NC Thanksgiving

It is a giant apple cider donut!

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I really got to spread out my Thanksgiving celebrating. It started with our nutrition department Thanksgiving at school, a few weeks before Turkey Day. I saw this recipe for an Apple Cider Donut Cake on Serious Eats and thought it sounded just swell.

Because I think it merits an extraordinary amount of self-congratulations to successfully execute a cake, I took lots of step by step pictures.

Butter ‘n sugar:

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Milk in one container; apples cooked in apple cider in the other (I did not bother to peel the apples; aint no one got time for that)

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I borrowed my Martha Stewart-est classmate’s beautiful bundt pan, and buttered it half to death (this was a really pleasant undertaking and my hands were lovely and soft after)

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Butter and sugar more or less combined (my dollar store eggbeaters only do so much)

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Then in went eggies.

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Then some kind of science magic happened when I added just the small amount of oil. So silky and pretty!

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Dry ingredients and cider/apple/milk mix ready to be added. You added a bit of flour, a bit of cider mix, a bit of flour, a bit of cider mix, and a bit of flour. Cake making is so fun.

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Final batter. One of my beaters experienced beautiful submersion.

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Swirleyed into the pan.

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And out of the oven I MEAN COME ON.

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On the drying rack. The bundt pan made the PRETTIEST pattern.

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Then I dusted on the cinnamon sugar, ahhh.

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Then it was off to our department Thanksgiving. They made it so cute!

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I meant to steal a turkey candle and forgot. Drat!

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I was nervous because our department Thanksgiving took place smack dab in the middle of our building where A BUNCH OF OTHER STUDENTS GO TO SCHOOL TOO, and what if randos from other departments tried to crash it?! Apparently someone from environmental health said we as a department undersalted food at our events RUDE AND ALSO WHY ARE YOU EATING OUR FOOD.

As a result of my paranoia, I spent some time guarding my cake by the dessert table inspecting all passersby for appropriate nametags to ensure they were nutrition department members. (I’m joking. Mostly. I just get very protective of my homemade baked goods and only want people I love to get to eat them).

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On my pretty $3 at an estate sale cake stand!

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Finally confident there would be no dessert gate crashers, I went off to the savory table to get my Thanksgiving eats. They were very ORANGE! The highlight was definitely Claire’s carrot souffle (around the 4:00 position on the plate) which was so incredible everyone demanded the recipe. And then we read it and it was all, “1 stick of butter…” and we were like, “Ahhhh”.

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As for desserts, the table consisted of a lot of fruit (… *Sigh*. Dietitians). So I only got a few things, a slice of my cake (of course!) and this cute and delicious pretzel-cookie dough-chocolate amalgamation.
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After all my craziness, I’d call the cake good but not great. The texture was A+, perfectly moist, but the inside was a little bland. Sigh.

However, at my next North Carolina Thanksgiving event, my dessert was LEGIT. Pumpkin custard pie with an almond crust and red wine caramel. Whatttttt?!

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I made this for a Friendsgiving at a friend’s house, and it was so good I just made it again for our cohort Christmas party. The almond crust is yummy and crumbly (and way easier to make than regular pie crust, because it’s more like making a cookie: you cream together the butter and sugar and bind everything with an egg; less fiddling around with pastry blenders and such). The pumpkin filling is quite tasty and not too sweet (the molasses is a nice touch).

And oh the red wine caramel! Incredible.

(I jacked it up for this second attempt at pie making, sigh. I think I didn’t dissolve the sugar enough? And/or used the wrong size pan? This time around the flavor’s still good but the texture is fudge-ish. So word to the wise, this is delicious but follow directions impeccably and dissolve the sugar enough).

Anyway, in this initial incarnation, the red wine caramel was perfect in texture and UH-MAZING!

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I busted out the holiday sock earrings for Friendsgiving. Aww! (My friend’s mom KNITS these. She is incredible. Teeny tiny socks).

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Friendsgiving was super fun- it involved champagne, a bonfire, and the best stuffing I’ve ever tasted. And one of Steph’s friends said I reminded her of Zooey Deschanel (and this I can accept as a genuine compliment because it was said behind my back! Score!)

A few more funtivities happened in NC before heading to VA for formal Thanksgiving. My cousin, who now lives in Chapel Hill, had her mom and sisters visiting for the holiday, and since they arrived before I left, I got to hang out with all of them the Monday of Thanksgiving week.

Them and Cara, the best dog in the land.

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Lots and lots and lots of fun! Real Thanksgiving will be another post, and was also excellent.

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