Welcoming the weekend with fresh baked Mini Apple Cider Cakes. Made with boiled down spiced cider, apple butter, and cinnamon. Then baked and tossed with brown butter and spiced cinnamon sugar. There’s really nothing not to love about these cute (and sweet) autumn spiced cakes. The true secret? Boiling the apple cider down to really concentrate its flavor. These mini cakes are best enjoyed warm…preferably with a sweet mug of hot chocolate or your favorite latte. The perfect way to celebrate the autumn apple season!
Who else is so happy the weekend is here? I think we can all agree that we need a good autumn weekend full of pumpkin carving, Halloween movie marathons, and baking up all the best autumn sweets. It’s October, and in my mind, there’s really nothing better than an autumn weekend spent baking with seasonal ingredients. I’m very cheesy like that when it comes to this time of year, you guys know it’s my favorite.
And yup, I’m already excited to bake these up again this afternoon for Instagram. The kitchen is about to smell amazing.
In all seriousness, can you tell it’s been a long week or what? My words are far and few, but long weeks just make for even better weekends. And thankfully we have sweet autumn desserts to bake up and pumpkins to be carving (or you are going apple picking?).
I took a quick break from the autumn cider recipes to focus on chocolate, then pumpkin, and then maple, but the apple cider sweets are returning today with these favorite little mini cakes.
The quick story.
First off, aren’t these kind of cute?! I LOVE them.
The inspiration behind these is pretty simple. I’ve got a lot of pumpkin recipes coming up this October and November. So I was really just looking for a sweet recipe to share with you guys that didn’t involve any kind of pumpkin. We all love our pumpkin recipes, but I’m a believer that there can be too much pumpkin for one autumn season.
I racked my brain for a while. I waffled on a few ideas, one of them being a butterscotch dessert (would that be of interest to you guys? Please, let me know!), and then somehow, last minute, I landed on these. I was really wanting to create something cider based and something easy. I’ve done classic apple cider doughnuts, but I haven’t done apple cider cakes. I continued to brainstorm and was actually about to start testing another recipe. But then the idea for these mini cakes came to mind.
Yes, I could make mini apple cider bundt cakes and attempt to make them look like mini pumpkins by creating chocolate “vines” around the tops. They could be cute and delish, but was it just boring? I didn’t know…but I decided to give them a try. And while I may have been unsure about them at first, I am so happy I ended up making these. Not only are they cute and sweet, but the best part about these little mini cakes? They taste even better than they look. Think of your favorite apple cider doughnut. Got that thought? Ok, now lose the fried taste, and add a bit more apple flavor, plus autumn spices. That is the flavor of these cakes.
They’re basically a baked, old school style, apple cider doughnut. But in cake form…and with chocolate on top (if you like…which you know we do). SO GOOD.
These cider cakes are easy…here are the steps.
Honestly, these cakes could not be easier to make. If you can make a basic cupcake or muffin, you can certainly make these. There is nothing fancy about them.
The key to these cakes? It’s all in the cider. I recommend finding the best spiced cider with no added sugars. If you can, pick up some fresh apple cider from your local farmers market. Or even better, pick some up if you plan to go apple picking any time soon. Nothing quite beats a really good apple cider. It’s always so flavorful this time of year.
To help intensify the apple cider flavor throughout these cakes, I decided to boil down the cider on the stove until reduced. Boiling the cider will concentrate the flavors and make the cider that much more flavorful. It’s an extra step, but one that I think is worth it.
Once you’ve boiled the cider, the rest is quick. Just mix the cider with apple butter, butter, eggs, vanilla, plus dark brown sugar. Then add in all the dry ingredients. And done. That’s the batter.
Next, divide the batter between bundt cake pans, and bake. Since I really wanted these cakes to look somewhat like mini pumpkins, I chose to use a mini bundt pan. You can easily bake these up in a standard cupcake pan too. Both will work great!
As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, turn them out, then dip each through browned butter and spiced cinnamon sugar. Yes, browned butter AND spiced cinnamon sugar. Delicious.
Finish these up…and make em’ cute!
To decorate the cakes, I made mini pumpkins simply by using some cinnamon sticks and a little melted chocolate. They certainly aren’t perfect, but I kind of love that about them.
Each little cake is unique and so cute, plus we love the combination of sweet cinnamon sugar with chocolate.
And with that, here’s my recommendation for the coming weekend. Plan your ideal Saturday, but carve out some time to spend in the kitchen. Then test these cakes for the upcoming holidays. You’ll be so happy you did!
Yes, the holidays.
I know it’s hard to believe, but Halloween, and even Thanksgiving, are both right around the corner. These cakes are perfect for either occasion, or both. You can make them spooky for Halloween or cute for Thanksgiving. Either way, I would double the recipe. These go fast.
Oh, and lastly, I have to say these are DELICIOUS dipped in hot chocolate. Just a thought, but it’s a good one. Enjoy!
