44 Showstopping Christmas Cakes For Your Holiday Table

White Cake with Peppermint Icing
Photo: Photo: Hector Sanchez

This holiday season, let there be cookies and trifles and tarts. But please, oh please let there be cakes.

There's nothing more festive than an awe-inspiring cake, and this collection of Christmas cake recipes includes all of our very best ways to end your holiday meal. These seasonal showstoppers will wow your holiday crowd (that's right, even Grandma with the impossibly high standards and ultra-picky Aunt Sue!). From cheesecake to Bundts and towering layer cakes, these Christmas cakes will sweeten any holiday. We have festive favorites that incorporate the flavors of the season, like Chocolate Peppermint Cake and Gingerbread Cake with Buttermilk Frosting. We have cheery confections like Spiked Eggnog Bundt Cake and indulgent treats like our Sea Salt-Caramel Cake.

No matter which recipe you choose, sugar plum fairies will be dancing while you are devouring one—or more—of these showstopping Christmas cakes. These heavenly holiday desserts will earn you a spot on the nice list.

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Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream Frosting

Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream Frosting
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream Frosting

If you bake anything this holiday season, let it be this. Not only is this 2020's Big White Cake from the December cover, but it's our 25th annual Big White Cake!

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Buche de Noel

Buche De Noel
Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Ana Kelly Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke

Recipe: Buche de Noel

Classic yule log cakes are a labor of love, but you should absolutely make one this year.

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Chocolate Peppermint Cake

Chocolate Peppermint Cake
Victor Protasio, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Prop Stylist: Kathleen Varner

Recipe: Chocolate Peppermint Cake

The Italian meringue frosting on top of this minty-chocolatey dream is fluffy and festive.

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Spice Cake with Cranberry Filling

Spice Cake with Cranberry Filling
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Spice Cake with Cranberry Filling

Pipe a ring of frosting around the cake layer, just inside the top edge, to keep filling from oozing out.

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Chocolate-Peppermint Cheesecake

Chocolate-Peppermint Cheesecake
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Chocolate-Peppermint Cheesecake

Don't worry if your cheesecake cracks; the light and fluffy layer of whipped cream will cover it.

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Cranberry-Apple-Pumpkin Bundt

Cranberry-Apple-Pumpkin Bundt
Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck

Recipe: Cranberry-Apple-Pumpkin Bundt

The topping on this bundt—a maple glaze with sugared pecans and pumpkin seeds—will make your guests ooh and ahh.

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Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake

Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake
Jim Franco

Recipe: Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake

Let this elegant chocolate cheesecake be the centerpiece of your holiday tablescape featuring a gorgeous White Chocolate Snowflake in the center.

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Tennessee Jam Bundt

Tennessee Jam Bundt Cake
Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck

Recipe: Tennessee Jam Bundt

The best way to enjoy this blackberry and caramel confection is with friends—it makes 12 satisfying servings.

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Mama's German Chocolate Cake

Mama's German Chocolate Cake
Photo: Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Mama's German Chocolate Cake

Pure Southern perfection! Layers of moist German chocolate cake and sweet-and-nutty Coconut-Pecan Frosting will make this dessert an instant favorite.

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Marbled Pumpkin Praline Cake

Marbled Pumpkin Praline Cake
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Marbled Pumpkin Praline Cake

Marbled Pumpkin Praline Cake garnished with sugared pecans, kumquats, and bay leaves.

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Sugar-and-Spice Cake

Sugar-and-Spice Cake
Jennifer Davick; Styling: Buffy Hargett

Recipe: Sugar-and-Spice Cake

Make a classic white cake for Christmas this year. This recipe starts with boxed mix, then adds a few key ingredients to make the end result light, fluffy, and totally delicious.

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Spiked Eggnog Bundt Cake

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

Recipe: Spiked Eggnog Bundt Cake

This ultra-rich cake combines your favorite holiday drink with a sweet glaze on top.

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Snowy Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream

Snowy Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Snowy Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream

We topped this Big White Cake with our adorable Cake Ball Ornaments.

