Candy Cane Coffee Cake

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This Candy Cane Coffee Cake is the perfect addition to a holiday brunch.

candy cane coffee cake with a bow

Candy Cane Coffee Cake is my number one favorite thing to make during the holiday season. It’s not only delicious, but it’s so cute and impressive to make and serve. There are no actual candy canes in this coffee cake. Instead, the candy cane-shaped pastries are filled with a raspberry sauce and drizzled with a sweet glaze. Everyone loves these!

adding the raspberry sauce to the dough for the candy cane coffee cake

How to make candy cane coffee cake:

Make the dough (following the directions), and separate it into three equal parts. Yes, this recipe makes 3 candy cane coffee cakes. I’m not really quite sure how you would cut the recipe into thirds to just make one… so just go ahead and make three. Give two away to neighbors as gifts and keep one for yourself! Roll the dough into a rectangle. This dough is easy to work with. It’s incredibly forgiving, and it actually moves where you want it to go.

Spread this wonderful raspberry filling (you’ll make this too, but don’t worry… it’s really simple) down the middle. You can use any sort of favorite filling, but since this is a candy cane coffee cake, red fillings will look best.

making a candy cane coffee cake

Cut half-inch strips with a sharp, thin knife along each side of the filling.

forming a candy cane coffee cake

Cross strips over the middle in a weave fashion- one side and then the other, etc. Keep weaving all the way up. Tuck in the ends. Gently stretch the whole weaved dough into a longer piece. (Again, the dough is really easy to work with and shouldn’t fall apart.) Turn the upper portion to form the top of the candy cane. Gently move the dough around until it looks the way you want. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour until doubled in size.

baking a candy cane coffee cake

Bake for a short 15 minutes.

adding glaze to a candy cane coffee cake

Drizzle an almond-flavored glaze over the warm cakes. 

adding a bow to a holiday coffee cake

Let the glaze harden and wrap a little festive ribbon around the cane. The ribbon is optional, of course, but it looks awfully cute.

slice of candy cane coffee cake

Slice and serve!

Make ahead tips:

Prepare these candy cane coffee cakes to the point right before rising. Cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, you can let them rise and then bake and glaze them. I haven’t tried freezing them yet, but if I did… I’d probably prepare them through baking and then freeze them at that point. Then glaze them after defrosting and right before serving.

If you’re looking for more recipes for your holiday brunch, you might consider making this Farmer’s Casserole and my Overnight Eggnog Coffee Cake. Holiday Breakfast Casserole and Fruit Salad with Poppyseed Dressing would also be delicious brunch additions.

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5 from 1 vote

Candy Cane Coffee Cake

Perfect coffee cake for a holiday brunch!
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Rising Time: 1 hour
Servings 36 servings (3 cakes)
Calories 162kcal
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword candy cane coffee cake, coffee cake



  • 12 ounces frozen raspberries
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom


  • 2 envelopes (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup water (warmed to 105 to 115 degrees F)
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt


  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted (divided)
  • 9 teaspoons water (divided)
  • 3 teaspoons almond extract (divided)



  • Place all the filling ingredients in a saucepan. Heat until the raspberries 'melt,' and stir until slightly thickened. Remove from heat. It will thicken a little bit more upon cooling.


  • Dissolve the yeast in warm water in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk, sugar, butter, eggs, baking powder, salt and 2 1/2 cups of the flour. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping the bowl constantly. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally. Stir in enough remaining flour to make the dough easy to handle. (The dough should be soft and slightly sticky.)
  • Grease 3 cookies sheets. Turn the dough onto parchment paper that has been sprinkled with flour; gently knead about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic (Or you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook to do the kneading for you). Divide the dough into 3 equal parts (should be a little over a pound each). Roll one part into a rectangle, 15x9-inches. Turn the parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and peel away the parchment. Spread 1/3 of the raspberry filling in a strip about 2 1/2 inches wide lengthwise down the center of the rectangle. Make cuts in the dough at 1/2-inch intervals on both 15-inch sides almost to the filling. Fold the strips over the filling, overlapping and crossing in the center (crisscross back and forth).
  • Carefully stretch the dough until about 22 inches long; curve one end to form top of cane. The dough is very forgiving and easy to work with, so just gently move it around to get the look that you want.
  • Repeat the preparations with the 2 remaining balls of dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour (or until double). The dough is ready if an indentation remains when touched.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake 13 to 17 minutes (or until lightly browned and slightly firm to touch).


  • Prepare 1 recipe of glaze at a time... whisk together 1 cup of powdered sugar, 3 teaspoons water and 1 teaspoon extract and pour into a small zip baggie. Snip off a corner and squeeze to drizzle the glaze onto one of the warm cakes. Follow the design of the weave for the best look.
  • Let the glaze set for at least half an hour. Wrap a festive bow around the longer part of the cake. Ready to serve!



  • *If your frozen raspberries are not sweetened, toss them with 1 tablespoon of granulated white sugar.
  • *Make ahead: These cakes can be partially prepared the night before. Prepare until the point just before you let them rise. Cover the cookie sheets well with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Unwrap in the morning, let them sit at room temperature for about a half hour and then cover and continue with the recipe... let rise, etc.
  • *To simulate a warm place to rise, turn your oven on to 500 degrees F. for one minute. Turn on the oven light too. Turn off the heat after a minute and place your cake in the slightly warmed oven for rising. Don't forget to turn the oven off!


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 162kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 167mg | Potassium: 86mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 113IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg

Candy Cane Coffee Cake with a ribbon


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  • Joann Roff wrote:

    did something very wrong. Blew up like helium balloons! LOL! I have to laugh but thank you!

  • Heather wrote:

    Can this be frozen?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I haven’t tried freezing it, so I’m not sure.

  • Leslie wrote:

    This looks so pretty! I bet it’s also delish. I’m stopping by from Pinterest. Happy new year!

  • Jean Otterson wrote:

    I’ve been looking for this recipe for years except i put cherries in mine thanks for posting it

  • Sara wrote:

    I have been making this for at least 3 years now and everyone loves it, thanks for sharing

  • Nancy Till wrote:

    Saw this on your blog last year, but when you repeated it this year, 2009, I knew I had to make it. The cake part was easy to put together and the raspberry filling was like picking them from the bush. My candy cane braiding could use some practice, but after it rose and was baked it didn’t matter. It was all in the flavor. Good thing it made 3, as my husband & I ate one entire one after singing at the Christmas Eve Service.