Cider Doughnuts: baking beauties

cider doughnuts

Will you look at this cider doughnut?

Doesn’t it bring to mind the county fair, with its cotton candy, corn dogs, candy apples, and fried dough?

Or maybe it reminds you of the doughnuts your mom or grandma or an older neighbor used to make. Doughnuts that were deep-fried, then tossed in a bag of sugar, or dipped in a syrupy glaze.

Doughnuts like these.

These recipes come from my grandma’s “black book,” a homemade cookbook yellowed and stained from decades of use. I’m not sure of its age, but it includes newspaper clippings from as early as 1925, so it’s at least that old.

Note: If you’re wondering – “Miss Mpls Flour” is Miss Minneapolis Flour, a bleached flour from the Minneapolis Milling Company. I’ll forgive Grandma for not using King Arthur Flour – we hadn’t yet made our way out of New England!

Notice the lack of directions in these doughnut recipes. It was simply assumed that everyone knew how to make doughnuts, once you’d put together the ingredients.

Doughnuts were fried, in a deep pot of bubbling oil. Period.

Well, times change, and so do recipes. These days, since deep-frying just isn’t part of our regular cooking routine, we’ve come up with other techniques to try when it’s “time to make the doughnuts,” as Fred the Baker used to say on those old Dunkin’ Donuts TV ads.

My favorite? Shallow-frying.

Fry doughnuts in an electric frying pan using just a scant 1″ of oil. They’re every bit as tasty as deep-fried, and it’s a whole lot easier to handle 3 or 4 cups of oil than a whole gallon. Check out our recipes for Classic Beignets and Vermont Doughnut Holes.

Not into frying at all? The newest, fastest, easiest way to make doughnuts is simply to bake them. Make a cake-like doughnut batter, pour it into the wells of a doughnut pan, and 15 minutes later, enjoy warm doughnuts.

They don’t have the signature crisp exterior of a deep-fried doughnut, but tossed in cinnamon sugar or glazed, they’re truly tasty. Take it from a long-time homemade doughnut fan: baked doughnuts are GOOD.

Especially baked Cider Doughnuts.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Grease a standard doughnut pan.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

2 tablespoons soft butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Beat until well combined.

Add 2 tablespoons boiled cider or thawed frozen apple juice concentrate, and 1 large egg. Beat until well combined, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl.

Whisk together the following:

1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup Hi-maize Fiber*
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

*Substitute all-purpose flour if you don’t have Hi-maize.

Next, you’re going to add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the bowl, alternately with 1/2 cup milk.

Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the bowl, stirring to combine.

Add half the milk (1/4 cup)…

…then another 1/3 of the flour, then the remaining milk. Finally, gently beat in the remaining flour.

The batter might have a few lumps; that’s OK.

Some of the folks here in the test kitchen find it easier to pipe batter into the doughnut pan using a piping bag and plain tip.

Feel free to just pour/spoon it into the pan, filling the cups about 2/3 full.

Wipe up any drips.

Bake the doughnuts for 10 to 12 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into one comes out clean.

They’ll rise nicely in the pan, doming a bit.

Remove the doughnuts from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool.

Hey, these are beginning to look like real doughnuts, aren’t they?

Notice the difference in color between top and bottom, though; best to serve them bottom-side up.

Let the doughnuts cool on the rack while you make their glaze.

Let’s start with boiled cider. Thick, dark, and flavorful – the pure essence of apples in liquid form – boiled cider takes these doughnuts over the top.

Place the following in a deep saucepan:

3 tablespoons boiled cider or thawed frozen apple juice concentrate*
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup or honey
1/4 cup water

*If you use apple juice concentrate, add 1 teaspoon lemon juice; the concentrate isn’t nearly as flavorful as boiled cider.

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved.

Bring the mixture to a boil, cover the pan, and boil for 3 minutes, without stirring.

Be aware the syrup will rise in the pan quite a bit as it boils; that’s why you want to use a deep pan.

Remove the cover and boil for a few more minutes, until the syrup reaches soft ball stage, 240°F on an instant-read thermometer or candy thermometer.

Remove from the heat, and carefully dip the tops of the doughnuts in the warm syrup.

Or dip the entire doughnut, as I’m doing here.

Reheat the syrup if it starts to thicken too much.

After dipping the doughnuts in the syrup, I laid them on a cooling rack to dry.

