A few weeks ago, I was asked to bake several desserts for a Holiday Bake Sale Fundraiser. I’m really a sucker for this kind of stuff. For one, it gives me a reason to bake. Second, I don’t have to eat all or most of what I bake (which is always a good thing). I love to bake for other people, and when it goes to a good cause, it’s even better.
I started with a batch of my Candy Cane Peppermint Brownies. They are always a hit and are always the first to sell out. They are a dessert I’ve been making at Christmas time for about 25 years and they’ve got a cult following of fans. For me, I just can’t really eat them anymore. They’re too sweet and just too over the top for me. Next I made a batch of Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars by Julia at Dozen Flours that I posted about recently. Those did well at the sale too. The sale also had a Christmas Café running where shoppers could stop in for a bit to eat during their shopping – for the Café, I was asked to provide a dessert that would be easy to sell by the slice.
I didn’t really have a Christmas cake recipe in my arsenal since Christmas for us usually revolves around cookies and candy. Cake just usually disappears until after the holidays pass and I prepare a Almond Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting for my wife’s birthday at the end of December. So, I did some surfing on the net and tapped into my fellow food blogger’s stash of recipes to find something that would work. After checking a bunch of my favorite sites, I finally settled on an Apple Cranberry Holiday Cake I found on Joy the Baker’s blog (She also calls it the All-Purpose Holiday Cake). This was something a little different from the usual fair found at this sale, so I decided to give it a try.
This is a relatively simple cake to throw together. I think the majority of the work comes from dicing the apples and cutting the cranberries (If you’ve never cut cranberries before, it’s an interesting task to cut up a bunch of little round berries – try it sometime). Since I don’t bake many cakes in my Bundt or tube pans, I’m always excited to try something new that will hopefully release from the pan in one piece.
The cake smelled great when baking, kind of like spiced cider being steeped on the stove. The cake itself is wonderfully dense and moist, not too sweet. I decided to top it with a cream cheese glaze for a little extra sugar kick and I’m glad I did, because it was just a perfect accompaniment to the cake itself.
So, how did it do? It sold out. The most important thing about baking for a fundraiser is that the items you bake actually sell. I’m happy to say that all of my items sold out by the end of the sale, making for a successful year and for a happy Oregon baker.
Now, before you ask, I’m currently not planning to post about my brownies because I’m so embarrassed about how easy they are to make, you almost can’t call it baking. Besides, you simply don’t need that kind of temptation in your life, trust me.
Thanks again to Joy for posting this recipe.