This apple cider bundt cake is tender, moist, and fluffy. It tastes just like apple cider, and is basically an apple cider donut cake! It’s coated in brown butter and a cinnamon sugar mixture for the perfect apple fall flavor. The cake has applesauce, apple cider, and apple chunks for lots of apple flavor. Reduced apple sauce is poured over the top right after baking to keep it extra moist and tender for days.
After the cake is baked, it’s coated in brown butter to help the sugar mixture stick. It also gives the bundt cake the most beautiful nutty flavor!
🍎 Why you'll LOVE this recipe
- The texture: It has the perfectly moist and buttery texture thanks to the cider, applesauce, butter, and a touch of oil.
- The best apple cake for fall: The cake tastes like fall in a bundt. It's lightly spiced and tastes like you just visited an apple orchard (in the best way). The brown butter and cinnamon sugar topping gives it a beautiful toasty cinnamon flavour. Like an apple cider donut cake!
- It's easy to make! Just cream the butter, sugar, and oil, and add everything else in the order shown.
If you love bundt cakes, you must try my cinnamon bundt cake with gooey cinnamon swirl!
📝 Key ingredients
Read through for all the tips you will need for success!
Full steps and ingredients in recipe card below.
- Butter: Use a good quality real butter for the best results. It needs to be softened for both the cake batter. Let it sit at room temperature for about an hour to soften.
- Vegetable oil: This will make the cake super soft and moist. You can use vegetable oil, light olive oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, or any other mild tasting oil.
- Brown + granulated sugar: This recipe calls for both brown and granulated sugar. You can replace the granulated sugar for brown if you want a deeper flavour. I would not replace the brown sugar for granulated sugar. The brown sugar is key to create a gooey cinnamon ribbon right through the bundt cake.
- Large eggs: Use room temperature eggs so that they easily incorporate into the batter making it smooth and light. To bring them to room temperature quickly, place them in a bowl of warm water for five minutes. Dry them with a paper towel and you have ready to use room temperature eggs!
- Apple sauce: Use an unsweetened apple sauce. If you're using a homemade apple sauce, make sure that it's pretty thick - like a sour cream or hummus consistency.
- All purpose flour: Weigh the flour to get the most accurate results. If you don’t have a scale, measure properly by stirring the bag and spooning gently into a measuring cup. Scrape the excess off the top with the flat edge off a knife without packing it into the cup.
- Apple cider: You can find apple cider in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Apple juice isn't as flavorful as cider so it won't be a good substitution. The flavor won't pop as well in this apple cider bundt cake. Note: apple cider is different from apple cider vinegar.
- Apples: Optionally, you can add cubed apples into the bundt cake for some more texture and flavor. If you don't like a chunky cake then you can leave them out. If you have extra apples, make these caramel apple cheesecake bars or save them for this incredibly simple and delicious sharlotka apple cake.
👩🍳 How to make apple cider donut cake
Apple cider bundt cake batter step by step
Step 1: Heat apple cider on medium heat until boiling and simmer down until reduced to about 1 ¼ cups.
While simmering you can work on the rest of the recipe.
Set aside ¾ cup of reduced apple cider.
Step 2: Grease the bundt pan with a tablespoon of cold butter (or oil) and shake a tablespoon of flour all around to coat evenly. Shake out any excess flour. This will prevent the bundt cake from sticking to the pan and make sure that it releases smoothly.
Preheat oven to 355°F (180°C).
Step 3: Cream the butter, oil, sugar and salt in a large bowl or stand mixer until light and fluffy.
Step 4: Add vanilla and gradually add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add applesauce, cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat until combined. It's ok if the mixture turns lumpy.
Step 5: Sift flour, baking soda and baking powder right into the batter. Add diced apples on top of the flour. Fold with a spatula just until no dry streaks of flour remain.
Step 6: Add apple cider halfway through folding. It is ok if the batter is a little lumpy.
Step 7: Scoop and bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Step 8: Remove the apple cider donut bundt cake out of the oven and immediately pour the remaining reduced apple cider over the top. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Flip the bundt cake on a plate and tap to release.
Topping step by step
Step 1: Melt unsalted butter in a small saucepan on medium low heat until it melts and comes to a simmer, stirring constantly. Keep stirring as the butter froths up. The foam will subside as the butter browns.
Continue stirring for a few minutes, watching the butter the whole time. The milk solids (little white bits at the bottom) will slowly caramelize and turn a golden color when it is ready.
Step 2: While it cools, mix together the sugar and cinnamon.
Brush with brown butter. Taking handfuls of the cinnamon sugar mixture, press it into the cake. You can do this over a sink because it will get a little messy.
Slice the apple cider donut bundt cake and serve!
✔️ Expert tips
- Do reduce the apple cider: I've tried this recipe without reducing the apple cider and you couldn't taste any apple cider flavor.
- Don't overmix the batter: Stop folding the batter as soon as you see that there are no more dry streaks of flour. This prevents a dry, gummy cake.
- Generously butter and flour the bundt pan: To ensure a smooth cake release, liberally cover the inside of the bundt pan with butter and a generous sprinkling of flour.
