13 Beautiful Desserts

These picture-perfect desserts will be the star of your holiday table.

Triple-Chocolate Cake Recipe

Photo: Levi Brown

Wow-Factor Desserts

Pie is mighty nice. In fact, pie is almost a statutory requirement during the holidays. But beyond pie are applause-worthy desserts that will delight guests with a sweet, elegant full-stop ending to a great meal. And these treats do so with a much lighter touch. Get ready to wow.

For those who say it's not dessert if it's not chocolate: Creamy milk chocolate mousse is sandwiched between intensely chocolaty cake layers.

View Recipe: Triple-Chocolate Cake

Frozen Orange Tortes with Cranberry Compote Recipe

Photo: Levi Brown

Frozen Orange Tortes with Cranberry Compote

Our Frozen Orange Tortes with Cranberry Compote feature a jeweled cranberry topping that cascades down a fluffy ice cream filling that's a dreamy citrus cloud.

View Recipe: Frozen Orange Tortes with Cranberry Compote

Maple-Gingerbread Pots de Crème

Photo: Levi Brown

Maple-Gingerbread Pots de Crème

The crackly counterpoint to the silky custards occurs when you sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on top and broil to melt. The caramel hardens as it cools.

View Recipe: Maple-Gingerbread Pots de Crème

Pumpkin-Almond Cheesecake

Photo: Levi Brown

Pumpkin-Almond Cheesecake

A deliciously dense almond cake rests underneath the cheesy spiced pumpkin layer. Almond brittle adds a spectacular finishing touch.

View Recipe: Pumpkin-Almond Cheesecake

Caramel-Pecan Dacquoise

Photo: Levi Brown

Caramel-Pecan Dacquoise

A perfect dessert dialectic: crunchy and creamy textures, sweet and bittersweet flavors.

View Recipe: Caramel-Pecan Dacquoise

Apple-Cinnamon Bundt Cake

Photo: Levi Brown

Apple-Cinnamon Bundt Cake

A homey comfort classic made special with a dusting of sugar and a hidden filling of apples and nuts.

View Recipe: Apple-Cinnamon Bundt Cake

Meringue-Topped Cranberry Curd Tart Recipe

Photo: Randy Mayor

Meringue-Topped Cranberry Curd Tart

This amazing tart is definitely a show stopper. Serve in a beautiful pie dish for a winning holiday dessert.

View Recipe: Meringue-Topped Cranberry Curd Tart

Double-Ginger Pumpkin Flans

Photography: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Double-Ginger Pumpkin Flans

Unsweetened pumpkin and fresh ginger add a seasonal and unexpected twist on creamy classic flan (also known as crème caramel).

View Recipe: Double-Ginger Pumpkin Flans

Pumpkin Ice Cream Torte Recipes

Photo: Ellen Silverman

Pumpkin Ice Cream Torte

Here’s the secret: You can make this pumpkin torte well ahead and freeze it. The sauce is jarred. The cook will be celebrated.

View Recipe: Pumpkin Ice Cream Torte

Coconut Cake with Buttercream Frosting Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Coconut Cake with Buttercream Frosting

This coconut cake recipe is one of our readers all-time favorites. The frosting also pairs wonderfully with other cake flavors like carrot, spice and basic white. Garnish the cake plate with sugar-frosted cranberries and rosemary sprigs.

View Recipe: Coconut Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Pumpkin Pie Cake Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Pumpkin Pie Cake

To lighten this stunning dessert, we cut out three-quarters of a cup of oil and combined whole eggs and egg substitute. Now with only 223 calories per slice, this centerpiece is a nutritional masterpiece.

View Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Cake

Roasted Pear Crème Brûlée Tart Recipe

Photo: Randy Mayor

Roasted Pear Crème Brûlée Tart

"Since most people make an effort to save room for dessert, I came up with something special. This tart combines elements of every good dessert--flaky crust, crunchy caramelized sugar, creamy custard, and soft roasted fruit. You can make all the components ahead of time, but brûlée the pears just before serving." —SaBrina Bone, Test Kitchen Professional

View Recipe: Roasted Pear Crème Brûlée Tart

Coconut Cake with Raspberry Filling

Photo: Raymond Hom

Coconut Cake with Raspberry Filling

A little coconut flour (look for it with specialty flours) adds extra nutty essence. But don't get overzealous and use more than we specify; because this flour lacks the gluten of wheat-based cake flour, it would wreck the structure.

View Recipe: Coconut Cake with Raspberry Filling

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