60+ Top-Rated Desserts Everyone Should Make At Least Once

Ouida’s Chocolate Delight
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

In our opinion, no meal is complete without dessert, and this luscious collection of dessert recipes is so delicious you'll definitely be tempted to eat your desserts first. Whether you're in the mood for our classic Hummingbird Cake, easy Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, or something new like our Cheerwine Cherry Cupcakes, our collection of dessert recipes has a sweet treat for any occasion.

Our best desserts have solutions for hurried hostesses, like our easy Cakey Strawberry Cobbler, which only requires 10 minutes of hands-on time. But we also have dessert recipes for impressing your next dinner party guests like layer cakes, pound cakes, pies, and tarts. We've got options for the spring—our Strawberry Lemonade Cake is a beautiful way to celebrate the season—and the fall (Sea Salt-Caramel Cake is calling our name). And don't worry, whether you're craving homemade ice cream or fixing a fruit pie, we have you covered. Now, you've just got to make sure to leave enough room for dessert!

01 of 65

Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird Cake on a green cake stand
Photographer: Fred Hardy II, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Props Stylist: Christina Brockman

Recipe: Hummingbird Cake

If you love Southern Living, you'll know how proud we are of our Hummingbird Cake. We celebrate it every chance we get. It's not just pretty. It's not just tasty. It's a wonder. Thanks to Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina, this pineapple-banana spice cake with cream cheese frosting became one of our most requested recipes. Decades after it graced the pages of our magazine, we still stand by Mrs. Wiggins' original, indulgent creation.

02 of 65

Atlantic Beach Pie

Atlantic Beach Pie
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Atlantic Beach Pie

Often referred to as the easiest pie ever, this citrus pie from North Carolina Chef Bill Smith is just the dessert hot summer days need. One reviewer claimed it is the best lemon pie they've ever eaten.

03 of 65

Cakey Strawberry Cobbler

Cakey Strawberry Cobbler in a casserole dish and bowl
Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Christine Keely, Food Stylist: Ana Kelly

Recipe: Cakey Strawberry Cobbler

Fresh strawberries and cake-like filling bake together to create this delicious batter cobbler. You can substitute sliced stone fruit, like peaches, for the strawberries if you prefer, but we love the taste of strawberries and a dash of lemon zest in this cobbler. You can easily refrigerate the leftovers, but don't expect to have any!

04 of 65

Easy Peach Cobbler

Easy Peach Cobbler
Iain Bagwell; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Easy Peach Cobbler

We can't get enough of fresh peaches—especially in a warm cobbler with a gorgeous, golden brown crust. If you're going to try a new recipe for a peach dish this season, make it this one.

05 of 65

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Jennifer Causey

Recipe: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This any-time hit is good enough to make grandma proud. What's the trick? Browning butter. This simple step gives that classic cookie dough its signature taste and chewy, crisp texture. It's a quick, extra step worth taking every time.

06 of 65

Chocolate Cobbler

Chocolate Cobbler
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Chocolate Cobbler

A simple list of ingredients that you probably almost always have on hand in your pantry are used to create a decadent chocolate dessert that can be described as a mix of cake and pudding. If there's one tip we have for you, it's that no matter how tempted you may be, absolutely do not stir the cobbler after pouring the water over the chocolate mixture. This helps create the pudding pockets while it's in the oven.

07 of 65

Egg Custard Pie

Egg Custard Pie
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Egg Custard Pie

We think this old-fashioned pie still deserves a spot on dessert tables today. You may be surprised to learn that you just need a handful of ingredients to pull together a dessert that guests of all ages will enjoy.

08 of 65

Shaker Lemon Pie

Shaker Lemon Pie from Mountain Measures
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Ana Kelly

Recipe: Shaker Lemon Pie

Straight from the pages of the Junior League of Charleston, West Virginia's Mountain Measures cookbook, this old-fashioned pie deserves a comeback. Made with thinly sliced whole lemons—peels and all—this incredibly easy citrus dessert only calls for four ingredients.

