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Apple Cider Donut Cake

Whenever we go pick apples in North Georgia, I’m always grabbing a box of apple cider donuts. It might be my favorite part the experience, and now I can enjoy the same great flavors in this Apple Cider Donut Cake! For the truest of apple fans, this cake has fresh grated apple, an apple cider reduction and apple butter baked into the batter. Then, it’s topped with the cinnamon sugar that you love about the donuts.

Slicing into the cake is heavenly for fall. It has such a great apple flavor and stays moist with the grated apple baked in. Your kitchen will smell amazing and your tummy with thank you!

Light and fluffy, this Apple Cider Donut Cake is the perfect fall dessert!

I have a habit of picking too many apples at the orchard. I can’t help it because the kids have such a good time. That means I have to get a little creative in the kitchen to use our apples and not let any go to waste. That’s when I turn into a baking queen.

My Grandmother had a version of this recipe, but her cider cake didn’t have the cinnamon sugar topping. As soon as I tasted the apple cider donuts that they serve at the orchard, I decided it was time to add it to our cake recipe.

That’s how this Apple Cider Donut Cake was born! It’s a homemade cake, from scratch, which is always a little bit of effort. Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. The process steps are easy and you’ll end up with a light and moist cake in the end.

Looking for even more great apple baking recipes? Here are my go-to recipes for after our family’s annual trip to the orchard. Most of these recipes call for Honeycrisp, Fuji or Granny Smith apples:

Apple Cider Donut Bundt Cake Recipe

To make this cake, I use my stand mixer and my 12-cup bundt cake pan. You can use a hand mixer if you don’t own a stand mixer, but the stand mixer makes it a bit easier. I’m a firm believer that not all bundt cake pans are made the same. I swear by Nordicware bundt cake pans. They aren’t flimsy, have a nice weight to them, and have a non-stick surface.

Apple Cider Donut Cake Recipe
Apple Cider Donut Cake is one of my favorite cakes to bake in the fall!

When To Make Your Cake

I love to make this cake in the fall, even though you can easily access fresh apples all year long. It serves 12 people, so it’s great for large parties.

I’ll bake the cake fresh for Thanksgiving dessert, bring it to church gatherings and slice it up for bake sales. People always ask me for the recipe because it’s such a unique fall cake! I love that it doesn’t have a thick frosting – but a cinnamon sugar coating instead.

How To Keep Your Cake Fresh & Make Ahead of Time

You can certainly make this cake the day prior to a holiday occasion it will stay fresh. If you’re making it ahead of time, just keep it covered until you’re ready to serve. I make this cake on Thanksgiving and I love bringing it someone’s house when we’re guests. It’s easy to transport.

What To Serve With Apple Cider Donut Cake

Serve your Apple Cider Donut Cake with fresh coffee, vanilla bean ice cream for whipped cream. I love to enjoy mine with homemade vanilla ice cream or caramel ice cream. If I’m really feeling indulgent, I’ll fry up some apples to go directly on top and make an apple sundae of sorts! The cake is great on it’s own, but even better with a scoop of ice cream.

How To Keep Your Cake Fresh After Baking

After your cake has cooled, and you’ve added the cinnamon sugar topping, you’ll want to keep it fresh. I like to slice mine up and store it in an airtight food storage container. It’s pretty on a cake stand for the initial presentation, but after that it’s transferred.

For best freshness, enjoy your cake 4-5 days after baking. You don’t have to refrigerate the cake. It can be left out at room temperature.

Apple Cider Donut Cake Recipe
The cinnamon sugar coating on the Apple Cider Donut Cake is unexpected and different!

Can You Freeze An Apple Cider Bundt Cake?

Yes! Apple Cider Bundt Cakes are great to freeze. Our family will eat half and save the other half for a different occasion. To freeze your cake, you’ll want to prevent freezer burn by wrapping it in plastic wrap. The other option is using freezer bags.

Freeze the cake for up to three months. To thaw the cake, leave it out at room temperature until it’s completely thawed (several hours). If you want to redo the cinnamon sugar topping, just melt butter and add more!

