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If you love apple cider donuts, you’ll flip for this cake!
Great Donut Taste In A Cake
This cake tastes exactly like apple cider donuts! It’s probably less fat too–although I’m not entirely sure.
I consider myself somewhat of an expert on apple cider donuts as I used to make them commercially at one time. Background here is that my late husband was recovering from open-heart surgery so he couldn’t work; I had to. Anyway, as there were no local jobs in engineering and I needed specific hours that I could be home for him, I took a job as a baker at a local supermarket. Yeah, I know–a real career change!
Anyway, the cider donuts were a fall staple at that store so I improved on the standard recipe. All the customers said those donuts hit the jackpot. The truth is, they started with a mix where I doctored the spices.
Mace: A Donut Essential
This spice is essential for donuts. It gives them that donutty taste.
For those who don’t know this little factoid, mace is the outer covering of nutmeg. I never knew that until very recently and it was Clarissa from Two Fat Ladies who informed me (and millions of other viewers too).
You also need nutmeg in equal portions to the mace. It’s a one-to-one ratio.
The other secret to the great taste here is the fresh apple that’s cooked in the cider itself. Essentially, you’re making applesauce, but it’s an applesauce with a lot of kick. You cook it down until the cider is reduced–and reductions have intense flavor. Where you may be tempted for convenience sake to substitute store-bought applesauce–don’t. It’s worth the time to do the apple/cider reduction.
The Crowning Glory
You’ll love the sugar coating for this cake. It’s not merely cinnamon sugar because there’s yet another hint of nutmeg. There’s a bit of salt too, which is strange at first, but many people actually put a pinch of salt on an apple because it brings out a lot of flavor.
Apple Cider Donut Cake
For the Cake:
- 8 tbs unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 large Granny Smith apple about 8 ounces, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider
- 1/2 cup milk at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground mace
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
For the Sugar Coating:
- 6 tbs sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a bundt pan with non-stick spray.
- In medium saucepan, bring chopped apple and cider to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until most of the cider has been absorbed and apples are easily smashed with a fork, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat, cool 5 minutes, and mash with the back of a spoon. Measure out 1 cup apple mixture and stir in milk; set aside.
- In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and mace; set aside.
- In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add oil and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute.
- Decrease mixer speed to low and add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with apple mixture, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Increase speed to medium and beat mixture just until combined, about 20 seconds. Add vanilla and beat once more, just to combine, about 10 seconds.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake until cake tester inserted in cake comes out clean, rotating cake halfway through baking, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer cake to cooling rack set inside baking sheet and cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert directly onto cooling rack.
- For the Cinnamon Sugar Coating: Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle warm cake with cinnamon sugar, using fingers to rub it onto sides.
- Cool cake completely, about 1 hour.
*Adapted from Serious Eats