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!

overhead photo of Mini Apple Cider Cakes

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.

prep photo of apple butter

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.

prep photo of batter

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.

prep photo of cakes before tossing in cinnamon sugar

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.

prep photo of Mini Apple Cider Cakes being tossed in cinnamon sugar

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.

overhead close up photo of Mini Apple Cider Cakes

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.

So delicious.

side angled photo of Mini Apple Cider Cakes

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!

side angled photo of Mini Apple Cider Cakes broken in half to see the center

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 | halfbakedharvest.com
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4.2 from 151 votes

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

The Recipe

Mini Apple Cider Cakes

Best enjoyed warm, preferably with a mug of cocoa or a latte. The perfect way to celebrate the autumn apple season!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 15 cakes
Calories 272 kcal

Ingredients

Cinnamon Sugar Coating

Instructions

  1. 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.

Recipe Notes

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. 

 

overhead horizontal photo of Mini Apple Cider Cakes