Amazing Apple Cider Doughnut Bundt Cake

a piece of apple cider doughnut cake on a white fall plate with cinnamon sticks and a fork

This Apple Cider Doughnut Cake is so amazing and the epitome of fall: super moist, comforting, and sweet with a delicious apple flavor that tastes like a fresh apple doughnut from the orchards. Heaven!

Happy Unofficial Fall, everyone!

I hope you all had a relaxing Labor Day Weekend! And if you worked on Labor Day, I hope you have a relaxing day off soon!

Now if only the weather would cooperate… we’re still trudging along in the 100’s here in Sacramento. *cries* Hopefully one day very, very soon I can once again wear pants without sweating my face off. Until then, I’m still going to bake fall foods and eat Panera’s autumn squash soup until the weather cooperates. It’s called manifesting.

And I do believe I just manifested this perfeccccttt fall cake! It’s seriously amazing and worth the extra work to make the homemade applesauce (!!) that goes into it.

Growing up, we’d sometimes visit a local orchard called Apple Hill and get their fresh apple doughnuts. They were always warm and coated in cinnamon sugar on the outside. This cake tastes JUST like one of those orchard doughnuts – a moist apple cake doughnut with a sparkling cinnamon sugar exterior. Absolutely perfect in every way possible.

a whole apple cider doughnut cake on a wire rack with apples in the background

The Applesauce

This cake requires you to make a homemade applesauce/puree, though you could substitute it with a store-bought kind. I just find store-bought applesauce to be kind of bland, but if you know of a super flavorful one, go ahead and use that. You’ll simply combine a fresh peeled and diced apple (I used Honeycrisp) and some apple cider (I used a spiced cider) in a saucepan and cook it down until the apples are tender and the cider reduces some. It should cook down to about a cup’s worth. When you cook the cider and apples on the stove together, it reduces the cider and concentrates that flavor more. Concentrated flavor = more apple-y goodness.

a piece of apple cider doughnut cake turned over with bites missing on a white plate

The Cake

The cake is your pretty standard cake recipe. We’re using both butter (for flavor) and vegetable oil (for moisture) in this cake recipe. This cake is SUPER moist which I love. There’s nothing worse than spending all this time on a cake recipe only to bite into it and have it be dry and crumbly. This is not that! For a signature “doughnut” flavor, we’ll also add in some nutmeg which gives that bakery doughnut flavor and a little cinnamon and allspice.

a side profile of a slice of apple cider doughnut cake on a wire rack

The Coating

The coating is just ground cinnamon and granulated white sugar mixed together and pressed onto the Bundt cake. To help the cinnamon sugar stick, I melt some butter and brush it onto the warm cake, then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the wet butter and it sticks perfectly. That addictive cinnamon sugar sparkly crackle crust is so good.

Moist, flavorful, reminiscent of fall apple-picking and so delicious, this Apple Cider Doughnut Cake is everything your fall dreams are made of!

a closeup slice of apple cider doughnut cake on a white plate with cinnamon sticks

*from Serious Eats

Apple Cider Doughnut Bundt Cake

This Apple Cider Doughnut Cake is absolutely amazing! Made with a homemade applesauce puree that imparts amazing apple flavor, this tastes just like the warm, fresh doughnuts from the orchards! Super moist and tender, you’re going to love this cake.

Prep Time30 mins

Cook Time40 mins

Total Time1 hr 10 mins

Course: Cake, Cakes/Cupcakes, Dessert

Cuisine: American, Dessert


  • 1 large Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apple peeled and chopped
  • cups prepared apple cider (I used spiced cider) NOT sparkling cider
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 8 Tbsp (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice

For the Coating:

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Liberally grease a 10-cup Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray, or use shortening and flour. I personally like to grease my Bundt pans with shortening and flour to really ensure cakes do not stick. Tap out excess flour. Set aside.

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the chopped apple and apple cider. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until apple cider reduces, thickens slightly, and apples soften. Stoves vary, but this took about 15 minutes for me. The reduction in apple cider will not be a ton, and it will still be liquid-y (not syrupy). Smash the softened apples with a fork to mash them slightly. Pour the hot apple mixture with juices into a heat-proof measuring glass. It should measure out to about a cup’s worth. (If you have any extra, save for another use or eat on the spot!). To the measuring glass, add in the milk and stir to combine. Set aside.

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, followed by the vanilla extract and vegetable oil.

  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Alternate adding in part of the flour mixture, then part of the apple mixture incrementally, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed. I like to add begin and end with the flour mixture. Mix until fully combined.

  • Spoon the batter into your greased and prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick or cake skewer comes out with moist, but not wet, crumbs. Cool for about 30 minutes in the pan, then carefully invert the Bundt pan onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

  • For the coating: Using a pastry brush, brush the melted butter over the cake. I like to brush in sections. Immediately after brushing on the butter, sprinkle a handful of cinnamon sugar over the buttered area of the cake and press the cinnamon sugar onto the cake to adhere. You may need to go over the spots with more cinnamon sugar as the first layer may absorb into the cake some. Allow the layer to set, about 10 minutes, before serving.


Note: if you don’t want to make your own apple puree, you can make this by using a store-bought applesauce. I just find store-bought applesauce to be a bit bland. However, if you have a brand you like, give it a go. Just measure out about 1 cup. Try to find one with a strong apple flavor and minimal ingredients. 

closeup of a slice of apple cider donut cake with a bite missing from it You’re going to fall in love with this cake!

apple cider doughnut cake photo collage

Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley


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