Apple Cider Donut Cake
This flavorful and delicious Apple Cider Donut Cake is a moist, spiced bundt cake made with both apple cider and apple butter. It’s got all the delicious fall flavors of apple cider donuts without all the mess of frying. While the cake is still warm, it’s brushed with melted butter, topped with cinnamon sugar, and drizzled with a vanilla bean glaze. Is there anything better?
Fresh apple cider is one of the things I look forward to every fall season! It gives our Apple Cider Donut Cake so much flavor. This cake is moist, perfectly spiced, and so easy to make for the holidays. You don’t need any special equipment, just a whisk and a mixing bowl.
Once you taste this Apple Cider Donut Cake, it’ll be your go-to apple cider cake recipe!
Apple Cider Donut Cake: A Fall Baking Staple
Everyone needs an easy dessert to bust out when company comes calling and Apple Cider Donut Cake is that dessert. It comes together in one bowl in less than 15 minutes and doesn’t require any fancy equipment! You don’t even need to cream butter and sugar together with a hand mixer.
There is just something so satisfying about a warm slice of Apple Cider Donut Cake in the morning. It’s somehow both satisfying and filling without being too sweet and pairs so perfectly with a cup of coffee.
All you need to make Apple Cider Donut Cake is a whisk and a mixing bowl. I also love a cake that doesn’t require layering or decorating. The cinnamon sugar and vanilla bean glaze make this cake visually appealing enough! You can serve at least 10 people so it’s great to bring out for parties and dinner parties.
If your fall plans include apple picking, be sure to pick up some apple butter and fresh apple cider! Both give this cake a strong apple flavor that’s not to sweet and perfect for the season.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
One Bowl – I love a cake recipe that comes together in one bowl! You don’t need any fancy equipment or stand mixers, just a mixing bowl and a whisk. What could be easier than that?
Feeds a crowd – This an easy recipe to prep for a huge crowd making it a favorite for the holidays. You can double or triple the recipe, no problem!
Easy – This recipe only takes minutes to prep and a handful of ingredients. Even if you’re a novice baker, you’ll be able to whip this cake up no problem! Follow my tips below to make the perfect Apple Cider Donut Cake.
How to Make Apple Cider Donut Cake
You’re going to be blown away by how easy it is to make this cake! Invest in a quality bundt pan for best results.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Apple Cider. Apple cider is fresh, unfiltered, and often unpasteurized. It’s bursting with apple flavor and so much better than apple juice. Look for fresh apple cider in your refrigerated produce section. I don’t recommend using apple juice in its place, but look for shelf stable apple cider instead.
- Apple butter. Apple butter is almost a super-thick concentrated apple sauce. You can omit this ingredient if you can’t find any.
- Sour cream. Sour cream helps give the cake a moist and dense texture. Opt for full-fat sour cream.
- Sugar. The batter calls for brown and white sugar, as well as additional white sugar for the coating, and powdered sugar for the glaze.
- Eggs. Make sure your eggs are room temp.
- Butter and neutral oil. The combination of melted butter and oil gives the cake moisture and flavor.
- Dry ingredients. Flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda make up the dry ingredients for the cake.
- Vanilla. A great cake always had some vanilla for flavor!
- Spices. Cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg give the cake a warm spiced flavor that enhances the apple.
- Reduce the apple cider. This step really helps concentrate the apple flavor! Pour the apple cider into a small saucepan and reduce over medium-low heat until 1 cup of cider remains. Cool to room temperature.
- Whisk the butter and sugar. Combine both sugars in a mixing bowl and add the melted butter and oil. Whisk vigorously until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until well mixed. Add the sour cream and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
- Whisk in the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Fold the dry ingredients into the mix in two stages. Add half the dry ingredients, and whisk them in with half of the reduced apple cider. Whisk in the rest of the dry ingredients and the rest of the cider.
- Bake. Grease and flour a bundt pan and pour the batter into the pan. Bake until a cake tester comes out with a couple of moist crumbs. Let the cake cool in the pan for 1 hour before inverting onto a plate.
