12 Days of Sundquist Christmas: Day 11

Day Eleven: Christmas Recipe

This year, we wanted to share our favorite traditions, our excitement over new ones, and our desire to give back. The result? 12 Days of Sundquist Christmas! We’ve been sharing what our employees enjoy most around the Holidays. Our secret recipes, favorite DIY decorating tips, and Christmas traditions are here for you to read. We hope this inspires you to share what you love about the Holiday Season with those you love.

For our second to last day, we have another Holiday recipe from Kristi Sundquist! Join her as she tells us how to make a delicious and magical seasonal treat! It's one of those recipes that instantly become a classic. Take it away, Kristi!


The holidays are a magical time of year. No matter where you look, there is magic to be found: the lights, the joy, the mystique and mythology of Saint Nicholas, beautiful lights, and the idea of peace on earth goodwill to all men.

But for me, the best of Christmas celebrations has always been found in food. No, not in stuffing my face with it… in sharing meals with family and friends, giving treats, surprising my office with cakes and cookies and the like; this is where I find my holiday magic.

This cake is a little slice of that. Not only because it’s good (which it is) but because it’s a fantastic base recipe that can be tweaked depending on your mood, desires, or more importantly: what’s left over in your kitchen.

The cake showcased here was made with Granny Smith apples, dried cranberries, and whiskey. But I’ve also made it with pears, walnuts, and candied ginger, as well as Fuji apples, pecans, dried cherries, and apple cider. It’s one of the most versatile recipes I have in my arsenal, and it comes together simply with very little mess. It’s perfect for an impromptu dinner party (and will make your house smell heavenly to boot!) or for getting rid of leftover ingredients after a long day of cooking. And that, to me, seems like another bit of Holiday magic unto itself.

Start by warming up your oven to 350 and oiling/flouring your bundt pan of choice. Be deliberate with this step if you want it to come out in one piece!

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Next, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk butter, oil, eggs, both sugars, the spices, vanilla, and your liquid in a big bowl until combined. This will be gloopy and wet. That’s ok!

One third at a time, fold in the flour mix carefully until just barely combined, being careful not to mix too much! Finally fold in all the good stuff (in this case, chopped apples and dried cranberries) until it’s evenly distributed throughout. 

Spoon the batter into pan and pop in the oven to bake. After an hour, pull it out and check it with a cake tester. If it’s still a bit goopy, put it back in the oven for 10 minutes and repeat until the tester comes out clean. Baking time will vary widely depending on the thickness of your bundt pan. The one I used here too close to 90 minutes. I have a thinner one that is done in an hour, so consistently checking is important to not having a burned cake!

Once you remove the cake, let it cool for about 15 minutes, then invert on a plate. In theory, this is long enough for the cake to cool a bit and begin to pull away from the pan walls, but not long enough for the sugars to begin to harden sticking to the sides. It’s what seems to work best for me, but there are many opinions on how to best do this, so it’s really up to you. 

Give the cake a dusting of powdered sugar snow and enjoy!

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Magic Holiday Spice Cake

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoon liquid (I used whiskey here, but apple cider, rum, coffee, or near anything else would really work.)
1 1/2 cups of filling (This was peeled and chopped granny smith apples and dried cranberries, but again, use what you have. Pears, persimmons, nuts, dried fruits of all kinds, berries… this is where the magic comes in!)
Dusting of powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil generously then lightly flour a bundt pan.
  2. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Whisk butter, oil, eggs, both sugars, the spices, vanilla, and your liquid in a big bowl until combined. Fold in flour mix carefully until just barely combined, then fold in your selected fillings. Spoon the batter into pan.
  4. Bake about 1 hour then start to test with a cake tester. Bake for additional 10 minute stretches until a tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a serving plate. Add a dusting of powdered sugar “snow” once completely cooled.

Note: I suspect years ago this recipe started out as Joy the Baker’s All Purpose Holiday Cake, although it has been significantly modified since then. (As you can see.) But especially since I randomly chose similar fillings, I wanted to make sure to give props her direction!