100% Whole Wheat Apple Cider Baked Doughnuts with Maple Glaze: hitting the sweet spot

If you read this blog with any regularity at all, you know by now I’m absolutely hooked on baked doughnuts.

Baked doughnuts – isn’t that an oxymoron?

Isn’t doughnuts’ main attraction that sizzling simmer in hot fat, the thin layer of crunchy crust protecting a moist, tender interior?

Well, yes and no. Attraction? Yes. MAIN attraction? Not in my book.

I happen to love cake doughnuts.

Yeast-raised? Meh. But a dense, cake-y “sinker,” something you can dip into a cup of coffee or cocoa, or break into small bites (to make it last longer), or even fill its center hole with ice cream and pretend it’s birthday cake? I’m SO there.

Maybe it’s because my grandma only made cake doughnuts. Ditto my hub’s grandma.

Ditto Muriel’s Donuts in Lebanon, NH, open from 10:30am-12:30pm six days a week for those with a serious doughnut fixation. Muriel (yes, she’s owner, cook, and chief bottle washer as well, I suspect) has an old-fashioned operation that produces just five types of cake doughnuts, on demand (she fries them while you wait): plain; sugar; cinnamon; cruller, and jelly stick.

I won’t spend too much time waxing eloquent about Muriel and her doughnuts, but suffice it to say – she knows how to fry ’em.

Which is why I’ve become such a fan of my own BAKED cake doughnuts. While I love Muriel’s classic fried doughnuts, I don’t get over to her tiny shop very often (probably a good thing, calorie-wise). Yet I still crave a regular doughnut fix.

But stand over a bubbling pot of hot fat? When you look up the phrase L-A-Z-Y B-A-K-E-R in the dictionary, you’ll see my picture.

Instead, I just stir together a quick batter, pour it into my pair of doughnut pans, stick ’em in the oven, and 15 minutes later: doughnuts. Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts. Chocolate Fudge Cake Doughnuts. Maple-Glazed Bacon Doughnuts (yeah, really).

And now, 100% Whole Wheat Apple Cider Baked Doughnuts with Maple Glaze.

Hey, that’s a real mouthful, isn’t it?

Yes it is – in more wonderful ways than one.

If you’re a cake doughnut fan without a Muriel equivalent near you, try baked doughnuts. Once you have the pan, you’ll find yourself coming up with all kinds of flavors: banana or strawberry doughnuts, anyone?

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Lightly grease two standard doughnut pans. If you don’t have doughnut pans, you can bake these in a standard muffin tin; they just won’t be doughnuts.


Stir together the following:

1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup applesauce, unsweetened preferred
1/4 cup boiled cider; or substitute 6 tablespoons additional applesauce
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

*We find orange juice helps temper the sometimes assertive flavor of whole wheat. Substitute an additional 3 tablespoons applesauce or 2 tablespoons boiled cider, if desired.

Add 2 cups + 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour or Premium Whole Wheat Flour, stirring just until smooth. Want to substitute all-purpose flour for whole wheat? Use 2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour.


Fill the wells of the doughnut pans nearly to the rim; use about 1/4 cup of batter in each well.

Bake the doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean.

Note: If you’re making muffins, fill each well about 3/4 full; the recipe makes about 15, so you’ll need to bake in two batches (unless you have two muffin pans). Bake for 23 to 25 minutes.


Remove the doughnuts from the oven, and loosen their edges. After about 5 minutes, transfer them to a rack.

Easiest way to do this? Carefully tilt the pan over the rack, and the doughnuts should drop right out onto the rack.


While the doughnuts are still warm (but no longer fragile), gently shake them, 1 or 2 at a time, in a bag with 2 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar.

If you’ve made muffins, sprinkle their tops with sugar. Allow the doughnuts or muffins to cool completely before glazing.

One caveat: If you’re not intending to eat the doughnuts or muffins within an hour or so, don’t sprinkle them with sugar. Sugar is hygroscopic (i.e., it absorbs water). And sugar-sprinkled doughnuts, left to sit for any length of time, will become soggy.

If you’re making doughnuts ahead, don’t apply the sugar coating right out of the oven. Instead, rewarm the doughnuts very briefly just before serving, then sprinkle with sugar.

