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Apple cider layer cake on a marble tray and decorated with apples.

Festive Bourbon Apple Cider Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 3.8 from 5 reviews
  • Author: pate giltner
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1 9inch 3 layer cake 1x
  • Category: Layer Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert


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 donutreduced apple ciderHoneycrisp apples, and so many warm spices.


Units Scale

For the cake:

  1. 2 cups apple cider
  2. 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  3. 1 tbsp baking powder
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 8 ounces of unsalted butter (two sticks)
  6. 2 1/4 cups sugar
  7. 3 large eggs
  8. 1 cup whole milk
  9. 2 tsp vanilla
  10. 2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  11. 1/2 tsp ground clove
  12. 1/4 ground nutmeg
  13. 1 1/2 tsp allspice
  14. 2 Honey Crisp apples, peeled and cored, and then pureed

For the icing:

  1. 1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
  2. 1 stick of butter
  3. 5 cups of powdered sugar
  4. 1/4 cup plus 3 tsp bourbon
  5. 1/2 tsp vanilla


For the cake:

  1. Heat the apple cider in a small saucepan on medium heat until it reduces by half, making 1 cup
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease 3 9 inch cake pans and prepares ingredients.
  3. Whisk flours, salt, spices, and baking powder together in a large bowl.
  4. Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. 
  5. Add eggs one at a time beating completely before adding the next egg.
  6. Mix milk and vanilla together and while the mixer is on low add 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by 1/3 of the milk, keep alternating wet and dry ingredients until all are incorporated.
  7.  Pour in the pureed apples and reduced apple cider and mix to combine.
  8. Divide the mixture evenly between the cake pans and bake for 25 minutes.

For the icing:

  1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together.
  2. Slowly add in the powder sugar one cup at a time.
  3. Add in the vanilla and bourbon and mix until combined. 
  4. After frosting the cake add 4-5 tablespoons of honey, caramel, or dulce de leche as a glaze.


  • 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.