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
2 tablespoons orange juice*
2 tablespoons boiled cider; or substitute 3 tablespoons additional applesauce
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons 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 (8 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 1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons (8 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. waikikirie

    Ok….This post did it. I am going out to buy not one but two donut pans with weekend. I’ve been holding out but no longer….I believe my family prefers the fried donuts but I think the maple glazed BACON donuts will win them over. We’d eat our own elbows if they were wrapped in bacon….teehee.

  2. gaa

    These sound great! So do the maple glazed bacon doughnuts. Yum! I have a question about glazing generally. I am making apple spice cakelets this weekend using my Nordic ware Harvest Shapes cakelet pan. The recipe supplied by KAF says to cool the cakes completely. But then it also says, glaze cakelets while still warm. You also give the option to glaze these doughnuts (or muffins) but you don’t say when — while still warm or completely cool. What do I do? If I glaze the cakelets tonight (I plan to take them to the dog park tomorrow for my friends) how should I store them overnight? Or should I wait to glaze until the morning? Your guidance would be appreciated!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I will generally wait until a product is completely cooled before glazing, otherwise the heat from the doughnut will melt the glaze and make the process pretty messy! I would store the doughnuts overnight (unglazed) and then glaze in the morning. Jon@KAF

  3. Louise Persson

    These look wonderful! The two different glazes provide choice–and the excuse to eat another one! Love that they’re whole wheat, too. My family will live these.

  4. BakingMaven

    Wow, this looks and sounds scrumptious! I love the idea of baking the donuts rather than frying and with the added health consciousness of the whole wheat, it sounds like a win-win deal. By the way, all of the recipes are so clear and concise and the step-by-step photos are wonderful. Congrats to a well done website. I will try the donuts this weekend. My mouth is already watering!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Whole grains really make even the most decadent baked goods healthier, every little bit counts! Jon@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Please sign up on our site to receive our eNewletter. On our home page about 2/3’s of the way down, you will see how to sign up. You will receive an email 2 times per week with our newest blog, products and promotions. Enjoy! Elisabeth

  5. Barb

    My hubby loves to bake! Besides that, he loves to eat! Guess I’ll have to make a purchase – even tho it’s not a special occasion! Maybe just an “I love you” kind of surprise! He loves to bake with KA White Whole Wheat Flour. Doesn’t use anything else. Knows I won’t eat it unless it’s considered healthy! The baking of donuts instead of frying sounds terrific! And being from Maine, he’d really appreciate the ‘maple’ glaze! You’ve got my attention now!

    If I could just get rid of the 1-1/4 cups of sugar, I’d feel so much better about it as I’m Hypoglycemic.
    Got any suggestions? I like using Stevia. Got any idea of the amount that should be used without changing the consistency?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I am really happy that your husband is baking and making his goods as healthy as possible for both of you. Try substituting just half of the sugar with Stevia. The results should be somewhat similar. Enjoy! Elisabeth

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      I don’t see why not, though it might be a 9″ x 9″ pan would be a better fit. Bake at 350°F for probably 25 to 30 minutes? Let us know how they come out – PJH

  6. Joy Parker

    I purchased an electric mini doughnut baking pan.. And I have had fun enjoying the two simple recipes that came with it. What is your opinion of these appliances, and do you have any specific “instructions” for using them with any baked donuts’ recipes?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Joy, I haven’t used the mini doughnut maker, but have used the mini cupcake maker (for mini pies), and it works well. I’d assume the doughnut maker will work just fine for any of our baked doughnut recipes. Just follow the same directions you’ve used for the recipes that came with it, as far as how full to fill the wells, and how long to bake. Enjoy – PJH

  7. Carla

    My tummy wishes I had seen this recipe 24 hours ago. I made fried doughnuts yesterday for the very first time in my life to go with the cider I bought. They were delicious, but we were all bent over with tummy aches from all the oil. My gallbladder thanks you for this recipe which I will definitely use next time!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Carla, definitely try the baked doughnuts; very yummy and, as you say, less likely to produce a tummy ache due to an overdose of fat. 😐 PJH

