RECIPE: Forget pumpkin spice - it’s apple cider season, y’all

I recently spotted my first apple cider doughnut of the year, and just like that, my mood flipped from humid summer slog to cozy fall fun. Sure, the thermometer still reaches sky-high, but in my mind and kitchen, it’s apple season. Let’s make a cake.

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, is right around the corner. Apple cake is a traditional celebratory dessert for this holiday. This recipe uses apple cider (inspired by the aforementioned doughnut) in the batter, infusing every bite with rich autumn flavors.

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It’s important to use apple cider, which has more robust apple flavor, than apple juice, which simply tastes sugary. You can use the cinnamon and nutmeg indicated here or substitute your favorite warm notes like cloves, all spice, ginger or cardamom.

Apple cake becomes more moist the longer it sits, reaching its ideal texture two days after baking — if you can resist that long. The rich, dense flavors pair with strong coffee or hot mulled cider. If you’re feeling really decadent, you can top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. After all, calories don’t matter in soon-to-be sweater weather.

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Apple Cider Apple Cake
  • 1 pound cooking apples, like Granny Smith, peeled, cored and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider, divided (do not substitute apple juice or hard cider)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack on the middle shelf. Grease and flour a 9-inch bundt cake pan and set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, toss apples, granulated sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg until apples are well-coated. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In a third mixing bowl, use a whisk or wooden spoon to beat together 1 cup apple cider, oil, eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
  • Make a well in flour mixture and pour apple cider mixture into it. Mix until no lumps remain.
  • Place half the apple mixture in the prepared bundt cake pan and cover with half the batter. Repeat with the remaining apple mixture, followed by the batter, tapping the pan sharply after each addition to reduce air bubbles.
  • Bake 50 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, remaining 1/4 cup apple cider and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until smooth. Drizzle glaze over the cake. For best texture and flavor, wrap cake in plastic and let sit at room temperature 24 to 48 hours before serving. Serves 8-10.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving, based on 8: 627 calories (percent of calories from fat, 53), 8 grams protein, 99 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 23 grams total fat (4 grams saturated), 70 milligrams cholesterol, 373 milligrams sodium.
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