Picture this: You’re driving down a winding New England road, appreciating the leaves as they turn a multitude of colors. Oranges. Yellows. Reds.
The air rushing past the open windows is pleasantly brisk, and you pull off to stop at a farm stand selling pumpkins, jugs of apple cider, and fresh baked goods. You grab a gallon of cider and a spiced cake to bring home and heat up for a cozy evening.
While this is a delightful reality if you live locally, it can be a distant longing if you do not.
But long no longer! Because this cider-glazed apple cider bundt cake helps bring those autumnal dreams to your very own kitchen, filling the house with hints of cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, and apple as it bakes.
To achieve a fantasy-worthy cake, Cook’s Illustrated’s Deputy Editor Andrea Geary wanted to ensure her recipe was absolutely packed with real apple flavor.
Here’s how she did it:
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- By using both apples and 4 whole cups of apple cider. Too many apples made the crumb heavy, so Andrea supplemented them with apple cider that she reduced on the stove to intensify its apple-y flavor.
- By baking the cake in a bundt pan. The hole in the middle allows heat to reach the center of the wet batter, so the cake bakes evenly from edge to edge.
- By infusing apple flavor throughout the cake. She mixed the reduced cider straight into the batter. And brushed it onto the warm exterior of the baked cake. And stirred it into the icing.
- By minimizing the amount of spices and sticking to a core pairing of cinnamon and allspice. This allowed the apple flavor to shine through with warm and spicy supporting background notes.
Watch her bake through the recipe:
Experience this cake for yourself with the recipe below!
Cider-Glazed Apple Bundt Cake
Serves 12 to 16
Time 2 hours, plus 2½ hours cooling
4 cups apple cider
3 ¾ cups (18 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¾ cup (3 ounces) confectioners' sugar
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups packed (10 1/2 ounces) dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and shredded (3 cups)
1. Bring cider to boil in 12-inch skillet over high heat; cook until reduced to 1 cup, 20 to 25 minutes. While cider is reducing, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice in large bowl until combined. Place confectioners’ sugar in small bowl.
2. Add 2 tablespoons cider reduction to confectioners’ sugar and whisk to form smooth icing. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Set aside 6 tablespoons cider reduction.
3. Pour remaining 1/2 cup cider reduction into large bowl; add melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Pour cider mixture over flour mixture and stir with rubber spatula until almost fully combined (some streaks of flour will remain). Stir in apples and any accumulated juice until evenly distributed. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 55 minutes to 1 hour 5 minutes.
4. Transfer pan to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Brush exposed surface of cake lightly with 1 tablespoon reserved cider reduction. Let cake cool for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto wire rack and remove pan. Brush top and sides of cake with remaining 5 tablespoons reserved cider reduction. Let cake cool for 20 minutes. Stir icing to loosen, then drizzle evenly over cake. Let cake cool completely, at least 2 hours, before serving. (Cooled cake can be wrapped loosely in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)