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Bake sales popular for Christmas shopping crowds

This week's recipes include Apricot Cranberry Loaf, Pineapple Date Bread and Whole Wheat Fruit Loaf
From the Kitchen by Joyce Walter

Christmas bake sales traditionally bring out shoppers clamouring for home-baked tarts, pies, loaves, fudge and other items that seem to taste much better in the rush to get that last package of shortbread sitting on the table.

This week’s recipes from Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen offer three ideas for loaves that will be a hit on the bake sale table.

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Apricot Cranberry Loaf

2 cups unsifted flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup diced dried apricots
1 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup chopped, toasted almonds
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. grated lemon peel

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Add apricots, cranberries and almonds. Toss lightly until fruits are coated.

Beat eggs, milk, butter and peel in small bowl. Pour over dry ingredients and stir until dry ingredients are just moistened.

Pour into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60-65 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Finish cooling on rack. Makes 1 loaf.

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Pineapple Date Bread

2 cups flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1-8 oz. can crushed pineapple
1 1/4 cups chopped, pitted dates
1 cup chopped pecans
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8x4 inch loaf pan. Line pan with waxed paper then grease paper.

In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine pineapple, pineapple liquid and dates. Cook over low heat, stirring until liquid is absorbed and mixture is dark and thick. Stir in nuts. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk and oil. Add date mixture and stir until smooth. Add to flour mixture, stirring only until flour is moistened.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 60 minutes or until bread tests done.

Cover the bread lightly with foil during the last 15 minutes of baking time to prevent excess browning. Cool in pan on wire rack.

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Whole Wheat Fruit Loaf

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
1-14 oz. can sweetened, condensed milk
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple
2 cups candied orange peel

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour loaf pans.

In a medium bowl, mix together flours, wheat germ and soda and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine eggs and milk and blend well. Stir in fruit and raisins. Fold dry ingredients into fruit mixture. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake for 2 hours or until centre springs back when lightly touched and top is golden. Place pans on rack and cool completely before turning out. Wrap tightly in foil. May be frozen.

Joyce Walter can be reached at