Capture all the nostalgia of fall trips to the cider mill with this easy Apple Cider Cake! Filled with tangy sweet apple cider flavor and finished with a cider glaze and crunchy cinnamon sugar coating, this Apple Cider Donut Cake tastes just like the cake donuts you get from the apple orchard!
An Easy Apple Cider Bundt Cake
My husband has lived in Ohio for nearly 15 years, and for the most part, I feel like he’s fully integrated into Ohio life. He wears Buckeye gear on game days, cheers for the Blue Jackets (with some warranted frustration), and knows to properly appreciate a good Tater Tot Casserole.
But every fall, I know he misses Michigan. It’s not the fall colors that have him pining for his home state (though they are stunning). It’s the cider mills.
His hometown sits within driving distance of several cider mills, many of them historic community mainstays, featuring time-worn water wheels that power their fresh pressed cider operation. And of course the greatest draw of all is the apple cider donuts, served hot out of the fryer and shaken with cinnamon and sugar until the grease forms translucent spots on the paper bag.
There is truly nothing quite like a steaming hot donut dunked in a cup of cider, the cinnamon sugar coating your lips as cider dribbles down your chin. I understand why my husband gets nostalgic for it this time of year.
It’s not just a flavor, but an experience, one that instantly takes you back to childhood afternoons spent apple picking, jumping in piles of leaves and gathering around a campfire to stay warm.
This fall, we weren’t able to visit Michigan, so we found another way to capture the magic at home, with this homemade Apple Cider Donut Cake!
Why You’ll Fall in Love with this Apple Cider Cake
- Featuring warm spices in a moist and dense apple cider cake batter, this donut cake is as close to a cider donut as you can get without making donuts!
- This cake features a very special apple cider glaze made by reducing apple cider until the flavor is very concentrated. It’s then mixed with melted butter and brushed on the warm cake to amp up the flavors and make the perfect base to stick on plenty of cinnamon sugar.
- Speaking of cinnamon sugar, we’ve got plenty of it! I use a mix of granulated and coarse sugar to give the cake crust a little extra texture. It mimics the crispiness of deep fried doughnuts without the frying.
This delicious apple cider donut cake comes together in about 90 minutes and can easily feed 10-15 people. It’s a great option for Thanksgiving and all your other fall gatherings!
- Dry ingredients include all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Spices, including cinnamon and nutmeg. The nutmeg is KEY to making this apple cake taste like a cider donut!
- Butter– We use unsalted butter when baking, so we can control the salt.
- Sugars– We’ll use a mix of brown and granulated sugar.
- Eggs– This apple bundt cake has a whopping four eggs in it, which gives it an ultra moist and rich texture.
- Apple cider– We recommend picking up fresh apple cider from a local farmers’ market for the best flavor. Higher quality ciders will be a rich, warm brown and will be darker in color than most ciders found at big box stores.
- Cinnamon + Sugars for the topping- We’ll finish the cake with a cinnamon sugar drizzle. I like to use a mix of granulated sugar and demerara sugar for a nice crunch. Turbinado or another coarse sugar also works well.
How to Make Apple Cider Cake
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan with Baker’s Joy or another non-stick spray with flour.
- Whisk dry ingredients. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and sugar on medium speed until lighter in color and fluffy, scraping the bowl occasionally. This will take 3-5 minutes (really, that long!).
- Add remaining wet ingredients. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
- Add dry ingredients. Add the flour mixture in three additions, mixing on low speed until incorporated.
- Add apple cider. With the mixer running on the lowest speed, add the cider in a slow stream, and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl well to make sure the batter is fully incorporated.
- Bake. Scrape the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before inverting the cake onto a cooling rack set over a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
- Reduce the apple cider. While the cake is baking, add the remaining cider to a small saucepan over high heat. Bring the cider to a boil, then reduce heat to a low boil and continue to cook, stirring every 10 minutes or so, for about 30 minutes, or until it’s reduced to around ⅓ cup. Stir in the butter until melted.
