I grew up around my mother’s extended family, a small but vibrant group of people who love the Christmas holidays. We all decorated, shopped, did crafts, had parties and cookie exchanges, and baked. It’s the baking that’s become a tradition of mine, something I can do even in my small apartment, and that I share with my two sons (along with making salt dough cookie ornaments). We plan out what to bake each year, and who will get what treats, and then we shop for ingredients, and starting after Thanksgiving, we bake something once a week or so. Usually, we focus on cookies (this year my sons want to bake M&M cookies, cinnamon snowballs, pinwheel cookies, and sugar cookies—they love decorating those last ones. We’re also experimenting with non-gingerbread cookie houses) but I also bake a quick bread, or three. A family favorite from friends in Canada (where my uncle is from) is Newfoundland Christmas Cake (or Cherry Cake). Its pound cake-like texture is sweetened and made holiday-cheery by the addition of maraschino cherries. The cake can be baked in either two eight inch loaf pans, or a tube pan. The tube pan is prettier, but I did loaves because it was simpler and easier to share.
Do you have a favorite Christmas recipe?
Newfoundland Cherry Cake
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (the original uses almond extract)
2 ½ cups all purpose flour (I use unbleached, but bleached should work too)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup hot milk (I used whole milk)
20 Maraschino cherries, drained, cut in half, and dusted with flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a tube pan or two 8-inch loaf pans (or muffin tins if you want a sort of cupcake).
Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, blending to combine then mix in vanilla. Starting and ending with the flour, mix in alternately with the hot milk. Mix in cherries with a spoon. Pour batter into prepared pan (s). Bake for one hour (for the tube pan; for 2 loaves, bake around 40-50 minutes; for muffin tins, bake around 20-30 minutes. Top should be browned and tester comes out clean.) Cool on a wire rack (take out of pans). Share and enjoy!
For another quick holiday trip to Newfoundland, check out Celia’s new spicy romance short, A Sweet and Spicy Christmas! Only on Amazon. Want Celia’s news and reader specials? Sign up for her newsletter
A Sweet and Spicy Christmas
December 1, 2018
Heat level: Spicy
For Nicola Perry, Christmas Eve in St. John’s, Newfoundland is just another lonely closing at the café where she works. Worse, her trusty truck won’t start, and the sole person there to help is an untalkative customer, who turns out to be one of those entitled, arrogant Macleod brothers. With no other free way to get home, she accepts his ride, but despite thinking he’s not the man for her, she can’t help imagining what other rides could be had on his lean, hot body.
Ryan Macleod intends to take full advantage of Nic’s presence. The curvy baker is sexy as hell, and more fun and smart than he’d imagined, so he busts past his shyness to do whatever he can to keep Nic in his bed, and bring her into his life. But Nic claims their night together was just a one-off, and he’s not one to push in where he’s been told not to go. When Santa delivers Nic to him for a second chance, he has to speak his truth, or risk losing his last shot with Nic.
Heat level: spicy
Length: 50 pages
Celia Juliano learned to read at the age of two, beginning her lifetime love of books, especially those with a happily ever after. As a girl, she made up recipes and stories of fairies and finding love. Now she writes delicious, heartfelt romance where love triumphs. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and occasionally indulges her hobbies of sampling dark chocolate, planning vacations, and procrastinating.