BIG MISTAKE. Little did I know that as the glaze cooled, it would firmly cement the doughnuts to the rack. I had to pry them off with a spatula, and they turned into a crumbly mess.

Better solution: greased parchment paper. Or non-stick foil. The doughnuts will still be sticky, but you’ll be able to lift them off the parchment or foil.

So, lesson learned: If you dunk the doughnuts completely, place them on a piece of greased parchment or non-stick foil, to set. If you dip just the tops, it’s OK to place them on a rack.

Top immediately with chopped nuts, if desired.

Note: extra syrup will hold for up to a week, covered, in the refrigerator.

See the flecks of cinnamon?

Superb taste isn’t the only thing these doughnuts have going for them: remember, they’re baked, not fried. Which means a lower calorie count, no boiling oil, and much easier cleanup.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Cider Doughnuts.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. "Cindy Leigh"

    That doughnut pan is one of the best things I’ve bought. I have a recipe of my own for baked cider doughnuts, which has grated apples in it. I shake them in a bag of cinnamon sugar. I’ve made several dozen at a time for our kids’ high school sports teams and they’re gone in a flash. Pretty guilt-free, too. A bit of the sweet dough flavoring is a really nice touch.

    Thanks for the Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor hint, Cindy – I think it’s a rather under-utilized flavor, and I love the way it adds that certain “bakery taste” without people being able to identify a specific flavor… PJH

    Reply
  2. sandjekel

    This has me ready for Fall comfort food!!!
    You know it! I can smell the pumpkin and fall morning air now… just don’t tell anyone! I repeat: I am excited for fall, not winter! These donuts will be great to bring in the fall season, hope you enjoy! :) ~Jessica

    Reply
  3. tikidoc

    I have never been much of a cake donut fan, I strongly prefer the lighter and less sweet yeast donuts. Is there a non-fried way to make a halfway respectable version of the yeast risen version? I think the cider glaze would be great on a yeast donut too. Jess

    Jess, I’ve never discovered a way to make a baked yeast-raised doughnut that even approaches what you get when you fry. Readers, does anyone have a baked yeast “doughnut” recipe you could share? PJH

    Reply
  4. Jessica

    Haha this is just plain meeeaaan to post right now! Cider donuts go hand in hand with fall and it’s 115 degrees where I’m at right now with no end in sight!
    LOVE cider donuts. I agree, I’ve made them baked and fried and fried wins hands down (obviously) but for the healthier-ness and ease of making them, I adore those donut pans.
    We hope you give them a try when it’s just the right time for you! I have already been buying canned pumpkin, preparing for the season! I may have made cinnamon pumpkin rolls yesterday… Oh, just wishful fall thinking! ;) ~Jessica

    Reply
  5. JuliaJ

    Gee, I don’t have a doughnut pan, but maybe this recipe will work in a mini-muffin pan?? Dipping the mini-muffin tops in the cider syrup might be easier/less messy than dunking the doughnuts. Yum!

    I’ll bet that would work just fine. Thanks for sharing the idea, Julia! PJH

    Reply
  6. AnneInWA

    Here is a recipe for a baked raised doughut. It is from the book Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to make at home by Lara Ferroni. I have not tried this recipe, but here it is.

    Baked Raised

    This recipe is based on a Finnish sweet dough recipe and are so soft and light you may not realize they were baked.

    Makes 10-14 doughnuts

    1 egg
    1/4 c superfine sugar
    1 c whole milk, heated to 115 degrees F
    1 tbsp active dry yeast
    1 tsp salt
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    2 1/2 to 3 1/2 c all purpose flour, divided, plus more for kneading
    1/2 c butter cut into 1 in cubes

    1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat egg and sugar on medium speed until blended, about 1 minute. Add the milk, yeast, salt, and vanilla, and stir to blend. With the machine on low, add 2 c of the flour, about 1/2 c at a time, and beat until the dough is thick and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

    2. Switch to the dough hook. With machine on medium speed, add the butter one piece at a time, and beat until no large chunks of butter are left in the bottom of the bowl, 3-5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add additional flour until the dough gathers around the hook and cleans the sides of the bowl. It will be soft and moist, but not overly sticky.

    3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. Lightly grease a large mixing bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 1 hour.

