Easy baking recipes sound too good to be true. But this baking recipe for apple cider donut muffins is just that. This recipe can be made as either apple cider donut cake or in the form of donuts, muffins, or mini muffins. Regardless of shape, the combination of apple cider and a yellow cake mix makes an incredible fall treat.
These apple cider mini muffins reminded me so much of the Lemon Bites I also made with a cake mix. Easy pop-in-your-mouth snacks are easy to hand to the kids when they walk out the door. Plus I spend a small fortune on those mini muffins so I might as well make them myself.
Apple Cider Muffin Ingredients
Making these apple cider donut muffins with a yellow cake mix makes the ingredients simple. You can also adjust as you wish to the flavors you like.
- Yellow Cake Mix - For this recipe I added cinnamon to a yellow cake mix. A spice cake mix could be used too. I would reduce how much cinnamon if I used a spice cake mix.
- Apple Cider - Fresh apple cider is best for apple cider donut muffins for obvious reasons.
- Applesauce - Take the apple flavor up a notch with the addition of applesauce to the cake mix and apple cider.
- Butter - Melted butter just adds a richness to the recipe I love. You won't regret having butter in these apple cider bites.
- Eggs - Eggs are a must. I used three in this version of the recipe.
- Cinnamon - Cinnamon and apple are the perfect pairing of flavors. If you use a spice cake mix, reduce the cinnamon by half.
- Brown Sugar - Now, the sugar could be totally omitted from this recipe. It just gives a hint more of sweetness.
- Vanilla - Literally think all things apple should be paired with vanilla. These apple cider muffins are no different.
- Cinnamon and Sugar - Either store bought or make your own cinnamon and sugar with a combination of 3 teaspoons of white sugar to one teaspoon of cinnamon.
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Apple Cider Donut Muffins
These apple cider bites are so easy to make. Mix. Scoop. Bake. Literally that easy to make these apple cider muffins thanks to the yellow cake mix.
Combine the cake mix, apple cider, applesauce, eggs, melted butter, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Mix together with a hand mixer until completely combined. Scrape the edges of the bowl to make sure it is all mixed.
Using a spring-loaded scoop, scoop into greased muffins, mini muffins, or donut tins. Place into oven at 350 degrees.
Bake muffins for 20 minutes and mini muffins for 10 minutes. Or until the cake tester comes out clean.
Once the apple cider donut muffins are done, let cool for 10 minutes. Then pop them out of the pan. Using silcon muffin or donut pans is my favorite way to pop these muffins out easily.
When the muffins are cooled, melt butter and dump your cinnamon and sugar into another bowl. If you are making the cinnamon and sugar, mix 3 teaspoons of sugar to one teaspoon of cinnamon. Use a brush to baste the top of the muffins and then dip in the cinnamon and sugar.
Hint: I like to use this bristle-free silicone brush for brushing the butter on the muffins.
Substitutions for Muffins made with a Cake Mix
If you need to make substitutions because of diet needs or even on-hand ingredients. Here are some ways to make substitutions for this apple cider muffin recipe.
- Cake Mix Substitutions - instead of a yellow cake mix, you can use spice cake or even a white cake mix for this recipe. If you use a spice cake mix, reduce the cinnamon by half.
- Gluten-Free - use gluten-free cake mix in this recipe if you are wanting a gluten-free apple cider muffin. Increase the butter to ⅓ cup and only 2 eggs.
- Dairy-Free - This recipe can be dairy free by substituting oil for butter. Brush the muffin tops with coconut oil instead of butter too.
Variations to Apple Cider Cake Mix Muffins
Since the lemon bites were the inspiration for this recipe for fall mini muffins. But these cake mix muffins can be made in multiple flavors and combinations.
- Banana Muffins - Mix the yellow cake mix, three bananas, three eggs, and ½ cup of butter.
- Pumpkin Muffins - Just like the banana, mix 1 cup pumpkin, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, three eggs, and ½ cup of butter with a yellow, spice, or chocolate cake mix. Throw some chocolate chips in if you want too.
- Carrot Cake Muffins - add 1 cup crushed pineapple along with 3 eggs, ½ cup butter, and ½ cup pecans to a carrot cake mix.
Muffin Making Pans and Tools
For so long I avoided making muffins because I either wouldn't have cupcake papers or didn't want to dig out of the muffins out of the tins. Then I got silicone muffins, donuts, and mini muffin pans.
Check out these pans and that silicone brush to have on hand for your muffin and cupcake making.
When the muffins are cooled and topped off with cinnamon and sugar, place them in an airtight plastic or glass container. The muffins will keep for 5 days.
Freeze the muffins for later enjoyment by wrapping them in plastic wrap, and aluminum foil, and then placing them in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to three months.
Love all things muffins? Then you need to check out all these muffins we love at our house.
- 1 yellow cake mix
- 3 eggs
- ¼ cup butter melted
- ¾ cup apple cider
- ⅓ cup apple sauce
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup butter melted
- In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, eggs, butter, apple cider, applesauce, cinnamon, vanilla, and brown sugar.
- Use a hand mixer to completely combine the ingredients.
- Using a spring loaded scoop, place the muffin batter in the greased muffin, mini muffin, or donut pan.
- Bake on 350° for 20 minutes for full sized muffins, 10-12 for mini muffins.
- When a cake tester comes out clean, remove from oven. Let cool for 10 minutes before popping out of the pan.
- Melt the butter, and brush on cooled muffins. Then dip in the cinnamon and sugar to coat the top completely.