Tips For Removing Your Cake From The Bundt Pan

Here’s the key – be patient. Let your cake cool completely before you flip your bundt cake over. If you’re still having issues, which can happen, there are certain tricks that you can do. The more ornate the bundt pan design is, the harder it might be to remove your cake. Don’t despair – here are some tips to follow:

  • Generously use non-stick cooking spray in every nook-and-cranny. Use a spray that has flour in it. I prefer Baker’s Joy.
  • Let the cake cool completely before you even attempt to remove it from the pan.
  • If it sticks, hit the bundt cake pan with a spoon to loosen it.
  • If the sides are sticking, use a knife around the edges.
  • Flip it onto the cooling rack and walk away – let gravity take over.
  • If all else fails, hide the imperfections! That cinnamon sugar topping is very forgiving of any imperfections. Nobody will ever know it’s not perfect.

Recipe Substitutions

Try to use fresh apple cider. If you can’t find fresh apple cider, apple juice will work in a pinch. Any type of apple butter can be used – even homemade apple butter.

Whole wheat flour can be used instead of all-purpose flour. If you’d like to use a sugar substitute, I recommend following the directions of the brand that you’re using so you have the right measurements to make the substitute.

What You’ll Need From The Store:

  • Apple Cider
  • Baker’s Joy
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Kosher Salt
  • Ground Nutmeg
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ground Cloves
  • Large Eggs
  • Light Brown Sugar
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Buttermilk
  • Apple Butter
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Granny Smith Apple
  • Unsalted Butter

Directions To Make Apple Cider Donut Cake

1. Add apple cider to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, without stirring, until reduced to about 1/2 cup (12-15 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare 12-cup bundt pan with Baker’s Joy. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cloves and 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon.

Apple Cider Donut Cake Dry Ingredients

3. In a stand mixer, mix together the eggs, brown sugar, oil, buttermilk, apple butter, vanilla and 2/3 cup of the granulated sugar on low until combined. Add in the reduced apple cider on low.

4. Add half of the flour mixture to batter and mix until combined. Add the rest of the flour and grated apple until just incorporated.

Cake batter with grated apple

5. Pour into your prepared pan. Bake in the oven until golden brown for 50-55 minutes. Let the cake cool completely until flipping it out onto a cake plate.

Cake batter in cake pan ready to bake

6. Stir together the remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush the melted butter over the cake, using a pastry brush, and sprinkle the cake with the cinnamon sugar mixture until completely coated. Enjoy!

Apple Cider Donut Cake Recipe
Yield: 12 Servings

Apple Cider Donut Cake

Apple Cider Donut Cake Recipe

This light Apple Cider Donut Cake has fresh grated apple baked into the batter and an apple cider reduction, then it's topped with cinnamon sugar!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Apple Cider
  • Baker's Joy Baking Spray
  • 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 3 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon, Divided
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cups Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Buttermilk
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Butter
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar, Divided
  • 1 Medium Granny Smith Apple, Peeled and Grated
  • 1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter, Melted

Instructions

1. Add apple cider to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, without stirring, until reduced to about 1/2 cup (12-15 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare 12-cup bundt pan with Baker's Joy. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cloves and 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon.

3. In a stand mixer, mix together the eggs, brown sugar, oil, buttermilk, apple butter, vanilla and 2/3 cup of the granulated sugar on low until combined. Add in the reduced apple cider on low.

4. Add half of the flour mixture to batter and mix until combined. Add the rest of the flour and grated apple until just incorporated.

5. Pour into your prepared pan. Bake in the oven until golden brown for 50-55 minutes. Let the cake cool completely until flipping it out onto a cake plate.

6. Stir together the remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush the melted butter over the cake, using a pastry brush, and sprinkle the cake with the cinnamon sugar mixture until completely coated. Enjoy!

Notes

Store leftover cake in an airtight food storage container. For best freshness, enjoy withing 4-5 days of baking. Cake can be frozen for up to three months in the freezer. Let it thaw by coming to room temperature.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 495Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 327mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 2gSugar: 39gProtein: 5g

**Nutrition is calculated by a third party. Actual values may vary.

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