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Growing up, I never visited a pumpkin patch. It wasn’t until I was well into my 20s that I found out such magical places existed. At the time of my discovery, my son, Noah, was in preschool; we were visiting a farm and pumpkin patch with his class. We parents were able to wander around the farm in boots with our sweet kiddos to pick out the perfect pumpkin to take home. At the end of our journey, the farm offered unforgettable apple cider donuts to purchase in plain brown paper bags. Hot, sweet, and tender donuts on a chilly day at the farm — what a treat!

I love traditions. Now my boys are 4 and 10 — prime pumpkin-patch ages. We’ve made it a family tradition to head to Fall City Farms in Fall City every October for pumpkins, donuts, and a wonderful time. If we are lucky, the cows agree to approach the fence so we can give them a little pat before heading home. This October, head out to the pumpkin patch for treats and games with your kids. I think it’s the perfect October activity for saying farewell to summer and hello to a crisp, beautiful Northwest fall. Cue the leaves crunching under your boots, slow Sunday pot roasts, and all things apple and pumpkin. Especially these donuts. A quick bake and dip in melted butter make them the perfect bite. The butter melts the cinnamon and sugar and gives these cakes a little childhood cinnamon- toast-on-a-Sunday-morning feel.

Mini Apple Cider Donuts & Bundt Cakes

Prep time 15 minutes

Bake time 18 to 22 minutes

Makes roughly 2 dozen cakes or mini donuts

Donut Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Rolling Sugar Ingredients

  • ½ cup melted butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use a nonstick baking spray to coat a mini donut or mini bundt cake pan. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Add the egg, olive oil, applesauce, sour cream, apple cider, and vanilla. Mix until it just comes together. Put the entire batter into a gallon-size freezer bag, and seal. Move the batter to a lower corner, and carefully snip a ¼-inch off the opposite lower corner of the bag. Carefully pipe the batter ¾ of the way full into each cup of the pan. Bake and repeat until you’ve used all the batter.

When the donuts are baked, allow them to sit in the pan 3 to 4 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack. (Do not let them cool fully in the pan, or they will stick.)

To prepare the Rolling Sugar, melt butter and place in a bowl. Mix up the cinnamon, sugar, and salt in a separate bowl. Dip the warm cakes/donuts into the butter, then into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Enjoy warm and fresh.