Mixed nuts were always a popular snack item at Christmastime in our home, which is why this Christmas Mixed Nut Bundt Cake is nostalgic and delicious!
I think I told you this story in a Christmas recipe post last year, but I can’t help but think of my mom’s determination with getting whole, un-cracked nuts on the table every Christmas.
It might still be a Newfoundland tradition. Its been many, many years since I’ve been there at Christmastime. It was a common practice in our home to place platters and bowls of food and snacks on the table every day, all day, for the entire 12 days of Christmas.
For example, my mom would prepare scalloped potatoes and a pineapple glazed ham for dinner. As soon as she had cleaned up from dinner and neatly replaced her Christmas tablecloth, she would position some kind of centerpiece on the table – usually a poinsettia. Then, she would surround the centerpiece with food.
There was always one of those printed plastic platters with the sections to keep food separate; do you know what I’m talking about? You can still find them at the dollar store during the holidays.
CALORIES DO NOT COUNT AT CHRISTMASTIME!
She would fill the sections with grapes, pretzels, chocolates, cheetos, etc. There would be a crystal candy dish with those hard, old-fashioned mixed candy. And, there would always be a bowl of mixed nuts with the shells still in tact.
Do you know something though, Dear Reader? I can’t ever remember there once being a nut cracker near that bowl! But, I can remember somehow squeezing those nut shells in my hands until they popped open. The bowl would be replenished every day from a day or two before Christmas eve until a few days after New Year’s Day.
This cake reminds me of those nuts, which is why I included this cake in my 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas series. I’ve included almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, and pecans. Of course, I purchased them without the shell, because even though I have fond memories of my mom’s Christmas table, I do not find any pleasure in cracking all of those nuts!
To me, this Christmas Mixed Nut Bundt Cake is like a common holiday fruitcake without the dried or candied fruits. The cake is moist and packed with familiar holiday spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. I prefer to enjoy this cake with an afternoon coffee rather than as a dessert, but you can serve it after a meal if you so desire.
Christmas Mixed Nut Bundt Cake
For the Cake:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 cups chopped mixed nuts, *see notes
For the Frosting:
- 4 cups confectioner's sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, *see notes
For the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray. Dust the entire baking surface with flour and tap out the excess. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, use a handheld mixer to cream together the cream cheese, butter, and sugar.
- Add the eggs one at a time and blend into the mixture.
- Add the vanilla and incorporate well.
- Add 2 cups of the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves; continuing to use the mixer, blend well into the butter and cream cheese mixture.
- In a small bowl, toss the chopped nuts with 1/4 cup of flour.
- Add the flour-covered nuts to the batter and fold in with a spatula.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared bundt pan and bake for 40 minutes. Test the cake to see if it is finished baking by inserting a toothpick into the center. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, bake for 5 minutes more and test again.
- Allow cake to cool for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
- Cool completely; dust with confectioner’s sugar and enjoy!
For the Frosting:
- Whisk together the confectioner's sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth. The frosting need to be thick, otherwise, it will not pool onto the top of the cake and slowly climb down the side of the cake.
- Spoon the frosting over the top of the cake and with the back of the spoon push the frosting slightly toward the outer edge of the cake. The icing with slowly pour down the side.
- Immediately sprinkle over the turbinado sugar. Allow the icing to set to harden slightly before serving.