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Our favorite Fall flavors in a tasty Apple Cider Donut Cake
Tender, moist and flavorful Apple Cider Donut Cake
With plenty of cinnamon, apple cider and applesauce it’s easy to see why this Apple Cider Donut Cake is a fall favorite!
From the moist, tender crumb to the cinnamon sugar coating, this simple Bundt cake is the perfect balance of textures and flavors.
This simple no-mixer cake is great served with a cup of tea, coffee or our citrus infused hot Apple Cider. Our cake tastes a lot like the apple cider doughnuts you can find at an apple orchard or Farmers Market, only it’s baked, not fried!
I credit Martha Stewart for the inspiration to make an Apple Cider Donut Cake recipe. However, this recipe was adapted from our baked Apple Cider Doughnuts.
If your family craves apple cider doughnuts, they’re going to love this delicious cake!
Overview of ingredients:
For the apple cider reduction:
- apple cider – you’ll need 4 cups of cider for this recipe. The cider is boiled down to just 1 cup of intensely delicious juice. Two-thirds of the reduction is added to the cake batter and the remaining 1/3 cup is brushed on the warm cake.
For the cake batter:
- all-purpose flour
- ground cinnamon
- baking soda
- baking powder
- unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
- large eggs at room temperature
- granulated sugar
- light brown sugar for added moisture
- unsweetened applesauce – homemade or store-bought both work well
- vanilla extract
- apple cider reduction as listed above
For the topping:
- ground cinnamon
- granulated or coarse sugar
- all remaining boiled apple cider reduction for brushing on the warm cake. You can also use melted butter in place of the apple cider with great results.
Overview: How to make Apple Cider Donut Cake
1. First make the apple cider reduction a/k/a boiled cider
The apple cider reduction can be made a day or two ahead and refrigerated until needed. Simply boil the apple cider until it’s reduced to 1 cup, or a fourth of its original volume.
If reduced too much, no worries. Simply add more fresh apple cider to make a total of one cup.
2. Next make the cake batter – no mixer required!
Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, ground cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
In a large bowl whisk together the melted cooled butter, eggs, sugars, applesauce, vanilla and 2/3 cup of the reduced cider. Add the flour mixture and fold together with a spatula until mostly smooth, with a few small lumps.
Pour the batter into a well greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes then cool in the pan for 15 minutes more. Invert the cake onto a wire rack set over a baking sheet.
3. Add the cinnamon sugar coating
Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Immediately brush the warm cake with the remaining apple cider reduction. Coat the moist cake with the cinnamon sugar mixture pressing to adhere if needed.
I know it’s hard to resist warm cake, but this one actually improves in flavor and texture if cooled. If sliced warm it crumbles a lot more. So allow the cake to cool at room temperature and then serve.
This cake is so good served with a scoop of our tart and delicious homemade Apple Cider Ice Cream. It’s seriously out of this world delicious!
Pro Tip for reducing the apple cider
Boiled or reduced cider is made by boiling the cider until it’s reduced by half or up to one-fourth its’ original volume.
How do you know when it’s reduced enough?
Here’s an easy trick to know when the cider is reduced enough. Pour 1-cup of fresh cider into a deep saucepan. Place a wooden skewer straight down into the pan and mark how far the cider comes up the side of the skewer.
Add all remaining cider to the saucepan and cook as directed. Once reduced, test by placing the skewer back into the saucepan. If it comes to the same level as marked, it’s reduced enough.
This simple method is so much easier than pouring it into a measuring cup every few minutes.
If you reduce the cider a little too much, add more fresh cider to make 1 cup.
Why we love apple cider for fall baking and recipes
I don’t think I’ve ever made anything with apple cider unless we reduced it first. The tart apple flavor is enhanced and almost intense, which in turn makes your baked goods and desserts even more delicious!
Grab a gallon of fresh apple cider next time you’re at the store. I recommend buying unpasteurized if you can find it but pasteurized works well too.
If you have a lot of tiny apple bits floating around after boiling the cider, pour it through a fine mesh sieve and discard any solids.
Storing and freezing Apple Cider Donut Cake
Cover the cake and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. Or slice the leftover cake and seal in an airtight container. Refrigerate for longer storage.
This cake also freezes very well. Cover in plastic wrap and seal in an airtight container before freezing. Thaw in the refrigerator or microwave each slice for about 30 seconds.
The best pans for making an Apple Cider Donut Cake:
We usually bake our cake in this 12-cup Bundt cake pan from Nordic Ware. However you can bake this same apple cider doughnut cake in a 10-cup Bundt pan, a 13×9-inch baking pan, or two loaf pan.
Adjust baking time accordingly.
TIPS for making the best Apple Cider Donut Cake:
Don’t over-bake the cake. It’s best taken out of the oven when a toothpick comes out with no wet batter and a few moist crumbs.
While you can use apple cider straight from the jug, the flavor is much better if you use reduced or boiled cider.
Don’t walk away while boiling the cider. The cider bubbles up but will settle down after about 5 minutes of cooking.
For even more flavor brush the top of the cake with cider and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar before removing from the cake pan.
Brush the cake in sections adding the cinnamon sugar mixture as you go before it soaks in and dries. If you feel it needs more cider brushed on, use regular cider or melted butter.
Prevent the cake from sticking to the pan by brushing it with melted butter using a pastry brush. This ensures you’ll cover all the deep crevices before flouring.
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Apple Cider Donut Cake
- 10 or 12 cup Bundt Pan
For the apple cider reduction:
- 4 cups apple cider (32oz)
For the cake batter:
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour (445g)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (8oz or 226g)
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar (222g)
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed (112g)
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce (8oz)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup reduced apple cider, see notes (5 1/2oz)
For cinnamon sugar topping:
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar (80g)
- ⅓ cup reduced apple cider, for brushing on warm cake (2 ½oz)
To prepare the apple cider reduction:
- Pour the apple cider in a deep saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to medium heat and cook until the cider is reduced to one cup, about 20-25 minutes. Don’t walk away! Keep an eye on the cider so it doesn’t boil over. Set aside to cool. The cider reduction can be made the day before and refrigerated until needed. (See NOTES for tips on measuring)
To prepare the cake batter:
- Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position and preheat to 350°F. Generously grease and flour a 10 or 12-cup Bundt pan.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the melted cooled butter, eggs, sugars, applesauce, vanilla and ⅔ cup of the reduced cider. Add the flour mixture and blend with a spatula until mostly smooth with a few small lumps, taking care not to overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 – 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no wet batter. Moist crumbs are fine. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes.
- Mix together the remaining 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and ⅓ cup granulated sugar for the topping.
- Invert the warm cake onto a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the cake all over with the remaining cider and coat immediately with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Cool before serving or the cake will be crumbly.
- Store the cake covered, at room temperature, for up to 2 days or refrigerate for longer storage.
Here’s an easy trick to know when the cider is reduced to one cup. Pour 1-cup of the cider into the saucepan. Place a wooden skewer straight down into the pan and mark how far the cider comes up the skewer. Add the remaining cider to the saucepan and cook as directed. Once reduced, you can test by placing the skewer into the pan. If it comes to the same level as marked on the skewer, it’s reduced enough for this recipe. If reduced too much, no worries. Simply add more fresh apple cider to make one cup.
- Generously grease the Bundt pan with melted butter using a pastry brush to ensure you reach all the crevices. Flour the pan before filling.
- Recipe adapted from our Apple Cider Doughnuts recipe.
If you find yourself with leftover apple cider, try this Pumpkin Risotto with Cider Caramelized Onions. Oh my it sounds absolutely amazing.