This Apple Cider Donut Cake has everything you love about the classic fall treat in the form of a cinnamon sugar coated cake! It’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser full of cozy spices and apple cider flavor.
Apple season is here and it’s time to break out all your favorite fall apple recipes, from Apple Turnovers to Apple Crisp and of course, Apple Pie. But today’s apple-y recipe doesn’t actually contain fresh apples! This Apple Cider Donut Cake is made with apple cider and applesauce—and a box of yellow cake mix!
Yep, you know I love a good boxed cake mix upgrade and just like my Pumpkin Caramel Poke Cake, this Apple Cider Donut Cake is perfect for fall. Your whole house will smell amazing when it’s baking thanks to the combination of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar.
And, of course, the apple cider! (So don’t forget to pick up a jug when you visit your local apple orchard.)
Easy Apple Cider Donut Cake Recipe
Although the yellow cake mix is the first ingredient in this recipe, let’s be honest: the apple cider is the star of the show here.
Comparing apple cider to apple juice is like, well, comparing apples to oranges! Apple cider is the raw form of apple juice, which means it’s fresh, unfiltered, and sometimes unpasteurized. It has much more depth of flavor and unlike apple juice, it needs to be refrigerated even before you open it.
Instead of using milk or water, you’ll add apple cider to the cake mix to infuse this Apple Cider Doughnut Cake with apple flavor. And then instead of vegetable oil, we add apple sauce to up the apple factor even more.
Just like its namesake, this Apple Cider Donut Bundt Cake is finished with a dusting of cinnamon sugar. It’s absolutely irresistible, and while you could swap it for cream cheese frosting or a vanilla glaze, I definitely recommend keeping it simple with that cinnamon sugar mixture on top!
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Yellow cake mix – Whatever brand you prefer.
- Apple cider – Use refrigerated fresh apple cider; don’t use apple cider vinegar or alcoholic (hard) cider.
- Applesauce – Homemade or store-bought unsweetened applesauce.
- Eggs – Make sure they’re room temperature; this will make your Apple Cider Donut Cake light and fluffy!
- Kosher salt
- Brown sugar – Light brown sugar is best, but dark brown sugar works for this apple cider cake too.
- Vanilla extract
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
How to Make Apple Cider Donut Cake
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Grease, then flour, a Bundt pan, tapping out any excess flour.
Tip: Flouring a Bundt pan after greasing it keeps your cake from sticking to all those little nooks and crannies! As an alternative, you can use a non-stick cooking spray with flour in it, like Pam Baking Spray or Baker’s Joy.
2. Make the Batter
Add the cake mix, cider, applesauce, and eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until combined, then add the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, brown sugar, and vanilla and mix again. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, mix for another minute, then pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for an hour, then carefully invert it onto a wire rack. Brush the cake with melted butter, then whisk together the cinnamon and sugar in a medium bowl and sprinkle the mixture over the top of the cake.
Slice and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce!
How to Store Apple Cider Donut Cake
This cake is best enjoyed the day it’s made. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Let the cake thaw at room temperature before serving.
Apple cider donuts are usually cake, like this recipe. Cake donuts are quick and easy to make, while yeast donuts require some advance planning since they need time to rise. The texture is also quite different, as yeast donuts are squishier, while cake donuts have a denser texture.
A Bundt cake is a cake that’s baked in a special pan called a Bundt pan. The pan is usually round with a hole in the center, and it has fluted sides. With the right shaped Bundt cake pan, this Apple Cider Donut Cake looks like a giant apple cider donut!
Generally speaking, apple cider is healthier than apple juice. That’s because cider is made from whole apples, including the skin and the pulp, while the juice is just the liquid that’s left behind after the apples are juiced.
Cider donuts don’t usually have nuts, but you could add chopped walnuts or pecans to this Apple Cider Bundt Cake recipe if you’d like.
More Cozy Fall Recipes
- Homemade Caramel Apples
- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies With Cream Cheese Filling
- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
- Apple Fritters
Apple Cider Donut Cake
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 1 cup apple cider
- ½ cup applesauce room temperature
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, add the cake mix, cider, applesauce, and eggs and beat to thoroughly combine. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, brown sugar, and vanilla and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl, mix for one more minute, and pour into the prepared Bundt pan.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for an hour before removing it to a wire rack.
- When the cake is cool completely, melt the butter and brush over the entire cake. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and stir to combine. Sprinkle the sugar mix over the entire cake.