Dreamy, delicious filling; sparkling cranberries; and a crisp gingersnap crust make up this festive No-Bake Eggnog Cheesecake. With a dash of freshly grated nutmeg, silky cream cheese, some whimsically piped cream, and a pop of color from the cranberries, this is the perfect dessert for the holiday season.Read More
Cranberry-studded citrus cake with orange and white chocolate buttercream!
Hi all! Who else finished their Christmas shopping today? Just me? Whether you've been done for months or haven't even started, I hope you have been enjoying the season so far. I was waiting to write something a bit more profound than this, but I've been busy and just couldn't wait to share this cake any longer. I've had the photos uploaded for weeks, but couldn't think of anything to really say... You could call it writer's block, but I've actually been writing the most I've ever written since my first cookbook. You see, my manuscript is due in February, so in between Christmas activities with Everett, I've been frantically typing recipes.Read More
It can be difficult to narrow down a holiday menu or to figure out exactly what treats to make each year. If you are like me, then there are not nearly enough days in December to bake everything I want to make for the season. Between all the heirloom recipes I make to carry on decade-long traditions like (Grandma's Ginger Crinkles) to all the new things I want to try, sometimes there simply isn't very much room for too many new recipes. So instead of giving you yet another new holiday cake recipe (don't worry, I've got one last amazing, new cake recipe for you all tomorrow), I've created this Holiday Cake Round-Up some of my top Christmas cakes from seasons past! Sparkling Cranberry CakeNot only is this cake the perfect amount of rustic-meets-glam, it has an amazing cranberry curd filling and sugared cranberries on top!
Poached Pear Cranberry Cake via The Cake Blog No need to question the ripeness of your pears with this treat. Plus, it's studded with gorgeous, tangy cranberries!
Ribbon Candy CakeCheck out my full tutorial on how to make this impressive Ribbon Candy Cake. Dress up your favorite layer cake recipe with festive, wow-worthy buttercream ruffles!
Chocolate Pear Hazelnut Cake Add the accompanying spicy caramel sauce for a real, festive treat!
Gingerbread Latte Cake via The Cake Blog Layer upon layer of gingerbread cake, coffee buttercream, and candy toffee bits. One of my personal favourites!
Eggnog Spice Cake via The Cake Blog Spice cake layer with eggnog buttercream - for when you want to eat your 'nog instead of drink it!
Gingerbread House CakeInstead of encrusting it with candy and letting it collect dust for the entire month, make this cake version that you'll gladly eat up!
Here are some of my other favorite holiday cakes from around the web. Be sure to comment with any fantastic cakes that I might be missing!
Tara O'Brady's Cranberry Ginger Cake on Design Sponge
Cindy's Golden Ginger and Orange Cake on Hungry Girl Por Vida
Amy's Vanilla Gingerbread with Chai Mascarpone on Constellation Inspiration
Tiffany's Spiced Molasses Cake with Meyer Lemon Curd on Oh Honey Bakes
Sarah's White Chocolate Peppermint Cake on The Sugar Hit
Sydney's Marbled Peppermint Crunch Cake on The Crepes of Wrath
Heather's Mulled Wine Stump de Noel Cake on Sprinkle Bakes
Lyndsay's Peppermint Chocolate Cake on Coco Cake Land
Alana's Rosemary Citrus Olive Oil Bundt Cake on Fix Feast Flair
Marcella's Peppermint Bark Chocolate and Vanilla Ombre Cake on Modest Marce
Linda's Soft Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting on Call Me Cupcake
Olivia's Bailey's Hot Chocolate Bundt Cake on Liv For Cake
Erin's Mini Gingerbread Cake on Erin Made This
Christmas for me is mostly about food, family, old traditions, and making new ones. For most of my life, we celebrated with a big family Christmas at my parents' house. 27 years worth, to be exact (minus my first when we lived elsewhere, the time my grandpa had surgery (he's okay, don't worry), and last year when I was too pregnant to fly home)! Even as an adult when I had my own house and even after I was married, I would stay the night at my childhood home in order to wake up on Christmas morning with everyone. For all of the joy, memories, and especially the food, we mostly have my mother to thank.
For those 27 years, she shopped to feed a crowd, meal-prepped and planned for days, and cooked countless meals during the entire holiday celebration. There were always at least 9 of us in the house, but usually more and once over 30, when all my family from Hawaii flew in. We would all try to help here and there, but really it was my mom that made Christmas happen. Did I mention she is an amazing cook too?
Until I was much older, I really only thought of the dinner we would have on Christmas night - always with the honey-baked ham, spinach salad, and scalloped potatoes. It took me some time to see all the behind-the-scenes work she put into not just that memorial meal, but the breakfast we would have the following day before my aunt and uncle drove back home, the Christmas Eve dinner we would all enjoy after coming home from Mass, and everything in between.
The Christmas the year that Brett and I were engaged, we decided to start a new tradition to help mom out - we would be in charge of Christmas Eve dinner. Each year, I enjoy the task of coming up with a new dish to serve the family (I don't cook much for large crowds, so this has always been somewhat of a challenge and learning experience) including the time we made fresh pasta (everyone ate at different times that year since we couldn't roll it fast enough and didn't think to make it ahead to dry), the individual beef wellingtons (this was actually a huge success somehow!), and the time I thought it would be clever to make a variety of pot pies (I think I got the idea from an old Martha Stewart magazine).
