7 Sweet Holiday Baking Recipes The Whole Family Will Love

By Madge Maril Premium


These sweet holiday recipes are family recipes from the editors of Family Tree Magazine; which means that they’ve been tweaked, perfected and burnt over the generations. There are also a few recipes from our book, From the Family Kitchen, as well. Have fun and feel free to substitute as need be for food allergies or preferences.

holiday baking dessert recipes family traditional

Andrew’s Mom’s Zucchini Bread



Andrew Koch, editor of Family Tree Books, cherishes this zucchini bread recipe. “My mom makes this for my sister and me on special occasions: Christmas Day, first days of school and birthdays,” Andrew writes. “When I was in college, she even made some for me and my roommates during final exams!”

You will need: 
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups zucchini, unpeeled and grated
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice

Grease and lightly flour two loaf pans. Mix eggs, vanilla, oil and zucchini in a large bowl. In another large mixing bowl, combine both mixtures and stir well. Pour half of mixture into each loaf pan and bake at 325 for one hour. Cool in pans on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pans and allow to cool completely on wire rack. Makes two loaves.


Mocha Cream Cake

This recipe comes from Mrs. A. E. Goodrich. It’s a family recipe, and does miss a few details like temperature of oven. Experiment with this recipe to create your own unique twist.
You will need:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sweet milk
  • 1 and a 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 and a 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 egg whites, beaten to a stiff froth.
First, cream the butter and sugar together; add milk, then flour and baking powder; last, the egg whites. Bake in three layers in a moderate oven.
For the filling: make a scant 1/2 cup of strong Mocha and Java coffee, reserving 2 tablespoons for the icing; to the remainder, add sweet milk to make one half pint; put this in a double boiler and heat; when cool, stir in 1 teacup sugar; 2 tablespoons flour; yolks of 4 eggs, thoroughly beaten together. Cook 15 minutes, stirring often; when lukewarm, beat in slowly 2 tablespoons of butter.
Spread the filling between the cake layers and finish the top with the following icing: Beat together 1 teacup powdered sugar and white of one egg; add the two tablespoons coffee and beat till light and smooth.

Scripture Cake

This recipe, by Mrs. A. A. Anderson, is the perfect Christmas family treat. It’s a simple cake with raisins, figs and almonds. Each ingredient and step cleverly nods to passages from the Bible. Feel free to substitute with what may be in your pantry.
You will need:
  • 1 cup butter (Judges 2:25)
  • 3 and a 1/2 cups flour (I Kings 4:22)
  • 3 cups sugar (Jeremiah 6:20)
  • 2 cups raisins (I Samuel 30:12)
  • 2 cups figs (I Samuel 30:12)
  • 1 cup blanched almonds (Genesis 24:17)
  • 1 cup water (Genesis 24:17)
  • 6 eggs (Isaiah 10:14)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (Exodus 16:21)
  • A pinch of salt (Leviticus 2:13)
  • Spices to taste (I Kings 10:10)
As for directions for this special recipe, Mrs. A. A. Anderson advises, “Follow Solomon’s advice for making good boys, and you will have a good cake. Proverbs 13:24.”

Diane’s Cupcakes

This recipe comes from Family Tree Magazine’s editor, Diane Haddad. She writes, “My sister taught me the secret of starting with cake mix and making it more special with some easy substitutes.”
You will need:
  • Your favorite cake mix
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Your favorite frosting (Mine is cream cheese from my mom’s old cookbook: I beat together 1/2 cup softened butter and 8 oz. softened cream cheese, add a splash of vanilla and 4 cups powdered sugar, plus a tablespoon or two of milk)
  • Sprinkles, mini chocolate chips or other decoration
Prepare your favorite boxed cake mix, except use melted butter instead of oil (the same amount) and the buttermilk instead of water (also the same amount). If using a chocolate mix, try sprinkling a tablespoon or so of cocoa powder into the dry mix. Beat the batter with an electric mixer instead of by hand. Fill cupcake liners and bake according to the instructions on the box. Let cool, frost and decorate.

Fairy Ginger Bread

This recipe is from Mrs. T. W. Brotherton, and is marked as perfect “for the little ones”.
You will need:
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon soda
  • 4 small cups of flour, sifted
Beat the butter and sugar together until light, then dissolve the soda in the milk. Mix the milk and soda into the butter and sugar, then add the sifted flour. Turn your baking pans upside down and wipe until very clean, then butter well. Spread the mixture upon them very thinly, bake in moderate oven until brown. While the gingerbread is still warm, cut into squares and slip carefully off.

Oatmeal Pecan Cookies

This oatmeal pecan cookie recipe is from my grandmother Fern’s personal recipe box. However, the handwriting doesn’t quite match the other ones. I wonder if it may be one of her sisters’ recipes.
You will need:
  • 4 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Pecan halves

Mix the oatmeal, oil, brown sugar and salt. Let that mixture stand overnight. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Drop batter by teaspoonful onto a grease cookie sheet (or non-stick pan). Place one pecan half on top of each cookie. Bake in a 375° oven. Let the cookies stand for a couple of minutes before eating.

“Maw-maw” Marge’s Coffee Cake

Vanessa notes: Marge and her family lived next door to us for 21 years and she became another grandmother to me. She still likes to tease me about how I’d often come over for my second breakfast at her house when I was a toddler.
My mom got this recipe from her, and it’s her yearly contribution to Christmas brunch.
  • 1 box of yellow cake mix (plain, not the one with pudding)
  • 3 eggs (1 for the base, 2 for the filling)
  • 2 sticks of butter, each melted, but not hot (1 for base, one for filling)
  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13×9 baking pan.
For the base: Hand beat the yellow cake mix, 1 egg, and 1 stick of butter, melted, together. Spread in the bottom of the pan.
For the filling: (you can use an electric mixer for this) Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add 2 eggs and the vanilla, and continue to mix until blended well. Add in melted butter, then carefully add confectioner’s sugar a bit at a time to avoid it making a mess. Once blended well, spread over the cake mix. Bake for 40-50 minutes; center should be a little soft and leave a few crumbs on a toothpick when pressed into the center.