09 of 65

Sea Salt-Caramel Cake

Sea Salt-Caramel Cake
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Sea Salt-Caramel Cake

This cake may well be the ultimate in layer cake decadence. While these tender cake layers taste divine, it's the caramel frosting that really wows. It's outrageously rich— and doesn't require the use of a candy thermometer. In this recipe, you'll see that the rumor is true: Salt really does bring out, enrich, and enlarge the flavor of the sweet caramel.

10 of 65

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Ana Kelly Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke

Recipe: Cream Cheese Pound Cake

You can't go wrong with a cake so beloved. Look no further for the perfect pound cake recipe. This traditional cake is extra-rich. It's also sturdy and substantial because of the cream cheese, and it is always, always in style. Fourth of July? Perfect. Thanksgiving? Ideal. Christmas? Nothing better. Half-birthdays? Yes. We've even been known to dream up holidays on random Wednesday afternoons just to get in the kitchen to make this beauty.

11 of 65

Hot Buttered Rum Bread Pudding

Hot Buttered Rum Bread Pudding
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Hot Buttered Rum Bread Pudding

Is there anything more comforting or indulgent than a bread pudding? Maybe, but taking one look at this buttered pan of bread pudding, we can't think of anything we would rather nibble on a chilly fall evening. Though you are free to make this dessert in summer if you have a craving for a rum dessert.

12 of 65

Wacky Cake

Wacky Cake
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Wacky Cake

The batter for this chocolate cake is mixed together right in the pan, so there's no dirty mixing bowl in the sink. Originally created to make during leaner times, it also doesn't' call for any eggs or milk. We top the simple cake with a layer of fudgy icing sprinkled with toasted pecans for an even sweeter finish,

13 of 65

Strawberry-Lemonade Layer Cake

Strawberry-Lemonade Cake
Jen Causey

Recipe: Strawberry-Lemonade Layer Cake

You can assemble this recipe for Strawberry-Lemonade Layer Cake up to two days ahead of time, minimizing prep time—which we love. Be sure to store at room temperature. Also, you can freeze cooled layers up to a month in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, ensuring that you are always ready to assemble a layer cake for impromptu parties and get-togethers anytime during the day or night.

14 of 65

Mississippi Mud Cake

Mississippi Mud Cake
Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Ana Kelly Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke

Recipe: Mississippi Mud Cake

Imagine the richest, darkest, most indulgent chocolate dessert you've ever eaten. Now add some marshmallows, and you've got this decadent yet simple-to-bake cake. Mississippi is known for many things, but a Mississippi Mud Cake is one of the tastiest things we can trace back to the great state of Mississippi.

15 of 65

Chewy Peanut Bars

Chewy Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bars
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Chewy Peanut Bars

Bite-sized and nutty, these bars are great for tucking into lunch boxes or for sweet and indulgent after-dinner treats. This recipe also has a surprising origin. We weren't exactly excited to test our old microwave column recipes again, but these chocolate-peanut blondies truly surprised us. We whipped them up and had to immediately make another batch. They're easy, the perfect combination of homemade and crowd-pleasing.

16 of 65

Classic Chocolate Pound Cake

Classic Chocolate Pound Cake
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck; Food Styling: Erin Merhar

Recipe: Classic Chocolate Pound Cake

This moist, classic chocolate cake is dusted with powdered sugar to create a slice chocolate lovers will dream of for days. Plus, with just 30 minutes needed, this traditional cake is a great recipe for experienced and novice bakers alike.

17 of 65

Red Velvet Brownies

Red Velvet Brownies
Photography: Caitlin Bensel, Prop Styling: Audrey Davis, Food Styling: Rishon Hanners

Recipe: Red Velvet Brownies

This scrumptious, melt-in-your-mouth treat combines two things almost everyone loves: red velvet and brownies. Our red velvet brownies are a bite-size version of the classic cake. Top them with a decadent cream cheese frosting for the ultimate dessert. It is just special enough—a few degrees beyond a traditional chocolate brownie—and it can be dressed up so easily with a beautiful topping of frosting, icing, cream cheese, or whipped cream.

18 of 65

Classic Chess Pie

slices of Classic Chess Pie on multi-color plates
Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley, Food Stylist: Ana Kelly

Recipe: Classic Chess Pie

It may be simple, but that doesn't make this classic dessert any less impressive. We use refrigerated pie crust to help pull together this old-fashioned pie recipe with ease.

