Fall is full of apples, and apple orchards, and fresh-pressed cider, and hot apple cider donuts and fresh apple fritters.
For most of the country, at least.
The closest I can get is store-bought apple cider… and this apple cider donut cake, which is delicious, and not deep-fried, and still super full of fall flavors.
The original recipe calls for cooking sliced granny smiths in cider, and pureeing them, and adding that to the cake. Since my stores apple selection could be described as dismal at best, I decided to replace the fresh pureed apples with applesauce, which also means you make this any time of the year, in any part of the world, because I’m pretty sure that even if you don’t have fresh apples readily available, you will still be able to find some applesauce.
I also added buttermilk to give it a nice, tender crumb, since anyone who may have tried to substitute applesauce in a recipe may know it can make things a little on the “chewy” side.
This cake is like a fresh cider donut, and since it has “donut” in the name that means you are allowed to eat it for breakfast. And any recipe that allows me to sneak cake into my breakfast regimen is considered a win in my book, especially if you then cover that cake in a layer of sweet cinnamon-sugar.
This cake would be the perfect brunch item, providing you and your guests something to snack on while they wait for your turkey to roast, or it would make a delightful alternative as a Thanksgiving dessert for those of you who don’t care for pumpkin, I know you’re out there.
Apple Cider Donut Cake
[ Printable Recipe ]
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room-temperature, cubed
- ½ cup applesauce
- ¾ cup apple cider
- ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Cinnamon-Sugar Coating
- 6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare bundt pan with butter or spray.
Put applesauce in liquid measuring cup. Fill with apple cider to 1 cup mark. Stir to combine. Add vanilla to cider mixture and stir to combine again.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Add oil and continue beating until incorporated.
Decrease mixer speed to low and add flour mixture alternating with apple mixture (flour-cider-flour-cider-flour), scraping down the bowl as needed. Remember to scrape up from the bottom too to catch any flour pockets that may be hiding down there.
Scrape batter into greased bundt pan and bake 35-45 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto rack, coat with cinnamon sugar mixture (I sprinkled it over the top, then poured into my hand and rubbed onto the sides), leave on rack until it has cooled completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
[ Inspired by Serious Eats ]