There’s no wrong time to enjoy a donut, but there’s something about fall that makes you really want a comforting bite of that sugar-touched goodness. With a chill in the air and sweaters out of storage, the unfussy allure of a freshly-made donut will elicit all the warm and cozy feels.
One thing about donuts is that there are essentially two types: those that are fresh out of the oven or fryer and those that are not (OK, there’s also the divide between cake and yeasted donuts, but that’s a discussion for another day). While a donut can be delicious no matter how you enjoy it, eating it while still warm and fresh is simply sublime. To experience donut perfection at its peak, you could stalk out your neighborhood shop around opening time. But for those of us who’d rather not keep bakers’ hours, you can always go the homemade route. And if you’re unsure about using a ton of oil to deep fry them, you can always opt for the oven instead to turn out perfectly toasty cake donuts.
Around this time of year, warmly-spiced sweets are out in full force, so it’s a good idea to follow suit and incorporate flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. So giving your donuts a spiced sugar dusting, as we do in this recipe, is practically a no-brainer. Below, you’ll find the steps to a tender cake donut with apple cider for sweetness and that signature fall fragrance spread throughout.
This baking project is perfect for a chilly October afternoon. And to experience the full peak fall fantasy, you could share these treats at a bonfire or hayride. Just fill a thermos with some hot cider and break out your flannel. Sounds pretty sweet, in more ways than one.
Baked Apple Cider Donuts Recipe
Makes about 16 donuts
What You’ll Need:
1 1/2 cups apple cider
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons melted butter, divided
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
In a small saucepan, heat the cider to a boil on high. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 20–22 minutes, until reduced to ½ cup. Cool completely.
To store, place cooled plain donuts in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Proceed with step 5 before serving.
*No donut pan? Bake these in a greased standard muffin pan at 350 F for 15–20 minutes.