19 of 65

Black-and-Blue Buttermilk Tart

Black-and-Blue Buttermilk Tart
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Black-and-Blue Buttermilk Tart

This enticing topping of bright berries is just another reminder to revel in the bounty of berries Southerners are lucky enough to experience each summer. This creamy tart and sweet-and-salty buttery cracker crust is topped with a beautiful mix of blueberries and blackberries, but it is equally delicious with strawberries, peaches, or your favorite fresh fruit.

20 of 65

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake
Caitlin Bensel

Recipe: Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Is an ice cream sandwich your go-to summertime dessert? Then it's time to give your typical ice cream sandwich an upgrade. Now the fan-favorite ice cream bar can become a crowd-pleasing dessert. This decadent ice-cream cake worthy of slicing. Make the whole cake ahead and freeze until ready to serve.

21 of 65

Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie

Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie

We're Southerners. We know our pecan pie, and this twist on a regional favorite has us wishing for pecan harvest. We'll spend days picking up pecans in the orchard if it means we can conjure this chocolate-bourbon concoction in the kitchen. We have also gained a new appreciation for whiskey. The liquor goes way beyond drinking and finds its way into sauces, braises, and especially desserts.

22 of 65

Peach-Bourbon Upside-Down Bundt Cake

Peach-Bourbon Upside-Down Bundt Cake
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Lindsey Lower; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Peach-Bourbon Upside-Down Bundt Cake

Next time you think you need to run to the grocery store before a summer party for a premade, store-bought dessert, think again. Set aside some time to practice your cooking skills and make this Peach-Bourbon Upside-Down Bundt Cake. With its medley of flavors and infusion of fresh seasonal peaches, it will be leagues better than anything you find covered in plastic in a bakery section. Garnish with a drizzle of homemade glaze for a pretty, party-worthy finish.

23 of 65

Red Velvet Cake Balls

Red Velvet Cake Balls
Photography: Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners

Recipe: Red Velvet Cake Balls

When we think of velvet, we think smooth, luxurious, elegant, beautiful, indulgent. And it's true: all of those words can be used to describe this decadent but festive cake balls recipe. Plus, the frosting and sprinkles are a scene-stealer. This tasty creation is made out of red velvet cake that is bonded together with homemade cream cheese frosting and coated in white chocolate for a combination you can't pass up. Don't take our word for it. You've got to taste it for yourself.

24 of 65

Cakey Lemon Brownies

Lemon Brownies
Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Jennifer Wendorf

Recipe: Cakey Lemon Brownies

These easy-to-make bar cookies have the chewy, cakey texture of a brownie, but all of the bright and tangy flavor of a lemon bar. Feeling a little extra? Garnish with a few lemon slices for an extra bright, in both flavor and looks. All you need are pretty, thin slices of lemon, which dazzle on top of the brownie slices.

25 of 65

Fresh Peach Ice Cream

Fresh Peach Ice Cream
Southern Living

Recipe: Fresh Peach Ice Cream

When peach season rolls in—in the South, any time from May to September—we're out in the orchard, picking plump, sweet ingredients to churn into this sweet mixture, which is one of our absolute favorite ice cream recipes. We guarantee that your family will ask for this chilly treat over and over again. Best of all, the seven-ingredient mixture requires no cooking, just stirring.

26 of 65

Eggnog Bundt Cake

Spiked Eggnog Bundt Cake
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Eggnog Bundt Cake

Did you think eggnog was just for December holiday parties? Think again. This light and fluffy Bundt cake makes eggnog accessible all year round—in warm weather and in cool weather—though we have to admit, it is still perfect for family gatherings around the holidays. Just when you thought Bundt cake couldn't get any better—eggnog and nutmeg raise the bar.

27 of 65

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies Recipe
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies

Fudgy and flourless? It's possible, and this simple chocolatey recipe is proof. Thanks to whipped egg whites, the cookies are airy and crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside, like a brownie in cookie form.

