Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Baked Apple Cider Donuts are 100% whole wheat and delicately spiced. They're tender on the inside and coated in crunchy cinnamon sugar on the outside for a tasty fall breakfast treat!

Baked Apple Cider Donuts with text overlay.


 

This past Saturday, the middle child celebrated his birthday. He and his big brother both had flag football games that morning, but the birthday boy was apparently experiencing a touch of Lucky Number 7 magic as he proceeded to score half a dozen touchdowns. Granted, we're talking about 1st grade teams here, and that means that a given flag football game is often more akin to a track meet.

But regardless, the newly-minted 7-year-old was quite proud of himself, and rightfully so. When asked what healthy, nutrient-dense breakfast I must have fed him that morning, I had to reluctantly answer *donuts*. And I'm talking about the sugary, fried, frosting-covered, birthday-celebratory kind...not the whole wheat, Baked Apple Cider Donut beauties you see here today.

Baked Apple Cider Donuts cooling on a rack.

Ingredients

Despite the fact that they're more wholesome than their traditional donut shop counterparts, these Baked Apple Cider Donuts are still very much a delightful breakfast treat.

I basically took my popular Lemon Sugar Baked Donut recipe and gave it a fall twist.

  • I substituted apple cider for some of the buttermilk, which resulted in a subtle apple undertone.
  • I replaced granulated sugar with brown sugar.
  • And I added cinnamon and nutmeg for a touch of warm spice.

For further commentary on the ingredients, keep reading... 😉

Close-up of Baked Apple Cider Donuts coated in cinnamon sugar.

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

I also decided that apple + cinnamon could stand up to whole wheat -- as already proven by my ever-so-yummy Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins.

So I swapped out all-purpose flour for whole wheat pastry flour.

The pastry part is important, as whole wheat pastry flour has a lighter flavor and texture (more comparable to white flour) than regular whole wheat flour. But it still retains the wholesome nutritional benefits of 100% whole wheat...because that's what it is!

Cinnamon Sugar Coating

Finally, I love me a good sugar coating on a donut, since the crunchy texture is a beautiful contrast to the soft, tender interior.

So I decided to forgo frosting or glaze on these Baked Apple Cider Donuts and stick with a melted butter dunk followed by a shower of cinnamon sugar.

It may be predictable, but c'mon...it's a classic. In fact, it's almost like apple cake meets Snickerdoodle, and there can't possibly be anything wrong with that scenario.

A stack of four.

How to Make Them

These Apple Cider Baked Donuts are surprisingly quick and simple to make:

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. Stir in the wet ingredients.
  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared donut pans (this is the hardest step, by far!) and pop them into the oven to bake.
  4. Dunk 'em in melted butter and dip 'em in cinnamon sugar.

Step #5 should probably say, "Do you best not to scarf down half of the batch in one sitting." 😉

Close-up of cinnamon sugar coating.

To sum it up, these Baked Apple Cider Donuts are a bit less guilt-inducing than regular ol' donuts.

They'd be a special treat on a weekday morning, a delectable breakfast on a brisk fall weekend, a lovely addition to a brunch buffet or autumn party spread, or a welcome surprise to package up and send to you favorite school teacher!

Or -- if your 1st grader is jonesing for a repeat performance of his career-high birthday touchdown record -- skip the donut shop and make these instead.

They may not be Wheaties, but at least you can say they're chock full of whole wheat. 😉

Baked Apple Cider Donut with a bite missing resting on the edge of a mug of apple cider.

More Apple Recipes

Baked Apple Cider Donuts piled on plate.

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Baked Apple Cider Donuts are delicately spiced and made with 100% whole wheat flour. They're tender on the inside and coated in crunchy cinnamon sugar on the outside for a tasty fall breakfast treat!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 12 donuts
Calories: 243kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground allspice
  • ½ cup apple cider, or apple juice
  • ¼ cup buttermilk, or milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

FOR THE COATING:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

Instructions

  • Adjust oven racks to center position and preheat oven to 425°F. Spray two 6-cavity donut pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat pastry flour and cornstarch. Whisk in brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice until well blended. Stir in apple cider, buttermilk, eggs, butter, and vanilla until batter is smooth and combined, but do not over-mix. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared donut pans.
  • Bake for 7 to 9 minutes until the edges of the donuts begin to turn a light golden brown and the tops of the donuts spring back when lightly touched. Allow donuts to cool for 5 minutes in pans before turning them out onto a cooling rack.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Place the melted butter in a shallow bowl. Dip one side of each donut in the butter, and then press into the cinnamon sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Equipment Needed

Notes

  • You may substitute all-purpose flour for the whole wheat pastry flour, if you wish.
  • The cornstarch lightens up the texture of the donuts, akin to using cake flour. If you prefer, you may omit the cornstarch and increase the flour to 2 cups total.

Nutrition

Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 282mg | Potassium: 176mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 281IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 1mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

Post originally published on October 17, 2016, and updated on September 1, 2020.

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10 Comments

    1. The batter should be divided between the 12 donut cavities. I spoon in the batter and find that it comes about to the top edge of the pan. If I run short of batter before I fill all 12, I transfer some from the areas that are overly full. If I have batter leftover, I add it to the less full donuts. Hope that helps!

  1. 5 stars
    Apple cider donuts are my favorite and with fall coming these were just perfect. I have made so many different types of apple cider donuts and yours have to be my favorite.

  2. 5 stars
    These donuts are so yummy and very addicting! My kiddos love this recipe! We've been making them for the past few years and we're excited to make them again this weekend!

    1. Sure! Use extra milk in place of the apple cider, omit the cinnamon/nutmeg/allspice, and dip them in whatever coating you like. 🙂