Looking for other sweet apple recipes? Here are a few ideas:
Cinnamon Spiced Apple Fritters with Vanilla Coffee Glaze
Brown Butter Apple Blondies with Cinnamon Maple Glaze
Salted Maple Apple Tarte Tatin with Cinnamon Pumpkin Seeds
Sweet and Salty Chocolate Drizzled Cider Caramel Apples
Lastly, if you make these Mini Apple Cider Cakes be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Mini Apple Cider Cakes
Servings: 15 cakes
Calories Per Serving: 258 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 1 1/2 cups apple cider
- 4 tablespoon salted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup apple butter
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
- 6 tablespoons salted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamon
- 6 ounces melted chocolate (optional)
- cinnamon sticks, for decorating (optional)
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 15-16 mini bundt pan or cupcake pan molds with butter.2. Bring the apple cider to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer 10-15 minutes or until reduced to about 3/4 cup. Remove from the heat. Let cool 5.3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together 3/4 cup boiled cider, melted butter, eggs, apple butter, vanilla, and brown sugar until combined. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt, mix until just combined.4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans, filling 2/3 the way full. Transfer to the oven and bake 12-13 minutes, until the tops are just set. Remove and let cool 5 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a cooling rack. 5. To make the coating. Add the butter to a skillet set over medium heat. Allow the butter to brown until it smells toasted and is a deep golden color, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon and cardamon in a shallow bowl.6. Brush each warm cake with browned butter, then roll (generously) through the cinnamon sugar. If desired, decorate with melted chocolate and cinnamon sticks. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
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Storing: store in an airtight container for up to 4 days at room temperature. To Bring Eggs to Room Temperature: place the eggs in a bowl and fill with warm water. Let sit 5 minutes. To Make Gluten Free: Use an equal amount of your favorite gluten free flour blend in place of the all-purpose flour. I recommend Cup4Cup gluten free flour. Mini Bundt Pans: this is the exact mini bundt cake pan that I have. Cupcake Pans: this is the exact 12-cup muffin pan that I have. Mini Pumpkin and Leaves Cake Pans: this is the exact mini pumpkin and leaves cake pan I use and love. Mini Pumpkin Cake Pan: this is the exact mini pumpkin cake pan I use...and also love.
Hi, if I want to make ahead, should I hold off on decorating with the cinnamon sugar or will they store well decorated? (about a day and a half?)
So excited to try these – the batter was yummy!
They will store well with the cinnamon sugar:) I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xx
I made these with Gingerbread Butter rather than the apple and they were wonderful. I used the Nordic ware Autumn Delights pan.
Happy Wednesday! So glad to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks for making it and sharing your review:)
Total winner! So so good! I’ve
Been experimenting for Thanakgiving with diffeeent recipes and this was by
Fantastic!! I love that this recipe turned out tasty for you, thanks so much for giving it a try! xx
These were such a hit at my house! Everyone loved them, so I made another batch and took them to work. Also a hit!! One variation I did was doing some in my donut pan, which was really well received. Great recipe!!
Wonderful!🤩 I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for making it! xT
In the process of making these and curious about instruction number 2, where it says to “let cool 5.” I’m going to assume it is minutes….we’ll see! So, looking forward to eating them. For sure, I’ll have one before I make dinner.
Yes, I hope you love the recipe! xTieghan
These were amazing! Not only were the mini pumpkins so cute and festive for Halloween, they tasted delicious! You could actually taste the apple butter in the cake and the cinnamon sugar coating was the perfect finishing touch. I’m considering making these as cupcakes and adding frosting – I was thinking a cream cheese frosting but am open to suggestions?
Hey Morgan! Thanks so much for trying out this recipe, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! 🙂 xTieghan
Want to try this. 2 of the prompts for pans do not work. Did you use a mini 20 bunt cake pan or 12 mini count?
You can use any of the pans suggested:) This recipe will work well in just about any pan! Please let me know if you have any other questions! xx
Ty you for your reply, I was curious bc the hole in the center of the 12 count bunt pan looks too big to hold a cinnamon stick securely… like the ones pictured. ☺️
Sadly the links to the mini pumpkin & leaves cake Pan and mini pumpkin pan do not work.
So yummy, my husband and I loved these. Were to easy and fun to make. I used a cast iron pan. Will make several times this season!
If I were to make these in a regular bundt pan as a singular cake, what would bake time be?
Hi there! I would say about 20-30 mins and just keep and eye on it! 🙂 xTieghan
Just waiting for these guys to finish baking. I didn’t have enough butter on hand for the topping I was just two tablespoons short. So I used the apple butter to replace those two tbs. It turned out very good! (I also couldn’t find any apple butter at any store and had to make my own. Lol)
Happy Monday! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks a lot for giving it a try! xTieghan
If you don’t have apple butter can you simply omit from the recipe or is it best to replace it with something? If so, with what?
You can use apple sauce in place of the apple butter. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan