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23 Festive Christmas Cakes to Fill the Season with Joy (& Treats!)

Arguably one of the best parts of the holidays are the sweet treats that come along with the crisp, cold weather. As the holidays quickly approach, plan out your dessert spread with these 23 rich and delicious Christmas-inspired cakes. From a light and airy angel food cake to a hot cocoa cake with peppermint-marshmallow frosting to a three-tiered gingerbread cake with a luscious eggnog glaze and candied cranberries to garnish, you’re sure to find something for you.

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23 Festive Christmas Cakes to Fill the Season with Joy (& Treats!)
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23 stories in this Storyboard
    Dario’s Olive Oil Cake with Rosemary and Pine Nuts

    Dario’s Olive Oil Cake with Rosemary and Pine Nuts

    Author Notes The brilliant butcher and my dear friend Dario Cecchini serves this at his restaurants in the town of Panzano, in Tuscany. After a seven-course fixed menu of meat dishes, Dario brings out this cake, cut into squares and stacked high on a plate. As he sets it down, he explains to guests …

    Torta Caprese (Chocolate and Almond Flourless Cake)

    Torta Caprese (Chocolate and Almond Flourless Cake)

    Author Notes The famous dessert of the Island of Capri I've found, over the years of making this cake, is extremely forgiving. The almond meal, butter, chocolate and sugar should be equal in weight. This is the time to get out the digital scale, as it makes not only preparing this but also …

    Ginger Apple Torte

    Ginger Apple Torte

    Author Notes Thanksgiving desserts have to be able to be made ahead and not require much work for serving. After such a large meal, who wants to start cooking again? I think that’s why pies are such a popular Thanksgiving dessert. This torte is part gingerbread, part apple cake. (The gingerbread is …

    Rum Apple Cake

    Rum Apple Cake

    Author Notes The first time I made this was when I had an overabundance of apples from an apple picking trip. I was determined to make something with more apples and less bread. This is also excellent with brandy or calvados instead of rum. This comes out wonderfully crumbly and tender, although …

    Eggnog Poke Cake

    Eggnog Poke Cake

    Author Notes A poke cake is a dessert made with a light, springy, absorbent sponge drowned in a sweet, milky custard. There’s plenty of versions, but the one you're probably most familiar with is a tres leches cake, which is typically soaked in three milks: sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, …

    Gingerbread Beer Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze

    Gingerbread Beer Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze

    Author Notes Beer in a gingerbread cake??? Absolutely! Dark brews give a depth to the spicy flavor of the cake. And as always, a little chocolate makes it better; this quick and easy one bowl cake batter has a ribbon of chocolate swirled through it and dark chocolate glaze drizzled over the top. …

    Vegan Chocolate Cake with Creamy Chocolate Filling

    Vegan Chocolate Cake with Creamy Chocolate Filling

    Author Notes Think vegan desserts are out of your reach? Think again. While this recipe is a little time intensive, it feels much easier if you make the creamy chocolate filling a day or two ahead of time. You can also make the cake a day ahead of time, and then simply assemble it and make the …

    Chocolate Bundt Cake

    Chocolate Bundt Cake

    Author Notes Knowing my love for chocolate, my friend Hilary made me a version of this cake for my birthday one year. The recipe was inspired by something similar she had tasted in a restaurant during college. I've since made adaptations to her recipe and often take this to friends for special …

    Chocolate Roulade

    Chocolate Roulade

    Author Notes After years of roulade-hating, I'm finally a convert. The finished cake is moist and creamy—it makes me nostalgic for cakes my grandma made and served to me cold right from the fridge with a glass of milk. I tried rolling it slightly differently to create a roulade with vertical …

