Cherry Cheese Sweet Bread {a holiday danish that’s been in my family for YEARS}

We all have a few traditions that we tuck away and only use during special occasions or holidays, right?  And because they are traditions, they have so many memories attached…..even if it’s just the mention of some random recipe.  Something that my mom has made for years and years and YEARS, is Cherry Cheese Sweet Bread.  It’s a recipe that she adopted from a close family friend and is something that was only made at Christmas-time in our home growing up.  And holy smokes…….the memories that this little danish evokes is something that I truly cherish.  I love it.


However, yeah, the whole gluten free has thrown a wrench in our holiday danish.  A good portion of our family eats gluten free (believe me,  not by choice. boo! ;) ) but the traditional cherry cheese sweet bread is something that my mom still makes.  Every year.  She makes it for the gluten eaters (ha….like it’s some club that they’re all in!) but it’s also something that she always makes in abundance and gifts to friends and neighbors.  It’s just something she’s always done.  And the tradition continues……even though she can’t even have a single bite of it anymore.  (And yeah, we’ve tried it with other GF dough recipes.  It’s just not the same.)  However, I like that my mom keeps the tradition strong because I want my kids to have some of those same memories of kneading, spreading, weaving, baking, etc……as they make these Sweet Breads to give away to friends/neighbors and also enjoy themselves.  Yum. 


So this year, I took pictures while my mom made our favorite holiday Sweet Bread.  And Elli and Connor got their little hands involved and helped a bit.  It made my heart so happy!

***Just because we ONLY make these at Christmas time, doesn’t mean you couldn’t make this any time of the year.  A baked treat is always a delicious way to tell a friend thanks or a great companion to a dinner invite.



One batch makes 3 twelve-inch sweet breads.  So, keep 1……and gift away the other 2.  Your neighbors will love you! 



See?  Wouldn’t you want your crazy neighbors knocking on YOUR door…..delivering a little bit of goodness?  (you’re not crazy mom, just me! when I made us pose with a plate of sweet bread slices. ha!)



And if you’re not a cherry fan, use raspberry/blueberry/lemon filling instead.  Mmmmmm, they’re all so good paired with that creamy cheesy filling!



See?  Don’t you kinda want a bite?  (I bet your guests will want a taste or two for your New Year’s bash!  Hurry…..there’s still time!!)



Thanks for such a warm (and delicious) Christmas-time memory mom!  I hope to pass on the same to my littles! :)




Do you want to adopt these little sweet breads as your own holiday tradition??

(Or do you want to just give the a try for your New Year’s Party??)



***To make this, it’s easiest if you have a heavy duty mixer.  You can still make this if you only have a hand mixer, or are just using a spoon and your 2 hands…..but the heavy duty mixer makes it a lot easier. :)


Okay, let’s get to it.


Here’s the infamous Silk family recipe:


Cherry Cheese Sweet Bread

  • 1/2 c warm water
  • 2 Tb yeast, plus a dash of sugar
  • 1/2 cup scalded milk (meaning hot, just before boiling)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter (or margarine)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 4 1/2 – 5 cups flour


  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 21-oz can of cherry pie filling (or filling of choice…..raspberry, blueberry, lemon, etc.)


  • 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 3 Tb softened butter
  • 1/4 cup milk (approximately…..always differs)
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (add more if you like the flavor)


  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts/pecans (optional)



First, combine yeast and warm water in a small bowl and add a dash of sugar.  Stir minimally but enough to help dissolve the yeast (my mom uses a toothpick).  Let it sit and foam up and grow while you continue onto the next step.


Scald the milk in a saucepan or in the microwave (really hot but just before boiling) and then add in the butter until it’s completely melted.  Pour into your mixer bowl and then add sugar and salt.  User your paddle to combine and let the mixture cool off a bit.  Then add your 2 slightly beaten eggs, yeast mixture, and 2 cups of flour……..mixing slowly as you add each one.  Then, if using a heavy duty mixer, mix for 3 minutes with a paddle.  (If you’re mixing by hand or using a hand mixer, mix really well until very well blended.)


Then switch to a dough hook and add 2 more cups of flour, a little at a time. 



