8 Gourmet Desserts

Scrumptious, beautiful, and surprisingly light, these artisan desserts are sure to trick guests into thinking you went to an expensive bakery. Keep these recipes in mind for the holidays and special occasions.

Pumpkin-Hazelnut Cheesecake

Photo: Nigel Cox

From Cooking Light's Test Kitchen to Your Kitchen Table

We have a secret weapon in our Test Kitchen: Deb Wise, an experienced baker who gets the science and loves the challenge of making light sweets with sublime texture and glorious flavor. Here, we offer Deb’s wisest offerings yet.

First we have this Pumpkin-Hazelnut Cheesecake. Spiced pumpkin adds seasonal color and warm flavors to this magnificent double-decker dessert. Hazelnuts contribute their unique browned butter note to the wonderfully dense cake beneath the silky cheesecake. Shards of brittle add drama and style.

View Recipe: Pumpkin-Hazelnut Cheesecake

Baked Alaska

Photo: Nigel Cox

Baked Alaska

A big cloud of fluffy meringue sits on top of this classic. Rest assured healthy eaters, the base of this dessert is fat-free frozen Greek yogurt — much healthier than a cream-based frozen dessert.

View Recipe: Baked Alaska

Cranberry Sherbet in Tuile Cups

Photo: Nigel Cox

Cranberry Sherbet in Tuile Cups

Whimsical cookie cups bedazzled with sugar crystals add sparkle to your holiday table. The bracingly tart cranberry sherbet lends a pop of garnet color.

View Recipe: Cranberry Sherbet in Tuile Cups

Chocolate Cake with Fluffy Frosting

Photo: Nigel Cox

Chocolate Cake with Fluffy Frosting

Soft, fine-crumbed cake gives way with each forkful, allowing creamy frosting to drape every bite.

View Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Fluffy Frosting

Pecan Cake with Caramel Mousse and Brown Sugar Topping

Photo: Nigel Cox

Pecan Cake with Caramel Mousse and Brown Sugar Topping

The gourmet treat was made for fall — just look at it; warm brown sugar topping trickles down over the pecan cake and caramel mousse.

View Recipe: Pecan Cake with Caramel Mousse and Brown Sugar Topping

Baked Chocolate Mousse

Photo: Nigel Cox

Baked Chocolate Mousse

Similar to a flourless chocolate cake, this sinfully delicious mousse has a superthin cake-like outer layer and a dense, fudgy center—it’s as rich and satisfying as any chocolate dessert you’ll find.

View Recipe: Baked Chocolate Mousse

Fresh Ginger Cake with Candied Citrus Glaze

Photo: Nigel Cox

Fresh Ginger Cake with Candied Citrus Glaze

We fully embrace the peppery punch of fresh ginger, which gives this moist cake a surprising tingle. Kumquats offer a tart, sweet kick to the glaze drizzled over the warm cake.  A bundt pan is key for presentation here.

View Recipe: Fresh Ginger Cake with Candied Citrus Glaze

Almond-Mocha Mousse

Photo: Nigel Cox

Almond-Mocha Mousse

The beauty of this dish lies in the contrasting textures of a crisp cookie and ethereal, airy mousse.

View Recipe: Almond-Mocha Mousse

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