20 Southern State Fair Desserts You Can Deliciously Recreate At Home

Blueberry-Lavender Hand Pies
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Once a year, every Southern state beckons its people, far and wide, to big open spaces where ring toss, roller coasters, and plenty of scrumptious food awaits. We're talking about the annual State Fair. While modern-day fairs are filled with well-known, deep-fried fare like funnel cakes, apple cider doughnuts, and gooey hand pies—looking at you, Texas—there was a time when many state and county fairs alike throughout the South hosted baking competitions for classic cakes and pies, such as the vintage Lane Cake, that would let folks show off their family's finest recipes.

Even if you skip out on the State Fair, you can easily recreate these decadent dessert recipes at home. Choose from winning cakes, old-fashioned pies, and seasonal deep-fried sweets—these State Fair desserts deserve a spot in your home.

01 of 20

Peach Fried Pies

Peach Fried Pies
Iain Bagwell; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Peach Fried Pies

Harken to the best days of summer with deep-fried hand pies filled with sweet, ooey, gooey peaches.

02 of 20

Homemade Funnel Cakes

Funnel Cakes
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Homemade Funnel Cakes

Ah, the fair food that rules them all. These squiggly, crunchy bites of deep-fried dough topped with powdered sugar aren't too difficult to make at home.

03 of 20

Old-Fashioned Apple Pie

Old-Fashioned Apple Pie
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Apple Pie

Just another reason to get your warm, spiced apple pie fix: this classic recipe with a golden crust and plenty of take-you-back-to-your-childhood feelings.

04 of 20

Banana Cream Donuts

Banana Cream Donuts
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Banana Cream Donuts

If you've never had this classic doughnut flavor, prepare to swoon over every banana pudding-stuffed bite.

05 of 20

The Lane Cake

The Lane Cake
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: The Lane Cake

Over 100 years ago, this cake won the county fair competition in Columbus, Georgia, which is more than appropriate. It's a fruit-filled, bourbon-spiked, meringue-topped cake. Enough said.

06 of 20

Caramel-Frosted Pound Cake

Caramel-Frosted Pound Cake
Southern Living

Recipe: Caramel-Frosted Pound Cake

Caramel cake is bound to have won plenty of competitions at county fairs across the South, and you'll love this modern spin that takes classic pound cake and covers it in a rich caramel frosting.

07 of 20

Apple Cider Doughnuts

Apple Cider Doughnuts
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Apple Cider Doughnuts

Fluffy and cakey on the inside with a crispy sweet exterior, these homemade doughnuts remind us of a food stand at the fall state fair.

08 of 20

Blueberry-Lavender Hand Pies

Blueberry-Lavender Hand Pies
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Blueberry-Lavender Hand Pies

You're never too old to enjoy a warm, gooey hand pie—and this recipe celebrates spring fair season with fresh blueberries.

09 of 20

Banana Split Cake

Banana Split Cake
Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Ali Ramee, Prop Stylist Heather Chadduck

Recipe: Banana Split Cake

Ice-cream sundae on a hot Southern day? Now, let's turn it into a cool icebox cake with an exciting banana split finish.

10 of 20

Texas Sheet Cake with Fudge Icing

Texas Sheet Cake with Fudge Icing

Recipe: Texas Sheet Cake with Fudge Icing

We'd reckon that this decadent chocolate cake has made an appearance or two at the state fair competition. No worrying about icing three layers, either.

11 of 20

Million Dollar Pound Cake

Million Dollar Pound Cake

Recipe: Million Dollar Pound Cake

The most dependable pound cake to have in your recipe box? None other than this old-school Bundt that requires only seven ingredients.

12 of 20

Salted Caramel-Apple Hand Pies

Salted Caramel-Apple Hand Pies
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Katie Jacobs

Recipe: Salted Caramel-Apple Hand Pies

Going to a state fair in the fall just calls for some sort of goodie that involves caramel and apple together. These hand pies are like a bite of autumn.

13 of 20

Cherry Flag Pie

Cherry Flag Pie
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Cherry Flag Pie

We couldn't forget to include cherry pie, could we? Dress up the festive pie to fit whatever season you like by cutting the pie crust into fun shapes and designs.

14 of 20

Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird Cake
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Hummingbird Cake

The Hummingbird Cake was first submitted to Southern Living in 1978 by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina; but we'd guess that it could win a state fair cake competition title any day.

15 of 20

Mini Strawberry Chiffon Pies

Mini Strawberry Chiffon Pies
Cedric Angeles; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Mini Strawberry Chiffon Pies

The more, the merrier with these miniature versions of an old-fashioned favorite: chiffon pie. Expect a super fluffy, strawberry-flavored filling that bursts on the taste buds.

16 of 20

Carrot Bundt Cake

Carrot Bundt Cake
Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Ruth Blackburn, Prop Stylist Heather Chadduck

Recipe: Carrot Bundt Cake

This winner of a carrot cake recipe doesn't require stacking, crumb-layering, or trying to get a perfectly smooth top. Carrot chips and crystallized ginger give a retro finishing touch.

17 of 20

Watermelon Slushies

501634_Watermelon_Slushies_206.jpg

Recipe: Watermelon Slushies

While the old-school Coca-Cola slushie—with or without the addition of grenadine—is the ultimate concession stand refresher, these fresh watermelon slushies are calling our name.

18 of 20

German Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Pecan Frosting

German Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Pecan Frosting
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: German Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Pecan Frosting

Texans can't get enough of this nutty, coconuty chocolate layer cake that's just about the most decadent bite you could wish for.

19 of 20

Key Lime Cupcakes

Key Lime Cupcakes
Photographer and props: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Key Lime Cupcakes

In Florida, the most festive treat might be the chocolate-covered Key lime pie on a stick! However, we're loving this slightly different rendition: graham cracker-infused cupckaes with a tart Key lime buttercream frosting.

20 of 20

Strawberry-Apricot Hand Pies

Strawberry-Apricot Hand Pies
Iain Bagwell; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Hadas Smirnoff

Recipe: Strawberry-Apricot Hand Pies

Hand pies let you walk, talk, and eat—which is fitting for fair season. You might not know it yet, but strawberry and apricot make quite the scrumptious duo.

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