12/14/2014 10:14 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

9 Easy Holiday Cakes and Quick Breads

1. Gingerbread


Old-fashioned gingerbread is the perfect treat to keep on hand during the holidays. There are many different kinds -- from the darkest, densest cakes made with robust molasses and stout beer to the lightest, most delicate cakes flavored only with brown sugar and a hint of ground ginger. This recipe is gingery enough to please the even most serious gingerbread aficionados yet also mild enough for young children, who gobble it up! GET THE RECIPE

2. Harvest Grape & Olive Oil Cake


Studded with juicy red grapes with hints of vanilla and citrus, this is a simple and lovely Italian-style cake -- perfect for breakfast, brunch or tea but also delicious topped with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream for dessert. It's called a "harvest cake" because it's traditionally made during the grape harvest season to use up the small grapes not going for pressing. GET THE RECIPE

3. Chai Spiced Banana Bread


Chai is the actual word for tea in many countries but when we say chai in the States, we're usually referring to Masala chai, which is a smooth and calming beverage made of black tea, milk and fragrant Indian spices. Its flavor goes beautifully with banana bread, so here I've taken one of my favorite banana bread recipes and subtly infused it with warm spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and allspice. GET THE RECIPE

4. French Apple Cake


Made with chunks of sweet apples nestled in a tender, buttery rum cake, this is my favorite apple cake -- and it couldn't be easier to make. GET THE RECIPE

5. Chocolate Banana Bread


We usually think of banana bread as something to eat for breakfast (or, let's be honest, something to cut a tiny slice from every time you walk through the kitchen) but this one is so decadent, you could really top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and call it dessert. Chocolate chips and cocoa powder give it deep chocolate flavor, and sour cream makes it rich, tender and ultra-moist. GET THE RECIPE

6. Rum Cake


My grandmother loved to bake and was known near and far for her boozy butter and rum soaked pound cake. The cake was the hit of every family gathering, and no one ever passed through her kitchen without sneaking a thin slice. It's easy to make and perfect for the holidays! GET THE RECIPE

7. Cranberry Nut Bread


Sweet, orange-scented and chock-full of cranberries and walnuts, this quick bread is perfect for the holidays. It freezes beautifully, so you can bake several loaves now and defrost as needed. GET THE RECIPE

8. Sticky Toffee Banana Cake


This warm banana cake drizzled with hot toffee sauce and topped with sliced bananas and pecans is a cozy, delicious treat. The recipe is a fresh take on the classic English dessert, sticky toffee pudding -- which is not really pudding at all, but rather a warm, moist cake made with finely chopped dates covered in a sticky toffee sauce. GET THE RECIPE

9. Molton Chocolate Cakes


Molten chocolate cakes -- also known as chocolate lava cakes -- are rich individual chocolate cakes with oozing molten centers. The original recipe was created by master chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten fortuitously, when he pulled a chocolate cake out of the oven before it was done and discovered the center to be wonderfully warm and pudding-like. Surprisingly, they're easy enough for even the novice baker to make at home. They can also be prepared ahead of time, stored in the fridge and then baked at the last minute -- perfect for stress-free holiday entertaining! GET THE RECIPE