28 of 65

Red, White, and Blue Poke Cake

Red, White, and Blue Poke Cake
Jennifer Causey

Recipe: Red, White, and Blue Poke Cake

The ultimate patriotic dessert for a Fourth of July celebration, this cake has everything: bursting berries, rich mascarpone frosting, and fresh fruit filling. It has red, white, and blue to spare. Our patriotic spin on poke cake is the coolest dessert of summer. With a cake this pretty and patriotic, it serves as decoration and dessert all at once.

29 of 65

Cherry-Nectarine Pandowdy

Cherry-Nectarine Pandowdy
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl Jones

Recipe: Cherry-Nectarine Pandowdy

If you've seen sweet, plump nectarines at your local grocery store but have refrained from buying them because you wondered how best to use them, look no further than this fresh, pandowdy. Here, nectarines pair with cherries for a beautifully cooked fruit under a pastry crust. As the dish cools, the broken crust absorbs the sweet juices from the cooked fruit, creating a deliciously messy dessertSo next time you see nectarines in the fruit aisle, pick up a few—two pounds, actually—and try out this delectable recipe.

30 of 65

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Buttermilk-Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Buttercream-Cream Cheese Frosting

Inspired by a classic carrot cake, these light, fluffy carrot cake cupcakes are infused with even more bright flavor with the moist Pineapple Filling. Finish them off with adorable eggs for easter or simply pipe the Buttercream-Cream Cheese Frosting on top in whatever design you'd like for a slice-free, party-ready dessert.

31 of 65

Brown Sugar Cookie Stars

Brown Sugar Cookie Stars
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Brown Sugar Cookie Stars

These Brown Sugar Cookie Stars are the closest you'll get to earning a gold star straight from your oven. Perfect for any celebration, from the Fourth of July to Christmas time, the touch of brown sugar gives this sugar cookie a deeper, richer taste than a traditional recipe.

32 of 65

Georgia Pecan Double-Decker Brownies

Georgia Pecan Double-Decker Brownies
Photographer Jennifer Causey, Prop Stylist Lindsey Lower, Food Stylist Torie Cox

Recipe: Georgia Pecan Double-Decker Pecan Brownies

We know that we don't need to convince you to try a new brownie recipe, but we're still going to gush about how much we love this one. They are thick and fudgy—hence the double-decker in its name—with an accessible, comfortable depth of flavor. Speckled with pecans, they sit on a perfectly crumbly layer of chocolate wafer crust you'll taste in every bite. Don't let this recipe pass you by.

33 of 65

The Ultimate Carrot Cake

Ultimate Carrot Cake
Alison Miksch

Recipe: The Ultimate Carrot Cake

A classic at the pinnacle of its powers, our recipe for The Ultimate Carrot Cake is a multi-purpose, always-appropriate star of the dessert table. It is dense and moist, an ideal no-fail recipe for when you need a reliable go-to cake. We went for three thick layers plus a creamy brown sugar-cream cheese frosting. For additional edible decoration, try our recipe for candied carrot curls, pretty helixes that add something special to the display. It's a traditional cake, but with a few thoughtful touches, it feels brand new.

34 of 65

Homemade Cookies-and-Cream Ice Cream

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
Caitlin Bensel

Recipe: Homemade Cookies-and-Cream Ice Cream

Here, five ingredients come together in a swirl of cookies and cream. All you need is your electric ice cream maker and a little freezing time. This combination elevates a typical summer afternoon ice cream treat to a memorable experience—certainly a moment to savor. For a party, we like to showcase scooped cones in decorative glassware for a personal touch.

35 of 65

Caramel Apple Cake

Caramel Apple Cake
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Caramel Apple Cake

Looking out your window, you may imagine the leaves changing green to red to gold as you smell fresh apple cake baking in your oven. We would bake this dessert any time of year just to imagine the arrival of autumn, but it's true that this cake is at its best in September, October, and November, when fresh apple harvests send crisp, sweet, freshly-picked apples dripping with flavor into our fruit baskets.

36 of 65

Red Velvet Ice-Cream Cake

Red Velvet Ice-Cream Cake
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Red Velvet Ice-Cream Cake

This frozen dessert comes together quickly. After mixing, this ice cream cake recipe just needs a little time to set in the freezer. It's an ideal blend, with its depth of flavor enhanced by fresh berries on top. Plus, its red, white, and blue layers make it the perfect treat to pull out of the freezer after a Fourth of July feast.