    4. Punch down the dough and roll out to 1/2 inch thick. With a doughnut or cookie cutter, cut out 3 in diameter rounds with 1 in diameter holes (for filled doughnuts, don’t cut out the holes).

    5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a backing sheet with parchment. Place the doughnuts at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot until nearly doubled in size, about 20 minutes.

    6. Bake until the doughnuts are a light golden brown, 5-8 minutes, being very careful not to over bake them. Immediately brush with butter and sugar or glaze.

    FYI: The picture in the book shows a VERY light colored doughnut. It is extremely pale. I have not made these, but they are on my list!

    Thanks for sharing Anne!

    Reply
    1. "Jane Dough"

      Hi Anne ~ Thanks for sharing that recipe. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to make them since you posted it back in 2011, but I just made them yesterday for my son’s birthday which coincided with Mardi Gras this year. He LOVED them and thinks I hung the moon. Thank you!!!! ~ Jane

  7. AnneInWA

    Thanks PJ for this recipe! I am of a rare minority who actually does not like doughnuts. However, every once in a while, I find a recipe for baked doughnuts which I like. I have one that is a spiced pumpkin and sweet potato recipe that is a go to in our household – especially because it is healthy but the kids don’t know that! This one seems great as well. Do you think if I added grated apple that it would alter the doughnut in any way? If I added the apple, would I need to increase the flour at all?

    Thanks again PJ, now I have another recipe to bake tomorrow morning! My kids are now going to have apple doughnuts and pumpkin doughnuts!

    Anne, I’d guess you’d need to reduce the milk by a couple of tablespoons, rather than increase the flour. Give it a try – let us know how they come out, OK? Sounds tasty! PJH

    Reply
  8. donnajeffreys

    o – m – g…….can i get a loud AMEN?!?
    those doughnuts would sooooooo send me to my grave but then again, what a way to go right?!? :)
    (i wonder what the calorie count would be for just 1 widdle ol’ doughnut?!?) lol!

    Better ‘n it would be for 1 widdle FRIED doughnut! :) PJH

    Reply
  9. kvhs

    PJ, I’m also from the midwest, Twin Cities area, and became fascinated by Miss Minneapolis Flour. So began the venture to find out about its history. Was milled sometime between the years 1856-1928 by The Minneapolis Milling Company which then became General Mills in 1928 along with 26 other milling companies. If interested in more history go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Mills .

    These doughnuts look absolutely delicious and gives me another good excuse to use the Boiled Apple Cider. Thank you for sharing all of your tips throughout your blogs. The one about shallow frying in this one is definitely going to be used as I’ve had a hankerin’ for doughnuts like my grandmother used to make and just didn’t want to face a gallon of the boiling oil. Thanks!

    Wow, I didn’t know Miss Minneapolis was GM – thanks for the info. And yeah, the shallow frying has been a revelation for me – my electric fry pan is a wonderful doughnut tool… Enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  10. Stacey

    I do have to say, I love all the recipes. However, i have to say, I get frustrated with the ingredients that are linked to your website. Not that it’s bad to do that, and personally, would love to make use of them for impulse purchases. But as someone with a non-big 8 allergy (corn and all corn byproducts), it is almost impossible to buy ingredients from your site that I’m not already familiar with since there is no ingredient list by and large. it would be great if this could be corrected in the future

    Not sure what you’re asking for, Stacey. Do you find our ingredient listings hard to use? How would you rather see them done? We’re always looking to improve the experience for our customers… PJH

    Reply
  11. jtdavies

    I don’t have boiled cider (yet) but I’ll bet these would be good with cherry concentrate as well.
    Great idea. With a little vanilla glaze, or chocolate glaze. NOM! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  12. missstubby

    How about using beer as the liquid, or part of the liquid, as in beer bread ( made with baking mix and beer ) for a ” yeast donut ” sub? I don’t have a donut pan yet but it is on my wishlist.
    I’m not sure how the beer and cider flavors would mingle, but give it a try and let us know how it goes. ~MaryJane

    Reply
  13. Brenda

    Stacey: At the end of the product description, click on the orange “View packaging and nutritional information”.

    Reply
  14. Kathy

    Can you successfully make these without the high maize flour? My son has Crohn’s and is not supposed to have a lot of fiber.

