Diced Cinnamon Donut Cakes

Diced Cinnamon Donut Cakes

This cake is like having a hot apple-cider-donut truck in your kitchen.  The smell of cinnamon and sugar baking will draw people to your front door.  This recipe is not overly spiced and keeps for days: in fact, I think it's better on the second day when the flavors have had time to rest.  This is a healthy-ish fall cake that can easily be whipped together. It is deserving of a pair of slippers, a cardigan, and a cup of tea. 

Makes: one 9 by 13-inch rectangular cake

Preparation: 20 minutes


For Cake:

2 1⁄4 cups (270g) organic whole-grain spelt flour 

1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder

1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda 

1⁄2 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 eggs, at room temperature

1⁄2 cup (120ml) mild-flavored extra-virgin olive oil 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1 cup (240g) unsweetened applesauce 

1⁄4 cup (85g) honey 

1⁄2 cup (120ml) whole milk 

1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest 

1 cup (190g) light brown sugar, lightly packed 

For Topping:

1/3 cup (70g) cane sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter, melted


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 13 by 9-inch rectangular pan with butter, line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper, and grease the paper. (I’ll let you just grease and line the bottom of the pan, and lightly flour the sides if you’re feeling lazy.)
  2. Place a large sifter or a sieve in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and sift.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, vanilla, applesauce, honey, milk, zest, and brown sugar until smooth. 
  4. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until there are no lumps and the batter is smooth. 
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 28 to 30 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, and the cake bounces back when lightly pressed.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes. Run a butter knife around the cake to gently release. Invert the cake, peel off the parchment paper, and cool on a wire rack.
  7. With a large, sharp knife, cut the edges off the cake.  Use a ruler as a guide if you want the cake cut into perfect cubes; if not, do it by eye.
  8. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush or spoon the melted butter on top of each cake square. Let it soak into the cake a little before sprinkling on the cinnamon-sugar mix. (If the cake is still warm, the sugar will dissolve.) Stack the squares on top of each other into a pyramid and serve.