With all the tins of cookies and the pretty packages of homemade caramels and truffles that get passed around this time of year, I would like to put in a good word for the humble loaf cake. Here is a gift that keeps on giving: a slice for breakfast, a slice for afternoon snack, a slice before bedtime! Want a few recommendations for surefire gifting wins? Here are five of my personal favorites.
Loaf cakes and quick breads are a versatile bunch. You can make them in large 8x4 pans — a great gift for a whole family to share, or you can divide the batch into mini-loaves and treat your friends to their own personal nibble. The recipe stays the same for either size, but mini-loaves will bake more quickly. Start checking them about halfway through the suggested cooking time for a large loaf — all sizes of loaves are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Loaf cakes and quick breads don't require much gussying up to make them perfect for gift giving. Bake them in disposable tins — I love the pretty gilded ones from King Arthur Flour (see link below). If the loaf is going directly to the giftee within a few hours, I just tie a pretty ribbon around the middle of the loaf. If it has to travel a little ways, I slip it into a clear cellophane treat bag and cinch it closed with some baker's twine.
Do you have a favorite loaf cake or quick bread you love to bake (or receive!) this time of year? Do share!
5 Great Loaf Cakes & Quick Breads for Gifting
Sources for Baking & Gift-Giving Supplies
(Image credits: Faith Durand; Emma Christensen)