Apple Cider Doughnut Cake Recipe

1 bundt cake
1 hr 5 min

This recipe for Apple Cider Doughnut Cake is a lovely addition to your recipe collection. The nutmeg-enhanced sugar coating is critical to the delightful taste of this bundt cake.

My repertoire of yummy desserts is long, so it isn't alwayseasy choosing what to bake. But, this delicious Apple-Cider Doughnut Bundt Cake always makes it to the list, for a variety of reasons:

  • It’s a versatile treat, equally suited to the breakfast table as it is to a dessert buffet with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • Fresh Nutmeg
  • Very easy to make
  • More Fresh Nutmeg
  • This delicious cake freezes well

I’m convinced that is the nutmeg that gives apple cider donuts their unique and popular taste. This Apple Cider Donut Cake benefits from nutmeg both in the batter and in the cinnamon-sugar coating.

Apple Cider vs Apple Juice

One note, this is an Apple CIDER Doughnut Cake, not an Apple JUICE Doughnut Cake for a reason. If you have a glass of fresh apple cider next to a glass of apple juice, you’ll notice some obvious differences. As fresh cider still has the pulp and sediment, it is typically cloudier and maybe darker than the juice. Essentially apple juice is apple cider that has been pasteurized, which changes the color, flavor, and texture. The color of the juice is transparent and the flavor is sweeter, while the cider has an earthy, deep, and complex flavor, with both sweet and tart notes.

All that being said, if you are all set to make the cake but can’t find cider, then, by all means, get the juice. Look for the cloudiest juice on the shelf. And consider reducing the juice down a bit to deepen the apple flavor (I’d take 2 cups of juice, put it in a medium saucepan and reduce it down to 1 cup)

Fresh Nutmeg or Ground Nutmeg in this Apple Cider Dougnut Cake?

And, one last thing before we get to the recipe…have you discovered fresh nutmeg? I’m telling you, once you try fresh nutmeg, you are hooked. I have the nutmeg grater that belonged to my Grandma and exclusively grate my nutmeg now.

Fresh nutmeg is more flavorful and aromatic than the ground nutmeg you would purchase in the grocery store. Nutmeg gets its flavor and aroma from volatile oils that evaporate quickly after grinding. Because the oils evaporate quickly, it is best that you use ground nutmeg right away to ensure that you get as much of the flavor as possible. Ground nutmeg is likely to have lost much of its oil content and therefore much of its flavor.

With 10-12 nutmeg pods costing less than $5.00 and a nutmeg grater costing less than $4.00, you owe it to yourself to buy yourself an early, pre-baking, Christmas present. You will thank me!

Apple Cider Doughnut Cake Recipe
Recipe details
  • 1  bundt cake
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 45 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 5 min
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  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • .5 teaspoon nutmeg
  • .5 teaspoon baking soda
  • .75 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • .75 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • .75 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup applesauce (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
For the Topping
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • .3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • .25 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350°
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: both flours, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together both sugars, apple cider, oil, applesauce, vanilla, and eggs.
Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture in the large mixing bowl and whisk until combined
Thoroughly spray a 12-cup bundt pan well with good quality release spray, I like Bak-Klene ZT Non-Stick spray. Alternatively butter and flour bundt pan.
Transfer cake batter to the prepared pan.
Bake, rotating the pan halfway through until a tester comes out clean, 45-50 minutes.
Transfer pan to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and let it cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in one bowl and melt butter in a small bowl.
Invert cake onto a rack.
With a pastry brush, apply a quarter of the melted butter to a quarter of the cake and then sprinkle with a quarter of the cinnamon/nutmeg sugar. Use your hands to pat sugar onto the warm cake. Repeat, working a quarter of the cake at a time.
Let cool completely before serving.
Cake can be stored, covered at room temperature for up to 2 days.
  • If you don't have apple sauce, then make your own homemade applesauce! Peel, core, and dice 2 apples. Place the apples in a glass bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes until the apples are soft. Then, mash the apples with a fork or potato masher to make applesauce.
  • Once your cake is completely cool, store it in an airtight container or wrap it in plastic wrap well for freezing.
Lynn @ Nourish and Nestle
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  • Sheryl Sheryl on Jan 19, 2022

    This looks very similar to one I have been cooking in my dutch oven over a campfire for years. I don't use the spices, and instead of the applesauce, I use whatever fresh fruit I have had on hand...never used strawberries though. I've had this one for so long I don't even remember where I got it from. This is a wonderful cake. Oh, and Ive used butter milk and fresh milk, and even water for the liquid, but I do think the apple cider would be great. Please try's very forgiving and your family will love you for it. Throw it on the coals at the campfire when you take dinner off or put it on the grill and turn the heat down. I even mix mine in the same dutch oven I bake it in. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Cathy Cathy on Jan 20, 2022

    I dont keep whole wheat flour since i dont use it very often. Can i use just all purpose?