Apple cider doughnuts, with their soft, spongy cake and delicious cinnamon sugar coating, are one of my favorite treats - especially in the fall. So, I couldn’t help but take the inspiration from their texture and flavor and transform the sweet donut into this apple cider donut cake.
When it comes time for fall, I can’t wait to make all of the apple desserts, from apple butter pie and gluten-free apple banana muffins to a gluten-free version of classic Dutch apple pie. But I’ll have to say that this apple cider cake is one of my favorites - especially when it’s drizzled with apple cider caramel sauce.
If you're looking for a moist cake that channels all of the flavors of a fresh apple doughnut, you absolutely must try this delicious apple cider donut cake!
Want to save this recipe? Enter your email below and we will send it straight to your inbox!
You will also be added to our weekly email list.
Why You’ll Love This Apple Cider Cake Recipe
- Flavorful - Not all apple cider-infused baked goods have a lot of apple cider flavor, but this recipe’s reduced apple cider ensures that you can taste all of that apple goodness.
- Replica - If you love traditional apple cider donuts, you’ll love this version in cake form.
- Versatile - This cake is great to keep on hand for when guests pop by, but it’s also a delicious treat for special occasions.
- Gluten-Free & Dairy Free - The recipe is written to be gluten-free and dairy free, so you don’t need to make any modifications.
- Gluten-Free Flour Blend - Using this type of flour is the key to making a gluten-free cake. I normally use Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 flour. Use a version that has xanthan gum, or a similar binder, for the best texture.
- Baking Powder - Baking powder helps the cake to rise and contributes to building its texture.
- Spices - Cinnamon and nutmeg give the cake its warm flavor.
- Salt - Salt brings out the sweetness of the sugars and enhances the flavor of the spices.
- Vegan Butter - Be sure to allow the butter to come to room temperature before mixing it. Using room temperature ingredients allows the cake batter to better emulsify during mixing.
- Sugar - Granulated sugar gives the cake sweetness.
- Brown Sugar - Brown sugar adds rich, molasses-like sweetness to the cake.
- Oil - Using part oil and part butter in this cake, creates a moister outcome. You can use vegetable oil or any neutrally flavored oil you prefer.
- Eggs - Eggs help to build the structure of the cake.
- Egg Yolk - One extra egg yolk adds to the richness of the cake.
- Vanilla Extract - Vanilla balances the flavors of the spices and sweet ingredients.
- Unsweetened Applesauce - Applesauce helps to make the cake moist and adds a subtle sweetness. You can use store-bought applesauce or make your own.
- Reduced Apple Cider - By reducing the cider until it's syrupy, you can create a concentrated apple flavor so that the apple taste shines through. Just place it in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and allow it to simmer until it has a consistency similar to syrup or honey that has been warmed.
For the topping:
- Vegan Butter - Melt the butter so that it’s easy to brush on the cake.
- Sugar - White sugar works best to help but the crunchy crust on the outside of the cake.
- Cinnamon - Cinnamon pairs perfect with apples and helps to make this cake taste just like the donuts.
See recipe card for full ingredient list and quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
- Not Dairy Free - use dairy butter in the same measure.
- Make it Vegan / Egg Free - Because this cake calls for 3 eggs and 1 yolk, I would not recommend making it with an egg replacement.
- Glazed Goodness - Once your cake is cooled, drizzle a simple glaze made with powdered sugar and apple cider over the top. It adds a sweet, tangy kick.
- Nutty Crunch - Add some chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts to the batter for a delightful crunch and extra flavor.
- Chai Spice Infusion - Swap out the classic spices for chai spices like cardamom, ginger, and cloves for a unique twist on this fall favorite.
- Chocolate Chip Delight - Fold in some mini chocolate chips for an irresistible combination of apple and chocolate.
- Apple Chunks - Cut an apple into cubes and stir it into the batter before baking.
How to Make Apple Cider Bundt Cake
This apple cider doughnut cake is so easy to make you may be buying up all the apple cider you can find at the grocery store to make it all season!
STEP 1: Combine gluten free flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to mix well and set aside.
STEP 2: Add the white and brown sugars and the vegan butter to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes until it resembles wet sand.
STEP 3: Add the oil and vanilla and beat for another 1-2 minutes.
STEP 4: Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.
STEP 5: Mix the applesauce and reduced cider together.
STEP 6: With the mixer on the lowest speed, add half of the dry ingredients to the cake batter followed by half of the applesauce mixture. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
STEP 7: Pour the cake batter into a greased and floured bundt pan and bake.
How to Top this Bundt Cake
To make cleanup a breeze, place your bundt cake on a cooling rack on top of a clean baking sheet.
STEP 1: Brush the outside of the cake with melted butter. Be sure to cover the whole cake because this will allow the cinnamon sugar to stick.
STEP 2: Use your hands to press the cinnamon sugar mixture against the sides of the cake. It is normal for some of the sugar to fall to the bottom. Dump the excess cinnamon sugar off of the baking sheet and repeat 2-3 times until the cake is completely coated.
Yes, this recipe will make two 9x5 loaf cakes. You should cook them at 350 for about 55 minutes. You can also bake it in two 9 inch round cake pans. The cooking time should be around 22 minutes, but keep an eye on it.
Definitely. Reduced cider not only intensifies the apple flavor of the cake but it also reduces the amount of moisture. If you just add apple cider or apple juice without reducing the cake will not turn out correctly.
Yes. Once the cake has cooled completely, cut it into slices and individually wrap each slice in plastic wrap before placing it in a freezer bag or container. Freeze for up to 6 months.
Other apple recipes to consider:
If you try this recipe, please leave a 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the comments below.
Apple Cider Donut Cake
- 2 ½ cups Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend I use Bob's Red Mill
- 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons Cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ cup Vegan Butter room temperature
- 1 Cup Sugar
- ⅔ Cup Light Brown Sugar
- ½ Cup Oil
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 3 Eggs room temperature
- 1 Egg Yolk room temperature
- ½ Cup Unsweetened Applesauce room temperature
- ½ Cup Reduced Apple Cider SEE NOTE
For the topping:
- ¼ cup Vegan Butter melted
- ½ Cup Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.
- Combine the gluten free flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. Whisk well to mix and set aside.2 ½ cups Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend, 3 teaspoons Baking Powder, 1 ½ teaspoons Cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg, ½ teaspoon Salt
- Add the butter, sugar and brown sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl.¼ cup Vegan Butter, 1 Cup Sugar, ⅔ Cup Light Brown Sugar
- Add the oil and vanilla and beat another 1-2 minutes.½ Cup Oil, 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- Add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time mixing 30 seconds between additions. Scrape down the bowl.3 Eggs, 1 Egg Yolk
- Combine the applesauce and the reduced cider.½ Cup Unsweetened Applesauce, ½ Cup Reduced Apple Cider
- Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and add half of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the applesauce mixture. Repeat with the remaining dry and wet ingredients. Stir just until combined.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature measures 200 degrees.
- Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the topping:
- Once the cake has cooled completely, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.½ Cup Sugar, 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
- Place the wire cooling rack and cake on top of a baking sheet.
- Use a pastry brush to coat the outside of the cake with melted butter.¼ cup Vegan Butter
- Then use clean hands to coat the outside with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Once you’ve used all the cinnamon sugar, dump the excess from the baking sheet and repeat 2 more times to get the cake well coated.
Tiffany is the recipe developer, stylist and food photographer behind Well Fed Baker. As a lifelong baker who had to go gluten free and dairy free in 2016, Tiffany strives to share allergen friendly recipes that never feel like they are free from anything.