This Vegan Baked Apple Cider Donut recipe yields the tastiest donuts with lots of apple flavor and the perfect blend of spices. They’ll definitely satisfy your biggest cider donut cravings!
One of the things I look forward to this time of year is apple picking. As soon as the first varieties are ready to pick…we are there!
We’ve got a routine down. My husband and I fill our travel cups with coffee, I grab my epipen so the bees don’t kill me and we make the beautiful, scenic drive to the orchard.
I’m going to be completely transparent here…it doesn’t take us very long to pick the apples. We fly through pretty quickly, because the next stop on our trip is possibly the whole reason we say, “Oh, yeah…we loooove apple picking!”
Back at the orchard store, right next to the cash register, are warm bags filled with the most incredible, sweetly spiced apple cider donuts. The smell fills the store and wafts right out the door…kind of calling us as if it knows our secret.
My friends…I have been vegan for about a year now. People ask all the time if I miss cheese, eggs, ice cream? No, nope, not a bit. Really, I don’t. I haven’t felt like I’ve missed out on anything over the past year. Until…
(I’m letting out a really big sigh here…)
Our first “apple picking” trip a couple of weeks ago, my daughter, also vegan, and I looked at each other wide-eyed and simultaneously whispered, “The doooonuts aren’t vegan!” Blah.
Then, suddenly, someone with whom I used to share coffee and a cider donut…I won’t name names…jumped off the wagon. He ran into the store in such a flash and was at the register before we could even get off the damn wagon. That someone…not only bought a bag of those dreamy donuts, he rushed ahead to the car and ate one before we could even catch up to him!
It’s fine. Really. And you know why it’s fine? It’s fine because that miserable, awful moment (I’m exaggerating…it makes for a better story) was the impetus in creating these fabulously delicious gems that I want to bake over and over again!
Vegan Egg Substitute
So, vegan baking can be tricky. There are a lot of vegan egg substitutes, but all have very different properties and only work with certain recipes. One of the easiest vegan egg substitutes is pureed fruit. Luckily, that works perfectly in this recipe!
Apple sauce, of course, not only enhances the flavors in these donuts, but gives you a nice crumb. You can also try using pumpkin puree, which does change the flavor and the color a bit…not in a bad way…but creates a denser donut.
Boiled Cider – The Secret Ingredient
Another key to creating this tasty apple cider donut is boiling down the apple cider. Reducing the cider down dramatically results in a tangy, sweet syrup with intense apple flavor. Don’t miss that step. (I’ve been guilty of skipping it!) It makes all the difference!
Cider Donut Spices
The blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom work so nicely with the pop of apple flavor. I use them in the batter, then again in the sugar topping. I jar up any remaining topping to use on cinnamon toast, your morning oatmeal, on fresh fruit or to top off cookie dough before baking! It’s also magical sprinkled on roasted butternut squash!
I absolutely love the donut pan that I’ve been using for the past few years and have to share that with you! I used to use one that seems to be readily available…I don’t want to throw names around, but it may start with a “W” and end with an “n” and may rhyme with Stilton.
I found that donuts used to stick horribly to that pan no matter how much I greased it. After asking multiple blogger friends who are experienced bakers what they recommend, they pointed me to this pan! Nothing sticks to it…ever! That’s not a sponsored endorsement…just a great product I wanted to share!
Guess what? I’ve been asked to make these apple cider donuts again. And you know who asked? The nameless one who shamelessly snuck the illicit bag of cider donuts! I’m not mad. I took it as a compliment. And…I get to eat more donuts.
If you make some…send me a few…or you could just leave me a comment below and let me know what you think!
Vegan Baked Apple Cider Donuts
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider
- 2 cups (209g) unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1/4 cup avocado oil
- 1/2 cup (100g) organic cane sugar or granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk or other plant based milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (50g) organic cane sugar or granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch ground cardamom
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your donut pan.
- In a small saucepan, over high heat, add the 1 1/2 cups of apple cider. Bring the cider to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until reduced down to 1/4 cup. (Keep a heat safe measuring cup close to the stove top. Once the cider looks like it has reduced quite a bit, start pouring it out into the measuring cup to see how much farther you need to go, then pour it back into the saucepan) For me, it took about 30 minutes to reduce down to a 1/4 cup. Once reduced, remove from the heat and set aside to cool down a bit.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the 1/4 cup of boiled cider with the applesauce, avocado oil, sugar, almond milk and vanilla extract.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, fold the mixture together until combined, but do not overmix.
- Either spoon the batter into the donut pan, or fill a zipper bag with the batter and cut a hole in one corner to pipe the batter into the pan. I find that piping is much easier.
- Bake the donuts for 10 to 11 minutes (start checking them around 8 or 9 minutes if using a smaller pan) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.
- Allow the donuts to rest in the pan on a cooling rack for at least 2 minutes. (See Notes for tips.) Dump the donuts out onto the cooling rack and cool completely. Grease the pan again to bake the remaining batter.
- Combine the topping ingredients and dip each donut into the topping. (See Notes for tips.)
- Vegan Butter Method: Allow the donuts to sit in the baking pan on a cooling rack for two minutes. Removed from the pan and continue cooling on the cooling rack. Brush each donut with a bit of melted vegan butter (or you could brush with avocado oil) before dipping into the sugar topping.
- No Additional Oil Method: Allow the donuts to sit in the baking pan on a cooling rack for a minimum of five minutes. This allows for some condensation that will help everything stick. Immediately after removing the donut from the pan, dip each donut into the sugar topping. The moisture works well to keep the sugar on the donut.
More Yummy Donuts…
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Hi Caroline, Unfortunately, I do not have the link for the donut pan. If you could provide the link to the pan, I would appreciate it. Also do you still have a newsletter I could sign up for?
Hi Bridge! You can find that donut pan here! As for the newsletter…yes, I still do have one you can sign up for. You can find that in the right column where it says: Join the TLN community! Things have been quiet for a bit on that front because I’ve been working on other projects, but…some great things are coming up very soon! So keep an eye out for some fun changes!
What is the donut pan you used? And do you have a recommendation for an oil substitute? I try to eat and cook oil free.
I link to the donut pan in the article above the recipe. It’s really the best I’ve ever used. I haven’t tested this recipe without the added oil, but you may want to try increasing the apple sauce to 1/3 to 1/2 cup and omitting the oil. I can’t guarantee the results, but would love to hear back if you give it a whirl. Happy baking!
Jessica @ BK
Hi Caroline! Do you think you could prepare everything the night before and then just do the final baking step the next day? or are you better off baking everything and just reheating?
Hi Jessica! That’s a great question! Although I’ve never tested that out, I do think you could prep the batter the night before and bake the next morning. At the very least you could mix the wet and dry ingredients in the evening and wait to combine them in the morning before baking. If you give that a try, I’d love to hear how it worked for you! Thanks for stopping in!
Joanne H Bruno
Now that is typical husband behavior if ever I’ve heard it! But so glad you took the high road and made these vegan donuts. Seems like you got the better end of the stick out of all of this!
Hahaha…thanks, Joanne! And I think I may have turned him a bit…he’s really into these vegan donuts! ;)