And know this: We have an entire piece on the best no-bake holiday desserts for those who don’t have the time (or skills, perhaps) to bet on baked goods—plus, a piece on Christmas candy for bringing to parties or wrapping up as edible gifts.
But if you’re more than happy to have another excuse to turn on your oven, these festive holiday cakes, pies, brownies, and bars are sure to delight you and yours.
Don’t forget to visit our Holiday Cookie Headquarters for everything you need to know about Santa’s favorite sweets.
For all the other delicious holiday desserts you’ll want to meet, just keep scrolling.
Snowy coconut cake is a Christmas classic, and this version has coconut milk and coconut cream in the cake itself, more coconut cream and grated coconut in the filling, and a marshmallow frosting that’s fluffy with more flakes. That’s quintuple the coconut, in case you’re counting. Get our Coconut Cake recipe.
For something a bit more unusual, this quick cranberry upside down cake is a stunning crimson with flavors of orange and cinnamon; the simple butter cake is truly easy to make, and the vanilla bean-flecked whipped cream is not to be missed. Get our Cranberry Upside Down Cake recipe. (Or try our Apple Upside Down Cake with Bourbon Whipped Cream…or both!)
If you didn’t get your fill of pie last month, Christmas is another great time to roll out a crust. Pumpkin pie and pecan pie are both still welcome at the table, but if you’re ready for a change, this creamy maple pie from Detroit bakery Sister Pie is fabulous. Get a good flaky sea salt to sprinkle on top. Get the Salted Maple Pie recipe.
Sister Pie, $14.59 on Amazon
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Don’t be freaked out by the mayo; it’s just eggs, which most baked goods are full of anyway! It keeps this rich chocolate cake super moist, and the fluffy peppermint buttercream is a wonderful complement. Get Jessie Sheehan’s Chocolate Mayo Cake with Peppermint Frosting recipe.
If you’re celebrating Hanukkah (or even if you’re not), upgrade from the usual jelly doughnut to apple cider fried dough stuffed with warm, gooey salted caramel. Get our Apple Cider Sufganiyot with Salted Caramel Filling recipe. (Or try another creative sufganiyot recipe.)
All the gooey crunch and sweet, toasty flavor of pecan pie without the fuss of a pastry crust; instead, you blend it in a food processor and press it into your pan. Feel free to add chocolate chunks and/or a splash of bourbon to the filling. These are perfect for holiday potlucks and office parties. Get our Pecan Pie Bars recipe.
Any kind of cheesecake is a great Christmas dessert contender (a few of our other faves are our Salted Caramel Pecan Cheesecake recipe, our Eggnog Cheesecake recipe, and our Blood Orange Ricotta Cheesecake recipe), but we have to offer something for the true chocolate lovers. This has a chocolate-hazelnut crust, creamy chocolate filling, and Nutella ganache topping. Get our Nutella Cheesecake recipe.
This gluten-free dessert from Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s “Sweet” cookbook is simple but glorious. Made with almond meal and coconut, the cake is tender and buttery (and scented with vanilla bean) and the shiny dark chocolate glaze takes it over the top. It tastes even better the day after it’s baked, so feel free to make it ahead! Get the Flourless Coconut Chocolate Cake recipe.
Sweet, $24.91 on Amazon
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These cupcakes are not for kids; they have Champagne in the batter and in the creamy, smooth vanilla filling that’s piped in after baking. If you want to take them to a party, best skip the whipped cream topping and go for sturdier vanilla buttercream, which isn’t quite as light and airy but will taste just as good—and still look great speckled with gold leaf. Get our Champagne Cupcakes recipe.
Rich, sticky gingerbread bursting with warm spices just tastes like Christmas—but it’s even better with a bit of Guinness or other stout, which adds more depth and helps it stay moist. The salted caramel sauce adds a touch more sweetness. Get our Guinness Gingerbread Bundt Cake recipe. (But if you’re not big on gingerbread, our Red Velvet Bundt Cake is another great choice.)
Embed icy-cool peppermint patties in fudgy chocolate brownies and you have a perfect (and incredibly easy) holiday party dessert. Finely crushed candy canes on top wouldn’t be a bad way to dress them up. Get our Chocolate Mint Brownies recipe.
There’s always something extra charming about individual desserts, like these rich chocolate pudding pies in tender, flaky crusts, topped with billowy whipped cream. Place peppermint bark shards on top for an easy, seasonal, delicious garnish. Get our Chocolate Pudding Mini Pies recipe.
Another miniaturized option, these cheesecakes (made in muffin pans) are rich but lifted up by the zing of fresh ginger and the bright orange-brandy glaze. The gingersnap crust is a perfect touch. Get our Ginger Brandy Mini Cheesecakes recipe.
Related Video: This Christmas Present Cake Is the Ultimate Holiday Dessert