This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.
This Gluten-Free Sparkling Apple Cranberry Donut Cake is a festive and elegant holiday dessert infused with sparkling apple cider inside and out. This moist and fluffy apple bundt cake is destined to be a part of your Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve holiday menus!
Easy Gluten-Free Sparkling Cider Donut Cake
There’s something about the curves and golden edges of a bundt cake that makes it the real centerpiece of the dessert table. And when you brush it with a sweet glaze and let some icing drip down the sides, it becomes a true showstopper.
With juicy bits of apple and just a hint of cinnamon, this gluten-free sparkling apple-cranberry donut cake has all the cozy flavors and spiced aromas we love at this time of the year. It’s like a giant apple cider donut infused with a hint of tart cranberry for good measure. Your house is guaranteed to smell heavenly as it bakes!
A sparkling apple-cranberry donut cake is one of my favorite ways to add a little sparkle to the holiday season. I can’t wait for you to try this gluten-free recipe!
What You’ll Need
This gluten-free sparkling apple cranberry donut cake looks amazing, but it’s truly a simple cake recipe! Below is everything you’ll need for the pound cake, glaze, and icing. Remember to refer to the recipe card for the full ingredient amounts:
- Brown Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, and Potato Starch: The combination of rice flour and gluten-free starches is key to a light and spongy gluten-free pound cake that’s browned on the outside.
- Xanthan Gum: This is an additive that takes over gluten’s role in this gluten-free cake, binding the ingredients and thickening the batter.
- Baking Powder and Salt: For a bit of lift, while salt balances the flavors.
- Cinnamon: You can’t have an apple cider donut without a hint of warm spice. This bundt cake version is no exception!
- Butter and Sugar: I recommend using unsalted butter, brought to room temperature to cream with the sugar. I make this apple bundt cake with a combination of light brown and granulated sugars for the perfect balance of sweetness and moisture.
- Eggs and Vanilla Extract: Eggs lend structure to the gluten-free cake, and pure vanilla extract imparts additional flavor.
- Sparkling Apple-Cranberry Juice: Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple-Cranberry Juice infuses every nook and cranny of this bundt cake. It’s stirred into the batter, simmered into the glaze, and whisked into the icing so that you get a burst of fruity flavor in every bite. If needed, use regular sparkling apple cider for an apple cider donut cake that’s just as tasty.
- Greek Yogurt: My secret to an extra moist and tender pound cake.
- Apple: Peel one apple and dice it into quarter-inch pieces. You can use just about any apple here, but the best ones for baking are Granny Smith, Pink Lady, or Janogold apples.
- Glaze and Icing: You’ll make a quick glaze from sugar simmered with sparkling apple cranberry juice, as well as a simple icing made from powdered sugar, heavy cream, and additional sparkling cider.
How to Make an Apple Cider Donut Bundt Cake
Get your oven preheated to 325ºF, and let’s get started with your donut cake batter:
- Mix the Dry and Wet Ingredients Separately: Sift together the rice flour and dry ingredients in one bowl. In a separate large bowl beat the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla to the sugar mixture, followed by the sparkling cider and Greek yogurt.
- Combine the Batter: Add the dry flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until the batter is just combined. Be careful you don’t overmix! Next, fold in the apple pieces.
- Bake: Transfer the gluten-free cake batter to a bundt pan greased with shortening. Pop the cake into the oven to bake for about an hour, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick stuck into the middle of the donut comes out clean.
- Cool: Once your cake is out of the oven, allow it to cool in the pan for about 20 minutes. Afterward, invert the bundt cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Glazing and Icing the Cake
You’re nearly there! With your cake happily baking away, you can get a head start on the sparkling apple cider glaze and icing. Here’s how to finish off your apple cranberry donut cake:
- Prepare the Glaze: While your cake bakes heat the sugar in a pan with sparkling apple-cranberry juice on the stovetop. Once the mixture reaches a boil, leave it to simmer for a minute before moving it off the heat.
- Glaze the Cake: Brush the glaze over the exterior of your donut cake. You can do this while the cake is still warm, and just leave it to continue cooling before you go to ice it.
- Prepare the Icing: Whisk together powdered sugar, heavy cream, and a bit of Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple-Cranberry Juice in a bowl, adding additional cider until you reach a pourable consistency.
- Pour Over the Cake: Drizzle generous amounts of apple cider icing all over the top of the donut cake. Really let it drip down the sides and into the center! Lastly, pop the cake into the fridge to let the icing harden before serving.
