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Baked Spiced Apple Cider Donut Holes Made with Brown Sugar

Baked Spiced Apple Cider Donut Holes

Apple Cider Donut Holes

Baked donut holes never excited me.  “A donut isn’t a donut unless it is fried,” I thought.  Well, I’m officially a baked donut convert!  These spiced apple cider donut holes made with brown sugar have the same consistency as fried donut holes and are jam-packed with fall’s flavors.  I popped a huge pile of apple cider donut holes into my freezer and I have been taking them out and microwaving them whenever I want a taste of fall.

I created these donut holes as part of the Fair Trade Recipe Rally in honor of Fair Trade Month – they are loaded with Fair Trade spices!  If you read to the end of this post, you can enter to win amazing prize pack of Fair Trade goodies.

I use the Fair Trade spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and clove) in two ways in this recipe.  First, I mix the spices into the batter.  Then, instead of simply dusting the hot donuts in sugar, I dust them in a blend of spices and brown sugar.  My aunt said that these spiced apple cider donut holes might be the best dessert she’s ever had.  Then again, she said the same thing about my pluot tart, so she can only be somewhat trusted.

How Fair Trade Helps Farmers

Fortaleza del Valle: Manabi, Ecuador

Fortaleza del Valle is a cooperative of small farmers located in Calceta, Ecuador.  It works to grow family incomes by improving the production yield and quality of its members’ cacao. The co-op has developed post-harvest infrastructure, such as central fermentation centers, to ensure the best in quality. Fair Trade premiums have been used to invest in pre-harvest financing, pruning and replanting of trees to rehabilitate the farms, education and training, and infrastructure for local organizations.  Mariana del Jesus Mendoza (pictured here) is a cacao grower who has been with Fortaleza del Valle since 2006 and currently on the Co-Op’s board of directors.

Fortaleza del Valle: Manabi, Ecuador

“Thanks to Fair Trade,” said Mariana, “we are able to sell our cacao at fair and stable prices. Before we were organized (into Fortaleza del Valle), many of us did not know how to take true advantage of our plants’ capacities and would ruin them with pesticides and fungicides.”

Apple Cider Donut Holes

Fair Trade works similarly in the realm of herbs and spices.  Thousands of small scale farmers grow spice and herb crops, yet industry consolidation has allowed two multi-national corporations to dominate the market. With Fair Trade standards for herb and spice production, small farmers receive a price that allows them to compete in the market as well as a premium to invest in social and economic projects for their communities.  Taking that extra minute to look for the Fair Trade label when you shop can make a world of difference.

The Giveaway


One lucky winner will receive a package from Fair Trade with all of the goodies shown above!  It includes products from:

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  apple cider donut holes

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Baked Spiced Apple Cider Donut Holes Recipe

Wilton Non-Stick Donut Hole Baking Pan, 20-Cavity

I made these donut holes using Wilton’s donut hole pan.  It’s super easy to use and I love it!  However, if you don’t have a donut hole pan, you can make these in a mini muffin pan.  The only difference will be that the donut holes will end up being less round.

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Apple Cider Donut Holes
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Baked Spiced Apple Cider Donut Holes

These spiced apple cider donut holes made with brown sugar have the same consistency as fried donut holes and are jam-packed with fall's flavors.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword apple cider donut holes, baked donut holes, donut hole recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 30 donut holes
Calories 112kcal


Apple Cider Spice Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Donut Ingredients

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon of spice mix from above
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Donut Topping Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • remaining spice mix from above
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted


Apple Cider Spice Mix Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients except brown sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

Donut Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 F.
  • In a small saucepan on high heat, bring apple cider to a boil and reduce to a half cup. It's OK to cheat and pour the apple cider out into a heat resistant liquid measuring cup periodically to see if the cider is down to a half cup.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and one teaspoon of the spice mixture from above.
  • In another medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla extract, and the reduced cider.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, mixing until just combined.
  • Grease wells of donut hole pans with non-stick baking spray. Fill wells 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the donut holes bounce back when lightly touched.
  • Remove donut holes from pan.

Donut Topping Instructions

  • Mix brown sugar into the remaining apple cider spice blend from above.
  • Dip each donut hole into melted butter and roll in spice blend to coat.
  • Serve warm.


If you don't have a donut hole pan, you can make these in a mini-muffin pan. They just won't be as round.
If not eating right away, loosely cover and eat within 24 hours or freeze for months and microwave in 10 second bursts until warm.


