This Is Our Most Popular Christmas Cake Ever

It's hard to find a more dramatic—or delicious—Christmas cake.

Christmas Cake
Photo: Hector Sanchez

The Southern Living Test Kitchen has baked dozens of cover-worthy Christmas cakes over the years. And just like children, it's hard to pick a favorite. Our Gift Box Cake (complete with edible Fruit By The Foot ribbon) has been a reader favorite since it graced the magazine's cover in 1996. Since then, we've experimented with fillings, flavors, frostings, and cake layers (and shapes, of course.) Our star-shaped cake from 2000 was probably the most polarizing, while the pure white-on-white simplicity of Mrs. Billet's White Cake earned rave reader reviews.

They're all centerpiece-worthy cakes in our book, but one has stood out from the rest: our Red Velvet-White Chocolate Cheesecake, made by our baker extraordinaire Pam Lolley. Initially published in December 2013, this five-layer masterpiece has glowing reviews—and it's easy to see why. Layers of dense red velvet cake and white cheesecake create a candy cane-like effect while also pleasing both chocolate and vanilla lovers. Sweet and creamy White Chocolate Frosting covers the entire thing, topped with elegant white candy "leaves" and store-bought coconut truffles.

WATCH: How to Assemble Our December White Cake

We'll be the first to admit that this is a labor-intensive cake. The total cook time is almost 14 hours—not for amateur bakers. But the brilliant thing about the recipe is that there is less than one hour of hands-on cooking time, and you can make the components in advance or stages and freeze them, assembling them just before serving. Make the cheesecakes one day ahead, so they have time to chill and firm up and make the cakes one to two days earlier. (Double wrap the cake layers tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator or freezer.) The decorative leaves can be made up to one week in advance if stored in an airtight container in the freezer. As reader "cbsopp" commented on the recipe: "It is labor intensive, so don't be in a hurry when you are making this."

Reader "NoVahoney" agrees: "If you are looking for a cake to impress, look no further. It [takes] a bit more time than a standard layer cake, but well worth the effort. And, if you have time, make the candy leaves for decoration. [It is] very easy to do, and it adds to the "wow" factor."

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