Culinary Corner: This sweet cake is perfect for any holiday celebration

| Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Here's a fruit/coffee cake to bake that will be the pride of all the junior chefs. It has both a festive flavor and it looks like a giant candy cane.

These make a great gift when you go visiting or caroling. The recipe will yield some for gifts and for home.

Candy Cane Coffee Cake

(makes three loaves)

2 packages (1/4ounce each)active dry yeast

1/2cup warm water (110-115 degrees)

2 cups warm sour cream (110-115 degrees)

6 tablespoons butter, divided 1/3cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons salt

53/4to 61/4cups all-purpose flour

11/2cups finely chopped dried apricots

11/2cups finely choppedmaraschino cherries

2 cups confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons cold water

additional cherries, halved

In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add the sour cream, 4 tablespoons butter, sugar, eggs, salt and 2 cups of flour, and then beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Punch the dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and then divide into thirds. Roll each portion into a 14-inch-by-7-inch rectangle on a greased baking sheet.

Combine apricots and cherries and spoon the mixture down the center of the rectangle.

On each long side, cut 34 inch wide strips about 2 inches into the center. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling.

Pinch the ends to seal. Curve the top to make the top of the candy cane.

Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Melt the remaining butter and then brush over the warm coffee cakes.

Combine confectioners' sugar and cold water until smooth, and then drizzle over top. Garnish with cherries.

• • •

Here's a simple cheesecake that will be a great dessert after a family or company holiday get together.

The almond crust along with the chocolate drizzle really go well with the pistachio filling.

Pistachio Cheesecake

(makes 12 to 14 servings)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2cup ground almonds

1/2cup cold butter or margarine

6 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese softened

1 can, (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant pistachio pudding mix

chocolate syrup

whipped cream and chopped pistachios for garnish

In a small bowl, combine the flour and almonds and cut in the butter until crumbly.

Press onto the bottom and 1- 14 inches up the sides of a greased 10-inch springform pan.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, milk and pudding mixes until smooth. Add the eggs and beat on low speed just until combined.

Pour the mixture over crust.

Place the pan on a baking sheet. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until the center is almost set.

Remove and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Carefully run a knife around edge of the pan to loosen. Cool for one hour longer and then refrigerate overnight.

To serve, remove the sides of the pan. Slice the cheesecake and drizzle the slices with chocolate syrup.

Garnish with whipped cream and pistachios.

As always, enjoy!

David Kelly is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media. He has been sharing recipes and cooking tips in Culinary Corner for 21 years.

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