Favorite Holiday Baking Ideas
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Once Thanksgiving arrives, I gear up for lots of holiday baking. Cookies, breads, cakes, and special desserts–many of which turn into food gifts for loved ones. I love the warm spices that scent the air–cinnamon, peppermint, nutmeg, and cloves. Can a person have too many Favorite Holiday Baking Ideas?
(Post modified on 11/24/23.)
I think not! Some of my yearly traditions include Christmas Stollen, Yule Log, Gingerbread Houses, and yes, Fruitcake. I love fruitcake and have been making my special mini cakes for several years now. Dried figs, dates, raisins, and cranberries soaked in a spiced rum. So delicious.
Let’s Begin with Gingerbread
And then there are the Gingerbread Houses! As a mom of three daughters, and now three grandchildren, I have made my share of homemade gingerbread houses and gingerbread men!
I love starting the holiday season by decorating a gingerbread house and/or giant gingerbread men with our daughters and grandchildren. And of course, they love it, too! See my favorite homemade recipe for gingerbread and royal icing below.
Favorite Holiday Cake Recipes
What would the holidays be without a special cake to serve to your guests. Whether a luscious layer cake, Yule log, or Bundt cake, your choice is sure to please many. See all of my Cake Recipes Here.
Italian Cream Layer Cake boasts a tender and moist crumb, and is flavored with chopped pecans and coconut. Covered in a cream cheese frosting, it’s sure to please at your next holiday dinner.
I enjoy making Irish Cream Cake at Christmas, which uses a cake mix as its base and is flavored with miniature chocolate chips and Irish Cream Liqueur. The Irish Cream icing seeps into the cake and creates a sweet and crusty film on the outside–like a cake donut! It’s so good. Perfect for any holiday celebration with family or friends.
Make this delicious Vanilla Pound Cake recipe during this year’s Holiday Season–or any time, really! The sugar topping sends this cake right over the top, and it gives the cake a little sparkle, too!
I’ve been making this Cinnamon Coffee Cake recipe for many years now. I usually make it during the Christmas holidays, but really, it’s delicious any time of year. It’s moist, packed with cinnamon and pecans.
A few years ago I made my first Christmas Yule Log and it was so much fun and surprisingly easy that I decided to make it an annual tradition! Delicious chocolate sponge cake rolled up in a creamy filling and covered in a rich ganache icing. So yummy!
I enjoy making Orange-Glazed Cranberry Fruitcake during the Christmas season. Made with dried cranberries, raisins, dates, figs, and pecans, it’s not your average fruitcake. Plus, it makes 8 small loaves, so it’s perfect for gift-giving for those on your fruitcake-lovers list.
Cranberry Pound Cake with Almonds is a delicious recipe to make for your family during the holidays. It’s especially good when it has set for 1-2 days. It is amazingly flavorful and moist, and I love the added sweet bites of cranberries. So yummy!
Now for my Favorite Holiday Breads
Holiday breads are great for gifting to your friends and family. Most of the recipes below make more than one, especially if you use the small or mini loaf suggestions. They are wonderful to have around when last-minute company arrives, or even a houseful of family comes to stay for a weekend. Just grab one (or two) from the freezer and allow it to come to room temperature before serving. Easy and delicious. View all of my Bread Recipes Here.
Christmas Stollen with Marzipan – Here is a traditional German recipe for Christmas Stollen with Marzipan. I love this sweet bread as a snack in the morning or afternoon with tea or coffee. The surprise marzipan treat in the center is probably my favorite! I’m like a kid that way, I guess.
Poppy Seed Bread is a recipe I received from my Aunt Ruth. It’s a super moist bread to share with your loved ones and friends at Christmas and one of our favorites. And while it’s perfect to give as a Christmas food gift, you’ll want to save back a few loaves for your own enjoyment.
My grandma used to make Orange Nut Bread every Christmas. I like to make it every year to think of her, and to use as a holiday food gift. The orange flavor and pecans are perfect paired with a nice cup of warm tea.
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread is moist and tender, flavored with pumpkin puree and yummy mini chocolate chips. It’s lovely with a cup of coffee or to serve at your next tea party!
I love serving muffins to my family, especially during the holidays or for a special brunch. These Cranberry Fig Muffins are perfect for Christmas.
I enjoy serving Cherry Danish Loaves on Christmas morning. I always make them the day before, and then give two of the loaves as gifts to both of our parents. Of course, I save two for ourselves, as our kids really love this Danish-style sweet bread.
Ending with Shortbread, Bars, and Tarts
I’ve already covered Christmas Cookies in another Roundup Post, but now I want to share some that were not listed there, as well as my favorite tart recipes. See my post on Baking Christmas Cookies Here.
Try this classic recipe for English Shortbread with Pecans this holiday season. Perfect for an shared afternoon tea with a friend or loved one. Not too sweet, with the perfect amount of nuttiness from the pecans, plus hints of vanilla and orange. So good.
This recipe for Chocolate Caramel Nut Bars is one we make every year during the holidays–but you can make them any time! With only six ingredients, they are easy to make. Caramel candies, evaporated milk, butter, pecans, chocolate chips, and a German Chocolate Cake Mix. So delicious!
Who doesn’t enjoy Chewy Chocolate Fudge Brownies. But this is also a fun recipe to use with specialty shaped pans, such as Christmas Tree Mini Cake Pan or even Nutcrackers. I’ve made both for Christmas entertaining and they always go over really well.
My mom makes these Buttery Pecan Tarts almost every Christmas. They are so yummy, with a buttery, cream cheese shell, and then more butter in the sweet pecan filling. They practically melt in your mouth! Perfect for the upcoming holiday season.
Homemade Mincemeat Tarts, made with dried fruit and nuts are sweet and tart with a simple buttery pastry. If you like fruitcake, dried fruits, English walnuts, holiday spices, and spiced rum, then I encourage you to give this recipe a try!