Bake a Cake for Thanksgiving/

Cake for Thanksgiving

Want to bake something other than pie this year?  Bake a cake for Thanksgiving!  Yes, pie is good but let’s face it.  Pies are hard to make.  Whether you’re the guest or the host or hostess, a really good Bundt Cake will please those dessert lovers.  And let me tell you, my guests absolutely love this one.  

It’s a hearty spice cake made with grated apples, raisins and nuts, then soaked in a bourbon syrup.  It’s a Thanksgiving cake that really is delicious, and perfect for using up those extra old apples.  If you don’t like the bourbon, any liquor will do, and if you don’t like the raisins, they can be substituted or left out.  The same goes with the nuts.  Any fruity concoction will do, just use your imagination.  But be sure to keep the moistness and measured amounts fairly close to what’s called for in the recipe.

Bundt cakes are super easy to mix up, and they’re kind of like a giant muffin baked in a fancy pan, aren’t they?  In this Thanksgiving cake recipe (below), booze helps to keep it fresh, which means if you want to bake it ahead of time, you can, and it will last for days after Thanksgiving.  It’s great when you already have too much to do to get ready for Thanksgiving because you can bake it a day or two ahead of time and store in the refrigerator.

You can also serve it as a snack for your guests to snack on prior to your meal.  Just cut it up and serve it on a snack plate.  Or even have it for breakfast the morning of, or the next morning for brunch.  It’s great sliced and toasted, and served with cream cheese.  Yummy!

And of course, you can save the recipe and bake this cake anytime of year. Bake it instead of that banana bread sometime.  It will be a nice change.  I’ve baked this recipe a couple of times.  I’ve tried bourbon and I’ve tried rye whiskey.  The bourban cake is my favorite between the two, and this year I’m thinking of trying rum.  You can use any type of liquor you like.  They say if you stick with the brown ones it will be good, because they are warmer and go with the nuts.  

Experiment with this recipe.  It’s a lot of fun and your Thanksgiving cake will come out tasting special every time!  The recipe is below, and just under that I’ve listed everything you might need to make it.

If you want to be really different, try baking this in the 3D Turkey Cake pan, like the one Martha Stewart used on the Today show!  

I hope you and your guests enjoy this cake as much as my family has.  Enjoy and please come back and let us know how it turned out.

Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake


 Things You’ll Need:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more to grease pan
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more to dust the pan
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup of bourbon, rye whiskey, or any brown liquor
  • 1/2 cup candied ginger, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples (about a pound, peeled, cored, and coarsely grated
  • 1 cup finely chopped, toasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon 


  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. 
  3. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons bourbon and the candied ginger. Let stand 10 minutes.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the brown sugar and remaining butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining flour with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. 
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream and vanilla. 
  7. Pour in the bourbon from the ginger mixture (reserve ginger) and whisk until smooth. 
  8. Stir in zest.
  9. With the mixer on medium speed, add the dry mixture and sour cream mixture to the wet mixture in three additions, alternating between the two. 
  10. Fold in the ginger, apples and pecans. 
  11. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. 
  12. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the batter comes out dry, about 1 hour 10 minutes.
  13. Cool in the pan 20 minutes
  14. Run a paring knife around the sides of the pan to release the cake; Place the wire rack on top of the pan and turn upside down.  Cool, upside side down, on a wire rack.
  15. While the cake cools, combine the 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup bourbon in a small saucepan. 
  16. Over low heat, gently stir until the sugar dissolves. 
  17. Stir in the lemon juice and take off the heat.
  18. While the cake cools, make 10 slits on top with a paring knife and pour half the bourbon-sugar mixture on the still-warm cake. 
  19. When the cake is fully cool, flip it over and pour the rest of the glaze on the other side. Let stand for at least 15 minutes but can sit like that for longer.
  20. Then flip it over again and serve.  If storing it for the next day, cover with plastic wrap on plate and keep in refrigerator.
  21. Remove it 2 hours prior to serving it.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

Filed under: Holiday Cakes and Cookies