Then, allow your dough hook to beat your dough another 5-7 minutes.  (If kneading by hand, knead until really well combined……could take up to 10 minutes.)  If the dough is not pulling away from the sides of the bowl, add another 1/2 cup of flour (or if  you’re kneading by hand and it just keeps sticking to your hands).


Now, grease the inside of a large bowl…


…and place the dough inside.


Cover with a small towel and place in a warm spot and let raise for 1.5 hours, or until double in size.  (my mom turns on her oven to low for a minute, then turns it off, creating a nice warm spot)


When the dough is ready……it will looks nice and full and doubled.


Next, punch down the dough with your hands and then divide into 3 even balls.  Let rest for 10 minutes.  (While resting, blend the cream cheese and powdered sugar for your filling, until smooth.)


Then, grab one ball and roll into a 12 inch square.


Then spread a 1/3 of the cheese filling into a 3 inch strip down the center of the dough.


And then spread 1/3 of the cherry pie filling (or whatever flavor you prefer) on top. (My mom said that the “Kroger” brand has the most cherries inside the can…….more than Comstock or other brands she’s tried.)


We also made a lemon one in this batch.  That’s just a little ol’ jar of lemon curd.  It was the favorite this year. :)


Then cut both sides into 1 inch strips.


Starting at one end, begin alternately folding over strips to the opposite side…..


……creating a nice woven look.  Be sure to push down the end into the dough just a bit with your finger, to help secure them in place.


Once you reach the end, tuck the ends under.


Use 2 spatulas to carefully lift the bread onto the back side of a tin foil covered LARGE cookie sheet.  Place the bread onto the cookie sheet sideways, so that all 3 sweet breads can fit.


Repeat with the other 2 balls of dough.  (If the sweet breads are too long, scrunch them in just a bit…..until they fit.)


Cover with a small towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. (use the oven trick from above again)


Then place into preheated oven, at 350 F, for 25-30 minutes……covering with foil for the last 15 minutes (so the top won’t burn).


Yum……look at all that puffy dough, stuffed with that sweet and creamy filling.  Mmmmmmm. 



Keep the sweet breads covered while you make the frosting. 


To do so, combine all frosting the ingredients in the mixer, until consistency is thin enough to spread on top.  (Or if you’d rather a thin glaze, add a little more milk to thin it out.)  Divide between the 3 breads and spread (or drizzle) on top.  Then sprinkle with about a 1/4 cup of the chopped nuts for each one.


Let frosting set for 30 minutes before covering with plastic wrap. (otherwise it will stick)


Then wrap and gift away……



Or slice and enjoy…….



And every time you take a bite, enjoy it for me!  I truly miss this stuff! :)







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Filed under Desserts, Family, Featured, Holiday, Recipes


40 Responses to “Cherry Cheese Sweet Bread {a holiday danish that’s been in my family for YEARS}”
  1. 1
    Nicky H says:

    That looks SO YUMMYYYYY!!! Thanks for sharing! I’ll definitely try it when I get home!

  2. 2
    Erin says:

    1) That is too bad you have not found a GF version to compare; food traditions run so deep and I’m sure it’s a little test for you not to enjoy.
    2) Your sequined shirt! I am seeing and loving sequins everywhere on clothing lately.
    3) Your maiden name was Silk? That is a fantastic last name! I would have been tempted to keep it. :) (I first thought you were saying that this is a famous recipe from the back of a soy milk box. Ha.)

    • 2.1
      Ashley says:

      1. Yes, totally a test! And we have tried different bread recipes but without gluten, bread just isn’t as fluffy and chewy. No fun. But I still let my kids eat plenty of this stuff! In the mean time, I’ll keep trying GF recipes! :)
      2. I KNOW….they’re everywhere! And I love it.
      3. And haha, I had to laugh about the Silk soy milk thing. I know, not a common last name…..and I always loved it. I went from something pretty unique to something very common……Johnston. It’s a good thing I love the man! :) I guess I could have still kept it though. Instead, I use it as my middle name and dropped my given middle name, Nicole. Win-win, right? :)
      4. I wish everyone would number their comments/questions… sure keeps things straight in my brain!!!!! :)


  3. 3
    Kristy says:

    Wow this looks sooooooo goooooood. Amazing. And my cupboards are soooo empty and I am feeling so lazy. Must make soon!!

