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Baked Apple Cider Donuts With Duncan Hines Cake Mix

Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix transformed into little Baked Apple Cider Donuts. Everything warm and wonderful about the fall baking season in 2 perfect little bites. Apple cider, chopped fresh apple, cinnamon, cardamon, browned butter, easy Duncan Hines cake mix. What’s not to love? 
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Apple Cider Reduction & Browned Butter 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 285 kcal


  • Donut pan, muffin tin, loaf pan, or cake pan.


Apple Cider Reduction

  • 3 cups apple cider Can substitute apple juice. 3 cups juice plus the chopped apples will reduce to ⅔ C. See notes below.
  • 2 cups fresh apples, peeled and chopped About 2 medium apples

Browned Butter (½ cup or 1 stick of butter, when browned, will reduce to about ⅓ cup)

  • ½ cup butter Half cup butter when browned will reduce to ⅓ cup. You can skip the browning and use regular butter (⅓ cup). See notes below.

Apple Cider Batter

  • ½ cup browned butter See above ingredient
  • cup milk whole milk if available
  • cup apple cider reduction See above ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 box Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix

Cinnamon Sugar & Cardamom Topping

  • ¼ cup sugar granulated
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom optional


Apple Cider reduction

  • Simmer 3 cups apple cider with 2 cups peeled, chopped apples. (about 2 medium apples) over medium to medium-high heat.
    Reduce the mixture to ⅔ cup and allow it to cool. Can be made ahead of time.
    *see notes below*

Browned Butter

  • In a small saucepan slowly simmer 1 stick of butter (½ cup) over low to low-medium heat until it starts to turn a slight amber color with darker browned bits on the bottom.
    Cool and measure ⅓ C for the recipe.
    *see notes below*

Preheat oven to 350f

    Apple Cider Batter - for high elevation baking see notes below

    • In a large bowl combine the browned butter, milk, eggs, apple cider reduction, and Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix.
      Using a hand mixer (or whisk by hand) beat for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides halfway through, until batter is light and thoroughly combined.

    Piping and Baking

    • Prepare your donut pan with butter or spray with nonstick spray and spoon the batter into each donut well until barely half full. I find it easier to use a large plastic bag or piping bag to squeeze the batter in, or you can use a squeeze bottle with a wide nozzle.
    • Bake in the preheated oven on the center rack for 8-13 minutes depending on the size of your donuts. Check at the 5-minute mark and keep an eye on them. They bake quickly.
      Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly until can be handled, then dip and tumble around in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.


    Apple Cider:  You can substitute apple juice in a pinch. The reduction takes about 40 minutes and will be an applesauce consistency, just simmer until it reduces to about ⅔ cup.  It can be made ahead of time then refrigerated until needed. 
    Browned Butter: Browning 1 stick (½ cup) of butter will reduce the amount to about ⅓ cup which is what's needed for the recipe. I do this step while the cider is reducing, but you can skip browning the butter altogether if you like.
    Remove the browned butter from the heat before the bits on the bottom of the pan turn black. The butter will continue to 'cook' and brown for a few minutes after removed from the heat so better to take it off a bit early.
    Carefully stir the browned butter and release some of the browned bits from the bottom. I use some of the browned bits but not all of them. They will sink to the bottom of the pan which will allow you to scoop out some and leave the rest behind.
    High elevation baking: I live at 5k feet and need to adjust some of my baking recipes to get the proper rise in the oven and a nice moist crumb. For this recipe, add 3 tablespoon flour and bake at 10 to 15 degrees higher. For me, 365f was perfect.  I use extra-large eggs in all my cake and donut batters for a nice rise that bakers at sea level obtain, but if you don't have extra-large eggs on hand, you can add 1 additional egg white if you have it to spare. The main ingredient you need to bump up is the flour & also adjust the oven temp.  That will take care of most of the high elevation issues.


    Calories: 285kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 2gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 387mgPotassium: 111mgFiber: 1gSugar: 31gVitamin A: 259IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 108mgIron: 1mg
    Keyword apple, apple juice, applesauce, baked, browned butter, cider, cinnamon, donuts, doughnuts, duncan hines, spice cake, spices
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!