The Original L.A. ‘Fauxnut’ Doughnuts Recipe


This is the doughnuts recipe that made Mani’s Bakery famous.

Fauxnuts were the answer to a cry for help when Danny DeVito was filming Other People’s Money. His character was addicted to doughnuts, but in real life, the actor did not eat sugar or fried foods. I whipped up a batch of agave syrup–sweetened banana batter, baked it in mini Bundt molds, and rolled the mini “cakes” in a variety of doughnut-style toppings. Dubbed fauxnuts by my dear friend Mary Coller, this doughnuts recipe was such a hit with Danny and the crew that we quickly added them to the bakery’s daily repertoire. The story went viral and we watched customers line up for them!

Makes 12 doughnuts


For the Fauxnut

Nonstick cooking spray for the pan
3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 ½  teaspoons baking soda
½  teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¾cups mashed ripe bananas
3 eggs
1 ¾ cups agave syrup, preferably light
1⁄4 cup canola or other neutral- flavored vegetable oil
1⁄4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the toppings

1 cup agave syrup, preferably light
Unsweetened shredded dried coconut, graham cracker crumbs, or toasted diced almonds


1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Spray a 6-cup mini Bundt pan with cooking spray.

2. To make the fauxnuts, in a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. in a medium bowl, whisk the banana until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, agave syrup, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla to the banana and whisk until smooth and creamy, about
 2 minutes. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the banana mixture. Whisk together the dry and wet ingredients briefly yet thoroughly. Fill each mold no more than three-fourths full with batter. The easiest way to do this is to transfer the batter to a liquid measuring cup.

3. Bake until the tops spring back when pressed lightly near the center with a fingertip, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Invert the pan, hold it at an angle, and give it a firm whack on the countertop, then repeat the motion until all the fauxnuts pop out onto the rack. Let the fauxnuts cool completely. Repeat with the remaining batter, allowing the pan to cool and spraying it with cooking spray before filling and baking.

4. To top the fauxnuts, bring the agave syrup to a low boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and pour into a small, deep heat- proof bowl. Place each of your chosen toppings in a separate small bowl. Turn a cooled fauxnut upside down, dip the top half into the hot syrup, and then roll it in the desired topping. Transfer to a wire rack and repeat with the remaining fauxnuts, then serve at room temperature. Strain the leftover agave syrup to remove any crumbs and save for another purpose

Note: chocolate-dipped fauxnuts variation: Put 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips and 11⁄2 teaspoons canola or other neutral- flavored vegetable oil in a heatproof bowl and set over (not touching) hot (not simmering) water in a saucepan. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from over the water and let cool slightly. Tilt the bowl so the chocolate collects in a deep pool. Turn a cooled fauxnut upside down, dip the top half into the chocolate, and then shake the fauxnut gently so that the excess chocolate drips back into the bowl. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with toasted diced almonds or unsweetened shredded dried coconut, if desired. Repeat with the remaining fauxnuts. Refrigerate briefly to set the chocolate before serving.

This recipe comes from Good Morning Baking, by Mani Niall.

Image by, Erin Kunkel