies for a bite of intense cacao flavor. The fudgy icing on top gives it the air of devil’s food cake, individually portioned so you don’t have to share.

Fat Cats Organic Coffee & Desserts

Take your pick from a wide array of classic and creative treats at this 100% vegan cafe, where baked, cake doughnuts are a mainstay. Expect some variation on chocolate or vanilla for most any visit, but come prepared for happy surprises like samoa (like the Girl Scout cookie), matcha, Elvis (with peanut butter glaze, meatless bacon bits, and caramelized bananas), tiramisu, and whatever else these clever cats dream up. Those aren’t just cute names either; bold, rich flavors ring true to those promises, supported by a relatively light, fluffy crumb.

Bougie’s Donuts & Coffee

Contrary to the high-highfalutin title, Bougie’s takes up residence in a nondescript strip mall in Sunset Valley. Striving to serve an “elevated” cafe experience with gourmet treats and third-wave coffee, they manage to sidestep the pretension that sort of program typically entails. There are two vegan versions of their plump cake-style doughnuts; blueberry and birthday cake, each coated in a crisp confectioner’s sugar glaze that shatters upon impact. Tender, moist, and impeccably fresh, they do proper justice to this tricky format. I’d suggest that kids and children at heart would especially dig this spot, since the vegan blueberry doughnut has a flavor strikingly reminiscent of fruity pebbles cereal.

Voodoo Doughnut

Imported from Portland, OR, avant-garde options have always been the standard at this late night haunt. There are ten possible vegan options, stocked on a rotating basis or available for pre-order as a full Voodoo Vegan Dozen (the most popular flavors are doubled, if you’re keeping count.) If you only have room for one, you must try the iconic Voodoo Doll, shaped like a hapless human stabbed through the heart with a pretzel stick, bleeding sweet, gooey raspberry jam. That’s some delicious witchcraft right there.

Zucchini Kill Bakery

Gluten-free, soy-free, vegan sweets are always on the menu at this punk rock bakery. You can’t miss it if you just look for their delivery hearse parked outside. Best known for coffin cakes (modeled after Twinkies) and rebel swrrrls (mini swiss rolls in the style of Yodels), doughnuts are a less common but worthy prize, appearing most prominently for holidays or seasonal occasions in appropriately festive flavors. Case in point, the queen cake donut, presented as the equal and opposite reaction to Mardi Gras’ king cake, festooned with colored sugar and stuffed with a single goji berry in lieu of a plastic baby. Soft and tender, light on the lips, I’m a big fan of this low-key baked offering whenever I’m lucky enough to pick one up.

Percolator Coffee + Tiny Donuts

File this under “coming attractions.” Previously known as East Austin Coffee, this shoe box of a trailer situated on the east side has rebranded with a stronger focus on sweets. Unfortunately, although the reported open date was in November 2022, then January 2023, there still aren’t any donuts rising to the occasion.

Hungry For Homemade Vegan Donuts?

If you’re not nearby the sweet city of Austin, Texas, you can make your own at home from any of these easy vegan donut recipes:

Requiem for a Restaurant

2022 began quietly, cautiously. Moving tenuously on tip-toes, carefully stepping around the remnants of the pandemic while trying to move forward anew, the trajectory was unclear. For a while, business began to improve, life started humming ahead like “normal” while we picked up the pieces of a broken society. Despite clear progress, it feels like running in place when we stop to look up at the unchanged scenery around us. Alas, that’s not true; if anything, in many ways, we’re going backwards again.

Right now, as I do at the close of every year, I’m talking about the restaurants that have left us. This was a particularly brutal culling to look back on, wiping out true pillars of our Austin vegan community in a matter of months. What once seemed stable, unshakable, and always reliable are now mere memories. Such losses are crushing, but let’s take a moment to celebrate the fleeting moments that we were fortunate enough to share.

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