  8. Irene Babirad

    I love that you can bake these even if you don’t have a donut pan, “they just won’t be donuts”! I laughed hysterically. I am going to make this recipe in a muffin pan, but I think I will be going out to get a donut pan in the very near future! Thanks for the awesome recipe!!!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Irene, glad we could bring on a bout of hysterics for you – a nice addition to your Sunday, right? 😀 I absolutely recommend the doughnut pan(s) – even though there’s really no difference between cake or muffin batter and that used for these “doughnuts,” shape really does make a difference in perception. Enjoy – PJH

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Unfortunately we haven’t tried a gluten free version of this recipe. However, you can certainly give it a try with about 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum per cup of GF flour blend. Happy baking!-Jon

  9. Henry

    I have two Weight Watcher’s questions: a) can I substitute Splenda for the sugar in the batter, and b) do you have the nutrition information (i.e., the grams fat, carbohydrtes, fiber and protein) for either the entire recipe or per serving?

    I’ve got the pans but have been reluctant to use them. Lookig at these with all their fiber and little fat makes them a good possibility for low points.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      While artificial sugars taste sweet like sugar, they do not bake in the same manner that sugar does. In most baking, sugar not only provides sweetness but it also provides structure and browning (depending on the recipe). Artificial sweeteners like Splenda do not melt and caramelize when baked so they do not provide any of these factors. Generally, it is suggested to replace half of the sugar with Splenda to achieve similar results to the original recipe.

      Also, unfortunately we do not have the nutritional information for this recipe, but we are certainly working to have all of this information available in the future. Jon@KAF

  10. celeste r

    I saw a comment that Stevia can be used for half of the sugar, but can a sugar substitute be used totally in place of the sugar? Thank you!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      While sugar substitutes taste sweet like sugar, they do not bake in the same manner that sugar does. In most baking, sugar not only provides sweetness but it also provides structure and browning (depending on the recipe). Sugar substitutes do not melt and caramelize when baked so they do not provide any of these factors. Generally, it is suggested to replace half of the sugar with a sugar substitute to achieve similar results to the original recipe. Jon@KAF

  11. Donna

    Wanted to weigh in on the sugar comments. We have to limit sugar intake for our grandkids and have found that Coconut Blossom Sugar (brand name Wholesome and carried at Whole Foods) works well in most recipes. I just put the sugar and flour in a food processor to break the sugar down into smaller particles as it is grainy and doesn’t dissolve as well as cane sugar. Then I proceed with the rest of the recipe. Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index and doesn’t seem to effect the blood sugar levels as much as other sugar products. Also, it is totally natural and safe. The only other difference it that the coconut sugar is more like brown sugar in color and flavor, but in most recipes it is truly delicious. It substitutes with equal amounts in any recipe calling for granulated sugar. I think in the donuts it would be fine since boiled cider has a similar flavor and color.

    Also wanted to know if Amy tried the gluten free flour in the recipe yet. We do gluten free/casein free in all our cooking and I recently had to create donuts for my grand daughter as a substitute for a school field trip to an apple orchard. We hate her to be left out when the kids all get a treat. After 3 tries, I finally ended up making a fried donut and it was pretty good. It didn’t keep well though and was best within an hour of cooking. The same dough baked was floury tasting and a bit crumbly. Would love to know what Amy’s outcome is.

  12. Jennifer

    Darn it. I’m going to be out of town this weekend so I can’t make these yet.

    I’ll just have to put it on the calendar for another weekend and just do a weekend of donuts.

  13. Patricia Desmarais

    A LOT of DONUT LOVERS out there! Little wonder after reading the recipes!
    Will be purchasing the pans after having copied the healthy recipe and baking for my upcoming Church Bazaar. Many “thanks to all of you at KA.”

  14. Brandy Westcot

    WONDERFUL. I didn’t have a doughnut pan (wish I did!) so I used the muffin pan. Doubled the recipe, made 24. Used the applesauce in all possible places (homemade without sugar), and switched out half the sugar with Splenda. The muffins held together fine for shaking in the bag with cinammon and sugar. These were absolutel divine. SO easy and good.