Tips and Variations
A few baking tips and switch-ups for this gluten-free sparkling apple cranberry donut cake:
- Grease the pan well. I don’t use shortening for many things, but when it comes to greasing a bundt pan, it’s my go-to. Many recipes will recommend using cooking spray and flour, however, this can’t be used for those that are baking gluten-free. So get your bundt pan nice and greasy!
- When inverting the bundt cake, use a knife or spatula to gently loosen the edges of the cake from the pan if needed. If the pan is well-greased and the cake has had a chance to cool, it should slide right out.
- Make a regular donut cake with all-purpose flour instead of gluten-free. I’ve included the full directions for how to do this in the recipe card notes. One thing I will add is that if you’re making this as a traditional bundt cake, it’s a good idea to toss the apple chunks in flour before stirring them into the batter. Since the batter will be thinner, this will keep the apples from sinking!
- Use another cider flavor. If you’d like to change it up while still incorporating your favorite seasonal flavors, Martinelli’s offers Sparkling Apple-Pear, Sparkling Apple-Pomegranate, or even classic Sparkling Apple Cider that you can use in place of Apple-Cranberry.
Serving Apple Cranberry Donut Cake
This gluten-free sparkling apple-cranberry donut cake is one of my favorite holiday treats. I love topping a slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (or homemade Apple Cheesecake Ice Cream). It’s also just as good for breakfast or a snack, paired with a steaming mug of hot coffee or tea.
Of course, for an extra-special occasion, I’ll pour a glass of Martinelli’s sparkling cider to go with it! The flavors of this delicious apple cider donut cake brighten up just about any dessert spread.
How to Store a Donut Cake
Store this gluten-free apple cider donut cake covered in a cool location, or in the fridge. Stored airtight, it will keep fresh for 4-5 days.
Can I Freeze Bundt Cake?
If you’re thinking of freezing your donut cake, I recommend doing so before you add the icing. It’s fine to freeze the cake that’s been glazed. Simply wait until the cake is fully cooled, then wrap it tightly and store it frozen for up to 3 months.
Defrost the donut cake in the fridge, whip up a fresh batch of icing, and then pour and serve!
Shop the Recipe
MIXING BOWLS: You’ll need a few bowls for sifting the dry ingredients, mixing the batter, and making the glaze. These nesting bowls give you different size options but are space-efficient.
MESH SIEVE: You don’t need a special sifter. These versatile seives are perfect for sifting dry ingredients together.
HAND MIXER: I’ve been using this inexpensive mixer for years when making cakes. It’s been a workhorse.
BUNDT PAN: Of course, to make a bundt cake you need the right pan.
GF Sparkling Apple Cranberry Donut Cake
For the Cake
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour * See Notes for traditional recipe with all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup tapioca starch
- 1/2 cup potato starch
- 1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 2/3 cups light brown sugar
- 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple-Cranberry Juice
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 large apple , peeled and chopped into about one-quarter inch pieces
For the glaze
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple-Cranberry Juice
For the icing
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon heavy cream
- 1-2 Tablespoons Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple-Cranberry Juice
- Move your oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (see note for traditional recipe). Grease a 10-cup bundt pan with shortening very well.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, xanthan gum, baking powder, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, on medium speed beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until fluffy and crumbly.
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract, and beat again on medium speed until smooth, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed.
- Add the Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple-Cranberry Juice and Greek yogurt, and on low until just combined.
- Add the flour mixture and beat on low until just combined. It's fine to leave some flour on the side of the bowl.
- Fold in apples, scraping the sides of the bowl as you fold them in.
- Pour the batter into the greased bundt pan and bake for 60-65 minutes, or until golden brown, and a toothpick comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze. Heat the sugar and champagne in a small saucepan over medium heat until it boiling. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then invert to gently remove the cake from the pan, loosening the edges slightly with a spatula or tapping on the outside of the pan if necessary.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over the cake to cover it completely, then let the cake cool to room temperature.
- To make the icing, place the powdered sugar, heavy cream, and 1 tablespoon of Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple-Cranberry Juice in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Add more Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple-Cranberry Juice about a teaspoon at a time to make an icing that is thick but pourable.
- Pour the icing over the cake and let it drip down the sides. Store the cake in a cool place or the refrigerator to set the icing. It will keep covered for a few days.
- For a traditional donut cake (not gluten-free) with all-purpose flour, use 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour in place of the other flour, starches, and xanthan gum. Prior to sifting the dry ingredients together, toss the apples in one tablespoon of the flour and set aside. Bake at 350°F for 60-65 minutes.
- Cake adapted from Summer Pound Cake by Barefeet in the Kitchen. Glaze and icing adapted from Champagne Pound Cake by Crazy for Crust.