  4. 4
    Chantal says:

    Hi Ashley,
    First question is it o.K. to use salted butter?
    Can you freeze any left overs (there is only me and my daugher Ashley) ?
    The step by step makes it easier to follow.
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful recipes with us.
    Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family !

    • 4.1
      Ashley says:

      Yes, salted butter is great. And hmmmm, I’m not sure about freezing. We have never had any left over to freeze. :)


      • 4.1.1
        Amanda says:

        I’ve made a similar bread for a baby shower, and you can freeze the dough before you roll it out and assemble it. Just let it come back up to room temp in the fridge and on the counter before you continue. I would say to just make a half-sized loaf, and freeze the rest of the dough for later!

  5. 5
    Leah says:

    Looks like a delish recipe. Would love to try this out for new years! Happy new year! X

  6. 6
    Jenny says:

    Hey Ashley! This looks divine! I love cherry, cream cheese, and carbs so this is right up my alley! 4 questions:

    1) Is that 1/2 cup or 1/2 cube of butter?

    2) I usually only buy unsalted butter. Would I just add additional salt to the recipe?

    3) How many pieces do you cut each loaf into?

    4) How long does this stay fresh? I’m thinking of making it for a brunch next week but I would need to make it a day or two before.

    Thanks so much!

    • 6.1
      Ashley says:

      Haha…..I love all 3 too!! And look, more numbered questions! Love it! :)

      1. Sorry, it’s 1/2 CUP….I just edited that. Thanks!
      2. I’m not sure what kind of difference it would make, since there’s other salt in the recipe but for a 1/2 cup of butter, adding a 1/4 tsp of salt will equal the salt of salted butter.
      3. Depends on thick you slice them, but we usually slice it into about 10 slices.
      4. I would say no more than a day ahead. Of course, it will still last for a few days but because there are no preservatives, it is the best within the first day or two.

      You’re so welcome! Enjoy!!!

  7. 7

    Wow, that looks delicious!! Anything with cheese filling is great with me. I will definitely save this recipe for Valentines Day. Sweet treat on a sweet day! Will you be sharing this recipe on Pinterest?

    Thanks for sharing.


  8. 8
    Grace says:

    Looks so yummy! I wish you would create a printable version of your recipes. :)

  9. 9
    Stella Marie says:

    This looks delicious!!! I definitely want to try this one – love the idea of the lemon! :-)

  10. 10

    Hi Ashley. I’m going to gift this recipe to myself – courtesy of your lovely Mom! Your instructions are fantastic and easy to follow, so I am definitely looking forward to giving this a go. Family recipes are like little treasures, so I cannot thank you enough for daring to share it with us fellow bloggers! The recipe will have to be adapted to our Australian measurements, but that’s easy enough to do. (I must remind myself to ask my brother in TX to send me a set of American measuring cups and spoons!) Wishing you a very Happy and Safe 2013! heather x

    • 10.1
      Denise says:

      Just a quick measurement question, I’ve found several delicious looking recipes that have always been in other measurements. Do you have to weigh your flour, sugar etc… or do you have measuring cups as well? Just wondering. :)

  11. 11
    Svenja says:

    Hey Ashley,

    that looks yummy!
    I keep thinking about how to combine this with our homemade dandelion jelly …

  12. 12

    Thank you, probably I found out what to cook & bring over to my New Year’s eve party :)

  13. 13
    Jenna says:

    Just made this fantastic recipe today with homemade Lemon Curd. T.H.A.N.K Y.O.U. for sharing this absolutely delish recipe with us! I love that the recipe produces enough for gifts as well!


  14. 14
    Eva says:

    This looks do delicious. I am making one to keep and 2 to take to our annual family tamale New Year’s Eve party. Yummy. I think I am going to try it with strawberry filling. Thanks for the recipe.

