Holiday Three Flavor Cake

Published on November 22, 2019

This is a pumpkin spice, cranberry-ginger, and bourbon pecan three layered cake with light lemony cream cheese icing that is pure holiday comfort food. It makes a lot so it’s great for a holiday party at home or to bring the taste of the holidays to the office.

I’ve been looking forward to making this beautiful cake since I ran across the recipe in the “Your Best Thanksgiving” section of the November of 2018 issue of Women’s Day that I picked up at the airport when traveling to be with family last year for the holidays. The cake was called “Thanksgiving Cake,” but both my daughter-in-law and I felt like the bourbon and gingerbread like flavors were more like Christmas, and it could also be a showy dessert (like English Trifle) for New Year’s Eve. So I felt the the name needed to be changed to a holiday cake.

In making it, I had difficulty with the icing part of the original recipe, and was wondering if it was a mistake when it asks us to whip five 8 ounce packages of cream cheese plus 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, then add 5 teaspoons of lemon juice and 3 cups of powdered sugar. I ‘whipped it until smooth and fluffy’ as the recipe instructed and ended up with double the amount of icing I needed, and it was too light and fluffy to remain between the layers of cake, and it also would have just slid off the top and outside the cake. So I did some measuring and turned part of it into a basic cream cheese frosting by adding the appropriate amount of powdered sugar. The taste of the original ‘very cream cheesy’ icing was delicious and a distinctly holiday taste, so I think the ingredients were accurate. I believe the problem with the recipe may have been that the cream cheese and butter should not have been whipped until fluffy, just slowly mixed together until fully blended. That way no volume would be added and it would remain stiff enough. But in comparing the two flavors, the ‘taste testing team’ here preferred the basic sugary cream cheese icing over the lightly sweetened cream cheese icing, I opted to not redo the original icing recipe to see if I could get it to come out the right consistency for spreading.

The original recipe also called for 1 1/4 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice in the pumpkin layer. Pumpkin pie spice can be any number of combinations of the classic spices — cardamon, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg — so do your own thing.

Use cake strips if you have them, or make your own so the cakes come out level and not crowned/domed.

Do not overcook the cakes or you will have dry cakes with a lot less flavor. Get some toothpicks or use your finger to test for doneness right at the first listed time. All of mine needed the additional 5 minutes but your oven may cook hotter.

Holiday Three Flavor Cake

You will need 3 9″ cake pans lined with waxed or parchment paper and buttered and floured. Turn a pan over and cut the three liners. Butter all the pans and add the liners, then butter the liners. Then add a tablespoon of flour to a pan and turn the pan until all the bottom and sides are lightly coated, then dump the remaining flour in the next pan adding more flour. Continue until all the pans are coated, turning the pans upside down and bagging then against the side of the sink to remove excess flour.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Ingredients

Instructions

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in a bowl and whisk together. In a mixing bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, light brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and olive oil. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet whisking just until smooth. Transfer to prepared pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until it springs back or the toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a cookie rack for 10 minutes, then invert (loosening around the edges with a knife if necessary), remove waxed paper/parchment, and let cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap to keep from drying out.

Bourbon Pecan Cake

Ingredients

Instructions

Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk together. Mix the molasses, corn syrup and bourbon in another bowl. In a mixer place the butter and brown sugar and blend until it becomes light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Reduce speed and add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients), beating until smooth. Beat in the molasses mixture and stir in the pecans. Transfer the batter to prepared pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 – 45 minutes or until it springs back when you touch the center with your finger or a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a cookie rack for 10 minutes, then invert (loosening around the edges with a knife if necessary), remove waxed paper/parchment, and let cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap to keep from drying out.

Cranberry Ginger Cake

Ingredients

Instructions

Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk together. In a mixer place the butter and brown sugar and blend until it becomes light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and mix. Reduce speed and add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients), beating until smooth. Stir in the cranberries and ginger. Transfer the batter to prepared pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until it springs back when you touch the center with your finger or a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a cookie rack for 10 minutes, then invert (loosening around the edges with a knife if necessary), remove waxed paper/parchment, and let cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap to keep from drying out.

Cream Cheese Icing with Lemon

Have the cream cheese and butter both at room temperature or they will have to be whipped too much to get them blended.

Ingredients

Instructions

Place cream cheese and butter in mixer bowl and whip until well blended. Add the lemon juice and sugar and blend. Don’t over whip and add a lot of volume.

Slice cake and serve with a dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with nutmeg.














Holiday decorations at the Wynn Hotel Las Vegas