Every year, right after the Thanksgiving holiday, instead of joining the hustle and bustle of crowds at the shopping malls, I spend quality time with my cookbooks. As a chef and lover of good food, I like to cook. And the gifts I like to give; a spiced nut mix, herb-infused vinegar, sinfully sweet confection, or handcrafted sauce, are also the ones I like to receive.
When my children were young, creating gifts from our kitchen was a family affair. We’d select the recipes, make a list, shop for ingredients, and gather the tools and supplies. Then with the sounds of Frank Sinatra crooning “White Christmas”, we’d whip out batches of decorated cheese balls, three chocolate pate, and gingerbread cookies.
Each item would be tied with a festive ribbon and labeled with care. We’d all pile in the van and deliver our unique “foodie” gifts to teachers, swim coaches, neighbors and friends.
Although our tribe has left the nest now, I still enjoy the same quality time with my cookbooks and planning a marathon day of baking. This year, my kitchen will be filled with the aromas of cinnamon and ginger from multiple batches of Merry Christmas Coffee Cake.
This recipe is from my archives, and I’m warning you, the flavor is addictive. I like to wrap the cakes with ribbon, and freeze them. Just before Santa sets out with his sleigh, these delicious cakes will be delivered to our friends and neighbors for them to enjoy on Christmas Day.
This season, share the spirit of giving. Make something special and give from the heart.
MERRY CHRISTMAS COFFEE CAKE
- 2½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
- 2 cups chopped nuts
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ cup applesauce
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk
- Combine flours, cinnamon, ginger, sugars, and vegetable oil in the bowl of your electric mixer
- Remove 1½ cups of this mixture to a medium bowl and add: nuts and additional cinnamon
- To the remaining mixture add: baking soda, baking powder, applesauce, eggs and buttermilk. Mix to combine, but don’t beat. Small lumps are O.K.
- Grease and flour 4 – six inch square cake tins. Spoon the batter in the pans and then sprinkle the topping evenly over the cakes. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes.
- Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove from tin and let cool completely on a rack. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
- To reheat, place on cookie sheet in 350-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
* Nut allergy? Use sunflower, sesame, or pumpkin seeds.