It’s officially fall, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than an Apple Cider Doughnut Cake, can you?
I haven’t lived in Michigan in years… decades actually. But even today, when I think of crisp fall days, I have warm fuzzy memories of the the Franklin Cider Mill, where they make their own apple cider from Labor Day to just after Thanksgiving. More importantly, they serve up warm cake doughnuts dusted in cinnamon and sugar in brown paper bags. Doughnuts in any other form simply can’t compare to the simple perfection of a cider mill doughnut.
This summer, when my daughter and I visited Michigan for a wedding shower, we happened upon the Yates Cider Mill during our run from the airport. Not quite believing our luck at having stumbled upon such a treasure, I hastily pulled a U-turn (perhaps cutting off a car or two in the process) to get my paws on a bag of warm doughnuts.
Lately, I’ve been crushing on the gorgeous Honey and Jam cookbook by Hannah Queen, brimming with lovely cakes and stunning photography of serene rural life…and more lovely cakes. When I came upon the recipe for this apple cider doughnut cake – two of my favorite fall things on the planet, I suspected it was destined to become a family treasure.
After I tweaked it a bit, of course.
I have been experimenting with gluten-free baking recently. Apparently gluten may be contributing to a certain minor health issue I’ve been experiencing – I’ll spare you the details. (You’re welcome.) You all know how much I love cookies and cakes and pasta and bread… so honestly, I’m not sure I will be able to sustain this gluten-free life-style long-term. But I thought I should at least give it a try. (and hey, did you know quinoa spaghetti is a thing? And it’s actually delicious?)
But I digress.
Hannah’s cake is my first attempt at a gluten-free cake, and… wow my friends, it is a keeper. The recipe calls for boiling three cups of apple cider down to one and adding it to the batter, so an intense apple cider flavor permeates the cake. I upped the spices a bit, so the apple cider flavor is infused with a nice punch of cinnamon and nutmeg. I then swapped out the all-purpose flour with a Bob’s Red-Mill gluten-free flour. Honestly, the first time I made it, it was a tiny bit dry. So next time around, I increased the butter a bit, and added a touch of sour cream, and it was perfectly moist and delicious. And it’s even better the second day.
So, if you can’t get to a Michigan Cider Mill this fall, whip up this super-simple cake.
Oh, and to my Michigan friends and family – when you stop at the cider mill, enjoy the doughnuts and apple cider and think of me.
- 3 cups fresh apple cider
- 2½ cups gluten-free flour (I used Red Mills gluten-free flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ cups packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 large Honeycrisp apple, peeled, cored, and grated
- Cinnamon and sugar, for sprinkling
- In a medium saucepan, bring the cider to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow the cider to simmer until it is reduced to 1 cup, about 25 minutes. Allow it to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10-cup bundt or kugelhopf* pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, butter, sour cream and apple cider. Pour the cider mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the grated apple.
- Pour the apple into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Invert the cake onto a wire rack and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar while it is still warm.
- * As you can see, I used a kugelhopf bundt pan, instead of the regular bundt pan she recommends. Which makes for a lovely presentation, but the only down-side to this is that the cinnamon and sugar mixture doesn't much room to hang out... it just sort of slides down the sides... so I ended up dusting the individual cake slices with a bit of the cinnamon and sugar.