Protein Donut Holes: 58-Calorie Chocolate Cake Donut Holes
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I’m always hesitant to declare a new recipe the best recipe on my blog because of recency bias and all that jazz. So, I’ll just say these protein donut holes are in the top five. I’m honestly not sure how to describe the joy you experience when biting into one. They’re slightly crispy on the outside but moist like perfect chocolate cake on the inside. And the powdered sugar exterior gives them a cool, perfectly sweet taste.
Amazeballs. (Ironically this was one of the more popular title suggestions when I polled my Instagram.)
The description above definitely doesn’t correlate with the macros and calories for these protein donut holes. Each donut hole has 5.5 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbs, 1.5 grams of fat, and only 58 calories. And thanks to the sweetener, only 1.4 grams of carbs come from sugar. Not bad, eh?
And as always, I’ve done my best to keep things simple.
Ingredients for Chocolate Cake Protein Donut Holes
Below I’ll run through a few notes of ingredient swaps and recipe modifications.
I feel like I’m constantly talking about Swerve these days so if you’ve heard my spill before, carry on. I’ve always used stevia and even turned stevia into a high protein powdered sugar in my crunch berries protein donuts recipe. But recently, I’ve been using Swerve in both granular and powdered forms.
These protein donut holes call for Swerve confectioners in the dough itself. If you don’t have any on hand, you could try the protein powdered sugar I mentioned above or you could add a bit more pudding mix or other thickeners mixed with another low calorie sweetener.
For the powdered sugar coating, however, it’s going to be a bit more difficult to replicate the true powdered sugar texture with protein powder and granular sugar blended together. But even without the perfect powdered sugar exterior, these protein donut holes are still delicious!
My final word on Swerve would be that if you’re on the fence about buying some, it’s one of the best ingredients I’ve come across in some time. For high protein, low calorie desserts, it’s a game changer. And don’t think it’s a one-recipe ingredient. Here are other recipes I’ve made with Swerve:
- Chocolate Chip Coconut Cheesecake Protein Cookies
- Cinnamon Roll Protein Mug Cake
- Microwaveable Protein Banana Bread
- High Protein Birthday Mug Cake
This ingredient is readily found these days in most grocery stores. If you can’t find the chocolate or fudge flavors or would like to use something else, you could combine cocoa powder with something like corn starch, arrowroot powder, xantham gum, or another thickener.
Coconut flour works extremely well in lower calorie recipes thanks to how absorbent it is. You don’t need to use much to get the desired effects of flour, keeping calories low. That said, I realize not everyone keeps it on hand.
If you want to swap the coconut flour for something like all purpose flour, you’ll want to use at least a 2:1 exchange ratio. That means you may need a half cup of all purpose flour.
If you go this route and have a dough that’s too thick, you can add more fat or even a bit of liquid like a lower calorie milk or water at the end of mixing.
You can use any protein powder you’d like. I always use a whey concentrate or blend in my baked recipes, and the macros in my recipes are always with Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard or Dymatize 100% Whey.
I’ve found that whey isolates or other super lean protein powders (very little fat or carbs in their nutrient profile) can make recipes tough or dry. You can fix this by adding a bit more fat to the recipe. In this recipe, for example, that might look like using full-fat yogurt.
If you’d like to learn more about finding the best protein powder for your goals and analyzing price and quality, check this article out.
Chocolate Cake Protein Donut Holes
Quick and easy 58-calorie protein donut holes with a chocolate cake spin.
Sugar Coating (for rolling donut holes in after baking)
- 2 Tbsp (18g) Swerve Confectioners
Preheat an oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the Greek yogurt and egg to the dry ingredients and stir until you have a giant ball of dough. (I use a rubber spatula and use a folding, pressing movement to incorporate any remaining dry ingredients.)
Once you have the ball of dough, pinch off 8 smaller balls and place them on the baking sheet.
Using your hands (spray them cooking spray if the dough is sticking), roll the balls between your hands until smooth.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the donut holes are cooked through.
Allow the donut holes to cool slightly before rolling them in the additional Swerve or powdered sugar of your choice.
- If you have trouble forming the dough into balls, you can use the cooking spray on the hands method or chill the dough in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes. You can also add a bit more protein powder. I've successfully made the recipe with two scoops (64g) protein powder. Though you'll have to work the dough a bit more before forming to ensure all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
While you’re here, be sure to grab a copy of my free cookbook for chocolate lovers. You can check it out here or just enter your email below and I’ll send a copy your way.