Mini Apple Cider Cakes

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Yield: one 9" x 13" sheet cake; or about 10 mini layer cakes

Recipe photo

A biscuit cutter helps transform this moist, spicy sheet cake into elegant individual layer cakes. To make cutting the cake easier, freeze it for several hours.

Mini Apple Cider Cakes

star rating (7) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: one 9" x 13" sheet cake; or about 10 mini layer cakes
Published: 09/30/2011



  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup boiled cider or frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Apple Pie Spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon caramel color, optional
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled finely chopped apples
  • *Or substitute 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 teaspoon Instant ClearJel, optional; it helps the frosting hold its shape
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 drops lemon oil or 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (lemon zest), optional


1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease, flour, and line with parchment a half sheet pan or 9" x 13" pan.

2) In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and molasses until smooth.

3) Mix in the boiled cider, vegetable oil and eggs.

4) In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, apple pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, caramel color, and salt.

5) Add the flour mixture alternately with the water until all is combined. Stir in the apples. Spread into the prepared pan.

6) Bake until the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the middle, about 30 to 40 minutes (the 9" x 13" pan will take the longer amount of time; the half sheet pan, the shorter).

7) Remove from the oven, and cool in the pan for 1 hour. If cutting the large cake into circles for mini layer cakes, place it in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours before cutting. The cake circles will come out perfectly if the cake is frozen.

8) To prepare the frosting, sift the Instant ClearJel with the confectioners' sugar. Add to the cream and start whipping it. When the cream reaches a soft peak, put it aside.

9) Whip the cream cheese, vanilla, and lemon oil together until fluffy.

10) Whisk in 1/4 of the whipped cream and stir until completely combined. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream.

11) For mini layer cakes, use a 2 3/4" biscuit cutter to cut 20 circles out of the cake baked in the half sheet pan.

12) Frost half of the cake circles, top with the remaining circles and top that with a dollop of frosting.

13) Sprinkle with the garnish of your choice: crystallized ginger, a dusting of cinnamon mixed with confectioners' sugar, or toasted nuts.

Yield: one 9" x 13" cake; or about 10 layered mini cakes.


  • star rating 03/04/2015
  • Smoothvibes from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • This cake is fairly simple to prepare and absolutely delicious. I made it in a sheet pan, frosted it and brought it to a party. Everyone at the party liked it. It smelt of gingerbread except with little pieces of apple in it. The texture of the cake was very soft and fluffy.
  • star rating 01/04/2015
  • member-cmarias from KAF Community
  • Good but to step it up a notch I would add a little melted butter to the batter since it was a bit drier than expected. I will concede however,that being able to cut the circles would require this drier texture in order to hold the shape. I also would have preferred a bit more cinnamon. In fact, coating the apple pieces with additional sugar & cinnamon before adding them to the batter might not be a bad idea for us sweet-a-holics. As for the cream cheese filling, be sure to let the cream cheese be at room temperature before adding the confectioner's sugar.Although the recipe clearly states that it should be softened, I tried to hurry it up by blending before the cream cheese was ready.....and those lumps are still there!
  • star rating 10/22/2013
  • Vicki from
  • Made these mini cakes for a ladies' luncheon and they were a huge hit. Moist, delicious - and that frosting is to die for! Beautiful presentation - I will definitely make these again.
  • star rating 03/04/2013
  • Poketigger from Westtexas
  • My only thought why waste awsome cake? You would have loads of crums using a cuter and you have a better way? Muffin pans do it perfect and turn up Side down add your touches. Mine I cut in half add frosting and pour topping on top. Time is short why do it the hard way, free up your time to bake more and have Less stress. Try the muffin pan,
  • star rating 10/14/2012
  • btraficonte from KAF Community
  • This a great cake! I made the batter a third larger so that it fit into a large sheet cake pan. I got 12 minis. I did not increase the filling amount and it was plenty to do all 12. I have to say that the cream cheese filling was about the best I have ever made or tasted!! The minis made great individual birthday cakes with a whimsical candle and apple slices on top.
  • star rating 11/08/2011
  • daisy01213 from KAF Community
  • I really liked this apple cake, particularly because it was not too sweet. I added a bit more apple than the recipe called for (3 cups) and (oops!) forgot to add the salt. That may explain why is was not too sweet, but it was perfect for me. The frosting was awesome. Loved the lemon. I took it to a friend's house for dinner and caught someone sneaking in to the kitchen for another piece. I didn't cut it into minis. I'll do that next time.
  • star rating 10/16/2011
  • fkmncurliss from KAF Community
  • Tastes like gingerbread cake, but with intense apple flavor! Easy to put together, and will keep for up to 10 days in a sealed container.

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