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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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.

This Apple Cider Doughnut Cake is not just a treat; it’s an experience. Incredibly moist, bursting with warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, sweet apple cider, and a hint of vanilla and topped with a sugary cinnamon crust.

Apple Cider Doughnut Cake on a black plate


Apple Cider Doughnut Cake

The flavor of this Apple Cider Doughnut Cake is nothing short of a culinary ode to autumn. With apple cider as its star ingredient, the cake captures the essence of the season, beautifully complemented by warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s as if you’re taking a bite out of fall itself, evoking memories of apple picking and hayrides.

When it comes to texture, this cake truly shines. It boasts a moist, fluffy crumb that practically melts in your mouth, while the exterior forms a slightly crisp layer, adding a delightful textural contrast. Each bite is a harmonious blend of softness and crunch, making the eating experience incredibly satisfying.

a hand holding a piece of Apple Cider Doughnut Cake

What sets this recipe apart is its ease of preparation, especially since it starts with a simple box of cake mix. This shortcut not only saves time but also ensures consistent results, making it a foolproof choice for bakers of all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a complete beginner, this cake offers a hassle-free way to bring the flavors and nostalgia of the cider mill right into your kitchen.

buttering cake on a black plate

Ingredients

  • Yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake – you will use JUST the dry mix). If you want a stronger flavor, I highly recommend using Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix.
  • 1 cup apple cider (NOT apple juice, and PLEASE do not use apple cider vinegar)
  • 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. For a stronger Fall taste use Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix (this was my family’s favorite version).

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 options (please note, I personally have not tested these gluten-free versions)
– 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, 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)

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.

Apple Cider Doughnut Cake New Pinterest Image

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

A couple of notes on the cinnamon-sugar topping:

  • Cinnamon sugar ratios are 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 with less cinnamon, and you can always add more!
    Whatever you choose, 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 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 (this will make the finish look very dark.)
  • 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!

Tips for the Best Apple Cider Donut Cake!

  • Choose Quality Apple Cider: Opt for high-quality, fresh apple cider for the best flavor. Avoid apple juice as it lacks depth.
  • Spice It Right: Use freshly ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of allspice for a richer flavor profile.
  • Use Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure eggs, butter, and apple cider are at room temperature for even mixing and a smoother batter.
  • Preheat Your Oven: Always preheat to the exact temperature; consider using an oven thermometer for accuracy.
  • Grease and Flour the Pan: Properly prepare your cake pan to ensure easy removal and maintain the cake’s shape.
  • Test for Doneness: Use a toothpick or cake tester in the center of the cake; it should come out clean or with minimal crumbs.
  • Let It Cool: Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack.

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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4.76 from 933 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 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients
  

For the Cake:

  • 1 15.25 ounce box Yellow cake mix or Spice Cake Mix I used Betty Crocker Yellow Super Moist – for a stronger Fall taste use Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix.
  • 1 cup apple cider NOT apple juice and NOT apple cider vinegar
  • 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

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the dry cake mix, apple cider, apple sauce, and eggs. Add in the cinnnamon (¼ tsp,) brown sugar and vanilla to the cake mix batter. (See "recipe options" in notes)
    1 15.25 ounce box Yellow cake mix or Spice Cake Mix, 1 cup apple cider, ½ cup apple sauce, 3 large eggs, ¼ tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla
  • 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.
  • In a separate bowl. Mix cinnamon with sugar.
    2 tablespoons cinnamon, ¼ cup sugar
  • Once the cake has cooled, brush the entire surface with melted butter. Rub cinnamon sugar mixture until evenly coated.
    ¼ cup melted butter

Jenn’s Notes

TIPS
  • I recently made this using Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix and it was delicious. If you are looking for a stronger flavor, use this – you will love it! 
  • VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: I don’t know why I have to say this, but please DO NOT USE APPLE CIDER VINEGAR! I have had a few comments that is it is too much vinegar – that’s because you don’t put apple cider vinegar in it. Trust me, it will be disgusting!! 
  • 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.
Optional Apple Cider Glaze Dip
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
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.
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. Could I make this in a regular 9×13 pan? Would the cooking time be similar? It looks delish & can’t wait to try it! Can’t find my bundt pan 🙁. Thank you!

  2. I purchased apple cider jam and was wondering how a tsp of that in the center of a standard size muffin would work. Any thoughts?

  3. 5 stars
    If you’re a cider donuts fan this is a good choice. The outside has a crunch to like some cider doughnuts. It’s definitely with a try.

  4. 5 stars
    It’s in the oven now. My friend made it last month and raved about it, so I decided to make it, too.