This apple cider cake with bourbon icing is a boozy dream of a cake. The cake has all the best parts of an apple cider donut; reduced apple cider, Honeycrisp apples, and so many warm spices. It’s then topped with a festive bourbon cream cheese frosting (containing a full glass of bourbon).
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:
- This layer cake is so delicious because it takes all the favors of an apple cider donut and an apple cider cocktail and turns it into a gorgeous layer cake!
- Reduced apple cider concentrates all that great flavor and adds moisture to the cake. The cider I used is Trader Joe’s.
- The base for the bourbon icing is a cream cheese frosting, but it isn’t tangy like most cream cheese frostings, and you can definitely taste the bourbon. It has 1/4 cup plus three teaspoons of bourbon, which makes it a real party.
- Apple Cider: apple cider is key in an apple cider cake; it helps the cake to taste like apple cider. Any cider will do, but I would not substitute for plain apple juice.
- Honeycrisp Apples: Honeycrisp apples are more sweet than tart, which makes them perfect for this cake. Feel free to substitute for another sweet variety like a Fuji or Gala apple.
- Vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice: this occasion cake is all about the spices. The balance of these flavors brings out and complements the cider perfectly.
- Bourbon: Bourbon is what makes the cream cheese frosting really pop! If you don’t like bourbon or want non-alcoholic icing, use any cream cheese icing recipe you like! For the bourbon, I used Woodford Reserve.
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:
This recipe is so easy to through together!
Time needed: 1 hour.
- Heat the apple cider in a small saucepan on medium heat until it reduces by half, making 1 cup.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease three nine-inch cake pans, and whisk the flour, salt, spices, and baking powder together in a large bowl.
- Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time.
- Whisk the milk and vanilla together, add 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by 1/3 of the milk to the butter and sugar mixture, keep alternating wet and dry ingredients until all are incorporated.
- Add in the pureed apples and reduced apple cider and mix to combine.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the cake pans and bake for 25 minutes.
- Make the icing while the cakes are baking by beating the cream cheese and butter together with a mixer. Slowly add in the powder sugar one cup at a time. Add in the vanilla and bourbon and mix until combined.
- After frosting the cake, add 4-5 tablespoons of honey as a glaze.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR THIS RECIPE:
- Use room temperature, eggs, butter, and milk. This is key to having a good, even cake. Ingredients that are too cold can cause the cake to split in the oven. It’s also a good idea to tap your pie pans against the counter to release any air pockets and that have been created. Lastly, lining your pans with parchment will make the cakes so much easier to remove.
- Use full-fat cream cheese because low fat will make the frosting too watery.
- If the frosting becomes too watery, chill it for 20 minutes, and it will be perfect!
- This recipe makes enough icing to make a naked-looking cake and gives a nice thin layer of frosting around the cake. If you want a fully frosted cake, double the recipe.
Yes and no, they taste like the cider that gives them their name. That cider contains apple and all the fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and clove.
The cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.