A simple St. Nicholas Day celebration adds a bit of welcome festivity in the early days of Advent. It provides an opportunity to tell the story of St. Nicholas, a man of faith whose goodness and generosity grew out of his love for God. It enriches our understanding of Santa Claus by showing the real historical person who inspired the familiar legend and traditions.
So, tell a story of St. Nicholas’ generous example of giving in secret to those in need. Then encourage children to identify a kindly “Nicholas deed” to do for someone else. Have children fill their shoes with pieces of carrot or bits of hay for his white horse or donkey. Place shoes outside bedroom doors or on the hearth. See that a candy treat (a candy cane represents Bishop Nicholas’ crozier) and simple gift appears by morning on December 6th.
On December 6th, my sister-in-law makes her St. Nick Cake! I was unable to make the cake for the first time this year because I hurt my shoulder. Bummer! She sent me the recipe so I can share it with all of you!
St. Nick Cake
- 1/2 cup Butter
- 2 cups Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 2 tsp Vanilla
- 1 tsp Lemon Zest
- 3 cups Flour
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 3/4 cup Evaporated Milk
- 2 1/2 cup Maraschino Cherries or Gumdrops tossed in flour
In your mixer, cream the butter and sugar together well. Add the eggs one at a time beating slowly after each. Then mix on medium speed until fluffy. Add the vanilla and zest and mix well. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk mixing between each addition and ending with the flour mixture. If using candied cherries, drain and slice them in half and place on paper towels to dry before coating in flour. Make sure you toss the cherries or gumdrops in flour so the don’t sink to the bottom of the pan. Fold in your cherries or gumdrops. Pour the mixture into a greased bundt pan or tube pan and bake at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Cool the cake on a rack for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Gently tap the bottom of the pan to remove the cake.