Our Best Desserts of 2017
In every issue of Southern Living magazine, our readers can find delicious recipes to prepare for their family and friends. Whether you're a novice cook that likes quick and easy recipes, or an experienced baker with an adventurous streak, you are sure to find a recipe to test your skills and tempt your taste buds. You can find fresh ideas for your farmers’ market produce or new twists on classic Southern comfort foods, but what readers come back for, year after year, are the indulgent and jaw-dropping desserts. Check out this lineup of our readers’ favorite desserts from 2017.
January- Butterscotch Pie with Whiskey Caramel Sauce
We topped this classic butterscotch pie with a spirited caramel sauce you can make ahead. You can also use the sauce for drizzling over ice cream, pound cake and warm apple pie.
February- Dreamy Lemon Cheesecake
Recipe: Dreamy Lemon Cheesecake
The mid-to-late winter weather brings a welcome gift of vibrant citrus fruits, and we love to squeeze them into delicious desserts that are a refreshing remedy to the cold weather blues
February- Molten Red Velvet Cakes
Recipe: Molten Red Velvet Cakes
Sink your fork into your very own mini red velvet cake. You won’t even have to share, since this recipe makes four individual gooey, chocolate-centered cakes.
March- Triple-Layer Chocolate-Caramel Cake
Make the frosting for this three-layer delight the day before you need it; it needs to cool overnight at room temperature in order to spread correctly.
March- Butter Toffee-Pecan Layer Cake
Recipe: Butter Toffee-Pecan Layer Cake
If you need a special cake for a church function, PTA meeting, or supper club gathering, this recipe fits the bill. A touch of golden cane syrup takes the Brown Butter Toffee Frosting from good to great.
April- Coconut Meringues with Elderflower Strawberries
These delicate meringues are as much fun to make as they are to eat. Make the meringues throughout the year and top with different seasonal fruits, syrups, or glazes of your choice.
April- Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes
Recipe: Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes
Whether you want a gluten-free dessert or just love cupcakes, these flourless treats will satisfy your sweet tooth. To help the cupcakes rise nice and high in the pan, make sure the eggs are at room temperature and don’t overwhip them.
May- Blueberry-Cornmeal Cake
Recipe: Blueberry-Cornmeal Cake
That beloved Southern staple, cornmeal, makes a noticeable and delightful difference in the texture of this moist, berry-filled cake. Equally delicious served warm or at room temperature, with a dollop of whipped cream or plain, this cake is a great choice for breakfast, brunch, or a late night snack.
May- Classic Southern Pound Cake
Recipe: Classic Southern Pound Cake
It would not be a proper lineup of Southern desserts without at least one pound cake in the mix. Beautiful in its simplicity, a Southern pound cake is delicious all by itself. Or you can slice it and toast it and slather it with peanut butter, top it with fresh fruit and chocolate sauce, use it as a base for strawberries and cream, or simply freeze it for when unexpected company pops in.
June- Fried Blueberry-Ginger Hand Pies
Recipe: Fried Blueberry Ginger Hand Pies
Seasonal blueberries are the stars in these flaky fried hand pies. The perfect choice for a picnic or family reunion, these fruit-filled pastries are equally delicious warm or at room temperature, straight out of the picnic basket.
June- Peach Melba Ice-Cream Pie
Recipe: Peach Melba Ice-Cream Pie
Nothing beats the heat of a Southern summer like a sweet, frozen pie. Fresh peaches, salted almonds, and ice cream combine to create this easier-than-it looks make-ahead dessert.
July- Peach Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel
Celebrate peach season with this delicious bread pudding. A spiked caramel sauce makes this dessert truly memorable, and is also quite tasty drizzled over pound cake.
July- Fresh Peach Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel
This lovely dessert, ideal for a brunch or party, is baked in a springform pan. If you like a coffee cake heavy on the streusel topping, you will love this recipe.
August- Lemon-Olive Oil Cake with Whipped Mascarpone
Tap into your inner Italophile and bake this Tuscan-inspired, lemon-scented cake. Made with extra-virgin olive oil (instead of butter), it has a moist, tender crumb and a slightly toasty flavor and bit of added texture and from cornmeal.
August- Blackberry, Browned Butter, and Almond Tart
This tart, which highlights seasonal, fresh blackberries, is like a cookie on the outside and a cake on the inside.
September- Texas Skillet Cake
Recipe: Texas Skillet Cake
This dense, fudgy dessert combines the ease of a Texas sheet cake with the richness of a brownie. If you can, resist eating the cake straight out of the skillet, and top warm slices of cake with vanilla ice cream.
September- Double-Chocolate Pecan Pie
Recipe: Double-Chocolate Pecan Pie
The traditional pecan pie is in a class of its own, but with a chocolate crust and chocolate chips in the filling, this Double-Chocolate Pecan Pie raises the bar a few notches.
September- Butter Pecan Layer Cake with Browned Butter Frosting
Nutty Browned Butter Frosting meets tender pecan cake in this three-layer centerpiece-worthy dessert. When browning the butter, pour the butter into a bowl as soon as it turns golden brown to keep it from getting too dark.
October- Salted Caramel Banana Pudding
Recipe: Salted Caramel Banana Pudding
We upped the ante on the classic banana pudding and used lightly spiced Biscoff cookies instead of vanilla wafers. A quick homemade salted caramel sauce using a jarred dulce de leche makes this a quick and delicious party dessert.
October- Oatmeal-Caramel Cream Pies
Recipe: Oatmeal-Caramel Cream Pies
Make over an old-fashioned childhood favorite with a surprisingly salty-sweet caramel filling
November- Arkansas Black Apple Pie with Caramel Sauce
Use either the heirloom Arkansas Black apple or Granny Smith apples for this pie. The creamy homemade Caramel Sauce is also delicious drizzled over pound cake or ice cream.
November- Over the Moon Chocolate Pie
Recipe: Over the Moon Chocolate Pie
November- Double-Decker Pecan Cheesecake Pie
Yes, we know the recipe instructs you to spoon the Cream Cheese Filling into the piecrust, and then top it with the Brown Sugar Filling. Something magical happens during bake time, however, and the two layers switch places.
December- Snowy Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream
Recipe: Cake Ball Ornaments
Each year our readers anticipate the arrival of the December issue for what has become a Southern Living tradition: the unveiling of the year’s Big White Cake. This year we dressed a classic vanilla cake with beautiful, edible ornaments. There are many components to this recipe that can be made ahead, so read through the recipe and make plans to bake this stunning cake for your own holiday meal.
December- Gingerbread Latte Cake with Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting
If the holiday season officially starts after your first gingerbread latte, this is the cake of your coffee-loving dreams.
December- Red Velvet Santa Hat Meringues
Recipe: Red Velvet Santa Hat Meringues
Kids will love decorating and eating these crisp, chocolaty cookies.
December- Snowy Tree Cookies
Recipe: Snowy Tree Cookies
To make these adorable 3-D trees, you will need star-shaped cookie cutters in six different sizes.