Apple Cider Donut Cake

Sharing this cake just before Fall ends! Last month a coworker of mine visited an apple orchard in upstate New York, and brought back the most delicious apple cider donuts!!!

My natural reaction was to make a cake inspired by those cinnamon-sugar covered bundles of joy. This cake is made with apple spice cake layers, a cinnamon buttercream, and is topped with baked apple cider donuts!

To create the baked donuts, I used Sally’s Baked Apple Cider Donut Recipe! Her recipes are always so delicious, and this recipe didn’t disappoint!! However, if you have access to great apple cider donuts, you could always buy them too to simplify the process.

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I started by making the baked apple cider donuts. Following Sally’s tip, I reduced 1 1/2 cups of apple cider down into 1/2 cup of liquid, to really concentrate the flavor. I then prepared the batter as instructed, and poured it into a large piping bag.

I heavily greased my donut pans and my silicon sphere molds, and baked the donuts for 12-14 minutes (my pans are on the larger side, so my donuts required a few extra minutes in the oven).

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Once baked, I dipped the donuts into melted butter, and tossed them in cinnamon sugar. I placed them in an airtight container, and then began baking my apple spice cake layers!

Begin by preheating oven to 350°F. Line four 7 inch pans (for taller layers) or 8 inch round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix together all dry ingredients in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. I like to use a digital kitchen scale to weigh my pans, and ensure they all have the same amount of batter. This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.

Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8 inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7 inch cake pans (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

While the layers cool, make the cinnamon buttercream! Beat the butter with the cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.

Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.

If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Once the cake layers are fully cooled, it’s time to assemble the cake! Using a 10 inch grease-proof cake board, begin to stack the cake layers by spreading a generous and even layer of cinnamon buttercream onto each layer with a large offset spatula.

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Cover the cake in a thin layer of the cinnamon frosting (crumb coat) to trap any run-away crumbs. Chill the cake in the freezer or fridge for about 5 minutes, until the buttercream is firm to the touch.

Next, add a thicker, second layer of vanilla buttercream. Use a bench scraper to smooth the sides of the cake. You can see a full tutorial on how to frost a cake with smooth sides here. Use a small offset spatula to smooth the top of the cake.

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Pipe a bit of buttercream onto the back of each apple cider donut hold, then gently press it against the base of the cake. Repeat this process, entire base is covered.

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Next, stack the apple cider donuts on top of the cake, creating a donut pyramid! Pipe buttercream onto the bottom of each donut, to help keep them in place once the cake is cut into.

This cake simply screams Fall, and tastes just as delicious as the amazing apple cider donuts that inspired it 🙂

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Apple Spice Layer Cake Recipe:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 egg whites, or 5 whole eggs), room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup apple cider concentrate (heated on medium heat until it reduces to 1/2 cup of apple cider concentrate)
  • 1 Tbsp tasteless oil (I use vegetable oil)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7 inch pans (for taller layers) or 8 inch round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

  2. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

  3. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

  4. Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

  5. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. I like to use a digital kitchen scale to weigh my pans, and ensure they all have the same amount of batter. This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.

  6. Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8 inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7 inch cake pans (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

Cinnamon Buttercream Recipe:

  • 2 cup (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered (confectionary) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream), room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1  tsp ground cardamom
  • 1  tsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Beat together the butter, cinnamon, ground cardamom and ginger on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.

  2. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.
  3. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Baked Apple Cider Donut Recipe (Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Apple Pie Layer Cake

In the spirit of Fall, I wanted to make some pies! That was, until I remembered that I’m terrified of pie crust, and thought better of it! Instead, I wound up making this Apple Pie Layer Cake. It’s made with a cinnamon spice layer cake, cinnamon buttercream, and an apple pie filling. It’s basically a pie and cake all wrapped up in four layers of deliciousness, without the fuss of ice cold butter and a pastry cutter.

