Baked Cinnamon French Toast is going to be your new favorite morning treat. Why? Because it’s full of divine flavors, varying textures and bright colors – and, if that isn’t enough, it’s super easy to prepare ahead of time. To make this baked French toast, simply steep slices of purchased cinnamon raisin bread in a sweet-creamy mixture of egg, sugar, milk, cream and vanilla, then bake it all in a water bath. Easy, luscious, elegant and impressive!
I first made this crowd-pleasing Baked Cinnamon French Toast several years ago for my mom on Mother’s Day. It now makes a regular appearance for special breakfasts and brunches in our house. Basically a breakfast bread pudding, its slightly custardy, French toast consistency gives it a comforting, recognizable feel.
The secrets to Baked French Toast’s appeal
I believe the two real secrets to this easy baked French toast’s appeal are the cinnamon and the raisins baked into the bread. Cinnamon is a strong, pungent, slightly woody spice that gives this dish a warm blast of flavor, in an earthy sort of way. And, the raisins provide subtle hints of fruit and bits of chewiness.
How to make Baked Cinnamon French Toast
Here is a summary of the easy steps in this scrumptious dish (full details below in the recipe!).
- Prepare the bread.
Brush slices of purchased cinnamon raisin bread with butter and place in one layer in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
- Mix and add the custard.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, sugar, whole milk, cream and vanilla. Pour over bread slices to soak completely.
- Let rest.
Refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours, to allow the custard mixture to soak into the bread.
- Prep the pan and bake.
Place baking dish on a larger rimmed baking sheet or dish. Fill outer dish with 2 cups water. Bake until lightly browned on top and custard is set.
- Let sit, garnish and serve.
Remove baked dish from the oven and let sit for a few minutes at room temperature, then top with fresh berries and garnish with a dusting of powdered sugar.
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What to serve with Baked Cinnamon French Toast
Here are my favorite dishes to serve with this baked French toast:
- Spiced Bacon Twists
- Banana Mango Smoothie
- Sausage, Cheese and Hash Brown Strata
- Mini Bagels with Egg Salad and Smoked Salmon
Baked Cinnamon French Toast is full of divine flavors, varying textures and bright colors – and is super easy to prepare ahead of time. Purchased cinnamon raisin bread slices are steeped in a sweet-creamy mixture of egg, sugar, milk, cream and vanilla, then baked in a water bath. Easy, luscious, elegant and impressive!
- 8 slices good quality cinnamon raisin bread
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 4 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups water, for baking
- 3 cups mixed fresh berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
- Powdered (confectioners’) sugar, for garnish
- Brush both sides of the bread slices with the melted butter. Line a 13-by-9-by-2 inch glass baking dish with the buttered bread slices. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Add the sugar, milk, cream and vanilla and whisk until well mixed. Slowly pour through a mesh strainer over the top of the bread slices, covering them evenly and completely. If the bread slices float to the top of the egg mixture, gently push them down with your finger. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
- If refrigerated all day or overnight, about 1 hour before baking take the baking dish out of the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before proceeding.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the baking dish on a large baking sheet with sides (the higher the sides, the better) on the middle rack of your oven. Pour 2 cups hot water into the baking sheet (around the baking dish). Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the custard is cooked (it should spring back when you push lightly on the top).
- Cool slightly, sprinkle with fresh berry mixture and sift powdered sugar over the top. Cut into 12 pieces and serve.
Note: Baking time should be increased 5 to 10 minutes if you do not use a glass dish.
Make ahead: Casserole can be assembled but not baked up to 24 hours in advance. Bring to room temperature before baking.
Keywords: quick and easy, make ahead, easy entertaining
If this recipe looks familiar to you, perhaps it’s because it’s in my cookbook A Well-Seasoned Kitchen® under its earlier name “Cinnamon Raisin Bread Custard with Fresh Berries.”