Nutrition Facts
Baked Spiced Apple Cider Donut Holes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 112 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Cholesterol 20mg7%
Sodium 58mg2%
Potassium 58mg2%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 125IU3%
Vitamin C 0.1mg0%
Calcium 25mg3%
Iron 0.6mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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33 comments on “Baked Spiced Apple Cider Donut Holes Made with Brown Sugar”

  1. I have made vanilla donuts, chai donuts, and strawberry brown butter donuts– all baked! The strawberry brown butter were the best but I can’t wait to try these. I have some cider AND some buttermilk in the fridge already!

  2. Debbie the NY Bakersays:

    I’ve never made baked doughnuts, but this recipe is a great incentive to try!

  3. MaryEllensays:

    I have… a long time ago. Time to get out the donut pan!!

  4. Rosiesays:

    I haven’t yet made donuts of any kind. I have donut cutters, but never used them. These look so good. I have wanted to make chocolate donuts!

  5. Aileensays:

    Ive made baked donuts before but they came out kinda doughy – not enough air in them compared to the fried variety? Would love to see a recipe for a baked donut with crunchy outside and soft insides. :)

  6. Vickisays:

    I LOVE baked doughnuts! And this time of year apple is my favorite, but a pumpkin spice might be nice too!

  7. Ellen Barthsays:

    I have made baked chocolate donuts!

  8. Melina Fariassays:

    I’ve never made donuts period, but I think it’s about time I try!

  9. Garricksays:

    I’m a HUGE fan of baked donuts!

  10. Pollysays:

    Hurrrah for baked – yes, how about the chocolate flavor???

  11. Liasays:

    Kudos on the Fair Trade ingredients! These look so good!

  12. Holly Esays:

    I made them with my grandma when I was young, but that was a long time ago. I’d be inspired to make a cinnamon donut – my husband & I both love cinnamon!

  13. I used to feel the same way about baked doughnuts! But my doughnut pan has been a lifesaver for me as a gluten-free baker.

  14. Annabelsays:

    I’ve never made baked donuts but they sound good. Pumpkin or blueberry would be good to try.

  15. Drewsays:

    These look so yummy! Love the fair trade call-out!

  16. There’s a cake I buy at Food Maxx I love. Not sure exactly. Something like the Caramel DeLuche ‘not sure if I even spelled that right lol. but it’s Soo delicious. It’d make a bomb lil donut w/that great glaze & drizzle. yum

  17. Lizsays:

    I haven’t made baked donuts before, but these look so good I’m really tempted! Wonder if I could bake them in mini muffin pans…

  18. Kathy Tsays:

    I haven’t made baked donuts (yet). These sound wonderful. How about chocolate or a citrusy flavor?

  19. Christine Nguyensays:

    I loved baking donuts! I’ve never fried donuts, but have baked various donuts… browned butter, apple cider cinnamon sugar, pumpkin spiced latte donuts, green tea donuts.. to name a few! I think I may need to invest in another donut pan :) Thanks for the giveaway and way to support fair trade!

  20. Laurasays:

    have not tried, but I would choose pumpkin

  21. Amandasays:

    I haven’t baked donuts before. It sounds yummy and healthierm

  22. Good luck! These sound so good. Both my daughter and I are into fair trade, she as a college professor in fashion at Indiana University, and me through our local shop in St. Charles, (Mo). I hope you win!

  23. Cassisays:

    I’ve never made donuts before….don’t have a pan for it.

  24. I would love to try these soon! They look amazing! I think I would love to see flavors like chocolate chip or pumpkin!

  25. I love making baked donuts! These look totally delicious and I can’t wait to try them!

  26. Can these be made gluten free?

  27. Davia Gormansays:

    I would love to see you make a version of red velvet doughnuts, seeing as red velvet is my favorite type of cake I know that a doughnut would have to be amazing!

  28. Wehafsays:

    I haven’t made donuts since I went GF but I’m going to have to see if I can adapt this recipe because it looks amazing!

  29. Allysays:

    I’ve never made baked donuts, but my mother has and so it makes me think of holidays at home :)

  30. Padensays:

    I cannot wait to make these, then make them into acorns!

  31. Marijasays:

    I’ve never made baked donuts, but I’m inspired to give it a go now! Pumpkin would be good, I bet, or chai.

  32. Curioussays:

    Any news on who won this giveaway?

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