Food, Recipes

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Aside from the infamous pumpkin spice flavor, nothing screams “Fall is HERE!!” like apple cider, and anything apple flavored really. I think there is good reason for the craze that hits us all at this time of year.

I know here in the Lowcountry, our summer spans from late March to right around the end of September with 80-90 degree temps hitting their peak, so we yearn for that brief moment where the seasons turn. We may not be able to bundle in our sweaters, but the air is a little crisper and we are all ready for those Autumn flavors and cozy baking projects.

I just finally invested in my very own donut pans, because…I mean…who are we kidding. This girl is bound to make some donuts. I love baking and have been dying to try this recipe and several others out. I am surprised it took me this long to finally give in and order these baking pans to add to my growing collection, but boy am I glad I did.

I will tell you that I had trouble finding these locally, as I always try that route first. These are fairly inexpensive on Amazon. I recommend buying the two pack of pans, so you can bake two batches at a time to make prep quicker and easier.

This is the 2-pack of Wilton donut pans that I bought, and they worked just fine for a decent price. Be sure that you purchase regular size and not mini donut pans, as it is often hard to tell the difference from the photos online.

Test Run Tips

For the most part, this recipe calls for items that most casual bakers will already have available in the pantry. Personally, I had to buy the donut pans, fresh apple cider and apple pie spice, but everything else was already available at home.

You will also want to be sure that you have a good gallon-sized Ziplock bag with the zip top to make life easier. I made the mistake of using one of those stand and stuff bags without thinking (I am NOT a fan of those, but it’s all I had), so when I cut the corner to use as a piping bag, it created two spouts. This made for quite a messy piping situation, which was a pain, but not unmanageable. This could have been easily avoided had I realized ahead of time, but it was too late once the batter was loaded in. Just a friendly tip to learn from my oversight!

These circular treats have an incredibly moist and dense texture, so they have a cake-like quality. I am equal opportunity. I love any form of donut, and a cinnamon sugar donut is one of my all time faves, so I really loved these. That said, these will not be the same as your standard light and airy fried donut. Just a friendly heads up before making, in case you aren’t crazy about this particular texture in a donut.

I will note that I haven’t tried a fried version of these. It is a fairly dense, wet dough, so I am curious how it would translate to frying in hot oil, and if it would hold up. Based on their popular demand after this trial run, I plan to make these for dessert on Thanksgiving day, as an alternative to the traditional pies, so I may try a batch of each to see how they turn out and will report an update!

The most time consuming part of this recipe is reducing the apple cider to a concentrate, which really does make for the perfect texture batter, as it thickens the cider and helps make the final product good and dense. I learned a lot of great tips from Sally’s Baking Addiction. If you love baking, you have to check out the wealth of info and expertise on her site. It has been a huge help to me as a more novice baker.

In the meantime, this is a great little recipe for a fall weekend project, and it would be a super fun baking project to try with kids. They will love decorating the donuts in the cinnamony sugar mix. These are tasty and showstoppers, while also being incredibly easy to whip up. I hope you enjoy as much as we did!


Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Kristen
This baked version of Apple Cider Donuts are the perfect fall seasonal treat. Moist and dense, these donuts have a cakey texture with the sweet crunch of cinnamon sugar coating. Sure to be an instant hit.
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 12 donuts

Equipment

  • 2 Regular Sized Donut Pans
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Gallon-Sized Ziplock Bag
  • 2 Wire Cooling Racks (optional)

Ingredients
  

Wet Ingredients

  • cups fresh apple cider
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar light or dark
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup milk, room temperature I used whole milk, could use 2%
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp apple pie spice
  • ¼ tsp salt

Cinnamon Sugar Coating

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp apple pie spice
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Instructions
 

  • Reduce the apple cider. Place in a small sauce pan and simmer until the cider has reduced from 1½ cups to a scant ½ cup. After 10 minutes, check regularly. It should take about 10-25 minutes to fully reduce on low heat. Set aside and allow to cool completely. (Can make ahead the day before and refrigerate.)
  • Preheat oven to 350℉ and prep donut pans with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Mix Dry Ingredients

  • Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and apple pie spice in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Mix Wet Ingredients

  • Whisk together melted butter, egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add in the reduced apple cider and whisk everything together until smooth and completely combined for a thick batter.

Pipe Donuts

  • Transfer batter into Ziplock bag. Pipe batter into donut cavities, filling roughly half way.

Bake

  • Place filled donut pans (two at a time if you can) into the oven and bake for 10-11 minutes. Tops will be lightly browned and spring back to the touch once done baking. Be careful not to burn!
  • Cool donuts in pan for two minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Coat Donuts

  • Combine granulated sugar, cinnamon and apple pie spice in a medium bowl.
  • Melt butter and place in a medium bowl.
  • Once donuts have cooled enough to handle, dunk both sides on melted butter, then liberally cover in the sugar/spice mix.
  • Serve and enjoy! These keep for about 4 days. Recommend refrigerating leftovers to keep longer. These last about 2 days in room temperature.
Keyword Apple Cider Recipes, Apple Recipes, Baked Apple Cider Donuts