Our first Christmas as a married couple, we even hosted the dinner at our townhouse. That year, the menu included beef burgonione, crusty garlic bread, and a croquembouche for dessert. A croquembouche for dessert the very first time I hosted Christmas Ever dinner? Had I lost my mind? Perhaps...
A croquembouche is a tower of cream puff held together with caramel and decorated with spun sugar. Gravity-defying tower + boiling sugar? Yup, I had gone mad. Nevertheless, I tried to pull it off - I didn't, but I sure tried. I remember trying to assemble the whole thing while Brett and my cousin watched a Lost marathon in the living room - them being captivated by all the happenings on the island, me trying to balance a pile of irregular-shaped puffs and spinning sugar around the kitchen like a wizard with a whisk instead of a wand.
I needed to make the food in advanced since we were supposed to eat after church. I didn't think this through when coming the pasty cream and sugar elements. I ended up popping the whole thing in the refrigerator to keep the cream chilled, but all of the sugar ended up melting. Good bye tower!
Did I ruin Christmas? No. Will I attempt to make a croquembouche again some day? You betcha! I've teamed up with Egg Farmers of Canada to make sure that we don't get defeated by our #ScrambledPlans and get back in the kitchen even after disaster strikes. If anything, you will be humbled by the experience, no? So for this year, I made Christmas Cream Puffs with cranberry and raspberry compete - aka my "Redemption Puffs." And while they are not stacked sky-high into one mind-blowing tower of confections, the piped pastry cream and simple berry on top do resemble little towers of second-chances.
I am such a sucker for any custard-related dessert, so naturally I think these puffs are heavenly. The cream puffs are filled with real-deal pastry cream (not just whipped cream), specked with traces of real vanilla bean seeds throughout. The pastry cream is so silky and smooth - I could probably eat it with just a spoon (again that is, since I already did - hehe).
To off-set the richness, I added a small layer of sweetened cranberry-raspberry compote. I simply modified my regular go-to cranberry sauce, tossed in some fresh, whole raspberries, and placed a large dollop in each pate a choux shell before piping in the pastry cream. The red berries not only add a touch of tartness for balance but make these Christmas Cream Puffs ultra festive.
Pate A Choux (for the shells)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 to 5 large eggs
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
2. Place the butter, water, and salt in a medium saucepan, Over medium heat, melt the butter and bring to a boil.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in all of the flour with a wooden spoon until completely mixed in - taking care to mix in any flour stuck in the corners. It will resemble mashed potatoes at this point.
4. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook the flour. Continue to stir for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until all of the dough pulls from the sides of that pan and forms a ball in the center.
5. Transfer the dough to the bowl of an electric mixer. With the paddle attachment, cool the dough by mixing it on low to until it is just warm to the touch.
6. Begin adding the eggs, one at a time. Be sure that each egg is thoroughly mixed in before adding in the next. You may only need 4 eggs, so be careful not to go too quickly. Or even 4.5!
7. Continue mixing and adding in the eggs until the batter forms a "V" when pulled up out of the bowl with a spatula. Similarly, if you lift the paddle attachment, a tongue of batter should form on the end. The dough (or batter) should soft but not runny. It should be pipe-able, but still be able to hold it shape. Not sure if you added enough eggs? Try piping a small amount!
8. Place the batter in a large piping bag and chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
9. Snip the end off of the piping bag and pipe large mounds of batter - about 2-inches in diameter (if using a reusable canvas bag, fit it with a plain round tip).
10. Use a slightly dampened pastry brush or clean finger to gently press down any peaks that may form.
11. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the choux paste "puffs"
12. After the outside begins to set, drop the oven temperature down to 350 and continue to bake until the puffs are golden on the outside and dry on the inside (about 30 minutes total for this size)
13. Turn the oven off and crack the door. Allow the puffs to continue to dry out in the oven for another 15 minutes or so.
Note: Unsure if your puffs have cooked long enough? Crack one open! The inside should be airy and dry - not at all doughy or eggy. They should feel light and hollow.
Vanilla Pastry Cream
1 vanilla bean, seed scraped out
1 3/4 cups whole milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
6 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Place the butter in a heat-safe container. Set aside.
2. Place the vanilla bean seeds, pod, and milk in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low until it begins to simmer.
3. Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar, yolks, and cornstarch.
4. Temper the hot milk into the egg mixture by whisking in a little bit at a time in order to gradually bring up the temperature of the eggs. Discard the vanilla bean pod.
5. Return the mixture back to the saucepan and heat over medium-high.
6. While stirring constantly, bring the mixture up to a boil - the cream will be thick and will "pop" slowly.
7. Strain the mixture with a mesh sieve and into the container with the butter. Stir to combine.
8. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the cream. Refrigerate until cool and thick.
