Date Night Apple Cider Cake

This delicious date night apple cider cake is the PERFECT gift for friends and family this holiday season. It bakes easily in a pan or cook it in a take out container for a simple and easy gift. 

apple cider cake

Oh the wonderful child who volunteered me to do concession treats for her high school play. While I generally don’t mind, this play had 10 performances!

Since the play was Little Women, coming up with old fashioned treats was important. I wanted a variety of different treats. So this apple cider caramel popcorn was in.

apple cider popcorn

So were these apple cider caramel snickerdoodles. I also made the BEST jumbo bakery style pumpkin snickerdoodles (recipe to come) and the gluten free dairy free version got rave reviews and sold out every night of the show.

apple cider snickerdoodle

But this date night apple cider cake was a hit too, and the gluten and dairy free version also sold out every night. It was kind of a daring thing to make it for a play, but it got sold and people passing by thought it was such a cute idea for a play.

cake in take out box

I used take out boxes I ordered online and then googled if I could actually bake in take out boxes. And there were a few sites that had some good suggestions but it was very much trial and error.

apple cider cake

I am in LOVE with this cake. It is the best of fall and winter all wrapped up into a cake. And I love that the gluten and dairy free version was just as delicious as the regular version. That is hard to do, and i had people raving about the cake who had no idea that it had no gluten or dairy in it. For your benefit, I included variations for you to use.

apple cider cake

Date Night Apple Cider Cake

Yield: 1 9x9 inch cake or 4 take out box cakes

Serving Size: 1 serving


    For the Cake:
  • 1 cup apple cider (cooked and reduced to 1/4 cup--see recipe notes below)
  • 2 cups apples (3 large or 4 small apples) (see recipe notes for slicing)
  • 1 whole lemon
  • ¼ cup (4 tbsp) softened butter (can use non dairy alternatives)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (sugar alternatives like coconut sugar or erithritol can be substituted)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour (gluten free mix can be used--we used King Arthur)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp apple pie spice or cinnamon
  • ½ cup heavy cream, milk or non dairy milk alternative
  • For the crumb topping:
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • For the glaze:
  • 1 cup apple cider, reduced (see instruction notes)
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk (non dairy alternative is fine to be substituted)
  • Vanilla Ice Cream, optional for serving


    To Make the Cake:
  1. Place 1 cup of apple cider in a saucepan on the stove. Bring apple cider to a boil over medium high heat. Continue heating and stirring occasionally until cider is reduced to 1/4 cup.Set aside to cool.
  2. While the cider is cooling, core and peel the apples and then cut each into slices. Place applies into a pan of water with the juice of one lemon squeezed into it. Place the apples into the water and then place the apple slices onto a plate to dry and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x9 inch baking pan or several take out containers.
  4. In the bowl of a mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until well mixed on medium speed. Beat until light and fluffy (approximately 2-3 minutes)
  5. Turn the mixer to low, then add one egg at a time beating until smooth. Scrap sides and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Slowly add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cream or milk, apple cider and cinnamon or apple pie spice to the mixture. Stir until combined.
  7. Pour the batter into the lightly greased pan.
  8. Arrange the apples, outer edges up into the top of the batter evenly throughout the pan. If using take out boxes, fill boxes 1/3 of the way full with batter.
  9. In a small cup, mix the sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the top of the cake(s).
  10. While the cake is baking, make the glaze.Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes for take out boxes and 40-55 minutes for the cake. Remove from oven when tops of cakes spring back when lightly touched.
  11. To make the Glaze:
  12. Place the second cup of apple cider on the stove as before, reducing the mixture down to 2-3 tablespoons.
  13. In a bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, cream and reduced apple cider into a bowl until mixed well. For a stronger apple cider presence, omit the butter and add 2 tablespoons apple cider. Stir until combined. Mixture should be pancake batter consistency.
  14. When the cake(s) is finished cooking, remove cakes from oven. cool to room temperature a.
  15. Drizzle the glaze evenly over the cakes(s).


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  1. This not only looks amazing, but sounds like it too! I can’t wait to make this, thanks so much for sharing 🙂

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