Get ready to welcome in the fall season with this delicious Apple Cider Cake. This easy cake gets a blast of flavor from apples, cider, and spices. Plus, the creamy caramel apple cider frosting makes it totally irresistible.
As soon as I see apple cider in the stores, I have to buy a jug. Apple cider is just one of those things that says fall to me. Even when the weather outside still says it's summer.
Recently, I saw an apple cider cake mix and apple cider frosting at Target. I decided to change up my apple cake from a cake mix using apple cider to recreate my own version.
⭐ Why You Should Make This Cake
This apple cider cake is an easy recipe to make when you are short on time. A box mix helps cut down on some of the prep time.
- Easy to make. All you need is a mixing bowl, a grater/food processor, and a baking dish to make a spiced apple cake that will have everyone coming back for another slice.
- Tastes and smells like fall. Apple cider and apple pie spice will have your kitchen smelling like a fall day as the cake bakes.
- Moist and delicious! Shredded apples and applesauce make this doctored up cake mix taste amazing.
- Can be made ahead of time. This is a great recipe to make ahead of time because it stays soft and delicious for days.
📋 Key Ingredients
With just a few simple ingredients and a store bought cake mix, you can make this apple cider cake recipe in minutes.
- White Cake Mix - Using a box mix saves a little time in the kitchen. You could also use a yellow cake mix if you already have one in your pantry.
- Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix - Adding dry pudding mix helps to give the cake a dense, moist texture.
- Spices - A mixture of cinnamon and nutmeg gives it a fall flavor.
- Applesauce - Adds moisture without adding oil.
- Apple Cider - Reduced down and cooled.
- Apples - Two large apples should give you enough shredded apples for this recipe.
🍎 Baking with Apple Cider
Apple cider is a delicious seasonal drink. It will not add much flavor if you bake with it straight from the container.
In order to get a more concentrated flavor in apple cider, you need to simmer the apple cider over low heat until it is reduced in half.
Reducing the apple cider intensifies the flavors in the cider. Taking the time to do this step will give your baked goods a much stronger apple cider flavor.
- Pour 2 cups of apple cider into a small pan. Bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until reduced down to 1 cup.
- Keep an eye on the cider as it simmers. You do not want it to boil over.
- Pour the hot apple cider into a clear glass measuring cup to see how far it has reduced. You will want to start checking this after it has simmered for 10-15 minutes.
- If you have more than 1 cup, pour it back into the pan and continue simmering.
- Let it cool at least 10 minutes before adding it to baked goods.
BRUCREW TIP: Save time by reducing the apple cider down the night before. Make sure to stir it or shake it up before using it.
⏲️ How to make Apple Cider Cake
This apple cider cake recipe can easily be made in minutes. Follow our simple instructions for reducing the apple cider and making the cake. Then sit back and enjoy the fall smells as it bakes in the oven.
Make the Cake
- Stir together the cake mix, pudding mix, and spices in a large bowl.
- Add the reduced apple cider, applesauce, and eggs. Beat the batter for one minute on low, then two minutes on high.
- Shred the apples in a food processor. You can take the peels off or leave them on. Either way works. Stir flour into the shredded apples before stirring them into the cake batter.
- Pour the batter into a greased 9x13 pan and bake for 35-38 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
- Beat the softened butter, salt, and caramel topping in a small bowl until creamy. Slowly mix in powdered sugar and apple cider until everything is combined.
- Beat the frosting on high until light and fluffy.
- Spread the caramel apple cider frosting on top of the cooled apple sheet cake with an angled spatula.
BRUCREW TIP: This cake is also delicious with this salted caramel frosting.
📖 Storage Recommendations
Store the frosted cake in a loosely sealed container on the counter at room temperature. Because of the apples and applesauce it will stay moist for 3-4 days.
👩🏻🍳 Tips and Tricks
- Take the time to reduce your apple cider. It really will give you a much better flavor.
- Make sure you allow enough time for the cider to cool before adding it to the ingredients. Hot cider could potentially cook the eggs if you add them together.
- Use your favorite apples for this cake. We usually use Gala apples for baked goods.
- For best apple flavor, shred the apples into tiny pieces. I do not recommend dicing them for this recipe.
- You can substitute apple pie spice for the other spices, if you like.
- Do not add frosting to a warm cake because it will melt into a puddle of sugar.
- Serve slices of cake with a cup of iced apple cider or a hot caramel mocha latte.
💭 Recipe FAQ'S
Apple cider is a raw unsweetened apple juice that has not been filtered or pasteurized, so it may contain some pulp. It is a seasonal drink that is usually only available in the fall.
Apple juice is filtered and pasteurized which gives it a longer shelf life and a smoother texture.
That depends on the humidity in the air, the pan size, and what temperature you are simmering it at. 2 cups of cider in a small pan over low heat will take about 20 minutes to reduce down to 1 cup.
Yes, you can substitute unsweetened apple juice for apple cider if that's all you can find but it will not give you the same flavor. Try to find an opaque apple juice that has not been filtered.
📋 More Apple Recipes
- Apple Praline Cake
- Apple Crisp Cheesecake
- Candy Bar Salad (with apples)
- Apple Walnut Cake
- Apple Danish Cheesecake
- Apple Nachos
- Apple Bread Pudding
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*The post for apple cider cake was first published October 2018. It has been updated and republished September 2022.