Vegan Classic Apple Cider Donuts

Apple cider donuts are made with apple cider, and no, I’m not talking about the alcoholic cider, but the freshly pressed, unprocessed, cloudy apple juice. The good stuff (no shade to hard cider tho)!

They’re a soft apple flavored cake donut, with an almost crispy crust–often enhanced with a cinnamon sugar coating.

Apple cider donuts without a doubt are the one exception* to yeasted doughnuts being the only doughnut worth making or eating!

*Ok, I also have a soft spot for chocolate cake donuts with vanilla glaze. And maybe for chocolate frosted vanilla cake donuts à la the Entenmann’s Rich Frosted Donuts–but that’s nostalgia talking!

I’ll be honest with you, despite my yeasted doughnut prowess, these cake donuts gave me a run for my money. Trying to veganize existing non-vegan recipes was not the most straight forward process. But I did it! And so now you can do it too!

The process of making the donuts:

Boil the apple cider to reduce it by half.

Mix together the egg replacer eggs and set aside. In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour (starting with the smaller amount of 3 cups), baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

Beat the vegan butter and sugar together until fluffy, add the vegan egg, beating to combine, and then the reduced apple cider, apple butter, and vanilla extract.

Add the dry to the wet in batches, mixing between each one to combine. Once all the flour has been added, check the dough and likely add some to all of the last 1/2 cup of flour.

You want the dough to be just tacky, but still soft and pliable. I like to knead the last bit of flour into the dough by hand to check the texture. It’s not a yeasted dough and we’re actively not trying to over develop the gluten in the flour so it won’t feel like bread dough.

As there is no yeast the dough does not require any rising time, but it does require a rest. Cover the dough and place it in the fridge for about an hour so that the gluten in the dough has a chance to relax after our mixing and the flour has a chance to hydrate. This will make the dough easier to handle for rolling and cutting.

Once the dough has rested in the fridge, roll it out on a floured counter or parchment paper and cut using either a doughnut cutter or a ~3″ round cookie or biscuit cutter and a 1″ one. Collect the scraps and donut holes and reroll and cut until you’ve used up all the dough. I like to save some doughnut holes at the end for easy snacking!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup apple cider, boiled down to 1/2 cup (140g)*
  • 3 – 3 1/2 cups (420 – 490g) all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp (12g) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2g) baking soda
  • 1 tsp (5g) salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 tsp ground allspice
  • 6 tbsp (84g) vegan butter (sticks not tub)
  • 1/2 cup (110g) granulated sugar
  • 2 prepared vegan egg replacer eggs, such as Bob’s Red Mill or Ener-G*
  • 1/4 cup apple butter, store bought or homemade
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • oil for frying, such as expeller pressed canola oil, safflower oil, or a mixture of oil and vegetable shortening

Cinnamon Sugar

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg

Maple Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp maple extract (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp plant milk, or less, added as needed

Instructions

  1. Whisk 3 cups (420g) flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice together. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer beat together the vegan butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the prepared vegan egg replacer (equivalent to two eggs) and beat to mix together. Add the boiled apple cider, apple butter, and vanilla extract and beat to combine. It may look a bit split at this point but that’s ok.
  3. Add the dry mixture to the creamed butter in 3 parts, beating to mix between each addition. Once it’s all been added and mixed together, check the consistency. If the dough is very sticky add more flour, up to 1/2 cup (70g) extra until it’s soft and lightly tacky but not wet feeling.
  4. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Prepare to deep fry. In a large pot add 2″ of oil suitable for deep frying. Turn the heat on low and warm the oil to 350 ºF.
  6. Roll the donut dough out on a lightly floured counter or a lightly floured large piece of parchment paper to 1/4″ thick. Cut the dough into donut shapes with a donut cutter or two round cutters, one about 3″ and the other about 1″. Collect the scraps and the holes and gently knead to recombine. Roll these out and cut, repeating until you’ve made as many donuts as you can, plus a few donut holes.
  7. Fry the donuts in the oil until they are a dark golden, about 2 1/2 – 3 minutes, flipping halfway through. You can check for doneness by inserting a probe thermometer into the donuts and they should read at or over 185 ºF.

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