- Glaze and sugar. In a bowl whisk together the sugars and cinnamon. While the cake is still warm, use a pastry brush to brush the cider mixture all over the outside. Sprinkle the top with sugar, then use the palm of your hand to press additional sugar onto the sides.
How to Serve Apple Cider Donut Cake
I prefer to serve this cake warm, as it best echoes the experience of warm cider donuts. If the cake has already cooled, reheat individual slices in the microwave for about 20 seconds.
I love to serve the cake with a glass of cold cider, either for sipping or dunking.
It’s also lovely with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and salted homemade caramel sauce.
For breakfast (yes, we eat cake for breakfast sometimes!), serve it plain with a hot cup of coffee.
Tips for Perfect Fluffy Bundt Cake
- Properly cream the butter and sugar. Over the years, I’ve noticed people tend to stop beating together the butter and sugar as soon as it seems combined (usually around 1 minute), but truly creaming the butter and sugar takes much longer, usually 3-5 minutes. After a minute, the butter and sugar will still be dark in color and will feel thick and dense when scraped with a spatula. Continue beating on medium high speed for another 3 minutes, scraping the bowl every minute. You’ll see the butter and sugar turn a paler yellow color and gain volume and fluffiness. This translates to a fluffier cake!
- Use room temperature eggs. This isn’t 100% necessary, but it does help. Room temperature eggs will more easily incorporate into the creamed butter and sugar mixture. If your eggs aren’t at room temp, just place them in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes before proceeding with your recipe.
- Use Baker’s Joy to grease your bundt pan. I haven’t had a single issue with cakes sticking since I started using Baker’s Joy, and we’ve used some pretty elaborate bundt cake pans with lots of nooks and crannies.
- These are the best bundt pans I’ve ever used. They release easily and clean up quickly.
Storage and Make Ahead Instructions
Leftover apple cider cake should be wrapped with saran wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.
To freeze apple cider cake, prepare the cake as usual, but omit the glaze. Allow the cake to cool, then double wrap it in plastic wrap then foil, and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw completely at room temperature, then place in the oven for about 10 minutes just to warm the outside. Make the glaze, then glaze and sugar the cake as usual.
What can I make with leftover cider?
If you need a savory option, try this Apple Cider Chicken.
More Bundt Cakes for Every Season
We’re on a mission to have an easy, no-fuss, elegant bundt cake for every season and occasion.
In the fall, this Apple Cider Donut Cake is a clear favorite, but we also love our Pear Bundt Cake.
For the holidays, you can’t go wrong with our very popular, decadent Chocolate Bundt Cake.
And of course, this Banana Caramel Cake is a hit anytime of year.
For the cake:
- 3 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 ½ sticks (20 Tablespoons, 1 ¼ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup apple cider
For the coating:
- 2 cups apple cider
- 2 Tablespoons salted butter
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons demerara or turbinado sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12 cup bundt pan with Baker’s Joy or another non-stick spray with flour.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and sugar on medium speed until lighter in color and fluffy, scraping the bowl occasionally. This will take 3-5 minutes (really, that long!).
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
- Add the flour mixture in three additions, mixing on low speed until incorporated. With the mixer running on the lowest speed, add the cider in a slow stream, and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl well to make sure the batter is fully incorporated.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a plate.
- While the cake is baking, add the 2 cups of cider to a small saucepan over high heat. Bring the cider to a boil, then reduce heat to a low boil and continue to cook, stirring every 10 minutes or so, for about 30 minutes, or until it’s thickened and reduced to around ⅓ cup. Stir in the butter until melted.
- In a bowl whisk together the sugars and cinnamon. While the cake is still warm, brush the cider mixture all over the outside. Sprinkle the top with sugar, then use the palm of your hand to press additional sugar onto the sides. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Leftovers should be stored wrapped in saran wrap at room temperature. We prefer to serve the cake warm. Individual slices reheat beautifully in the microwave in 15-20 seconds.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 302Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 312mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 1gSugar: 35gProtein: 5g
Please note nutritional information for my recipes is calculated by a third party service and provided as a courtesy to my readers. For the most accurate calculation, I always recommend running the numbers yourself with the specific products you use.