Night Before Christmas Coffee Cake

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This Night Before Christmas Coffee Cake is the perfect addition to your holiday breakfast or brunch.

slice of Night Before Christmas Coffee Cake

A really nice gift to give yourself on Christmas morning is to prepare your special holiday breakfast the night before.  No one wants to spend a beautiful holiday morning in the kitchen.  Spend it with your family instead, and choose things to make that will require very little prep and cooking on Christmas day!  This Night Before Christmas Coffee cake is one of those make-ahead recipes.

How to make Night Before Christmas Coffee Cake:

This recipe calls for using a yeast-based dough.  Don’t let that scare you.  It’s really quite easy to make.  Just let your mixer combine the ingredients, and then you’ll set your dough aside for an hour or so to rise.  Then you’ll put the dough into your pan, cover it with the topping, and put it in your (cold) oven to sit overnight.  That’s it!!

The next morning, you’ll turn on the oven and bake the coffee cake for 30 minutes.  You can do this while everyone is still asleep (so it’s warm and ready to eat when everyone wakes up.)  Or you can pop it in the oven while you’re all opening gifts.  It’s so nice to have it ready to go in the morning and know that you’ve done all of the work the night before!

Night Before Christmas Coffee Cake

Toppings for Night Before Christmas Coffee Cake:

You have a choice of toppings you can use for this cake.  It has a typical cinnamon crumb, but you can choose to add nuts (I suggest walnuts or pecans) or cherries.  Chopped Maraschino Cherries or candied cherries add a festive look to the top of this Christmas coffee cake!  Add both nuts and cherries, if you’d like.

If you don’t like nuts or cherries, you can just stick with the simple cinnamon sugar topping.  I know there are picky people and certainly people with nut allergies, so pay attention to everyone and make in a way that everyone can enjoy.

Night Before Christmas Coffee Cake

What are the best things to serve with coffee cake?

Be sure to have a big pot of coffee to serve with your coffee cake– since that’s what’s meant to be served with it!  You can also cut up some fresh fruit or make some quick scrambled eggs.  Keep it simple!

slice of Night Before Christmas Coffee Cake

If you’re a lover of good coffee cakes, my all-time favorite recipe for coffee cake is this Classic Crumb Cake.  The recipe originally came from one of Martha Stewart’s old cookbooks.  It’s a traditional coffee cake made with no yeast or rising, and it has a wonderful THICK layer of crumb on top.

If you’re looking for more recipes that would be nice for Christmas morning, you might like to this Egg- Mushroom Kielbasa Bake and then make my sister Susie’s Breakfast Potatoes to go with it.  We also like to make a batch of Rudolph’s Brunch Punch or drink Cranberry Mimosas while opening gifts.  Gingerbread Donuts and Candy Cane Coffee Cake are nice recipes for a Christmas Breakfast too!

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Night Before Christmas Coffee Cake

A delicious breakfast cake that you can prepare the night before Christmas!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rising Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12 servings
Calories 300kcal
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword christmas coffee cake, coffee cake



  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup warm milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
  • 1 .25-ounce envelope active dry yeast (dissolved in 3 tablespoons warm water)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped maraschino cherries or candied cherries



  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the sugar and butter. Mix in the eggs, milk, dissolved yeast in water, and vanilla. 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt; add to the wet mixture and beat until incorporated. Set the bowl aside, cover loosely with a clean dishtowel, and let the dough rise until doubled in size (1 1/2 to 2 hours).


  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, melted butter and nuts (you can use the cherries for a festive look if you don't care for nuts).


  • Punch the dough down and spread into a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Sprinkle the topping on top.
  • Place the pan in a cold oven and cover with a clean dishtowel. Let it sit overnight in the cold oven to rise. You can turn on the oven light to add a little bit of heat to the oven.


  • The next morning, remove the dishtowel (don't forget this step!!), turn the oven to 350°F. and bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm.


  • *This makes one large coffee cake, but you may also opt to split the dough in half and prepare two 8-inch round or square pans instead.  This is what the photos reflect in the recipe post.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 245mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 300IU | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1.7mg
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  • Paula Morgan wrote:

    Do you have any more recipes, much like this one, that might be “Lactose Free”? I am trying to find new and enticing recipes for my family, since so many family members are Lactose intolerant.

    This recipe looks easy to make and sounds fantastic! But, with the butter and milk, my family wouldn’t be able to enjoy it.

    Thanks in advance for any ideas. Your help would be greatly appreciated.