Baked Applesauce Cake Donuts with Cinnamon-Vanilla Glaze

By: Holley Grainger, MS, RD in partnership with Shipt

If you thought there was a day for just about every recipe out there then you likely were correct. So to that I say, let’s eat! We each get a birthday so why can’t a recipe have a special day too? Right? All joking aside, I don’t think there will be anyone questioning the celebration of National Applesauce Cake Day on June 6 when they bite into one of these light and flavorful Baked Applesauce Cake Donuts with Cinnamon-Vanilla Glaze.

This easy, super-delicious, and kid-friendly recipe uses a donut pan and baking versus frying resulting in a light, moist, and flavorful donut. I love to top them with this simple cinnamon-vanilla glaze and a sprinkle of apple granola for a decadent and delicious breakfast or dessert.  

There are a few things that you may notice when reading the recipe so let’s address them quickly:

Stand mixer: While the recipe does require you to dust off the stand mixer, think about how much arm power you’ll save trying to cream together butter and brown sugar manually. Now your arms will have plenty of strength for lifting said baked donut into your mouth. It’s a win win!

Ingredient list: Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger give the donuts an authentic applesauce cake flavor. The rest are basic pantry and refrigerator baking staples like butter, brown sugar, flour, baking soda, eggs, etc. so don’t be too alarmed when doing the mental count to see how many ingredients you’ll need.

Freeze dried apples: If you can’t find the freeze dried apples, no worries! This is just a fun ingredient to jazz up the recipe and give the donuts an even stronger apple flavor. Feel free to omit them if you don’t have them on-hand or ask your Shipt shopper to find them for you!

Donut pan: If you don’t have a donut pan then I would highly suggest investing in one. Many high-quality pans are less than $10. Technically, you could try this batter as a muffin or a cake and it would likely do just fine but if a donut is what you’re after then a donut pan like this one is a must. 

Now that we’ve touched on the high points and dug into the logistics, let’s get baking!! Make sure to tell us in the comments what you’ll be making to celebrate National Applesauce Cake Day (#applesaucecakeday) or if you have a favorite baked donut recipe. I think my family will be noshing on these for many days to come.

Baked Applesauce Cake Donuts with Cinnamon-Vanilla Glaze

For the donuts:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce (about 16 ounces)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup freeze dried apples, blended in a food processor untila powder forms, about 1 minute

For the glaze and topping:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tsp unsweetened coconut milk
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Apple-walnut granola (or any granola you prefer, for topping)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray donut pan with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, powder, salt and spices.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on, beat butter and dark brown sugar for 3 minutes, or until lightened in color. Add eggs one at a time; stir to combine. Add molasses and vanilla extract, and stir until combined. Add applesauce and combine. Add flour/spices mixture slowly to mixer, on low, scraping down sides with spatula until evenly combined. Add rolled oats and freeze dried apples, stir until combined.
  4. Pour batter in ¼-cup scoops into donut pan. Evenly spread into donut indentations, and wipe off any extra batter that falls on the center of the hole.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. While donuts are baking, make glaze: whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla extract, coconut milk, and cinnamon until combined.
  7. Let donuts cool for 15 minutes. Run a butter knife or small spatula around the rim of the donuts and turn out onto cooling rack. Let cool completely. Once cooled, drizzle glaze on each donut; top with apple granola.

Holley Grainger, MS, RD is a nationally recognized culinary nutrition expert and “Mommy Dietitian in the Kitchen” who instructs families on how to make doable and delicious meals. She’s been featured in hundreds of televisions, print, and radio segments nationwide including The Dr. Oz Show, The Doctor’s, NBC’s Today Show and Weekend Today, CBS’s The Early Show, Fox News Channel, CNN, The New York Times, Travel Channel, Cosmopolitan,,, and among others and is a regular contributor to the Birmingham, Alabama, news outlets.

Holley lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband and two young daughters, Ellie and Frances, and blogs at Holley Grainger Nutrition. Connect with Holley on social media: Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook.

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