Christmas is just days away and I haven’t started baking. I’m trying apply lessons learned from Christmases past. I remember seasons where I would be up until 2 in the morning, baking double batches of cookies and great varieties of desserts, in the week leading up to Christmas. The kitchen looked like a bakery. My feet and back were sore and my enthusiasm waned. It became an act of labour rather than love. And sure, it was an impressive array of treats, only with all the other food on Christmas, dessert often falls by the wayside. By the end of the big meal, people usually just want a piece of cake and skip the cookies and bars.
The other thing is, I find that I love baking all through the holidays. On Boxing Day, my personal tradition after waking up from a long wintry night’s sleep is to find a new dessert to bake. I love the scent of baked goods wafting through the house long after Christmas.
So right now I’m just planning and trying to ensure that I’ve got recipes lined up to cover a few key categories. As far as ingredients go, I need to be sure I’ve got a variety of desserts that feature nuts, chocolate, spices, dried fruits, cherries and citrus. And the Christmas season is just not complete without shortbread and a cheesecake.
My mom used to make an amazing poundcake that incorporated a few of these elements. She used to have a box of index cards where she collected recipes from friends, ads and newspapers. This particular index card featured a cut out from a newspaper, and I want to preserve this recipe for future. This one is making the cut this year.
Holiday Gift Cake
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups sifted cake flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cup well-drained chopped maraschino cherries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
Directions – Cake
- Combined softened cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla. Mix until well blended.
- At eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Sift 2 cups of flour with baking powder. Gradually add to the batter, mixing well after each addition.
- Toss remaining flour with cherries and chopped nuts. Fold into batter.
- Grease a 10″ fluted or plain tube pan; sprinkle with finely chopped nuts.
- Pour batter into pan, bake at 325 F, for one hour and 20 minutes
- Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool thoroughly.
Directions – Glaze
- mix icing sugar with milk
- add pecans
- Drizzle glaze over cooled cake.
- pour 2 cups of batter into each of three greased 1 lb coffee cans. Bake 1 hour.
- Poor 1/2 cup of batter into each of eleven greased 8 oz vegetable cans. Bake 25 minutes
- Pour1 cup of batter into each of five greased 6″ by 31/2″ loaf pans. Bake 45 minutes.