RECIPES:
Sep 26, 2022

Spiced Apple Cider Cake

Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 40 mins

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This spiced apple cider layer cake is made with caramel buttercream frosting and decorated with additional caramel drizzle and dehydrated apple slices. My baked apple cider donuts coated in cinnamon sugar are always such a hit, I decided to turn them into a cake! While most cider cakes are made in a bundt pan, I opt for a layer cake. 

Spiced Apple Cider Cake 

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Apple cider –  Apple cider is a raw, unfiltered apple juice that has not gone through a filtration process (like apple juice). Reducing the apple cider first gives it a more concentrated apple flavor in this recipe. Be sure to use apple cider and not apple juice!
  • Flour –  I use unbleached all-purpose flour in this recipe though bleached works fine as well.
  • Buttermilk – The typical American buttermilk is low-fat. It also has a rich, tangy flavor and a texture more similar to yogurt than cream or milk. Be sure to shake it before measuring it. 
  • Baking powder/ baking soda – The addition of baking powder and baking soda creates the rise in the cake as it interacts with the buttermilk, making it fluffy in texture.
  • Butter – I always use unsalted butter when baking so the added salt can easily be controlled. Make sure the butter is at room temperature so it easily beats with the various sugars in both the cake and frosting. 
  • Spices – I use both cinnamon and nutmeg for a warm, spiced cake. 
  • Caramel – Caramel is added to the whipped buttercream frosting to add a light caramel flavor. I drizzle additional warm caramel over the cake so it drips down the sides. Warming the caramel first makes it more malleable. 

How to Make Apple Cider Cake

Step 1: Reduce apple cider

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180ºC). Heat the apple cider in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer and reduce the cider to 1 cup (250g). Let cool to room temperature. 

Step 2: Mix the dry ingredients 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Step 3: Mix the batter 

In another large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until each has been incorporated. Whisk in the cider and buttermilk then slowly stir in the dry ingredients until combined.

Step 4: Divide batter and bake

Lightly grease 3 (8-inch/ 20cm) circle cake pans with butter and flour. Evenly pour the batter into the pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Step 5: Let cakes cool

Let cool slightly then invert onto a cooling rack and let cool completely while making the frosting. 

Step 6: Mix the frosting 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and salt at low speed. Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar with the mixer running on low, until it has all been added. 

Increase the speed to medium-high until the sugar has been completely incorporated. Add the heavy cream, caramel and vanilla extract and continue to beat on high until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 

Step 7: Assemble the cake 

Place the first cake on a platter or cake stand. Top with a generous amount of the caramel frosting and evenly spread it over the top. Repeat with the second and third layers, using the same amount of frosting in between each layer. Use the remaining frosting to frost the edges of the cake.

Step 8: Serve 

Drizzle the warm caramel over the sides of the cake so it drips down the sides. Decorate with the dehydrated apples. Cut into equal pieces and serve.

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe 

Swaps and substitutions 
  • If you don’t have buttermilk on hand you can easily make your own! Simply add 1 tablespoon (14g) of white vinegar to a 1 cup measuring cup and fill the rest with whole milk (226g).   
  • The homemade caramel frosting on the apple cider cake can be swapped with a classic vanilla buttercream based on preference. 
What to do if you only have one cake pan

If you only have one or two (8-inch/ 20cm) cake pans rather than three, I recommend weighting the batter with a kitchen scale ahead of time and dividing it by three. The batter should weigh about 1635 grams, therefore each cake should have 545g of batter. 

Other decor options 

Rather than decorating the cake with dehydrated apples, it can simply be decorated with the drizzle of caramel over the caramel frosting. It can also be topped with small apples with the greens for a more rustic look or caramel apples. 

Other Recipes to Try 

If you enjoy this apple cider cake, give these recipes a try: 

Spiced Apple Cider Cake

Apple Cake with Caramel Buttercream Frosting cut with caramel
Print Pin
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 40 mins
Serves 14

Ingredients:

For the apple cider cake:

  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • cups packed cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk

For the caramel buttercream frosting:

  • cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons caramel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For decor:

  • ¼ cup caramel, warmed
  • Dehydrated apple slices

Instructions:

For the apple cider cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180ºC). Heat the apple cider in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer and reduce the cider to 1 cup (250g). Let cool to room temperature.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • In another large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until each has been incorporated. Whisk in the cider and buttermilk then slowly stir in the dry ingredients until combined.
  • Lightly grease 3 (8-inch/ 20cm) circle cake pans with butter and flour. Evenly pour the batter into the pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
  • Let cool slightly then invert onto a cooling rack and let cool completely while making the frosting.

For the caramel buttermilk frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and salt at low speed. Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar with the mixer running on low, until it has all been added.
  • Increase the speed to medium-high until the sugar has been completely incorporated. Add the heavy cream, caramel and vanilla extract and continue to beat on high until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

For assembly:

  • Place the first cake on a platter or cake stand. Top with a generous amount of the caramel frosting and evenly spread it over the top. Repeat with the second and third layers, using the same amount of frosting in between each layer. Use the remaining frosting to frost the edges of the cake.
  • Drizzle the warm caramel over the sides of the cake so it drips down the sides. Decorate with the dehydrated apples. Cut into equal pieces and serve.

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