  15. Consie Powell

    I finally made these this morning. I’d noted the recipe when it came out a few days ago, thinking it looked scrumptious, but couldn’t make it until after I’d turned some of my stock of apples into applesauce.
    As expected, they were delicious. I cut the sugar back to 3/4 cup instead of the 1 1/4 cup called for, and they were still very sweet. I’ll probably cut it back to 1/2 cup the next time I make them. Skipped the OJ and just used more applesauce, as I very much love the wonderful flavor of whole wheat and don’t feel any need to tame it back.
    This recipe is definitely a keeper…

  16. Kimi Nath

    These look so good I went out to look for a donut pan. Found a silicone mini donut pan. Should I make any changes to the recipe? Thanks

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Hard to say, Kimi – silicone bakes more slowly than metal, but mini-size doughnuts will bake more quickly, so it might even out. I’d say start testing at 10 minutes, and go from there. Good luck – PJH

  17. Kathleen Forrest

    Can I substitute whole wheat pastry flour for the whole wheat flour? If so, how much would I use and how might it change the doughnuts?


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You are going to want to use the same amount for either flour! I would expect your doughnuts to have a lighter texture but the flavor won’t change. Jon@KAF

  18. Sheila

    I’m always looking for a delicious and healthy recipe. These doughnuts were both. Because of dietary restrictions, I made them a little more healthier by using a salt substitute and a no sodium baking powder. Thanks for the great recipe.

  19. Wendy

    Can you use regular whole wheat flour instead of the white whole wheat or is the white less dense? What is the difference – other than color?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Wendy, the two are interchangeable, as far as how they function in a recipe. Both are 100% whole wheat – the traditional whole wheat comes from red wheat, the white wheat from white wheat. White wheat has a lighter color and milder flavor than red wheat, so it’s a good choice for people who don’t particularly enjoy the flavor of whole wheat. But go ahead and substitute – no worries. PJH

  20. leslie

    Waaa, my doughnuts didn’t rise. I probably should have a: not substituted veg oil for coconut oil (or I should have melted the oil…it was pretty much solid), b: melted the oil so as not to feel like I needed to mix the batter too long, or c: not substituted sugar for coconut sugar.

    What do do think was my fatal flaw?

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      It’s hard to tell what one thing might have caused an error when you change more than one thing in a recipe. If you want to make changes, it’s best to try one thing at a time, that way you can track down the culprit a lot more easily. ~ MJ

  21. Catherine

    This seems like a wonderful recipe – I just wanted to ask, is there any way I can substitute (wholly or in part) raw honey for the sugar? Or would that not work?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Catherine, I have to say I don’t think a major substitution would work – since honey is liquid, you’d need to eliminate some of the other liquids. But, unlike water, these other liquids all play a flavor or texture role in the doughnuts. You could substitute maybe 3 tablespoons honey for 1/4 cup of the sugar, and reduce the applesauce or boiled cider or OJ bu 3 tablespoons – if that works, you might try inching the honey up and reducing the other elements mentioned a bit more. Good luck – PJH

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Sure, Liz – cop fairly fine, and don’t overload the batter, at risk of the doughnuts becoming soggy. Good luck – PJH

  22. Rita, West Grove, Pa

    Hello, could I use regular apple cider in this recipe, and can I substitute half of the whole wheat white with regular white flour?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Rita, you could substitute applesauce, as the recipe indicates; or substitute 1 tablespoon apple cider, though the flavor won’t be nearly as strong. Good luck – PJH

  23. roultm

    Don’t have a doughnut pan but I have 2 sets of doughnut hole pans (which I love – perfect size when you just want a taste). How much should I expect to reduce the baking time?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Try baking 15 to 17 minutes at 325°F, OK? That should work. If you’re doubtful, just bake a couple first, not the entire pan. Good luck – PJH

  24. Carla

    Made these last night. Delicious! Smelled wonderful while baking. Great texture and flavor. Added the Vietnamese Cinnamon/sugar topping rather than the glaze…perfect! We’re sharing them with our grandsons this weekend. Great autumn treat.

  25. 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!

  26. 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

  27. 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!!!

  28. 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!

    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

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