37 of 65

Buttermilk-Lime Mini Cakes with Vanilla-Mascarpone Buttercream Recipe

Buttermilk-Lime Mini Cakes with Vanilla-Marscarpone Buttercream
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Buttermilk-Lime Mini Cakes with Vanilla-Mascarpone Buttercream

You know those desserts that make everyone go "Wow!" when they bite into it? This is one of those desserts. As pretty to look at as it is to slice into, it will be hard to have just one bite of this decadent dessert. With a thick swirl of vanilla-mascarpone on top, it mixes buttermilk and lime in a substantial cake with a delightful, dainty presentation.

38 of 65

Lemon Bundt Cake

lemon bundt cake

Recipe: Lemon Bundt Cake

If you can't get enough citrus in your life, you may want to try this Lemon Bundt Cake recipe. With one bite, it will transport you to the breezy tropics, or at least a sunny nearby lemon grove. This recipe gets just the right bit of punch from the grated lemon zest and fresh lemon juice. The result: one of the best, and simplest, cakes you'll ever make. Add our two-ingredient glaze and, for added effect, candied lemons—they taste great scattered atop the cake.

39 of 65

Mississippi Mud Cheesecake

Mississippi Mud Cheesecake
Southern Living

Recipe: Mississippi Mud Cheesecake

Fluffy marshmallows, chopped pecans and chocolate frosting—who knew that mud could be so delicious? Mississippi did. This Southern state knows how to do a chocolate dessert just right, and we've taken it to another level in our Mississippi Mud Cheesecake. Just look at those crunchy, nutty pecans; smooth, chewy mini marshmallows; and decadent, chocolatey cheesecake. There's definitely nothing better than these treats to pacify a chocoholic.

40 of 65

Sprinkle Sandwich Cookies

Sprinkle Sandwich Cookies
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Sprinkle Sandwich Cookies

As cute as they are addicting, it may be hard to eat just one. These colorful cookies are perfect for a gift box of holiday treats, and you can use different colored sprinkles throughout the year to celebrate the seasons, your favorite school's team, or any special holiday. With two cookies sandwiching together vanilla buttercream, what's there not to love?

41 of 65

Classic Cola Cake

Coca Cola Chocolate Cake
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner

Recipe: Classic Coca Cola Chocolate Cake

Our cola cake is simply one of the best in the world. The magical brew of carbonated cola is the secret to the tender texture of the cake and chocolate frosting. You can use any number of similar colas, but since Coca-Cola is the quintessential Southern beverage—first blended in Atlanta (where the ever-popular Coca-Cola factory welcomes visitors to this day) in the early 20th century, then disseminated in mid 1900s soda fountains across the country—we created the ultimate Cola Cake. It's a sheet cake with a rich syrup, and it certainly lives up to the Southern beverage that anchors it.

42 of 65

Rainbow Sherbet Cake

Rainbow Sherbet Cake
Photographer: Jennifer Causey; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Rainbow Sherbet Cake

Why eat sherbet with a bowl and spoon when you can make it oh so much more fun. We gave this classic dessert a new spin by turning this creamy springtime treat into a refreshing cake. We took a few of our favorite flavors­–pineapple, orange, raspberry– and paired them with pound cake and whipping cream. Summer has begun, and we're going to celebrate in sherbet style.

43 of 65

Dr. Pepper Texas Sheet Cake

Dr Pepper Texas Sheet Cake
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner

Recipe: Dr. Pepper Texas Sheet Cake

Everything is bigger in Texas. Everything is more decadent there too, it seems. Somehow, Texas claimed the sheet cake as its own in the mid-20th century, perhaps because of the pecans, an ingredient that grows in abundance throughout the Lone Star State. Better yet, this cake takes it's cues not only from the classic, but from the beloved flavor of Texas-made Dr. Pepper too. The defining element is its shape—and, of course, the icing, which has to be heated and poured on the warm, just-out-of-the-oven cake. The result is a rich, chocolaty treat that's iconic in Texas.