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Red Velvet Cheesecake-Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cheesecake-Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Red Velvet Cheesecake-Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

That's right—we combined red velvet cheesecake and vanilla cake and THEN topped it with cream cheese frosting.

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Eggnog Spice Cake with Bourbon Custard Filling and Eggnog Buttercream

Eggnog Spice Cake with Bourbon Custard Filling and Eggnog Buttercream
Greg Dupree; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Recipe: Eggnog Spice Cake with Bourbon Custard Filling and Eggnog Buttercream

This eggnog-flavored cake with boozy filling is a reader favorite, and we have a feeling it will quickly become a tradition in your home.

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Red Velvet Peppermint Cake

Red Velvet Peppermint Cake
Caitlin Bensel

Recipe: Red Velvet Peppermint Cake

Classic red velvet cake gets a holiday-ready makeover with the addition of peppermint and cream cheese icing.

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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

The caramel frosting on this tender layer cake is the true star of this beautiful recipe.

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Cassandra's "Light" Fruitcake

Cassandra’s “Light” Fruitcake
Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Recipe: Cassandra's "Light" Fruitcake

This fruitcake will change your opinion about the holiday tradition for good.

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Bourbon-Chocolate Cake with Browned Buttercream Frosting

Bourbon-Chocolate Cake with Browned Buttercream
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop styling: Lydia Pursell

Recipe: Bourbon-Chocolate Cake with Browned Buttercream Frosting

This layer cake is appropriate for celebrations year round, but this boozy dessert feels especially festive for the holidays.

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Our Best White Cake

Best White Cake
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christina Lane; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Our Best White Cake

If you've been baking from a box, try out this easy, classic white cake recipe.

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Peppermint Cake with Seven-Minute Frosting

Peppermint Cake with Seven-Minute Frosting
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Peppermint Cake with Seven-Minute Frosting

We filled this layer cake with a pink peppermint buttercream for a fun surprise.

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Buttermilk-Chocolate Cake

Buttermilk-Chocolate Cake
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas: Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Buttermilk-Chocolate Cake

A decadent chocolate cake topped with silky Swiss meringue buttercream…What could make this dessert better? Gorgeous magnolia and camellia flower cake toppers, that's what!

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Baklava Cheesecake

Baklava Cheesecake
Southern Living

Recipe: Baklava Cheesecake

We love a dessert mashup more than anyone, and this silky smooth cheesecake that includes a serving of baklava in each slice is the best combo we can imagine.

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Coffee Baba au Rhum

Coffee Baba au Rhum
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Coffee Baba au Rhum

This old-fashioned Christmas dessert is for all the coffee lovers in your life.

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Chocolate-Gingerbread-Toffee Cake

Chocolate-Gingerbread-Toffee Cake
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Chocolate-Gingerbread-Toffee Cake

If you're unsure if you should make this cake, read what one staffer said about it: "It tastes like all the wonderful flavors that come tumbling from a stocking: milk chocolate Santas, gingerbread men, and buttery toffee candy."

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Butterscotch-Bourbon Lava Cakes

Butterscotch-Bourbon Lava Cakes
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Lydia Pursell

Recipe: Butterscotch-Bourbon Lava Cakes

Looking for something a little more grown up than peppermint or sugar cookies? Try these photo-worthy, boozy lava cakes.

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Spice Cake with Citrus Filling

Spice Cake with Citrus Filling
Jennifer Davick/Styling: Lydia DeGaris Pursell & Marian Cooper Cairns

Recipe: Spice Cake with Citrus Filling

With frosting this fluffy and swirled, you don't even need to add toppings to this layer cake.

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White Chocolate Poinsettia Cake

White Chocolate Poinsettia Cake
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: White Chocolate Poinsettia Cake

Leaf cookie cutouts make a festive poinsettia topping for this snowy white cake.

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Rudolph's Chocolate Truffle Cake

Rudolph's Chocolate Truffle Cake
Lee Harrelson; Styling: Mindi Shapiro

Recipe: Rudolph's Chocolate Truffle Cake

Your family full of chocolate lovers will rave about this cake for weeks.