This also applies to situations where you plan on enjoying only half the doughnuts right away, and saving the rest for later; only sugar those you intend to eat fairly soon.


Look at that lovely, moist interior! Will anyone know these are 100% whole wheat? I’m betting not.

Now, how about some glaze?

Maple syrup glaze is a wonderful complement to the flavors of this doughnut. Bonus: doughnuts that are glazed, rather than sugared, won’t become soggy.

And what happens if you both sugar, and glaze the doughnuts? Well, expectedly, they’ll become a bit soggy underneath.


Stir together the following:

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup*
3/4 teaspoon maple flavor, optional; for enhanced flavor
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons milk or 1 tablespoon heavy cream; enough to make a spreadable glaze

*This formula is written for real maple syrup; if you use imitation syrup, start with 2 tablespoons instead of 3; artificial syrup is thinner than real syrup.

Spread the doughnuts with glaze (or dip tops in glaze); return to the rack until the glaze is set.


Oh, my…

IF you happen to have any doughnuts left over, don’t wrap them tightly in plastic. Your best bet is to place them on a rack, and cover with a cake cover, or a large plastic deli tray cover; something that’ll allow air to circulate. If you don’t intend to eat them for a few days, store in the fridge, tightly covered.

Please read, bake, and review our recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Apple Cider Baked Doughnuts with Maple Glaze.

Print just the recipe.


PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Allison, you could reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup without sacrificing much of the texture of the doughnuts (or you could consider using a granulated sugar substitute, like Splenda for Baking). We don’t recommend using maple syrup instead as subbing liquid sugar for a granulated sugar tends to cause problems. The maple glaze should help bring out some of the sweetness of the doughnuts. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  1. Valerie

    I would love to make these! They sound and look delicious. I’m wondering if you could suggest a substitute for the eggs? Thank you!

  2. Amy

    Hello! This looks really good but is there a way to tone down some of the sugar. I just feel like it’s a lot. I am trying to eat healthy but indulge too but I’m trying to watch sodium and sugar levels when I do so. Is there alternatives or a minimum amount of sugar I can use? Thanks!!!

  3. SuSu

    These donuts are absolutely delicious. I made them exactly as the recipe indicated the first time and they were good. I loved the maple glaze but everyone else preferred them with just the sugar and cinnamon. I made another double batch today. I made one change. I used my blender and chopped several Gala apples where they were a little coarser than the applesauce. I substituted about half of the unsweetened applesauce with these fresh apples. The donuts were incredibly wonderful this time. After the donuts cool for five minutes on the rack…I just take the donuts pans to my work area and leave them in the pan and gently remove the donuts one at a time. I use a cereal bowl to coat with the sugar and cinnamon while they still very warm. I immediately place them on my cooling rack after coating. They are fabulous!! By the way, I boiled down a 1/2 gallon of apple cider to get my boiled cider. When it’s gone, I plan on ordering the boiled cider from KAF. 🙂 Took four hours to boil it down. Long time. Thanks to another baker’s post who suggested using the cereal bowl to coat the donuts with sugar and cinnamon. You and your family and friends will absolutely love these wonderful donuts. I bake primarily with white whole wheat from KAF (bread and brownies, too) and it’s the best!! I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina and my donuts were thoroughly cooked in ten minutes at 350.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thank you for sharing SuSu! It is always great to hear about our fellow bakers’ experiences with out recipes in different locations. Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  4. Monica

    Had the pleasure of visiting your store and cafe this past week, and while my husband and I were there these doughnuts were being demonstrated as one of the many uses for boiled cider. Lucky us! We got to taste them. WOW! They were delicious, and had a nice, tangy flavor from the boiled cider. The demo doughnuts were simply coated with cinnamon sugar. I think anything more would have been “gilding the lily”! Good thing I have half a bottle of boiled cider in the fridge, and bought another bottle while in the store, because I NEVER want to run out of this stuff. And also a good thing that I’ve got two doughnut pans, because I definitely see these cider doughnuts in my near baking future. BTW, the new store and café are really nice, and quite an improvement over the old. (I was there about four years ago.) Thanks for the great recipe!


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