It’s November, and that means that we’ve undeniably entered the holiday season. In my world that means lots of family, lot of parties and eating a ridiculous, almost painful amount of food. Cocktail parties. Tacky Christmas sweater parties. Surprise guests and…. my oh my… is it too early to be this excited?
Despite all of my (possibly premature) excitement, I’ll admit that I’m sometimes at a loss when it comes to a holiday night out. If I’m not fussing over what I’m going to wear, I’m getting nit picky about the dessert that I’m going to bring. It’s enough to drive myself crazy and send me straight to the egg nog bowl when I hit the party. The egg nog is always such a nice thought, but the actual introduction of egg nog into my system is a very, very bad idea.
This weekend I picked up a few party dresses and tights- festive and hip but not over the top. I also baked up the perfect all purpose holiday cake. It’s a winner because you can throw it together with virtually anything and everything you have in your pantry.
Here’s how this simple cake is going to rock your holiday party life just as hard as I’m going to rock my fierce new black dress and silver heels:
-Bundt pans equal instant pretty whether dusted with powdered sugar or dripping with glaze.
-If you have apples, you have a cake.
-No mixer necessary! All you’ll need is two bowls and a wooden spoon.
-Your house will smell like warm apples and cinnamon. Winner!
-Rum or Bourbon or orange juice- choose your adventure.
-This cake stays moist for days and even tastes better the second day!
-Some of the variations I thought of are all included in the ingredient list.
Bring on the holidays. Bring on the parties. I’ve got the goods. I’ve got the heels. I’ve got the cake. I’m ready to go.
Incidentally, you may need to remind me of my early enthusiasm sometime in early December. I’m not very good at pacing myself.
All Purpose Holiday Cake or Apple Cranberry Bourbon Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tablespoon dark Rum (or Bourbon or orange juice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Cortland or Empire or Granny Smith or Gala apples, peeled, cored and cut into a 1/4 inch dice (you can make the apple slices slightly bigger if you like a chunkier cake)
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped (or raisins or dried cranberries or dried apricots diced or chopped walnuts maybe even chocolate chips)
Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan, knocking out excess flour.
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.
Whisk together oil, eggs, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, rum or bourbon and vanilla in a large bowl until just combined. Fold in flour mixture until just combined, then fold in apples and cranberries. The batter will feel thick and heavy. Spoon the batter into pan.
Bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 30 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.