For the decoration of this cake, I was inspired by Milk and Water Baking Co! Their beautiful and vibrant frosting techniques have taken over Instagram by storm, and I couldn’t resist trying it out on this cake! The full recipe and tutorial can be found below:

Cinnamon Spice Cake Batter:

  • 3 1/4 cup (416 grams) all purpose flour
  • 3 cups (600 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp (13 grams) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 grams) salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup unsalted butter or 2 sticks (226 grams), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. (9 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (244 grams) – about 7 large egg whites; I use egg whites from the carton to avoid wasting egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 grams) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup (28 grams) vegetable oil

Apple Pie Filling: 

  • 1/2 cup of water (120ml)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50g)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar (25g)
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch (30g)
  • 2 Tbsp water (30ml)
  • 1 1/2 cups of diced apples, peeled and cored (about 1 1/2 large apples – I used granny smith) (200g)

Cinnamon Buttercream:

  • 6 sticks or 3 cups (about 650 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups (1,360 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp (6 grams) salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp. (60 grams) heavy cream
  • 3 tsp (12 grams) vanilla
  • optional: fall colored gel food coloring (I used yellow, orange, red, and brown)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 8″ round pans with parchment rounds.

Being by making the cinnamon spice cake batter. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-37 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Remove the layers from the pans, wrap in saran wrap, and place in the freezer. It’s ok if they’re still warm, this will help lock in the moisture, making delicious, moist layers!

While the layers bake and cool, prepare the apple pie filling. Add 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 tsp of cinnamon into a large sauce pan, and bring to a boil at a medium high heat. Mix together the remaining 2 tbsp of sugar, 2 Tbsp of water, and 3 Tbsp of cornstarch to create a slurry (to thicken the filling). Add this slurry to the sauce pan, and whisk continuously until the mixture thickens (should happen pretty quickly). Add the diced apples, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for 5 minutes, until the apples are partially tender (you don’t want them to get too soft, and turn to mush!!) remove from heat and set aside to cool fully.

Next, prepare the cinnamon buttercream. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla, cinnamon, and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Once all the components are prepared, it’s time to assemble the cake! Secure the first cake layer to the cake board with a small dab of buttercream. Pipe a thick ring of buttercream around the perimeter of the layer. Fill the center with about 1/2 cup of the apple pie filling. repeat with remaining layers. Apply a thin layer of frosting around the outside of the cake (crumb coat), and smooth with a bench scraper. chill for about 10 minutes in the fridge (or 5 in the freezer), until the crumb coat is firm to the touch.

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To create the Milk and Water Baking Co look, color the remaining frosting fall colors (orange, yellow, red, brown), and blend together in piping bags with various piping tips.

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Pipe colorful bursts of frosting around the cake, until the entire cake is covered. I combined some of the colors into piping bags, and tried to spread out the colors to give it a somewhat uniform look.

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I added some rosettes and squiggles using a wilton 1M, and some ruffles and cherry blossom flowers using a petal tip.

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Once the cake is fully covered, it’s time to enjoy!! This cake not only looks like Fall, it tastes like it too 🙂

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake

Fall is upon us, and that means one important thing..it’s pumpkin spice latte season!! Naturally, I had to make PSL cake! The recipes used can be found below.

Pumpkin Cake Batter (modified from Natasha’s Kitchen):

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 3 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Pumpkin Spice Buttercream:

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice

Orange White Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (about 4 oz.)
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips (6 oz.)
  • orange gel food coloring (optional)

Option Decorations:

  • straw
  • green fondant pumpkin
  • Wilton 1M (open star) frosting tip (for the “whipped cream”)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line and grease four seven-inch pans.

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl, and sift together to remove any clump. Add in oil, and stir until fully incorporated. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Then stir in the pumpkin puree. Mix until all ingredients are fully. Pour batter evenly into the four pans, and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove and allow to finish cooling on wire racks.

While the cakes cool, prepare the pumpkin spice buttercream, and the orange white chocolate ganache. Whip the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer, until it is smooth. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, adding it in multiple installments. As the frosting thickens, add the salt, pumpkin spice, and vanilla. Continue to mix, and add cream until desired consistency is reached.

For the white chocolate ganache,  heat heavy cream in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds-1 minute, until bubbling. Gently pour white chocolate chips into the heavy cream, making sure they are fully covered with cream. Allow mixture to sit for 2 minutes. Stir slowly until the cream and white chocolate are combined, then heat again for 20 seconds and stir. Repeat as necessary until all the chocolate bits are fully melted and incorporated. Then add the orange gel food coloring. Allow to cool until desired viscosity is reached.

Assemble cake by stacking layers, and applying a thin layer of buttercream between each layer. I decided to shave my pumpkin spice cake into the shape of a coffee cup, and then decorate it like a pumpkin spice latte. I spread the orange white chocolate ganache on top of the cake, and drizzled a little over the sides for an overflowing PSL.  To see the full decoration tutorial, click here.

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