Christmas is always a special time in the year. I feel so blessed that I’ve grown up with such wonderful memories of past Christmases. While I definitely remember the coveted toys and little blue Tiffany boxes that Santa left me under the tree, what I truly cherish and think about with a deep sense of nostalgia are the little traditions I grew up doing. One of those was the artful task of stringing popcorn together to garnish the tree. My sister and I would share this task together before hanging other edibles, like candy canes, all over the tree (while secretly eating a popcorn or two in the process!). I also remember helping my dad hang the large, multi-color outdoor bulbs that were so popular in the ’90s. He’d climb up on his ladder and nail the lights up above the garage as I acted like his dutiful assistant. But I would be lying if I didn’t say the baking festivities were my favorite tradition. I mean, all roads lead back to dessert for me. Whether they were sugar cookies that needed to be frosted or a classic yellow cake who’s batter needed whisking, I was there to help before you could even call my name.
So to say that baking during this time of the year is “fun” would be an understatement for me. Baking for Christmas is more than that; it’s bringing back every wonderful childhood memory I have from this time of the year while spending time in the kitchen doing something I’m so passionate about. I realize not everyone is a baker, many of my family and friends included. But I think that’s what makes baking even more rewarding to me; I can share my passion with others and they’re not only responsive, but truly appreciative for anything I make. This year, I created an orange chiffon cake for one of my holiday parties. It was a recipe I obtained from Heather’s blog Sprinkle Bakes, and was a neat twist on some of the more classic cakes I make. This orange chiffon cake is clearly orange-flavored with the use of orange juice and orange extract. It’s extremely light and fluffy, almost like angel food cake. I made the cake with a marshmallow buttercream frosting, which consisted of your classic buttercream frosting and a 7 oz. jar of marshmallow cream mixed in. This cake is on the sweeter side, but goes great with a cup of coffee or tea. I decorated the cake with some greens I had on hand (sage, rosemary, and pine), along with some pecans and cranberries. It’s a beautiful, festive cake to make for the holidays. It can also be made ahead of time and left on the counter (in a covered cake stand) without drying out, which is great for the busy hostess!