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Showstopper Christmas Desserts

Christmas Dessert Recipes

Finish Christmas dinner with a showstopper. We’re talking about larger-than-life layer cakes, rich chocolate bombes, decorative roulades, silky cheesecakes, and jewel-like tarts and tortes; we’re talking about desserts so good that they make the meal memorable and make everyone forget all about the presents.


Pear Ginger Cake with Rum-Caramel Glaze

It’s a triple-decker stunner that features a soft, tender cake with fresh pears and homemade ginger folded into the batter, and a billowy whipped cream filling and frosting. All is topped with luscious rum-caramel glaze.

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Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramelized Pistachios

This buttery shortbread tart crust is filled with rich, dark chocolate and garnished with salty-sweet caramelized nuts and sea salt.

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Persimmon Cake with Crème Fraîche & Maple Pecans

Chef Suzanne Goin loves that the persimmons in this beautiful cake actually taste of fall and winter—as if they have been grown in fields of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. This is a great dessert for a Christmas buffet.

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Cranberry-Pear Tart in a Walnut Shortbread Crust

Bright cranberries steal the show in this over-the-top holiday tart.

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Baked Alaska

This layered ice cream cake with its regal crown of meringue always elicits oohs and aahs. Coffee ice cream is especially good in this dessert, but pistachio, black cherry, caramel, and mint-chip are other great choices.

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Chocolate Mousse with Spice-Poached Sour Cherries

This dessert is complex and darkly dramatic, with its black rice (also known as forbidden rice), dark-chocolate mousse, and scarlet sour cherries.

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German Chocolate Bombes

These showstoppers are a creative spin on a classic dessert. Here, individual ganache-glazed chocolate cake bombes are filled with decadent chocolate mousse and creamy pecan-coconut pudding. And, they're the perfect ending for a dinner party because you can make them ahead.

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Carrot Cake Roulade with Pineapple Cream Cheese

Carrot cake gets a new spin when the cream cheese icing becomes a luscious filling punctuated by juicy pieces of pineapple.

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Outrageous Coconut-Cream Meringue Cake

This cake owes its stunning looks to a billowy meringue frosting that’s spiked and browned all over with a kitchen torch.

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Hazelnut-Almond Dacquoise

This French cake looks dramatic and tastes heavenly. It features layers of light meringue, creamy espresso buttercream, and a chocolate ganache filling.

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Chocolate Irish Whiskey Cake

This recipe reimagines the classic whiskey-spiked Irish coffee as a decadent mocha layer cake filled with coffee-whiskey whipped cream and topped with white and dark chocolate shavings.

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Gingerbread-Brandy Trifle

This luscious dessert marries layers of gingerbread cake, chopped crystallized ginger, and a creamy filling spiked with brandy, sparkling wine, and black tea.

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Chocolate Roulade with Orange-Vanilla Filling

When you need a showstopper holiday dessert, look no further than this elegant rolled cake, which is inspired by the French bûche de Noël, or yule log.

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White Chocolate Coconut Cake

Make it a white Christmas with this snow-inspired finale. The filling is a bit of a surprise: instead of coconut buttercream, you’ll find passion fruit buttercream. It's tart and pairs wonderfully with the white chocolate.

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Salty Caramel Croquembouche with Ricotta Cream

This modern version of the French classic features ricotta cream filling for the puffs and a sea salt caramel coating.

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Hot Chocolate Layer Cake with Homemade Marshmallows

All the rich flavor of hot chocolate—in cake form. Homemade marshmallows piled on top seal the deal.

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Citrus Pomegranate Terrine

Much more elegant than a Jell-O mold, this terrine shows off the beauty of fresh winter fruit.

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Chocolate-Pomegranate Torte

Festive pomegranate meets deep, dark chocolate in this impressive reader-favorite.

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Cheesecake with Cranberry-Cointreau Sauce

No one passes on dessert when it’s a silky New York-style cheesecake. The cranberry-cointreau sauce makes it especially holiday-worthy.

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Chocolate Stout Cake

Rich, dark, and toasty stout beer plus deeply flavored molasses give the chocolate flavor of this cake some wonderful nuance. With this recipe, you can bake one big beautiful cake, perfect for entertaining, or a dozen irresistible miniature bundt cakes, perfect for gift giving.

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White Chocolate Macadamia Cake with Raspberries

White chocolate leaves, layers of fresh raspberries and raspberry jam, and a sleek coat of buttercream give this three-layer stunner a dressed-up look.

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