44 of 65

Ultimate Apple Pie

Ultimate Apple Pie from Buxton Hall
Photo: Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Ultimate Apple Pie

Buxton Hall isn't just known for their BBQ. Their in-house pastry chef, Ashley Capps, serves blue ribbon-worthy pies daily, and she gave us the inside scoop to their legendary Ultimate Apple Pie. Serve this beauty at Thanksgiving, and you're sure to have guests asking for to-go slices for the road.

45 of 65

Cheerwine Cherry Cupcakes with Cherry-Swirl Frosting

Cheerwine Cherry Cupcakes with Cherry-Swirl Frosting
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner

Recipe: Cheerwine Cherry Cupcakes with Cherry-Swirl Frosting

Inspired by the classic North Carolina cherry-flavored soda, these cupcakes are the cherry on top to any event. This recipe lets you transform your favorite way to bake a cake into a cherry treat. Whether you combine the bubbly drink with a recipe for homemade white cake or pound cake or a packaged cake mix, the result is a pale pink crumb that tastes of almond extract and mild cherry.

46 of 65

No-Bake Lemon Icebox Pie

No-Bake Lemon Icebox Pie
Photography: Caitlin Bensel, Food Styling: Margaret Monroe Dickey, Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hilegas

Recipe: No-Bake Lemon Icebox Pie

Zesty is the perfect word for this refreshing citrus dessert. It is completely invigorating on a hot summer day. And, lo and behold, there's no baking involved. With just 15 minutes of hands-on time, you'll have a gingersnap-based crust that's prime for freezing. After freezing, pile in the cool, creamy filling, and you're ready to serve.

47 of 65

Homemade Pralines

Pralines
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Homemade Pralines

As Southern as they come, making your first batch of Homemade Pralines is alike a right of passage. One of the many dazzling and flavorful things to hail from New Orleans, these sweet and creamy treats have become a holiday tradition for many across the South. They make wonderful food gifts anytime of year, but there's something delightful about in baking a batch just to have at home too.

48 of 65

Triple-Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cake

Triple-Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cake
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Triple-Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cake

We took the traditional pound cake recipe and raised it a stunning, triple-chocolate twist. This cake means business. A duo of glazes—one creamy chocolate, the other subtle buttermilk—comes together atop this dreamy confection. It's indulgent and, we admit, so much fun to eat and serve. Chocolate enthusiasts will be over the moon for this recipe, but it has enough unexpected flavor—thanks to the addition of the buttermilk glaze—that you'll also win over the harder-to-please dessert eaters at the table. Warning: You—and they—won't be able to resist a second slice. Go for it. We won't tell.

49 of 65

Fresh Apple Cake

Apple Cake Recipes
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Recipe: Fresh Apple Cake

This classic is so fresh and substantial that it can stand on its own. Thinly sliced fresh apples (the recipe calls for two and a half pounds of Granny Smith apples) create rich, moist, irresistible layers of fruit within the cake. This cake can truly do it all. Go simple or adorn it if you'd like to take the recipe a delicious step further. Take your pick of your favorite topping, and cover the apple cake with your choice of Browned Butter Frosting, Cream Cheese Frosting, or Dark Chocolate Frosting. You can't go wrong with your choice. It's just that good.

50 of 65

Grilled Peach Cobbler

Grilled Peach Cobbler
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Grilled Peach Cobbler

The fire gives this classic an extra smoky, caramelized flavor that, we're willing to bet, you won't be able to resist. Serve hot off the grill or at room temperature. Crown the cobbler with a scoop of vanilla for an extra sweet touch. This dish is infused with smoke, creating a luscious mixture of textures. Just the right blend of gooey and crisp emerges as the soft slices of caramelized peaches sink underneath the crisp sweet biscuit crust. Pick up a basket of peaches at the farmers' market in the morning, make this gooey treat, and we guarantee that your afternoon will be smoky and sweet.