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
zest of 1/2 lemon
1. Combine the cranberries, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high until the juices begin to boil.
2. Lower to a simmer and continue to cook until the berries begin to burst and the sauce starts to thicken - about 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh raspberries, crushing them slightly against the sides of the pot. Stir in the lemon zest.
4. Transfer to a heat-safe container and chill until cool. The compote should thicken as it cools.
1. Carefully cut off the top 1/3 of the puffs with a serrated knife and set aside.
2. Spoon in a couple teaspoons of the compote in the bottom of each puff.
3. Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the pastry cream. Pipe the cream inside of the puff, and slightly out of the top.
4. Replace the tops of each puff on top of the pastry cream. Dust with confectioner's sugar, if desired.
5. Pipe a small "star" of cream on the very top of each puff and place on a single raspberry.
Now that I've shared one of my big blunders in the kitchen, what are some of yours? Please let me know that I am not the only one!
*This post has been sponsored by the Egg Farmers of Canada. Compensation has been provided. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I'm afraid I have a problem. I can't seem to decide what I like best: fresh, homemade challah bread or bread pudding? Pretty terrible problem to have, right? Fortunately, I don't have to decide because today's fresh bread turns into tomorrow's treat! (The left-overs, that is)
Challah, or "egg bread" is a yeast-risen dough that is enriched with eggs. It is pillow-soft and ever-so-slightly sweet with a golden, chewy crust. Challah is a traditional Jewish braided bread. It is fairly simple to put together, making it perfect for celebrations as well as everyday eats!
Although simple to make, challah does take some time and planning. Since challah does require a bit of commitment, it is best not to let any of our hard work go to waste. Fortunately, bread pudding is even better with day-old bread. So when you have left-over challah, make bread pudding!
Bread pudding itself is the ultimate comfort food. Warm, custardy, sweet, and spicy, bread pudding is usually baked up in a batch and shared with loved ones. Top it with caramel or whipped cream, and it becomes the coziest treat of all! Wake up to warm breakfast pudding when you have a house-full of guests over the holidays or pass it around the table for dessert.
I'm always tempted to make bread pudding because it is so easy to make and is a great use of leftover bread, eggs, and milk. Really, it's almost like cheating! Get the whole family involved by having the little ones cut up or even tear apart pieces of bread. Then, all you have to do is simply stir all the liquids and eggs together, toss with the bread, then bake!
Cinnamon and nutmeg are the usual suspects when it comes to bread pudding. Instead of these typical offenders, I decided to use a masala chai-inspired spice profile. Cardamom, clove, and ginger, along with cinnamon, now what is cozier and tastier than that?! I replaced the milk in a typical bread pudding recipe with chai tea mix and enhanced the egg custard base with ground spices. To serve, I drizzled on some cinnamon caramel sauce along with some tart, tangy cranberry compote to cut some of the sweetness.
Challah Chai Bread Pudding serves 6 to 8
3 to 4 cups day-old challah bread (cut into 1-inch cubes, tough crusts removed) 1 cup chai tea mix 3/4 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/2 teasponn vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon salt 3 large eggs
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the bread pieces in a large bowl.
- Mix together the chai tea, cream, sugar, and spices. Whisk in the eggs and pour over the bead. Let sit for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, butter and sugar a medium baking dish (mine was 9X6 inches: an 8-inch square would work great, too).
- Transfer the soaked bread and any left-over liquids into the prepared baking dish.
- Bake until the bread pudding if puffed, toasted on top, and set in the center (about 35 minutes).
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Homemade Challah Bread
2 teaspoons active dry yeast 1 cup warm water 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons salt 3 large eggs 1 egg yolk 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
- Stir the yeast into the warm water with a pinch of sugar. Let sit until the mixture begins to foam (about 5 to 10 minutes).
- Meanwhile, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer.
- Stir in 2 eggs, egg yolk, and the oil.
- Add the yeast mixture and stir until the dough resembles a rough, shaggy mess.
- At this point, attach the dough hook to the stand mixer. Knead the dough on low for about 6 to 8 minutes. Alternatively, knead by hand until the dough is soft and stretchy (passing the window-pane test).
- Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Let the dough rise in a warm corner until it doubles in size (about 1 to 2 hours).
- Punch down the dough then let rest for about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Divide the dough into six equal pieces. Roll the pieces into long ropes, about 14 to 16 inches in length.
- Line the ropes of dough up so that they are parallel to each other and pinch the ends together.
- Braid the strands together then tuck under both ends.
- Transfer the braided dough to a line baking sheet and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let rise again in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for about 45 minutes. If left to rise in the refrigerator overnight, remove the dough about 2 hours before baking to allow it to come to room temperature.
- Whisk the remaining egg and brush the egg-wash over the entire surface of the dough.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven (375 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 35 to 40 minutes or until deep golden.
- Let cool for about 20 to 30 minutes before slicing.
The Almighty Egg Eggs have always had 14 important vitamins and nutrients including protein, iron, and vitamin A. Natural goodness, brought to you by your local egg farmers.
For more information about the natural goodness of eggs, visit eggs.ca
Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Egg Farmers of Canada via Mode Media Canada. The options expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the options or positions of Egg Farmers of Canada