Apple Cider Doughnut Cake on a black plate
Our Apple Cider Doughnut Cake is flavorful and moist with an apple cider glaze and cinnamon sugar to top it off.
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Table of Contents
  1. Apple Cider Doughnut Cake
  2. A Doughnut in a Bundt Pan
  3. Ingredients
  4. Substitutions/Additions
  5. How to Make Apple Cider Doughnut Cake
  6. How to Make Apple Cider Glaze Topping (Optional: for dipping)
  7. Cinnamon Sugar Topping
  8. How to Make Into Mini-Muffins
  9. How to Make in the Instant Pot
  10. More Amazing Recipes
  11. Apple Cider Doughnut Cake Recipe
  12. More Recipes you may enjoy!

Our Apple Cider Doughnut Cake tastes exactly like an iconic apple cider donut from your favorite apple orchard. This bundt cake is flavorful and moist with an apple cider glaze dipping sauce and cinnamon sugar to top it off.

Apple Cider Doughnut Cake on a black plate

Apple Cider Doughnut Cake

If you’ve never had an apple cider doughnut, I have to let you know, you are really missing out. These donuts bring me back to my childhood! We would go apple picking every fall and at the end of the harvest, we would be rewarded with a hot cinnamon sugar doughnut and cold apple cider.

Ever since I first tried one, they have become my favorite doughnuts of all time. They are just so moist and full of unique flavor and covered in delicious cinnamon sugar.

a hand holding a piece of Apple Cider Doughnut Cake

A Doughnut in a Bundt Pan

This apple cider doughnut cake tastes exactly like the cake version of these delicious donuts. So, you are totally in for a treat with this recipe. It’s an awesome option for a dessert at a fall gathering. It would be perfect for a fun and new addition to your Thanksgiving day meal. 

The ingredients are simple. By using a yellow cake mix as your base, it saves you lots of steps and makes the instructions easy. The secret to the flavors in this cake come in the spices and seasonings that you add to the cake mix. 

To top it off, you’ll make an easy apple cider glaze dip. It couldn’t be easier to make, just two ingredients combined and mixed. It’s the perfect final touch to this delicious cake. 

buttering cake

Ingredients

  • Yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake – you will use JUST the dry mix)
  • ¾ cup apple cider (NOT apple juice)
  • ¼ cup water, room temperature (you can omit the water for a stronger cider taste, just use 1 cup apple cider instead if you take out the water)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup apple sauce (I used cinnamon apple sauce, not chunky)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
    Optional Apple Cider Glaze Dip
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider

Substitutions/Additions

Cake Mix: Any type of yellow cake mix will work for this cake. You could also use a white cake mix or a pumpkin spice cake mix. You could also use a homemade yellow or white cake if you have a recipe that you love.

Toppings: I like to serve this cake with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped topping. It’s the perfect final touch. Then, as a garnish, I like to sprinkle a little extra cinnamon on top or drizzle the cake with warm caramel. It’s so yummy! But of course, you have to serve it with a cold glass of fresh apple cider!

Gluten-Free: I had a couple of amazing readers adapt the recipe to make it gluten-free (Thank you, Marjorie & Sandy). Here are two tried and testing options:
– Substitute Bob’s Red Mill 1 for 1 Gluten-Free flour + 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum. 
– Used a GF yellow cake mix (Sandy used liveGfree from Aldis.) Followed my directions with one exception – she omitted 1/4 cup water. (passed the husband test!)

Note: Bundt pan size – The size of your bundt pan is going to matter here folks. I have made this with a 12 cup and a 10 cup. You will need to adjust the cooking times for each size, but they will all work. If you use a larger bundt pan, the cake will not look like it rose, but don’t worry, it still tastes yummy! This is my 10-cup (9.5 inch) pan.

