Indulge in the Early American tradition of Election Cake with this Colonial-inspired recipe for Apple Cider Bundt Cake with Sweet Brandy Glaze.
Recipe adapted from The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook (2001)
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a non-stick Bundt pan with enough butter to fill in all the nooks and crannies. I find it easiest to get in there with my fingers to make sure each area is fully coated, and so far it seems to make for easy removal later.
Mix the chopped apples with the sugar in a medium-sized bowl and set aside for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This allows the fruit to macerate, which is a technical way of saying release its delicious juices and get wonderfully gooey.
In your largest bowl, combine the dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Add the raisins and nuts.
Once the butter is fully cooled, whisk it together with the eggs in a separate bowl. Fold the egg-butter mixture and then the apples into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. The batter may be very thick – I usually end up using my hands to make sure everything is fully combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, until an inserted fork or toothpick comes out clean (I find my oven always takes longer than most recipes suggest – just keep adding time in small increments until you’ve reached doneness, but be careful not to over-bake!). Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before inverting it onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before applying the glaze.
To make the Sweet Brandy Glaze, start by bringing the apple cider to a rolling boil in a small sauce pan. Boil until reduced by half, and then let cool slightly to room temperature. Add the confectioners’ sugar and brandy and whisk until incorporated. The glaze will be very thin. Drizzle (or pour) all over your delicious cake while still somewhat warm. I added a small dusting of confectioners sugar - feel free to do the same. Store in the fridge, or serve immediately – your choice!
Avoiding Mess When Applying Glazes:
Perhaps it’s just my particular Bundt cakes, but the shape of my mold creates perfect little channels for the glaze to stream out and down onto my counter if I’m not careful. This resulted in fabulous messes the first few times I tried drizzling glazes on, often at the worst possible times. Since then, I’ve learned a few tricks:
First, don’t wait to apply the glaze until it’s on the stand or dish you want to serve it on – You will get glaze all over your pretty serving ware before a guest even gets to see it! For a thin glaze, like in this recipe, I make sure my counter is clear of clutter (in case of spillage) and set the cake on a large piece of parchment paper before applying. Once the glaze has had a chance to soak into the cake and harden a bit, it can be transferred to a serving stand or plate.
For a thicker glaze that will harden more quickly, I perform the same set-up, but place a wire rack on the parchment paper, and then the cake on top of that. Using a spoon, I drizzle the thick glaze onto the cake in small amounts so that it makes stripes and dots all over, rather than just pour off the sides.
Alternate Ingredients: I used hazelnuts because that's what I had in my cabinets - I'm sure pecans or walnuts would work great too!