    Hot Cocoa Cake with Peppermint-Marshmallow Frosting

    Hot Cocoa Cake with Peppermint-Marshmallow Frosting

    • Prep time 30 minutes • Cook time 1 hour • Serves 8-10 For the cake • 1 1/4 cups flour • 1/2 cup cocoa powder • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 1 cup sugar • 3/4 cup milk • 1 egg • 1/4 cup canola oil For the peppermint-marshmallow topping & chocolate ganache • 3 egg whites • 3/4 cup sugar • 1/2 …

    Peppermint Hi-Hat Cake

    Peppermint Hi-Hat Cake

    Author Notes A single, tall devil’s food cake is topped with an almost equally tall mound of peppermint 7-minute frosting. After a brief chill in the fridge, it’s doused in an all-over layer of thin milk chocolate glaze, that sets up like magic shell. You can toss a little crushed peppermint candy …

    Angel Food Cake

    Angel Food Cake

    Author Notes This angel food cake recipe yields a snow-white, crazy airy treat so tender it melts in your mouth (especially when topped with tons of fresh berries and homemade whipped cream). What makes this cake so fantastically fluffy? After all, there’s just a small amount of flour in it, and no …

    Mami’s Rum Cake (Bizcocho de Ron)

    Mami’s Rum Cake (Bizcocho de Ron)

    Author Notes This recipe comes from my cookbook, Coconuts and Collards. When my friends found out I was writing it, several asked if Mami’s rum cake would be in it. And so it is. Her original version uses a boxed cake mix. It’s perfectly balanced and is my favorite cake to this day. With the help of …

    Mary Lincoln’s White Almond Cake

    Mary Lincoln’s White Almond Cake

    Author Notes Mary Todd Lincoln was raised in a wealthy Lexington, Kentucky, family and partial to the finer things in life, like this white almond cake. The Todd family requested the recipe from the Lexington caterer who first made it, and it is said that Mary baked the cake for Abraham Lincoln when …

    Malted White Chocolate Sheet Cake

    Malted White Chocolate Sheet Cake

    Author Notes For the best results, use high-quality white chocolate bars and organic dairy, and serve at room temperature. If you’d rather not separate whole eggs and have leftover yolks, boxed liquid egg whites can be used. When making the frosting, the key is to have the cream cheese at room …

    Panetón & Hot Chocolate Bread Pudding

    Panetón & Hot Chocolate Bread Pudding

    Author Notes This recipe calls for South American panettone, which is called panetón in Peru. They are usually a fraction of the price of Italian panettone and much easier to find. If you can find it, use a Peruvian brand as these are considered the best quality. Popular brands include D’Onofrio, …

    My Fruitcake

    My Fruitcake

    Author Notes Inspired by a "Simmer & Stir Christmas Cake" on BBC Good Food, I finally, as an adult, have baked a fruitcake! I grew up eating fruitcakes—I didn't ever think I could make, one but all that's changed. I've made them many times since I discovered this recipe, which I’ve changed in a few …

    Christmas King's Cake - Bolo Rei (Portugal)

    Christmas King's Cake - Bolo Rei (Portugal)

    Author Notes Christmas is always spent with my family in Portugal, eating traditional Portuguese food and desserts. By the 23rd I’m starting the first of 3 or 4 King’s Cakes. No matter how big I make it, it disappears in 24 hours. I dedicate this recipe to my father who was my number 1 fan and who …

    Snowy Christmas Cake

    Snowy Christmas Cake

    Author Notes This design works perfectly with any cake recipe that has a buttercream or cream cheese frosting. To create more of a nighttime Christmas scene, you can also use dark chocolate ganache. You can design this cake as a single-, double- or triple-tiered sprawling town – depending on how …

    Traditional Panforte (Spicy Tuscan Christmas Cake)

    Traditional Panforte (Spicy Tuscan Christmas Cake)

    Author Notes This is a recipe for Sienese panforte, a rich, flat cake with medieval roots. It's made dense with whole nuts, fistfuls of spices, and candied fruit. It’s the perfect thing to allow yourself a sliver of in the late afternoon on a cold day when you need a pick me up and a zing of spices …

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