How to make your loaf cake stand out for the holidays

Everybody has their favorite loaf cake. They are simple, quick, and usually a go-to when you've forgotten that thanksgiving is going to be pot luck this year. I must say, there is nothing worst than showing up to a holiday get together with the same dessert as someone else. When you spend your day slaving away on that fresh roasted pumpkin pie recipe that has been passed down to you from a neighbor, and someone else shows up with a pumpkin pie made with store bought filler and a freezer crust. UGH. It kills me.

Don't let your masterpiece cake get overlooked. Since loaf shaped cakes are so popular, its usually the one that there's 3 or 4 of them on that thanksgiving dessert table. And I can honestly say, they usually are not a show stopper. Well here is the solution. Its a simple finishing trick that will surely take your dessert to the next level. The best part? It's only going to take you 2 minutes.

Break out the powdered sugar people, its time to get dusting. Oh, and not just that quick bakery style dust of sugar to finish the top. Want to know my trick for a Festive Banana Bread?

Fall leaves and powdered sugar. That's it! I bring a bag when I go for a walk with Gunner and Ivy, and grab the prettiest leaves I can find. (If you are concerned about them not being clean, you can use store bought synthetic leaves or paper leaves) I usually will pick the leaves directly off the tree, they are cleaner and more pliable. You don't want leaves that are completely dried out because they will break up on you.

After your cake is completely cooled, place it on some parchment on the counter for easy clean up. Lay the leaves over the top of the cake in a pretty pattern. (I usually just scatter them) Remember, you want there to be space between the leaves so the powdered sugar gets on the cake. You can use toothpicks to hold the leaves on if the top of your cake is dome shaped. Then put your powdered sugar into a fine mesh strainer and get sprinkling. Feel free to be heavy handed with the sugar. After its good and coated. Carefully take the leaves off, remove the tooth picks if you used them, and Voila! A festive loaf cake that will grab the eyes of anyone scavenging the dessert table before dinner. (I wont name any names.)

This technique also works great for other occasions and lots of other desserts. For Christmas, I love to use holly berries and pine needles for a wintery feel atop my berry cobbler. You can also try paper snowflakes on a luscious pecan pie! How do you take your holiday dessert to the next level? Show us your powdered sugar stenciled desserts, or other creative ideas by commenting below.

Stuck trying to come up with something to make for the holidays? Banana bread is classic, and super simple. Plus I have come up with two substitution options for you in order to add a healthy twist, without loosing any flavor! I know, that sounds too good to be true. I promise. I have made these cakes side by side plenty of times, and the only difference is color. The flavor and texture is exactly the same. So go for the classic simple option, or substitute two ingredients for a healthier version. Either way, you wont be disapointed. And you will turn even banana bread haters into lovers of this cake! (believe me, it has happened right before my eyes.)

Banana Bread


10 minutes


1 hour

  • 3 ripe bananas (peeled)

  • 1/2 cup cane sugar OR 1/2 cup coconut sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour OR 1 cup of stone ground whole wheat

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F

  2. Grease a 9" X 5" loaf pan with coconut oil or butter

  3. Cream 3 over ripe bananas in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment

  4. Add sugar and mix until combined.

  5. While the mixer is stirring, add 1 egg, vanilla, and cinnamon.

  6. Add flour, baking soda, pinch of salt.

  7. Pour in melted butter and turn the mixer off when fully combined.

  8. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes.


Check for doneness by inserting a skewer into the center of the cake, when it comes out clean the cake is baked. Over baking will result in a dry cake.

Do not use both flours and both sugars at the same time. Choose one or the other.

Enjoy the holiday.



Recipes are never rules!

Use your judgment; if you've made it before and it has worked by shaking not stirring, try it! If the recipe says something will brown after 12 minutes in the oven and your's hasn't browned yet, leave it until you think its brown enough. 



Taste, taste, taste!

Any good chef will tell you to taste your food multiple times as you cook. Stick your spoon in and see if it tastes good. Is your food seasoned well? Can it use more salt or pepper? Would you like it if it were a bit sweeter? Everyone's palate is different, if you think it needs something; Go for it!




Its just food... so have some fun!


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