- Coat in cinnamon sugar. Brush the still-warm cake with melted butter and sprinkle all over with cinnamon-sugar. This works best if you pour some of the sugar into a cupped hand and press it on the cake.
- Glaze. Whisk together the glaze in a medium bowl. The glaze should be really thick, but still pourable. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake and let it drip down the sides. Cut into slices and serve.
Tips for Making the Perfect Apple Cider Donut Cake
Use room temperature ingredients. When at room temperature, eggs, butter, and other dairy ingredients form an emulsion which traps air. While baking in the oven, that trapped air expands and produces a fluffy baked good. Fluffy baked goods = tender crumbs and a much better texture. Cold ingredients do not incorporate together as easily. Or even at all!
Don’t skip the sour cream. “Sour cream” is cream that has been soured and thickened with lactic acid bacteria, which gives it a tangy flavor that adds depth to baked goods. The fat also adds richness and tenderness, making treats like cakes and muffins fluffier when made with sour cream. Don’t go low fat here, full fat sour cream is absolutely the play.
Grease and flour your bundt cake really well. There’s nothing worse than having your cake stick to your bundt pan! To avoid that, use a high-quality nonstick bundt pan. I also spray my bundt pan liberally with nonstick spray and then dust the pan with flour. This ensures that the cake releases from the pan perfectly every time.
Bake low and slow. Baking the Apple Cider Donut Cake at 325 instead of 350 allows us to bake the cake all the way through without the edges drying out. You’ll end up with a perfectly tender and moist cake every time.
Cool the cake before removing it from the pan. Let the cake cool for an hour in the bundt pan before releasing it. The cake will still be warm, but this gives the cake some time to solidify so that pieces of it don’t end up sticking to the pan.
Baking with Room Temperature Ingredients
When at room temperature, eggs, butter, and other dairy ingredients form an emulsion which traps air. While baking in the oven, that trapped air expands and produces a fluffy baked good. Fluffy baked goods = tender crumbs and a much better texture.
Room temperature ingredients bond together very easily since they’re warmer, creating a seamless and evenly textured batter. A smooth batter = a uniformly textured baked good. Cold ingredients do not incorporate together as easily. Or even at all! This will result in a baking failure.
If a recipe calls for room temperature ingredients, DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! Simply take your ingredients out of the fridge an hour or so before you plan to bake. If your house is cold, turn the oven to its lowest temperature and set the ingredients nearby.
Storing and Freezing Apple Cider Donut Cake
Whenever I make this Apple Cider Donut Cake, I love having leftovers to eat through the week! It’s perfect for enjoying with a cup of coffee in the morning, or as an easy dessert.
To store, you can wrap the cake in parchment and plastic wrap and keep it at room temperature for 3 days.
To freeze, wrap before slicing in plastic wrap really well and transfer to a freezer-safe ziplock bag. This helps prevent freezer burn. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge and then microwave for 20 seconds before serving.
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Apple Cider Donut Cake
Apple Cider Donut Cake
- 2 cups fresh apple cider
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup full-fat sour cream
- 1/4 cup apple butter (optional), room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons sour cream or vanilla bean skyr
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider
- pinch of fine sea salt
- Whisk together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
Apple Cider Donut Cake
- Preheat an oven to 325 F. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan really well and dust with flour.
- Add the apple cider to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Simmer and reduce the cider by half, so that there's only 1 cup left. Cool to room temperature.
- Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugars, and oil until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking between each addition until smooth. Whisk in the sour cream or skyr, apple butter, and vanilla.
- Add half of the flour mixture and whisk. Then, whisk in half of the cooled apple cider concentrate. Repeat with the remaining flour and cider and whisk until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a cake tester comes out coated with a couple of moist crumbs. Remove from the oven and cool the cake in the pan for 1 hour before inverting onto a plate or cake stand.
- Brush the still-warm cake liberally with the 4 tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. For the sides, take some of the cinnamon sugar in your cupped hand and press onto the cake.
- Whisk the ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. The glaze should be thick, but still pourable. Pour the glaze over the cake, letting it drip down the sides.