Apple Cider Doughnut Cake

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Season: Fall, Winter
Dosha: Pitta, Vata

It took me 5 long years to learn about Ya-Ya’s Orchard, just a quick spin down dirt roads from my house. But now that I have, rides to the farmstand are sure to become a ritual of fall. When the carts of multicolored apples full to the brim, and the cider doughnuts are fresh daily. And, for all the other times and places where riding to cider doughnuts isn’t an option, there’s this Apple Cider Doughnut Cake for jersey pockets.

I cooked the recipe live for my Rapha RCC friends on Zoom tonight and if you joined us, thank you! If you missed it, the recipe for this Apple Cider Doughnut Cake is easy, flexible and thanks to the reduced cider stirred into the batter, literally tastes like a farmstand treat. (Only sliceable and packable!)

Baking a more virtuous doughnut

This recipe is an adaptation of Sarah Jampel’s cider doughnut loaf cake. By adding greek yogurt, using whole grain flours + stirring some fresh apple into the mix, cut a bit of fat, added texture, improved portability and boosted the nutrition.

Adding yogurt to baked goods doesn’t necessarily keep the the fermented value intact, but it certainly keeps the healthy fats without weird fillers (if you’re using a good yogurt.) Check your label to be sure that milk and cultures are the only ingredients in yours.

The addition of whole grains means that we’ve snuck in some really important vitamins and minerals to this doughnut cake. Most all-purpose flour has been stripped of it’s nutrients before it’s bleached and combined with stabilizers so it can stay on the shelf for a loooong time. Whole grain flours still contain all of those amazing little body boosters. Pick them up locally when you can.

The addition of whole grain flour also makes this cake easier to transport in a pocket. All-purpose flours have also had much of their protein stripped – which is the stuff that helps the cake stand up. Whole grain flours are packed with this valuable protein that’s good for the stature of your cake, and your body.

Recipe Notes

  • Vegan + dairy-free:  You can easily use a neutral oil in for the butter in this recipe. If you don’t have greek yogurt, you could use buttermilk or sour cream as well. A dairy-free yogurt also works beautifully. I haven’t tested the recipe with an egg replacer, aquafaba or with a flax-egg and applesauce stand in, but one of our participants in the Rapha class did and it worked like a charm! If you try one of these and love your results let me know!
  • Why full-fat: Good fats are essential to maintaining a healthy, beautiful body so I always recommend full-fat dairy in my recipes. If you don’t have Greek yogurt, you can use your favorite substitution, but for the best results be sure it’s a full-fat product!
  • On flour: If all-purpose is all you have on hand, go for it. And if you want to use a cup-for-cup GF flour that will work too. The flour can also stand-in for the tapioca starch. Cornstarch will work too.
  • On sweetness: I aim to use cane sugar wherever possible in lieu of bleached granulated sugar. A liquid (or invert) sugar isn’t a great swap option as it will add too much moisture to your cake. But, coconut sugar could be a good option. Honestly, this is a recipe that I’m content not to sprinkle virture all over; there’s a time and a place for sugar, and eating this Apple Cider Doughnut Cake is it.
  • Storage: Store cake tightly wrapped at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Flavor Notes

Flavors are FUN, yes, but they also are the mechanisms by which our bodies nourish themselves. Flavors basically tell our bodies what the food is giving us – on a nutritional and energetic level. Our bodies then prepare enzymes to break those components down, assimilate them, and turn them into fuel for our vibrant lives. We can’t eat just one flavor and get all of the things we need, so learning to track the flavors in our foods helps us to be sure that we’re really getting all of the things we need in our meals. This particular recipe has four of six flavors. The more flavors we can enjoy in any meal or food, the happier and more balanced our bodies will be. If you’re wanting to learn more about how the flavors we eat fuel our bodies – energetically and nutritively, check out this little blog post.

  • SWEET: apple cider, apple, eggs, sugar
  • SALTY: Kosher salt
  • SOUR: yogurt
  • ASTRINGENT: cinnamon

Apple Cider Doughnut Cake

makes 8 slices


Active Time: 1 hour 45 minutes


Serves: slices


  • 9 Tbsp unsalted butter (divided, plus more for the pan)
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 cup whole fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (109g) unbleached whole grain all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (63g) spelt OR whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp (15g) tapioca starch OR cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt (divided)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (divided)
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup (200g) cane sugar (divided)
  • 1/2 small apple (chopped, roughly 1/2 cup)


  • 1Prepare equipment + reduce cider

    Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 325°F (350° at 5280ft!)
    Lightly butter an 8½x4½” or 9×5″ loaf pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on both long sides.
    Bring cider to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until cider is reduced to ¾ cup, roughly 8–10 minutes.
    Pour ¼ cup reduced cider into a small measuring glass or bowl and set aside. Transfer remaining reduced cider to a small bowl and let cool 5 minutes. Stir in yogurt and vanilla and set aside.
  • 2Make cake batter

    Melt 8 Tbsp. butter in same saucepan (no need to clean) over low heat. Let cool slightly. Whisk flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, 1 tsp. kosher salt, 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, in a medium bowl to combine.
    Vigorously whisk eggs and ¾ cup (150 g) sugar in a large bowl until the mixture turns pale yellow, and becomes voluminous, and frothy – about 3-4 minutes. This can also be achieved with a stand mixer, but a sturdy arm and some patience will do just fine.
    Whisking constantly, gradually add melted butter in a steady stream; continue to whisk until fully combined and emulsified (no spots of fat should remain). Set the saucepan aside but no need to wash yet.
    Whisk dry ingredients into egg mixture in 3 additions, alternating with reserved yogurt-cider mixture in 2 additions; keep whisking until no lumps remain. Batter will be thin and viscous.
    Scrape the cake batter into pan and set on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the chopped apple over the batter and push into the cake with the tip of a rubber spatula so the apple is completely submerged.
  • 3Bake cake + prepare glaze

    Bake cake, rotating halfway through, until it’s a deep golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, roughly 60–80 minutes.
    While the cake bakes, mix a big pinch of salt, the remaining ¼ cup (50 g) sugar and 3/4 tsp. cinnamon in a small bowl. Melt remaining 1 Tbsp. butter in reserved saucepan and mix into remaining 1 Tbsp. reduced cider.
    Once cake is baked and golden brown, remove from heat and transfer cake pan to a wire rack and poke top of cake all over with a toothpick.
    Spoon 3 Tbsp. of the reserved reduced cider over (leaving 1 Tbsp leftover); let cool 10 minutes.
  • 4Finish + enjoy!

    Using parchment paper, lift the still warm cake onto rack and set rack inside rimmed baking sheet.
    Peel away parchment from sides. Brush warm butter and cider mixture over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle generously with sugar mixture to coat every surface (use parchment to help rotate cake and collect any excess sugar). Remove parchment and let cool completely before slicing.
    Cake will be best transported in a pocket if wrapped in aluminum foil. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

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