From Our Family To Yours: 5 Of InspireMore’s Favorite Holiday Recipes

little girl hovering over red cake next to woman holding pumpkin pie

The holidays are delightful for a number of reasons, including spending time with family, exchanging gifts, and admiring the festive decorations. Here at InspireMore, one of our favorite things about this time of year has to be the food.

That’s why we decided to share some of our most delicious holiday cheer with you, and what better way to do that than with some of our families’ most beloved recipes?

1. Kaylee’s Colorful Cake.

Let me introduce the world to Tan Tan Cake. It originally started off as Red Red Cake (as you can see in the picture), but my family eventually got tired of dying the cake batter so it has since become… tan. This recipe, originally discovered by a dear friend of my grandparents, is a fan favorite for all occasions, but for the holidays specifically, we love to whip up this three-tiered masterpiece and serve it with ice cream a few hours after our big brunch. Tan Tan Cake will forever hold a nostalgic part of my heart, and I hope it will make you smile, too! 

Kaylee as a kid posing next to a piece of the cake.
Courtesy of Kaylee Bowers and family

Cake (recipe doubled for extra fun):

In a large bowl, add:

  • 1 cup Crisco shortening
  • 3 cups sugar
  • Cream those together
  • 4 eggs, beaten thoroughly
  • 1/3 cup Nesquik
  • 2 ounces red food coloring
  • 2 ounces water

Then add the dry ingredients:

  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Add those ingredients alternately with:

  • 2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of vinegar until dissolved, then add to the cake.

Bake for 30 minutes (20 minutes for cupcakes) at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Frosting (recipe tripled to match cake):

  • Soften and chop 4 sticks of butter
  • Add 3 cups of granulated sugar and cream together
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • Mix in ¾ cup of flour
  • Add a tablespoon of milk at a time (about 5 tablespoons) until the frosting is the correct consistency.

2. Corinne’s Addicting Cookies.

My mom may not have come up with this recipe herself, but that hasn’t stopped my siblings and me from calling them Mom’s Famous Cookies. Practically every time we visit, she sends us off with a container of these teeny-tiny chocolate chip gems. Then we simultaneously cheer and groan because we know we simply CANNOT eat just one! When I asked my mom for pictures of the cookies in question, she had this to say: “Great, now you made me eat one!†

Pro tip: Use a tablespoon to scoop the batter onto the cookie sheet to keep them adorably tiny.

Cookies cooling on a rack.
Courtesy of Corinne Sanders and family

3. Scott’s Crowd-Pleasing Tomato Pie.

Every Fourth of July, my family and I go up to our cottage in Michigan, which is nestled within a very small private community on the river that consists of 12 cottages in a semicircle bordering the waterfront with a large shared yard between them. Everyone there is extremely close, and on Saturdays we have a group picnic for lunch where everyone brings a dish. My grandmother, and now my mother, would always make their famous Tomato Pie and it always reminds me of summertime, the river, and great times with family! This pie pairs well with good company.

Group of neighbors waves at the camera
Courtesy of Scott Jones and family

4. Thea’s Secret Pumpkin Pie.

Thanksgiving would not be the same without the delicious scent of this pie filling my childhood home while baking in the oven. I knew I needed to learn how to make it if I wanted this pie to be on the Thanksgiving Day menu in my own home. So I learned, and to be honest it is the only pie I have attempted to make from scratch. The others come compliments of Publix.

Although Thea’s pumpkin pie recipe is a family secret, you can always try this excellent recipe.

Thea poses with a pumpkin pie.
Courtesy of Thea Deaton and family

5. Abby’s Fudgy Brownies.

My mom was an avid outdoorswoman in her day, and my family’s beloved brownie recipe came from ‘The Hungry Hiker’s Book of Good Cooking.’ This recipe promised brownies that could withstand days in the wilderness.

Maybe that’s true, but they never lasted more than two days in our household. They were simply too delicious. More fudge-like than cake-like, perfectly gooey, and indescribably rich, these brownies line stomachs much more quickly than backpacks.

Mom would make these brownies for any remotely special occasion. To me, though, these brownies are more than just a sweet treat. They taste like home and a maternal hug with the promise of adventure.

Abby and her family.
Courtesy of Abby Bowman and family


  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup margarine or butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups walnuts, chopped (optional)

Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch pan, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a saucepan over low heat. Put the mixture into a bowl and let it cool somewhat. Stir in the sugar and salt. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each one, but do not beat – this would make the brownies dry and tough. Add the flour, stirring only until mixed. Add the vanilla and the nuts. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Take the brownies out at the appointed time even if they seem slightly underdone, rather than relying on a “toothpick test”– they should be quite moist.

We hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do! After all, what are the holidays without good food to share with your loved ones?

From our InspireMore family to yours, we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

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