- Pour the apple cider syrup on top of the cake right out of the oven: This ensures it gets all soaked up by the cake and prevents a soggy cake. If the cake cools down before it gets soaked, the texture will be more soggy and less moist.
- Only allow 10 minutes of cooling time before you flip the bundt cake over. This prevents the cake from deflating (if you flip it too early) and sticking (if you flip it too late).
🥄 Make ahead and storage
The apple cider donut cake will keep well refrigerated for up to 3 days in an airtight container. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Reheat before serving so that it's nice and soft again!
The apple cider reduction/syrup can be made up to a few days ahead of time and stored in an airtight jar or container in the fridge.
❔ How is this cake the perfect texture
I love the taste of butter in cakes but through loads of recipe testing I found that a combination of butter and a little bit of oil gives cakes the most beautiful texture! The butter gives the cake so much flavor and richness but the little bit of oil will help it stay moist for days. This combination makes the perfect moist and fluffy cakes every time.
The applesauce and apple cider also add lots of moisture and tang for a beautiful flavor!
🍏 Apple cider VS apple juice
NOTE: Apple cider is NOT apple cider vinegar!!
This bundt cake is made using apple cider which is much different from apple juice. Apple cider is made the same way as apple juice but it isn’t filtered in order to extend its shelf life like apple juice is. This gives it a much stronger and tangier flavor than apple juice.
I would not substitute apple cider with apple juice unless you're in a pinch! You really need that apple cider for all that flavor and tang.
📖 Recipe FAQs
The brown butter helps all of that cinnamon sugar topping stick to the cake and adds lots of flavor. If you don’t want to brown the butter, just use regular melted butter. It’ll work the same way and is a great shortcut if you're in a pinch.
Make sure that you measure the flour properly: weigh the flour to get the most accurate results. If you don’t have a scale, measure properly by stirring the bag and spooning gently into a measuring cup. Scrape the excess off the top with the flat edge off a knife without packing it into the cup.
Cream the butter, oil, and sugar really well to properly aerate it and make sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature. This will also help.
It’s best to wait for the bundt cake to cool for 10 minutes before placing a cooling rack over the bundt cake and flipping the cake over to release. Give the bundt cake a couple of taps so that the cake falls out onto the cooling rack.
To get the perfect release, butter the pan well and shake a tablespoon of flour all around to coat evenly. Shake out any excess flour. Use a nonstick bundt pan and make sure the pan and coating aren’t too worn out.
I found that 10-20 minutes was the perfect amount of time to let the cake cool in its bundt pan. You want to unmold the bundt cake when it’s still fairly warm to get the perfect release.
🍂 More related recipes
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Apple Cider Bundt Cake
- 3 cups apple cider
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs room temperature
- ⅓ cup applesauce room temperature
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg ground
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon ground
- 3 ½ cups all purpose flour 420g
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 large apples peeled and diced
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon ground
- Pour apple cider into a medium saucepan. Heat on medium heat until boiling and simmer down until reduced to about 1 ¼ cups. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. You can work on the rest of the recipe while it simmers. Measure out ¾ cup of reduced apple cider and set aside.3 cups apple cider
- Preheat oven to 355°F (180°C). Grease the bundt pan with a tablespoon of butter and shake a tablespoon of flour all around to coat evenly. Shake out any excess flour.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter, oil, brown sugar, and salt until light and fluffy.½ cup unsalted butter, ½ cup vegetable oil, 1 cup brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Add vanilla extract and eggs one at a time, beating well in between each addition. Add applesauce, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and beat until combined.2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, 5 large eggs, ⅓ cup applesauce, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda right into the batter. Add diced apples on top of the flour. Fold with a spatula just until no dry streaks of flour remain. Add ¾ cup of reduced apple cider (it's ok if it's still hot) and fold it into the batter.3 ½ cups all purpose flour, 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 2 large apples
- Scoop the batter into the prepared bundt pan and spread the top smooth.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the bundt cake out of the oven and immediately (carefully) pour the remaining ½ cup of reduced apple cider over the top. It will soak into the cake.
- Let cool for 10 minutes inside the pan. Place a cooling rack or plate over top of the bundt cake and flip the cake. Tap the bundt pan to release the cake. Carefully lift off the pan to reveal the cake. Prepare the brown butter while it cools.
- (Optionally you could just use melted butter) Place the unsalted butter in a small saucepan on medium low heat until it melts and comes to a simmer, stirring constantly. Keep stirring as the butter froths up. The foam will subside as the butter browns. Continue stirring for a few minutes, watching the butter the whole time. The milk solids (little white bits at the bottom) will slowly caramelize and turn a golden color when it is ready. Let cool.⅓ cup unsalted butter
- While it cools, mix together the sugar and cinnamon.½ cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Liberally brush the bundt cake with the brown butter. Taking handfuls of the cinnamon sugar mixture, press it into the cake. You can do this over a sink because it will get a little messy. Slice and serve!
- Do reduce the apple cider for the most amount of flavor.
- Don't overmix the batter - stop folding as soon as no more dry streaks of flour remain.
- Generously butter and flour the bundt pan for a smooth release.
- Pour the apple cider syrup on top of the cake right out of the oven to create a moist (not soggy) cake.
- Only allow 10 minutes of cooling time before you flip the bundt cake over for a smooth release.