The crowd-pleasing apple cider donut, but easy to make at home in loaf form! This quick bread has a remarkably donut-y texture, and the taste is just like the farmer's market classic, right down to the cinnamon sugar coating.
Apple season is in full swing and I'm using it in everything I can!
This quick bread tastes UNBELIEVABLY like a farm stand apple cider donut. There is reduced cider both in the cake batter and the baked loaf gets a nice soak for some extra cider flavor. Then it's brushed with butter and sprinkled (heavily!) with cinnamon sugar.
The first time I made it, I stood in my kitchen and ate probably 4 slices thinking, "can it be? this loaf of bread that I made in my kitchen actually tastes just like a delicious apple cider donut?" Each bite had me both more convinced and more incredulous. This is the real deal! (Can we believe it?? YES!)
Since it's good at room temperature, and it keeps really well, I think it would be perfect to make a couple of loaves to have on hand for busy holiday weeks (looking at you, Thanksgiving) for low-key breakfasts or snacks with coffee. Or even to give as gifts! Really, this can take you from September all the way through spring!
But if the result is good enough, I'll do whatever fussy steps required to get there. Once you try it, I think you'll be on board, too.
Reduce the Cider
Reduced cider gives this cake so much apple cider flavor! To reduce cider, bring it to a boil in a small saucepan, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the volume is halved. You'll have 3/4 cup reduced cider when you're done. This usually takes right around 15 minutes for me. Just keep an eye on it!
Reducing cider is so easy to do, but is one of those steps that takes a while and can feel like it's holding up the whole recipe. Feel free to make extra to save yourself time in the future (it will last 3 months in the fridge and is good for future loaves or cocktails!).
Alternate Dry and Wet Ingredients
When it comes time to mix all of the batter together, you'll have three bowls going: the mixing bowl with the eggs, sugar, and butter, the dry ingredients, and the wet ingredients.
It's really important for the texture of the cake to alternate dry and wet ingredients when adding them to the mixing bowl. There are two reasons for doing this:
- It actually minimizes time spent mixing the batter, compared to if you added all the dry and wet ingredients at the same time. It's important to avoid overmixing here to prevent gluten development.
- It ensures even mixing.
The order you'll add dry and wet ingredients in is: dry/wet/dry/wet/dry. Mix after each addition until fully incorporated, and no longer. Scrape down the sides of your bowl as needed.
Let's get some more cider in this cake! When it comes out of the oven and is still warm in the pan, poke the top all over with a toothpick and spoon the remaining reduced cider over the top.
Let it sit for 10 minutes to soak up the cider and cool slightly. Then slide a butter knife around the perimeter of the pan to loosen the loaf, and invert to release.
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
While the loaf is still warm, brush it all over with melted butter, and sprinkle all over with a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt, if you please.
I find it easiest to do this on parchment paper as it allows you to roll the loaf easily, and prevents a mess from the cinnamon sugar.
This loaf will keep really well! Once it's cooled completely, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Apple Cider Loaf Cake with Cinnamon Sugar
For the Cake
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slighlty (plus additional for pan)
For the Cinnamon Sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt, optional
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- Reduce the cider: Bring cider to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to simmer and cook until reduced by half, about 10-15 minutes. You'll need 3/4 cup of reduced cider for this recipe. Cool slightly before using.Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat to 325 degrees. Butter an 8x4-inch loaf pan.In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, 1/2 cup of the reduced cider, and vanilla until smooth.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the eggs and sugar on medium speed until frothy and a very pale yellow - about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and slowly pour in the melted butter. Whisk until fully combined. Add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the bowl of the stand mixer, and whisk until smooth. Add 1/2 the sour cream mixture and whisk until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed. Repeat, ending with the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60-80 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.Cider Soak: Place the loaf pan on a wire rack and poke all over the top with a toothpick. Spoon over the remaining 1/4 cup reduced cider. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then run a butter knife around the perimeter of the pan to loosen the loaf, and invert to release.Cinnamon Sugar Coating: Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Place the loaf on a piece of parchment paper and brush all over with the melted butter. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar, using the parchment paper to turn to coat all sides. Cool completely on wire rack. Can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. Will keep for up to 5 days at room temperature wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.
Adapted from Sarah Jampel.