51 of 65

The Red Velvet Cake

The Red Velvet Cake
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: The Red Velvet Cake

This cake requires an article before the title. It's not just any red velvet cake. It is The Red Velvet Cake. For good reason: Red velvet cakes are almost universally loved. When you cut into a cake and realize it's red velvet, not just vanilla or chocolate, euphoria sets in. It's a very special cake. Red velvet has even been celebrated in film, memorialized in comedic form. In 1989, an armadillo-shaped groom's cake in Steel Magnolias kicked off a cult following for red velvet. The craze has continued for decades, fueled in part by the red velvet cakes that have graced the Southern Living Christmas cover three times.

52 of 65

Praline Bread Pudding

Praline Bread Pudding
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Praline Bread Pudding

Talk about comfort food. We were, weren't we? This dish oozes sweetness, the perfect Southern indulgence. It's no typical bread pudding, though. We gave our favorite bread pudding a Louisiana-style revival with the addition of an oh-so-decadent homemade Praline Sauce. Our Test Kitchen recommends using stale, day-old bread—better for soaking up the sweet custard. So once your bread has graced your shelf just a day too long, you'll know it's time to whip up this sweet treat. We love dipping generous helpings into petite clear dishes—which are all the better to showcase the layers of gooey praline goodness that await you during the dessert course.

53 of 65

Mini Strawberry Tarts

Mini Strawberry Tarts
Greg Dupree

Recipe: Mini Strawberry Tarts

These sweet strawberry treats start with a pistachio crust, an unexpected, nutty, and subtle twist on the form. A dreamy mixture of cream cheese, lemon juice and zest, and whipped cream are folded together before filling the individual tarts. Toss the fresh strawberries in sugar, just before topping the tarts, to give them just a hint of added sweetness. These miniscule desserts are almost too pretty to eat…almost. They are elegant and accessible, and they pack major flavor in tiny tart form, so they are perfect for dinner parties, when you want to impress but don't want to skimp on taste.

54 of 65

Fudge Pie

Fudge Pie
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Fudge Pie

This Fudge Pie starts with semi-sweet chocolate and pecans and ends with a dollop of ice cream on top. To keep things easy, it calls for a frozen pie crust, but the end result is so tasty, anyone who cuts a slice may swear it's fully from scratch. Delicious doesn't even begin to describe it.

55 of 65

The Lemon Cheese Layer Cake

The Lemon Cheese Layer Cake
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: The Lemon Cheese Layer Cake

Expecting a twist on cheesecake? You're in for an even sweeter surprise. These layers are filled with a buttery rich lemon curd instead. Light, sweet, and tart: It's a beguiling blend. The curd is smooth, a bright citrus explosion within a sweet cheesecake concoction. It's like nothing you've ever tasted. The Lemon-Orange Buttercream frosting coats the exterior of the cake like a sweet, thick veil. It opens to the lemon curd-interior and doubles, nay, triples the citrus flavor. Perfect for summer, this sweet cake is best served outside, under a starry sky, surrounded by glowing candles and light, fresh cocktails.

56 of 65

Easy Blackberry Cobbler

Easy Blackberry Cobbler
John O'Hagan

Recipe: Easy Blackberry Cobbler

Make the most of summer's blackberry bounty with this recipe for blackberry cobbler. Our farmers' markets and grocery stores are filled with blackberries for sale, and we've already picked up more than one container. This versatile, deep-purple hued berry is a winner. A winning fruit demands a top-notch recipe, which we provide here. This recipe for blackberry cobbler is so simple that it only uses six ingredients. Six! Easy to make on even the most harried of nights, you can make it special by topping it with whipped cream and garnish with sprigs of fragrant mint. Confession: We planted an herb garden last spring in anticipation of just this sort of recipe. There's nothing quite like a garnish of fresh herbs in a flavorful summer dessert.

57 of 65

Strawberry Dream Cake

Strawberry Dream Cake
Photo: Greg Dupree

Recipe: Strawberry Dream Cake

This Strawberry Dream Cake is an elegant and eye-catching surprise! It's sure to astonish at any prince themed birthday party. The fluffy whipped frosting and upright strawberries make for a stunningly beautiful display.

