Apple Cider Donuts with Brown Sugar Topping

These light and fluffy baked donuts are full of apple spice flavor without any of the heavy grease you find in a traditional fried donut.
Baked Apple Cider Donuts with Brown Sugar Topping - The Lemon BowlWhen you live in the nation’s 3rd largest apple producing state, it can be next to impossible avoiding apple cider donuts all season. Full disclosure: we had our first fresh-pressed glass of cider and obligatory donut at a nearby orchard back in late-August during an unseasonably cool day.

Apple Cider Baked Donuts with Brown Sugar Topping - The Lemon BowlWhen I found myself at another orchard the very next weekend tempted by yet another batch of freshly fried apple cider donuts, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had plenty of indulgences this pregnancy but truth be told: I’ve never been a huge fan of fried donuts. I didn’t grow up eating fried foods and as a result, they pretty much always give me a stomach ache about 30 minutes post-consumption. Good times.

Apple Cider Baked Donuts - The Lemon BowlWorry not! These baked apple cider donuts are fluffy and moist with the perfect amount of cinnamon and spices. The brown sugar topping adds a subtle crunchy texture and a bit of added sweetness so that you don’t realize you’re eating something healthy.

You’re welcome.

No forks required.

Apple Cider Donuts with Brown Sugar Topping
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These light and fluffy baked donuts are full of apple spice flavor without any of the heavy grease you find in a traditional fried donut.
Recipe type: Baked Good
Serves: 12
  • 1¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar - packed
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup ground flax seed meal
  • ¼ cup toasted wheat germ - honey crunch or regular
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt - low fat
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil - melted, cooled
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
Brown Sugar Topping
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and spray donut pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: whole wheat pastry flour through ground ginger.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients: apple cider through vanilla. Slowly incorporate wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined, careful not to over-mix.
  4. Fill donut pan ¼ cup at a time using a measuring cup or ice cream scoop.
  5. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let donuts cool on rack for 10 minutes.
  6. While donuts are cooling, mix together brown sugar topping. After donuts have cooled for 10 minutes, remove from pan and dip in the brown sugar topping. It's important to do this while donuts are still slightly warm.
  7. Serve donuts warm or at room temperature.
If you don't have flax seed meal or toasted wheat germ, replace with same quantity in whole wheat pastry flour for the donut batter.

If you are looking to replace the toasted wheat germ in the brown sugar topping, just replace with additional cinnamon and sugar.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 donut Calories: 133 Fat: 4.2 g Saturated fat: 2.5 g Unsaturated fat: 1.7 g Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 21.6 g Sugar: 12.6 g Sodium: 95 mg Fiber: 2 g Protein: 2.6 g Cholesterol: 15 mg



  1. says

    These are beautiful! Love that brown sugar topping too (never would have thought to add some wheat germ in there, so clever).

    I admit, I sort of cave when it comes to the fried ones (my local farmers market sells mini ones every weekend), but I’m so glad to have a baked recipe version on hand now! I need an excuse to break out my donut pan more often 😉

  2. says

    I love love donuts in the fall–our farmers market has then this time of year and they are to die for. I love a healthier version–I feel less guilty that way! :) Pinning this for later!

  3. says

    yum! I just bought some apple cider the other day and am ready to not only drink it but get to cooking with it–I think these donuts need to make my list!

  4. Bassgirl says

    If I don’t have a donut pan, can I use a muffin pan and make donut holes? If so, how long do you think I should bake it?

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      I’ve never made these in anything other than a donut pan so I can’t confidently give you bake times. That being said, these would absolutely work in a muffin pan, I would just keep a close eye on them and remove when a toothpick comes out clean! I’m guessing they would take longer than the donuts. Hope that helps!!

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      Thanks Gaby!! Apple cider/donut season gets a little cray-cray up here so I had to come up with a healthier option. 😉 HAVE A GREAT TIME IN CHILI!!!!

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      You would love these Carrie!! Fried donuts make me sick sadly so I tend to stick with the baked but you’re totally right, they’re muffins with a hole. :)

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      Dude. This needs to happen!! And if you want to spread a little of your brown sugar frosting on top I won’t look. 😉

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      Believe it or not, Michigan is second only to California for the amount of produce (and all agriculture) exported!! Crazy right??


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