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Coconut-Almond Cream Cake

Coconut-Almond Cream Cake
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Rose Nguyen

Recipe: Coconut-Almond Cream Cake

Any coconut fanatics in your family? In this recipe, coconut cake layers are stacked with coconut-almond filling and topped with coconut-cream cheese frosting.

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Homemade Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes

Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes
Southern Living

Recipe: Homemade Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes

Looking for an afternoon baking project to try with the kids? This copycat recipe tastes even better than the real thing, but don't tell Little Debbie.

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Mini Red Velvet Cakes

Mini Red Velvet Cakes
Southern Living

Recipe: Mini Red Velvet Cakes

Mint leaves and fresh raspberries make for a festive green and red topping on these mini cakes.

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Bourbon-Praline Cheesecake

Bourbon-Praline Cheesecake and Vanilla Custard with Bourbon-Caramel Sauce
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop styling: Lydia Pursell

Recipe: Bourbon-Praline Cheesecake

Graham crackers, pecans, butter, and brown sugar make the crust for this dessert, and it only gets better from there.

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Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

Mint Chocolate Cake
Victor Protasio, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Prop Stylist: Kathleen Varner

Recipe: Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

Instead of mint extract, this homemade cake gets its flavor from fresh mint leaves.

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Icebox Fruitcake

Icebox Fruit Cake
Micah Leal

Recipe: Icebox Fruitcake

Just like the icebox cakes you love in the summertime, this holiday dessert doesn't require any baking.

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Gingerbread Cake Roll with Eggnog Cream

Gingerbread Roulade and Eggnog Cream
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Gingerbread Cake Roll with Eggnog Cream

This spiced roulade is the ultimate make-ahead dessert for the holiday season.

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Toffee S'mores Cheesecake

Toffee S’mores Cheesecake
Southern Living

Recipe: Toffee S'mores Cheesecake

Too chilly to make s'mores outside? Bring all the flavor you love in with this gooey cheesecake recipe.

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Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake with Caramel Buttercream

Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake with Caramel Buttercream
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake with Caramel Buttercream

This beautiful layer cake has rich chocolate layers, fluffy caramel buttercream, and a layer of decadent chocolate ganache.

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Molten Red Velvet Cakes

Molten Red Velvet Cakes, red velvet cake recipe
HECTOR MANUEL SANCHEZ

Recipe: Molten Red Velvet Cakes

Personal desserts mean you don't have to worry about sharing.

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White Cake with Bourbon Buttercream

White Cake with Cranberry Filling and Orange Buttercream
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: White Cake with Bourbon Buttercream and Seven-Minute Frosting

Top this cake with Sugar-Coated Orange Slices and Sparkling Cherries.

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Acadian Syrup Cake with Roasted Pears and Caramel Sauce

Roasted Pears
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Acadian Syrup Cake with Roasted Pears and Caramel Sauce

A Cajun classic, this spice cake (aka Gateau au Sirop) gets much of its sweet flavor from a Southern staple, cane syrup. We love Steen's 100% Pure Cane Syrup, made in Louisiana. If you can't find pure cane syrup, don't sub a blended syrup; use honey instead. Roast the pears and make the caramel sauce while the cake cools. To dress up the cake for serving, we used a fleur-de-lis stencil to create a powdered sugar design atop this glorious dark and deeply delicious cake.

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Hummingbird Cake

Christmas Dessert Recipes: Hummingbird Cake
Photo: Lee Harrelson

Recipe: Hummingbird Cake

This ultimate recipe is the most requested in Southern Living magazine history and frequents covered dish dinners all across the South, always receiving rave reviews.

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Red Velvet Cheesecake

Red Velvet Cheesecake
Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro

Recipe: Red Velvet Cheesecake

If you love both red velvet cake and cheesecake, this perfect sweet-meets-rich-meets-creamy concoction is bound to be your new favorite dessert.

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White Cake with Peppermint Frosting

White Cake with Peppermint Icing
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: White Cake with Peppermint Frosting

Garnish with a fondant bow or Peppermint Meringue Cookies.

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