Hard Cider Apple Cakes

a fragrant cake made with hard apple cider

60 min|Easy|Lightly Sweet
hard cider apple cakes a fragrant cake made with hard apple cider
While at first glance, these may appear very much like my recent Mini Apple Cake Bites recipe (just in a larger form), these are not quite the same. I found an old bottle of Angry Orchard Hard Apple Cider in the fridge that had gone past it's "best if used by" date, so naturally I wanted to try baking with it.

Much to my surprise, it made these apple cakes smell really, really good. The cakes remained moist and had a great floral kind of apple smell as I ate them over a three day period! There might be something to baking with this hard cider stuff.

I need to circle back around and get a better photo for these at some point. Quite honestly, this was photographed really quick just for Instagram's tall photo ratio, but I wanted to get the recipe in here, so I don't misplace it.
About Digital Food Works
This recipe was developed by Curtis Lawyer for use on the Digital Food Works website. DFW provides photography and design services for businesses with things to eat and drink!

Recipe Notes


  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup crumbled graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter (cold)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix the Cinnamon Crunch Topping
Add all the ingredients to a bowl and using a fork, "cut" the butter into the mix until everything is thoroughly combined. (Just keep pressing down on the butter with a fork until there's no visible signs of butter left.)

Step by Step Instructions

Preheat oven to 375°F. On this one, I used a six well, three inch round cake pan. It's a really good non-stick pan so I didn't grease it at all. That size would be similar to a standard 9" round cake pan, but the bake times may very if you're using a single, larger baking pan.
Mix the Dry Ingredients
Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Toss and Coat the Apples
Add the diced apples to the dry mix and toss lightly until apples are coated. (Reserve a couple of diced apples for placing on top of each mini cake.)
Melt and Cool
Melt the butter and cool. Once cooled, stir in the hard cider until flat.
Mix the Wet Ingredients
Add the egg, sugar and vanilla to the butter/cider mix, and stir until evenly mixed and the egg has broken down.
Combine All
Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and stir until just combined.
Pour and Top
Pour an equal amount of batter into each of the pan wells and top with a generous amount of cinnamon crunch topping (and a couple of diced apples if you reserved them).
Bake for 35-40 minutes (but check frequently once you hit 35 minutes... not all mini pans are made the same and baking time will vary). The edges should be a dark golden brown and a toothpick will come out clean.
Cool and Remove
Allow to cool a little bit in the pan (10 minutes) and then carefully push the removable bottoms up and place each mini cake on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
Top with powdered sugar to accentuate the cinnamon crutch topping.
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