How to Make Apple Cider Doughnut Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the dry cake mix, apple cider, apple sauce, water, and eggs.
  3. Add in cinnamon (1/4 tsp), brown sugar, and vanilla to the cake mix batter.
  4. Pour the mixture into a well-greased AND floured bundt pan.
  5. Place bundt pan on center rack and bake for 45 minutes. Test with a toothpick by sticking into the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean it is ready. Remove from heat and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

How to Make Apple Cider Glaze Topping (Optional: for dipping)

  1. While the cake is cooking, prepare the apple cider glaze by adding powdered sugar and the 1/4 cup apple cider to a small bowl and whisking them together until you reach your desired consistency.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar.
  3. Once the cake has cooled, brush the entire surface of the cake with melted butter. Rub the cinnamon sugar mixture until the whole cake is evenly coated. (see notes below regarding the cinnamon-sugar topping)
    PRO-TIP: When adding the cinnamon-sugar and butter topping, I brushed the butter onto the cake and let it set for just about a minute. You want it to be slightly wet so it holds the sugar, but not so much that it absorbs it into the cake.
  4. Serve the cake with the apple cider glaze dipping sauce and enjoy!

Not everyone feels the need for the apple cider glaze dip – feel free to omit if it’s not your thing.

Apple Cider Doughnut Cake New Pinterest Image

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

A couple of notes on the cinnamon-sugar topping:

  • Cinnamon sugar ratios is a very personal thing (LOL). Some people like more cinnamon, others like more sugar. You do you with this. I prefer a 2:1 ratio (2 sugar to 1 cinnamon). Some others prefer even less cinnamon or some more.
    If you aren’t sure what side of the cinnamon-sugar wagon you are on, start out with less cinnamon and you can always add more!
    Whatever you choose to do, you cannot mess it up – it will be delicious either way!
  • TIP: When adding the cinnamon-sugar and butter topping, I brushed the butter onto the cake and let it set for just about a minute. You want it to be slightly wet so it holds the sugar, but not so much that it absorbs it into the cake.
  • TIP: Mix the cinnamon and sugar together after brushing the butter on the cake while you’re waiting for that perfect level of moisture. That should give it just the right amount of time. And if needed add an extra layer of sugar.

If you love cinnamon sugar desserts as much as I do, you will go crazy over these Air Fryer Cinnamon Donuts!

How to Make Into Mini-Muffins

I have been asked a few times about making these into muffins or mini muffins. I just made them into mini-muffins and they were out of this world.

Just follow the instructions above but instead of putting them in the bundt pan, put them in a well-greased mini-muffin pan. Fill them just short of the top of the muffin cup top. Bake at 350 for about 14 minutes. To tell if they are done insert a toothpick in the center of a muffin and if it comes out clean, they are done.

Let them cool for about 15 minutes and take a sharp knife to loosen the edges and they should easily come out. Brush the tops with melted butter and dip them (generously) in the cinnamon sugar.

How to Make in the Instant Pot

I have been asked if this can be made in the Instant Pot. Yes, it can! It comes out much more dense – so please be aware!

Instant Pot Ingredients

  • Yellow cake mix
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ cup apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup cinnamon
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup melted butter

Preparation for Instant Pot

  1. Prepare box cake mix as instructed in a large bowl
  2. Add ½ cup apple cider, brown sugar, apple sauce, and vanilla and whisk until well blended
  3. Pour mix into a well-greased 7” bundt pan
  4. Add 1 ½ cups of water to the instant pot. Cover bundt pan with foil and lower into the instant pot using a sling. Seal, and set on manual high pressure for 45 minutes. Allow natural release for 15 minutes. Remove from the instant pot and let cool.
  5. While the cake is cooking, prepare apple cider glaze. Add powdered sugar and remaining apple cider to a small bowl and whisk to desired consistency
  6. In a separate bowl. Mix cinnamon with sugar.
  7. Once the cake has cooled, brush the entire surface with melted butter. Rub cinnamon sugar mixture until evenly coated.
  8. Serve warm with apple cider glaze dip and enjoy!