  15. 15
    Regina says:

    Ashley… is so obvious were you get your good looks from…….your Mom is a beautiful lady too!! Thanks for sharing the delicious looking recipe. I hope to have the time to bake some soon. Wishing you and your whole family a very Happy Happy New Year filled with many more blessings.

  16. 16
    Emma says:

    Just made them. We scarfed one hot and will save the other 2 for breakfast. I made 2 lime curd ones and 1 cheery. So delicious! My 8 kids and hubby thank you for the recipe.

  17. 17
    Denise says:

    These look so delicious!!! I’m definitely going to try this and the combinations of fillings are endless. Thanks for sharing one of your family recipes!!! :D They look better than our strudels.

  18. 18
    Adina says:

    Oh I wish I had time to make this! Looks so delish.
    I didn’t realize it was so easy wrap up a loaf in such a beautiful way. I’m going to try to do the crisscrossing fold over on my meat loaf. so easy and so beautiful.
    I’ll be saving this recipe for a special time. Thank you!

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Kathy says:

    Have you tried Better Batter yet? It was my go to flour when I was sticking to the gluten free diet. has many recipes that seem like they would work for this… the method would be just a tad different… The challah bread recipe might do it, but she sells flour that is a cup for cup flour replacement that you could use your recipe with

  21. 21
    Susan says:

    Thanks so much for this lovely recipe. I saw this on Pinterest at about midnight on Dec. 30 and was in the kitchen with surrounded by the smell of yeast by 7:30 the next morning (really, is there anything better in the kitchen than a fresh yeast dough?).

    These were amazing – four of us devoured two of the pasteries for desert on New Year’s Eve. I made three different flavors – blueberry, lemon curd and strawberry/rhubarb. OMG – SO GOOD!

    The only problem I had is that I am prone to “departing the text” – I tend to make recipes my own, and took some liberties here, too. My bad! I added more cream cheese and fruit filling than the recipe called for (I’m such a glutton!) and it oozed out and made the bottoms a bit soggy. Oh, well – they still tasted wonderful. Will definately make these again. Thank you for sharing! :)

  22. 22
    Charity says:

    I made these with blueberry filling… so delicious! Even my husband loved them, and he isn’t a big sweet bread fan. I totally forgot to frost them, but they were still SO GOOD. Thanks for sharing the recipe! =)

  23. 23
    Didi says:

    Made 3 variations today – cherry w/ sliced almonds on top, peach w/ chopped pecans on top, and lemon curd (no topping besides icing) – and I can’t decide which is my favorite! And neither can my 4-year-old little boy, who happily sampled each flavor. THANK YOU for sharing this wonderful (and wonderfully simple) recipe. One of my new year’s resolutions is to create traditions for my young family, now that my son is old enough to start understanding traditions, and this recipe will definitely go into our family recipe book as a new year’s treat – and a new tradition! :)

  24. 24
    Anna says:

    Looks delicious but seems like a lot of work… Rising and kneading… Not my favorite but going to try it…

    • 24.1
      Anna says:

      So I made them… After I took them out of the oven, they fell and the dough wasn’t flaky at all – very blah… Well, my first time so let’s count it almost a success

  25. 25
  26. 26
    Carrie says:

    I think I have died and gone to heaven. This looks amazing trying for this weekend :) Thanks so much!

  27. 27
    Cheryl says:

    I just tried this recipe with some very light modifications – it was wonderful!! And so easy, too! I made two large sweet breads instead of 3 – I have a super large cookie sheet that fills my whole oven rack.

    I also added an egg yolk to the filling (to give it that “cheese” color and a teas. of vanilla. AND I added a teaspoon of fresh ground nutmeg to the dough.

    I have a tip for shaping the loaves to the exact, same dimensions every time: for 2 loaves, I cut 2 sheets of 10 x 15 parchment paper, then rolled out to the edges. The best part?? I use the paper to transfer to the baking sheet and to the wire racks for cooling – perfect every time, with no chance of breakage!!!

    I bake with yeast quite often and this dough is soft, tender and just a tad sweet. My grown son asked for a cream cheese coffee cake – he was thrilled with this! Thank you for sharing!

  28. 28
    Susan Hawkins says:

    Do you refrigerate the leftovers or OK to sit out? Any reheat suggestions?