    Yes, you may replace the hi-maize with an equal amount of all-purpose flour. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  15. BluebonnetBaker

    I am in love with this entry for multiple reasons, PJ. I love homemade donuts, and my grandmother had a similar black book, which I am now in possession of. Recipes from her mother and my grandfather’s mother abound.

    But the first thing I thought of when I saw those Cider donuts is the trip my husband and I took for our first anniversary – to Stowe, VT. Between Waterbury and Stowe there is a little apple cider business. They sell beautiful just fried apple cider donuts, and we stopped there at least 3 times on that first trip. It was that trip that made us fall in love with Vermont – and why I’ve already talked him into coming back to KAF in the new year to take some classes with me. We can’t get enough of Vermont!

    Love you guys :)

    Amber x
    I feel as though Fall is in the air! Is it Cold Hollow Cider Mill by chance? It is pretty well known and is in such a beautiful part of VT. I hope to see you in the classroom! Elisabeth

    Reply
  16. tejas100

    How do you think these would be if I made them the night before? I’m not an early riser and these would be more delicious if I could just wake up to them!
    Yes, that would be nice, wouldn’t it? Your best bet would be to make the doughnuts the night before and dip them the next morning especially if there was humidity in the forecast. You see, I am not so sure how the glaze will hold up if you were to do these too far in advance unless you are in a drier climate. Give it a try, though. Doing the whole process the night before may work fine for you. Elisabeth

    Reply
  17. Blakeley from Utah

    Ok since i’ve been to Vermont a few years ago i’ve been searching for a cider doughnut recipe like the ones we had at Cold Hollow Cider Mill. Are these similar to them…besides the fact that these are baked instead of fried? Also, I don’t have any of the hi-mazie flour so what could I use instead or should I just leave it out? Thanks KAF your recipes always look sooooooo good. :)

    Not sure how close these are to those at Cold Hollow, these are pretty tasty. If you don’t have hi-maize, use and equal amount of All-Purpose flour as a substitute. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  18. vel

    I have a question. Are all cake donuts, like at Dunkin Donuts, grocery stores baked or are they fried? If they are fried, are the ones baked in the special pan have the same texture, to me a little more chew than just cake?
    No idea to be honest, Vel. Searching through some comments on the web, it appears DD fries theirs. Can’t speak much for other brands, but typically they are fried unless otherwise stated on the packaging. It’s going to vary from vendor to vendor, so you’d have to ask or check out their websites. In general, baked doughnuts are not quite as crisp on the outside as fried doughnuts, but every bit as yummy! Anyone else have any insight? ~Jessica@KAF

    Reply
  19. AnneInWA

    Well PJ, now you have done it! I am obsessed with making homemade doughnuts! Now, I need you to blog about recipes for baked chocolate doughnuts, and how about blueberry doughnuts with a cream cheese glaze or baked boston cream doughnuts, the possibilities…..I think I am going to gain back all of the baby weight I just lost!

    Reply
  20. Susan

    I just made these, and they are delicious. However, I try to use white wheat as much as possible. Would it change the outcome if I used white wheat instead of the All-Purpose?

    Yes, there will be a big difference if you replace all of the flour. Try beginning with a 25% substitution. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  21. Ally

    I love these doughnuts coated in cinnamon sugar. If I wanted to use that instead of the glaze, how would I get the sugar to stick?You will need to roll them in the cinnamon sugar while they are still warm!!! Yummy. Betsy@KAF

    Reply
  22. "janicepullicino@gmail.com"

    GREAT TIP!! You don’t need to fuss with or waste a piping bag to fill these pans. Simply spray the pan well, then use a level scoop (i use the blue handle size), and drop the batter right over the middle of the donut cup. Yes it will cover the ‘hole’, but just wait a minute or two for the batter to level and simply wipe the excess batter off of the top of the ‘hole’ with your finger or a paper towel. : ) Janice

    LOVE this tip! I’m definitely trying it next time. Thanks, Janice – PJH

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Unfortunately we do not have one yet, but I will certainly add it to our list! Jon@KAF

  23. Heather Lynne

    Last year there was a recipe for apple cider doughnut holes where you boiled apples in apple cider for the apple flavor. I can’t find it right now.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Heather, we’ve never done a recipe for apple cider doughnut holes; nor do I recall a recipe where you simmer apples in cider. Maybe you’re thinking of a different site? But you might just enjoy our Apple Cider Doughnuts… PJH

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