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4.75 from 651 votes
Apple Cider Doughnut Cake on a black plate

Apple Cider Doughnut Cake

Serves — 12
Our Apple Cider Doughnut Cake is flavorful and moist with an apple cider glaze and cinnamon sugar to top it off.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr

Ingredients
  

For the Cake:

  • 1 15.25 ounce box Yellow cake mix I used Betty Crocker Yellow Super Moist
  • ¾ cup apple cider NOT apple juice
  • ¼ cup water Room Temperature. Note: If you want a stronger apple cider taste, omit the water and use one full cup of apple cider
  • ½ cup apple sauce we used cinnamon apple sauce, not chunky
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon more if you like it really cinnamony!
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon depending on how much cinnamon you prefer
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup melted butter

For the Dipping Glaze (OPTIONAL)

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the dry cake mix, apple cider, apple sauce, water, and eggs. Add in the cinnnamon (¼ tsp,) brown sugar and vanilla to the cake mix batter. (See "recipe options" in notes)
  • Pour mix into a well greased & floured bundt pan (we used Baker's Joy. This has flour in it to make sure it doesn't stick.)
  • Place bundt pan on center rack and bake for 40-45 minutes. Test with a toothpick by sticking into the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean it is ready. Remove from heat and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

Apple Cider Dipping Glaze

  • While the cake is cooking, prepare apple cider glaze. Add powdered sugar and 1/4 cup apple cider to a small bowl and whisk to desired consistency
  • In a separate bowl. Mix cinnamon with sugar.
  • Once the cake has cooled, brush the entire surface with melted butter. Rub cinnamon sugar mixture until evenly coated.
  • Serve with apple cider glaze dip (or drizzle glaze on top of the cake) and enjoy!

Jenn’s Notes

TIPS
  • Bundt pan size – The size of your bundt pan is going to matter here folks. I have made this with a 12 cup and a 10 cup. You will need to adjust the cooking times for each size, but they will all work. If you use a larger bundt pan, the cake will not look like it rose, but don’t worry, it still tastes yummy! 
  • Cinnamon sugar ratios is a very personal thing (LOL). Some people like more cinnamon, others like more sugar. You do you with this. I prefer a 2:1 ratio (2 sugar to 1 cinnamon). Some others prefer even less cinnamon or some more.
    If you aren’t sure what side of the cinnamon-sugar wagon you are on, start out with less cinnamon and you can always add more!
    Whatever you choose to do, you cannot mess it up – it will be delicious either way!
  • When adding the cinnamon-sugar and butter topping, I brushed the butter onto the cake and let it set for just about a minute. You want it to be slightly wet so it holds the sugar, but not so much that it absorbs it into the cake.
    What I would say is to mix the cinnamon and sugar together after brushing the butter on the cake while you’re waiting for that perfect level of moisture. That should give it just the right amount of time. And if needed add an extra layer of sugar.
  • RECIPE OPTIONS – If you want a more “cider-y taste, use a full cup of cider (omit the water). 
Mini-Muffin Instructions:
Just follow the instructions above but instead of putting it in the bundt pan, put them in a well-greased mini-muffin pan. Fill them just short of the top of the muffin cup top. Bake at 350 for about 14 minutes. To tell if they are done insert a toothpick in the center of a muffin and if it comes out clean, they are done.
Let them cool for about 15 minutes and take a sharp knife to loosen the edges and they should easily come out. Brush the tops with melted butter and dip them (generously) in the cinnamon sugar.
GLUTEN-FREE INSTRUCTIONS (by our rockstar readers Marjorie & Sandy!)
Marjorie’s instructions: To make gluten-free, substitute Bob’s Red Mill 1 for 1 Gluten-Free flour + 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum. 
Sandy’s instructions: – Used a GF yellow cake mix (Sandy used liveGfree from Aldis.) Followed my directions with one exception – she omitted 1/4 cup water. (passed the husband test!)

Nutrition Info

Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 310mg | Potassium: 53mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 185IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

If you’re already an apple cider donut fan, then you know how good this will be. If not, I have a strong feeling you will become a fan of these donuts very shortly. Enjoy!

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Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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Comments

  1. Marjorie’s substitution for gluten free makes no sense. What is she subbing the GF flour for? There is no regular flour in the recipe except in the cake mix. But, you can’t sub just flour for a cake mix!