Apple cider donut loaf cake is the perfect Fall dessert! This easy one-bowl recipe features a super moist apple cider cake with warm flavors and a donut-y texture; it's just like an apple cider donut in cake form!
Apple cider donuts are a classic Fall dessert that inspired this apple cider donut loaf cake! Apple recipes - like my fresh apple cake or apple butter cookies are always my favorite to make during the Fall season. Like this apple cider cake, they are packed with fresh apple flavor!
Instead of using fresh apples, I used reduced apple cider for extra flavor and to keep it soft and moist. After baking, it gets rolled in crunchy cinnamon sugar; just like an apple cider donut!
Why We Love Apple Cider Donut Loaf Cake
- You can make this minimal-effort Fall cake in one bowl (just like our cinnamon pumpkin bread and apple pie-filled cookies) and a loaf pan; no donut pan or special equipment is required!
- Each slice is full of warm Fall flavors. It's perfect for using fresh apple cider!
- This apple cider donut loaf cake is great for any occasion. Serve it as a Fall-flavored snack, breakfast treat, or dessert.
- Serve it as a fall-flavored snack, breakfast treat, or dessert at Thanksgiving with my pecan pie brownies.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Apple cider: You can use homemade apple cider or store-bought apple cider. Before using it, make sure to reduce it by half as instructed in the recipe. Reducing it will boil off any extra water and make the flavor stronger.
Sour cream: This yields a super moist texture- I use it in my cinnamon muffins for this reason too! Substitute full-fat plain Greek yogurt if needed.
Brown sugar: Both light brown sugar and dark brown sugar can be used in this recipe.
Canola oil: I tested this apple cider donut cake with various oils and found that flavorless ones like canola or vegetable oil work best for this cake.
Find the full list of ingredients, measurements, and instructions in the recipe card below!
Before you start, reduce the apple cider so it has time to cool. Then line an 8.5 x 4.5 loaf pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C.
STEP 1: Cream the oil and sugar. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the canola oil, granulated sugar, and dark brown sugar until combined (image 1 below).
STEP 2: Mix in the wet ingredients. Whisk the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream into the bowl until well combined (image 2 below).
STEP 3: Mix in the dry ingredients. Add half of the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the bowl and whisk until just combined (image 3 below). Then mix in the reduced apple cider.
Finish the batter by whisking in the other half of the dry ingredients until just combined.
STEP 4: Bake the loaf. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan (image 4 above). Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out covered in a few moist crumbs.
Let the loaf pan cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then lift it out of the pan and let it continue cooling on the rack.
STEP 5: Cover with cinnamon sugar. Once completely cool, lightly brush the melted butter over the top and sides of the loaf and let it soak into the cake (image 5 below). Then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar generously over the top and sides of the loaf until completely coated. Slice and enjoy!
Professional Baking Tips
- Use a kitchen scale. Baking with a scale is much more accurate than cup measurements. To convert this recipe, click the "metric" button next to the ingredients title on the recipe card. If you do not have a scale, use a spoon to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into your measuring cup.
- Reduce the cider. The apple cider must be reduced by half before use. It's very simple to do! Pour the cider into a pot and let it gently boil for 20-30 minutes until reduced in half.
- Don't overbake it. Baking the loaf for too long will make it dry and crumbly instead of soft and moist.
- Baking times may vary. All ovens are different and your loaf may bake quicker or take longer than the indicated baking time. I recommend checking on it occasionally and testing for doneness!
Overbaking is the culprit if it's dry and crumbly. To test for doneness, insert a long skewer or toothpick into the center. It should come out covered in moist crumbs!
Over-mixing the batter can cause the loaf to have a gummy texture once baked. Make sure to stop mixing as soon as the flour is incorporated!
Reducing the cider boils off extra water and gives the cider a more flavorful concentrated flavor.
You can store the loaf at room temperature in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for 2-3 days. To freeze, cut it into slices then wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap and store them in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 1 month. You can also wrap the entire loaf and freeze it that way as well.
More Fall Recipe Ideas
If you tried this or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how it went in the comments below, I love hearing from you! Also, please leave a star rating while you're there! You can also tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can check it out!
Apple Cider Donut Loaf Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour *see notes for measuring below*
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups apple cider
- ½ cup canola oil
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until combined. Set aside.2 cups all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon salt
- In a small pot, add the apple cider. Bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until it is reduced by half. You will need it to reduce to ¾ cups (165 grams)! Set it aside to cool to room temperature before using.1 ½ cups apple cider
- Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C and line a 8.5x4.5 loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until combined.½ cup canola oil, ¾ cup dark brown sugar, ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Whisk in the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream until combined.2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, ½ cup sour cream
- Whisk in half of the dry ingredients until combined.
- Whisk in the reduced apple cider until combined.
- Whisk in the other half of the dry ingredients until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out covered in a few moist crumbs.
- Let the pan cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then lift it out of the pan. Let it cool completely.
- Once cool, lightly brush the top and sides of the loaf with the melted butter. Let it soak into the cake for 30-60 seconds.1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Then mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Generously sprinkle the loaf with the sugar until completely coated.2 tablespoon granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Slice and enjoy!
The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.