Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Baked apple cider doughnuts

When Older Daughter was in New Jersey (where she worked as a nanny for four years), the one thing she saw everywhere she went in autumn was apple cider doughnuts. Every farm stand, every mom-and-pop store, everywhere she went, she saw apple cider doughnuts.

Those delicious treats are unknown out west (at least, we'd never heard of them before), so she set out learning to make them herself. After some experimentation, she succeeded.

She came up to visit last weekend, and brought her doughnut pans to make some of the treats.

The recipe she used is found here. This is the list of ingredients:

• Nonstick cooking spray
• 1¾ cup flour
• 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
• ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon nutmeg
• 1¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
• ¾ cup light brown sugar
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• 2 large eggs, at room temperature
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ½ cup apple cider


1. Heat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 2 (6-cavity) doughnut pans (or a 12-cup muffin tin) with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg and whisk to combine. Set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, cream 10 tablespoons butter, brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until well incorporated after each addition, scraping the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla extract.

3. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated. With the mixer running, add the apple cider in a slow, steady stream and mix to combine. Scrape the bowl well to make sure the batter is homogeneous.

4. Spoon the batter into prepared doughnut pans, filling them about 2/3 of the way. (You can also do this using a disposable piping bag or a resealable plastic bag with a 1/2-inch opening cut from one corner.) Bake until evenly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the thickest portion comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through baking. (If you are making muffins, divide batter evenly between the prepared cups and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through.)

5. While the doughnuts bake, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together in a small bowl to combine. In a separate small bowl, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter in the microwave. Let the doughnuts cool for 5 minutes after baking, then unmold them from the pans, brush with the melted butter and dredge them in the cinnamon sugar while they are still warm. Serve immediately, or let cool to room temperature.

Older Daughter is not familiar with the layout of the our pantry or kitchen, so I pulled out the various ingredients as she read the recipe out loud.

She doubled the recipe with a goal of leaving some doughnuts with us, and bringing the rest to friends.

Spraying the pans, we found out, is critical.

Spooning the batter into the pans.

Ready to bake: Six large and 12 small doughnuts.

While they baked, she melted the butter and prepared the cinnamon sugar.

Letting the baked doughnuts rest in the pan for about five minutes is helpful for getting them out in one piece. She called the broken pieces "frankendoughnuts."

The next few batches came out much better.

She brushed the warm doughnuts with butter, then dredged them in cinnamon sugar.

Pretty, no?

After Older Daughter left, I wondered if I could duplicate her efforts using muffin tins, so I gave it a try.

They took longer to bake than the doughnut tins, but turned out well.

This is definitely a recipe for which the muffin tins should not be overfilled. Half-full is plenty.

After dredging and sugaring, the results are not as picturesque, but still as tasty.

Both Older Daughter and I speculated that using defrosted apple juice concentrate in lieu of apple cider would make the results more apple-y. That's something I might try at some point in the future.

In the meantime, though, these baked apple cider doughnuts make a delightful autumn treat. Happy fall, y'all!


  1. This is a delicious recipe from Martha, with apple cider, applesauce, and I love the inclusion of whole wheat flour since it makes the cake a bit more substantial. Delicious.


  2. I’m going to make these, but I don’t have a doughnut pan. Do you think a regular muffin pan or mini muffin pan would work better, or does it make a difference?

    1. I used a muffin tin and they turned out fine, if not as pretty.

      - Patrice

    2. I’m thinking a mug of warm cider would be good with it.

  3. I went through an apple cider doughnut phase last fall. The best source of concentrated apple flavor I found was apple butter. I can't find the exact recipe I used but it ended up with a lot better flavor than the ones that just used cider, even boiled down into concentrate.

    1. Ooooo, apple butter. Great idea!

  4. I am SO interested in trying this recipe that I ALMOST left my house at 830pm to run to the local grocery store for ingredients before they close at 9.

    A quick yawn and I soon realized my old arse needs more sleep than it used to in order to function properly the next day.

    Thanks for sharing...yet again.

    aka The Orange Jeep Dad

  5. When I make baked donuts, I put the batter in a zip lock bag, cut off one corner and use it like a piping bag. So much easier than trying to fill and smooth with a spoon. :)

  6. What a great recipe for itself, and experimental tweaks! I can't do sugar or flour but am going to try it with almond flour, apple butter, and some sort of fake sugar for baking. Maybe a touch of molasses since that is added to white sugar to make brown sugar. I'm jealous of all of you who can indulge freely !

  7. Oh, my! I never imagined that there are people who don't know about apple cider donuts! How very sad. So glad y'all were introduced to these tasty treats. Enjoy!