Happy Thanksgiving, Eat Cake!

Happy Happy Thanksgiving!  I have so many things to be thankful for, and I try to be grateful each and every second of everyday.  One of my favorite ways to show my family love and appreciation is to make the house beautiful, seasonal, and full of wonderful food.  We had a little private, immediate family only, celebration last night to kick off the holiday season and to give thanks. I decided to make this cake for dessert and I sent a hunk home with the boys for their breakfast today. This afternoon we will be joining our children, grandchildren, Aunts & Uncles, nieces & nephews, Great Grandmother and brothers & sisters, ages ranging from 3 MONTHS TO 97 YEARS,  for a full evening of good family chaos!  I hope your celebration is filled with love and laughter, and something SWEET!

This cake is in the November issue of Southern Living and I couldn’t resist making it after seeing it on some other blogs.  Mary over at Home is Where the Boat is, has some amazing photos of her cake and I wouldn’t be posting about mine except I made a tiny little change that turned out AMAZING, so just had to share.

I had my copy of Southern Living on the counter nearby and I was following the recipe, EXACTLY, step by step.  This is HIGHLY UNUSUAL for me because I usually just start dumping things together, THEN read the recipe and discover that I wasn’t supposed to combine this and that yet…SO I was feeling all proud of myself, the calm and organized cook…when I went to grab the dried cranberries…

WAIT A MINUTE! WHAT? CHOCOLATE COVERED CRANBERRIES? REALLY?????? hmmm, I can’t believe I grabbed these at the store and never looked at the package! What twisted mind put chocolate on cranberries?  Well, maybe Super Boy will eat them…I guess I could run back to the store. GROAN….and then I tasted one.  Hey, not bad! I wonder if I could use them anyway?  Why not, chocolate goes with pecans, and obviously SOMEONE thinks chocolate goes with cranberries, so why not with pumpkin and apple?

So I proceeded with the recipe, making the filling with chocolate covered cranberries, apples and pecans.

The batter is quite orange!

You put 1/2 the batter into a prepared bundt pan

Top with the filling.  The recipes says not to get the filling too close to the edges of the pan, so it won’t show after the cake is baked, but I had way to much filling to worry about that so I just piled it in,

Then I topped the filling with the rest of the batter.

After 50 minutes,  I could smell the cake so I tested it, and it was done!  I’m not sure why the top is so cracked, I think initially I didn’t cream the butter and sugar very well, but once the cake is inverted and covered with glaze who cares?

The recipe said to bake the cake for 1 hour and 10-20 minutes.  My oven cooks hot so I always shorten the cooking time, but USE YOUR NOSE.  When something is done you will begin to smell it.  That is your best signal.  Also, set the timer 5-10 minutes shy of suggested cooking time and check often near the end.

I think the gooey filling oozing out is a nice visual don’t you?

These nuts would be good in a bowl for snacking, they are quite delicious!

The glaze is easy, just stir, stir, stir, and I used Michele’s Butter Pecan Maple Syrup, my very favorite. Click on syrup name for more info and another awesome recipe.

Once the cake has cooled, pour the thickened warm maple glaze all over top of cake and it wil drizzle down and soak in,

and pool around the base of cake.

Then immediately top with sugared pecans and pepitas. The dark spots are the filling that I didn’t get covered up with batter, just ignore, it tastes fabulous!

Grab a fork and dig in!

You can see the white apple pieces and the darkest places are the melted chocolate.  The pumpkin flavor is by far the strongest, but you do have the sweetest from the apple and the subtle hint of chocolate.  The crunchy nuts add another layer of flavor and texture.

Tuck your cake under a glass cake dome for safe keeping!

Here’s the recipe which is the same as the Splurge Worthy Recipe in the November 2012 issue of Southern Living except I substituted chocolate covered cranberries for the dried candied cranberries in the original recipe.


Course Dessert
Cuisine American



  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apples
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped chocolate covered cranberries
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 15-oz. can pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Sugared Pecans and Pepitas

  • 1 cup pecan halves and pieces
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted shelled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Maple Glaze

  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar



  • Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 6 to 8 minutes or until toasted, stirring halfway through. Cool 15 minutes.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
Toss diced apples in 2 Tbsp. melted butter to coat in a medium bowl; add cranberries, next 2 ingredients, and toasted pecans, and toss until well blended
  • .
Beat granulated sugar and 1 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
  • Add pumpkin and vanilla; beat just until blended.
  • Stir together 3 cups flour and next 3 ingredients.
  • Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended after each addition.
  • Spoon half of batter into a greased and floured 10-inch (12-cup) Bundt pan.
  • Spoon apple mixture over batter, leaving a 1/2-inch border around outer edge. Spoon remaining batter over apple mixture.
  • Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Check cake at 50 minutes and watch carefully. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack; cool completely (about 2 hours).
  • Meanwhile, prepare Sugared Pecans and Pepitas

Sugared Pecans and Pepitas

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together pecan halves and pieces, pepitas, and melted butter.
  • Spread in a single layer in a 13- x 9-inch pan.
  • Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
  • Remove from oven; toss with sugar. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack (about 30 minutes).
  • Maple Glaze

Maple Glaze

  • Bring maple syrup, butter, and milk to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; boil, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in vanilla. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar until smooth; stir gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken and cool slightly. Use immediately.


  • Immediately spoon prepared warm glaze onto cooled cake. Arrange pecans and pepitas on cake.
Keyword apple pecan cake with caramel, Pumpkin Apple Bundt Cake, Thanksgiving dessert

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3 Responses to “Happy Thanksgiving, Eat Cake!”
  1. Mary says:

    Jenna, Isn’t that cake amazing?…all the flavors of fall! I bet it was especially good with the chocolate covered cranberries! Chocolate is good on everything! Hope your Thanksgiving is Happy & Delicious!

  2. My cousin just made this cake for my son’s birthday and we all loved it! Wonderful recipe, and the cake looks so pretty too! I’ll be sharing a link to this post on my Facebook page 🙂

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  1. […] Adapted from http://thepaintedapron.com/2012/11/22/happy-thanksgiving-eat-cake/ […]

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