In a large bowl, combine the first 10 ingredients. Combine the eggs, cider and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Divide dough in half. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; pat to 1/2-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2-1/2-in. doughnut cutter. Repeat with remaining dough.
In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 375°. Fry doughnuts, a few at a time until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired. Yield: about 1-1/2 dozen.