Christmas Coffee Cake

Christmas Coffee Cake 1

As a wedding gift many years ago, my mom gave me a book filled with recipes she made for our family when I was growing up. Oh, how I treasure this precious gift for the sweet memories it brings back from my childhood and for the opportunity to share these recipes with my own family now. During the holiday season, I find myself referring to this book often for its fabulous cookie and dessert recipes. And buried in the middle of this book is a favorite my mom made almost every Christmas season ~ Christmas Coffee Cake.

I can tell this is a recipe my mom made often because it contains only a list of the ingredients (and some don’t even have measurements) and no directions. Recently, I made up a couple of batches of this nut-filled coffee cake for a Christmas party and gifts. My family indulged in a few pieces, slapping on some butter and yes, enjoying it with a cup of coffee.  What a treat! I hope you find this recipe as delicious as we do. And I wish you a very Merry Christmas! :0)

Christmas Coffee Cake

  • 2 packets of yeast
  • ¾ cup warm water, divided {you’ll use a ¼ cup to dissolve  the yeast, then add the rest later}
  • ½ cup sugar {preferably Turbinado sugar}
  • ½ cup scalded milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup melted shortening {I used palm shortening, which I found at my natural grocery store.}
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 5 to 5 ½ cups flour

Cinnamon Sugar Nut Filling

  • ¾ cup melted butter
  • 3 cups ground walnuts
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon

Icing: 2 cups confectioners sugar and 2 TBSP milk


1. In a large bowl, add yeast and ¼ cup warm water and allow the yeast to dissolve. Stir in sugar. Add remaining ½ cup water, scalded milk, eggs, and melted shortening. Stir until well combined. Mix in salt and 5 cups of flour. If dough is too wet, add remaining flour ¼ cup at a time. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and pliable, about 5 minutes. Placed in a large lightly greased bowl. Cover bowl with a towel and place in a warm spot in your kitchen. Allow dough to rise for at about two hours.

2. While the dough is rising, combine ingredients for the nut filling in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. When dough has risen, preheat the oven to 350° F.

4. Remove the dough from bowl and cut into two to eight portions, depending on how large you want your coffee cakes to be. {For larger groups, I tend to divide the dough into two. As gifts for friends and family, I use smaller portions, usually six or eight.} Shape each portion into a ball and roll out on a floured surface until about ⅛- to ¼-inch in thickness. Spread a thin layer of nut filling on the dough. Start on one end of the dough and roll up into a log and form into a “C” shape. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet with the seam facing down (if the seam is up, the nut filling will likely spill out during baking). Repeat for remaining portions. {I’m usually able to get all of the prepared coffee cakes onto two large cookie sheets.}

5. Place cookie sheets with coffee cakes in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the coffee cakes are lightly brown. Remove from oven.

6. Prepare the icing by combining the confectioner’s sugar and milk in a medium size bowl. Drizzle on warm coffee cakes.

7. Slice the coffee cake log while still warm and serve with butter. It is also good served at room temperature. Makes two large coffee cakes, 4 medium-sized cakes, or 6 to 8 small cakes.

3 comments on “Christmas Coffee Cake

  1. Hi Juliet,
    I remember helping my mother make this recipe when I was young. I just called her to see if she still had it on file. She found it, but it was pretty yellowed and faded. I am very happy to have found your recipe with all of the ingredients and actual measurements and to guide me.
    Happy Christmas!

    • Hi Liz. I’m so happy that you stopped by and found this recipe. I hope you enjoy it and that it brings back wonderful memories! Merry Christmas! :0) Juliet

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