58 of 65

The Coconut Chiffon Cake

The Coconut Chiffon Cake
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: The Coconut Chiffon Cake

White as a Sunday glove, coconut is the doyenne of Southern layer cakes, a masterpiece of home cookery that has crowned dining room sideboards for more than a hundred years. Is there anything as delicate as Coconut Chiffon? It's an almost diaphanous mixture, flavorful and dainty and sweet. We see it gracing the dessert tables at showers, weddings, luncheons—anywhere that calls for casual elegance and a pretty (impressive) dessert. It doesn't call attention to itself, though—this is no red velvet cake—but it is such a beautiful, comfortable addition to any event that, no doubt, all of its slices will disappear on cocktail plates to be smiled at and savored.

59 of 65

Coconut-Banana Pudding

Coconut-Banana Pudding
Hector M. Sanchez

Recipe: Coconut-Banana Pudding

The fire gives this classic an extra smoky, caramelized flavor that, we're willing to bet, you won't be able to resist. Serve hot off the grill or at room temperature. Crown the cobbler with a scoop of vanilla for an extra sweet touch. This dish is infused with smoke, creating a luscious mixture of textures. Just the right blend of gooey and crisp emerges as the soft slices of caramelized peaches sink underneath the crisp sweet biscuit crust. Pick up a basket of peaches at the farmers' market in the morning, make this gooey treat, and we guarantee that your afternoon will be smoky and sweet.

60 of 65

Strawberries-and-Cream Sheet Cake

Strawberries-and-Cream Sheet Cake
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Strawberries-and-Cream Sheet Cake

When served in a dish, strawberries and cream are a favorite English dessert and traditional teatime accompaniment. This strawberries and cream riff on the sheet cake will have your guests fawning over a new way to enjoy the fruit and cream mix. One of the most versatile desserts, strawberries and cream is always appropriate—it's delicate and luscious, a dulcet harmony of flavors that we can't get enough of. The fruity thrill of strawberry, the cooling comfort of cream—it's great any time. Taking that idea and transforming it into the ultimate berry sheet cake was no small feat. But we did it, and with the help of this fantastic recipe, you can too.

61 of 65

The Jam Cake

The Jam Cake
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: The Jam Cake

Jam cakes are deeply rooted in Appalachia, a region where ingredients like sugar were once expensive and scarce. There, natural sweeteners like jams, fruits, and jellies were used to sweeten cakes. Coincidentally, the berries and fruit preserves delivered a flavor so rich sugar alone could never compete. That's why the jam cake is such a prize dessert still today.

62 of 65

Lemon-Orange Chiffon Cake

Banana Pudding Cheesecake
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Lemon-Orange Chiffon Cake

Serve this decadent spring dessert at your next ladies' luncheon, shower, or party and wow the crowd—all of your friends and family—with a garnish of edible flowers, which are easily purchased and shipped from online retailers. Here, we've garnished the completed and cooled Lemon-Orange Chiffon Cake with edible flowers, kumquat slices, and a lovely lemon-orange buttercream frosting. Its an airy dessert, one easily enjoyed at a party or luncheon with minimal mess and minimal effort. The texture is a treasure, with the diaphanous hint of chiffon complemented by the perfectly paired citrus duo of vibrant lemon and exuberant orange.

63 of 65

The Lane Cake

The Lane Cake
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: The Lane Cake

In March 1966, Southern Living featured a recipe for Lane Cake in its second issue. Our latest twist? Dried peaches (finely diced and ridiculously delicious) stand in for raisins, and the traditional meringue frosting gets a spirited makeover with—get this—a triple shot of peach schnapps. This is your summer cake. The levity of meringue plus the playful taste of peach schnapps makes this cake a fruity cocktail of a dessert. We love it at summer parties, and the meringue frosting creates a dramatic visual, sweeping and soaring and inviting guests to partake in a party of a cake. It's covered in clouds but it's a substantial sweet. It's a dessert that defies gravity.

64 of 65

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple-Upside Down Cake
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Moist, delicious, and surprisingly easy, this upside-down cake may become your go-to recipe for entertaining. After you try it for the first time, you'll wonder how you ever got on without this recipe card in your life.

65 of 65

Chocolate Delight

Ouida’s Chocolate Delight
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Recipe: Chocolate Delight

No matter what you call it, this chocolate dessert with layers of pudding and whipped topping is sure to delight. We bet the first bite will bring back memories of summer's past.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles