Blackberry Cream French Toast – An easy make-ahead family breakfast or brunch that’s loaded with tasty blackberry jam and cream cheese!
This morning I made this heavenly baked Blackberry Cream French Toast. It was luscious, all spread with cream cheese and jam. I served it to my husband, two sons and 2 year old grandson Mikey, and boy did they eat it up. Between us, we nearly polished off the entire pan!
The center was so soft and the top was still crunchy – I think I outdid myself this time. Leaving nothing to chance, I topped it with more silky cream cheese mixture and handfuls of fresh berries. And just to be sure it was truly decadent, I drizzled (poured) on the maple syrup.
If you are looking for a brunch recipe that can be baked right away OR assembled the night before, this one is pretty amazing. You can also try our all-time favorite Egg Sausage Cheese Breakfast Sliders or Cinnamon Walnut Monkey Bread.
how to make blackberry cream french toast
This recipe is easy. If you can make sandwiches, you can seriously bake this incredible french toast.
- Start by gathering your ingredients. If you are baking this dish right away, preheat the oven to 375°. Grease or spray a 9 x 13 baking dish. I use my favorite ceramic oval baker because it’s pretty to serve it in too!
- Use a sharp knife to slice the bread into 16 slices. Discard or save the ends to use in another dish. Honestly, I feed mine to the dogs…I know, it’s bad, but those sad eyes get me every time. They know a sucker when they see one.
- With a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon zest. I like to make double the amount of cream cheese mixture so I can serve it with the french toast. *The cream cheese needs to be soft to do this. If yours is still hard or you are like me and forgot to set it out, unwrap it, put it in the bowl and microwave for 15 second intervals until it’s softened. You don’t want it to get warm.
- Spread half of the slices with the cream cheese mixture and half with jam. Put the slices together like you are making sandwiches, and arrange in the baking pan.
- Now, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Pour this over the bread slices, turning the slices to coat. Most of the mix will be absorbed by the bread but it’s okay if a little is in the bottom of the pan.
- Bake on the center rack of the oven for 45 -55 minutes until the bread is firm when gently pressed and the top is crispy and golden. If it feels mushy, keep baking for a while longer, checking every 5 minutes
- *If you are making this the night before, cover the pan with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. Let the pan stand on the counter while you are heating up the oven.
- Serve the french toast hot with more cream cheese mixture, fresh blackberries and maple syrup.
tips for making perfect oven french toast
- Too much dairy or not enough mixing results in a thin custard mixture. This will make the bread soggy. Measure carefully and whisk the eggs into the dairy until completely combined.
- Use the right bread. Standard sliced loaf bread is not sturdy enough to absorb the custard and retain a nice texture. An Italian or French loaf are great for baked french toast, as well as Brioche or Challah.
- Soak the bread for at least 15 – 20 minutes before baking. The entire slice should be coated and soaked in the custard. You might need to press down on the bread to help the custard absorb.
- Adjust the sugar – you don’t want the custard to be overly sweet if you are going to serve the french toast with syrup or dusting with powdered sugar.
how to easily soften cream cheese
Softening cream cheese is simple and takes just a 15 seconds. Completely unwrap an 8 ounce bar of cream cheese and place on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 15 seconds. Repeat at 15 second intervals until desired softness is reached.
Blackberry Cream French Toast
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter or spray a large baking dish.
- In a small bowl, using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon zest until smooth.
- Cut bread loaf into 16 even slices. Reserve loaf ends for another use. On one side of bread, spread 8 slices with cream cheese mixture then spread remaining 8 bread slices with jam. Place jam spread slices onto cream cheese slices, like you are making a sandwich. Fit bread slices into baking dish; covering bottom of dish.
- In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and sugar until frothy.
- Pour egg mixture over bread in dish. Turn bread slices so all are covered in egg mixture. Leave remaining egg mixture in bottom of dish. Let sit for 15 minutes to allow custard to absorb.
- Place pan on center rack of oven and bake for 45 – 55 minutes, until golden brown on top and bread slices are cooked thru. Lightly press on top of bread, if firm then dish is done.
- If center is still soft, keep baking, covering with foil to prevent excessive browning, until firm.
- Allow to cool slightly before cutting. Serve with additional cream cheese mixture, fresh blackberries and maple syrup.
- *Cover pan and refrigerate up to 12 hours if not baking right away.
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