Our Best-Ever Thanksgiving Cakes
Thanksgiving is the Southern cooking showcase of the year. From creamy casseroles to cornbread dressing, these mouth-watering, tried-and-true recipes are every Southerner's specialty. And, we can tell you from experience, our families wait all year to gobble them up. While many of our favorite dishes make appearances every Thanksgiving (no exceptions, unless you want to start a family feud), dessert can be a little more experimental. Sure, you have your go-to pies and cobblers; but when you really want to impress, we suggest a gorgeous, downright delicious cake. From pretty layer cakes to decadent Bundt cakes, these irresistible cakes all feature a special seasonal twist that will be fan favorites on the dessert table this year. We have all the delicious fall flavors of apple, pecan, caramel, chocolate, pumpkin, and cranberry in this bunch. So, get ready to dazzle the crowd with these best-ever Thanksgiving cakes.
Hummingbird Bundt Cake
Recipe: Hummingbird Bundt Cake
This Bundt cake features all of the great ingredients found in classic hummingbird cake, such as pecans, pineapples, and cream cheese, but in an updated version that doesn't require frosting layers. Top with a rich cream cheese glaze for your icing fix.
Marbled Pumpkin Praline Cake
Recipe: Marbled Pumpkin Praline Cake
You’ll certainly impress with this beautifully iced and garnished cake. Sugared pecans, kumquats, and bay leaves make it shine but, take a bite and you'll find the marbled pumpkin and cream cheese cake and pecan-praline filling are the real showstoppers.
Butter Toffee-Pecan Layer Cake
Recipe: Butter Toffee-Pecan Layer Cake
Toasted pecans and toffee bits jazz up a classic vanilla layer cake batter. Elevate the brown butter toffee frosting with a little bourbon, dark rum, or cognac if you’d like. To step up the presentation, toasted pecan halves and flaky sea salt will do the trick.
Caramel Apple Cake
Recipe: Caramel Apple Cake
This is one of the prettiest cakes you can make for the fall—and it requires only 20 minutes of hands-on prep time. Drizzled and dripping with a delicious apple brandy-caramel sauce, this cake looks great and tastes even better.
Pumpkin-Spice Bundt with Brown Sugar Icing and Candied Pecans
Nothing screams fall like pumpkin-spice anything. Everyone will love this classic-style Bundt cake even more with its candied pecans and rich, buttery icing. It’s a true grand finale dessert.
Coconut Cream Cake
Recipe: Coconut Cream Cake
A sweet coconut filling takes this coconut cake to the next level—it’s seriously good. Top with a super creamy, fluffy coconut frosting and toasted coconut shavings, and you’re set with a dessert almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
Upside-Down Caramelized Apple Cake
This upside-down cake is especially gooey and rich thanks to the brown sugar, apple, and pecan mixture that’s baked down in the skillet (with a little help from some brandy for the perfect caramelized touch).
Mama's German Chocolate Cake
Recipe: Mama's German Chocolate Cake
We love that this German chocolate cake gives a little something more than a typical chocolate cake with its rich, sweet frosting that’s gloriously chunky with pecans and flaked coconut. Mama would be proud.
The Ultimate Carrot Cake
Recipe: The Ultimate Carrot Cake
You can’t really go wrong with a classic carrot cake. Your crew will love this one, complete with brown sugar-cream cheese frosting.
Pineapple-Upside Down Cake
Recipe: Pineapple-Upside Down Cake
This dessert is always a winner in the fall with the Southern crowd. Butter, brown sugar, and pineapple cook together at the bottom of the skillet to make a deliciously gooey topping for this cake.
Recipe: Caramel Cake
A classic caramel cake is about as Southern as it gets, so why not feature it this year at the Thanksgiving family meal? The frosting is the most important thing to get right in a caramel cake, so pay attention and don’t stop stirring.
Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
Recipe: Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
If you want simple, old-fashioned, and delicious, this chocolate-mayo cake is as good as it gets. Southerners know Duke’s mayonnaise is as useful in desserts as it is on a sandwich. This ultra-moist cake proves it.
Mini Apple Cider Pound Cakes
Recipe: Mini Apple Cider Pound Cakes
There are three different delicious toppings you can make for these mini pound cakes—mix and match the streusel topping, bourbon glaze, and lemon-sugar glaze as you please.
Marbled Pecan Pound Cake
Recipe: Marbled Pecan Pound Cake
Is it breakfast or is it dessert? The choice is yours when it comes to this sweet, seasonal cake. The chocolate marbling gives it an elevated feel, but you can make it even more festive with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Recipe: Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
It doesn’t get any cuter than this, folks. Our homemade Maple Whipped Cream makes these Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes absolute showstoppers.
Pecan Pie Cake with Browned Butter Frosting
There’s no need to choose between a pecan pie and a decadent layer cake when Pecan Pie Cake with Browned Butter Frosting is on the table.
Thyme-Cornmeal Pound Cake
Recipe: Thyme-Cornmeal Pound Cake
This rustic cake isn’t too sweet but comes packed with flavor thanks to nutty cornmeal and woodsy thyme.
Apple Pie Cake
Recipe: Apple Pie Cake
Boxed cake mix gets paired with all of your favorite apple pie ingredients to create one of the easiest Thanksgiving cakes you’ll ever make. It only takes 15 minutes of hands-on time.
Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake
Recipe: Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake
Here’s how to make a foolproof cheesecake in no time at all: Bust out your trusty Instant Pot. That’s right, the wonder appliance can do it all, including churning out a delicious holiday dessert.
Apple Butter Pound Cake with Caramel Frosting
Pound cake and caramel apples meet in this fall favorite that combines delicious pound cake with an Apple Butter filling and sweet caramel frosting.
Sock It To Me Cake
Recipe: Sock It To Me Cake
This from-scratch recipe calls for simple pantry ingredients to create a buttery cake that’s flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar, and pecans.
Recipe: Praline Cake
Light and airy vanilla sponge cake is given a decadent, salty-and-sweet praline glaze. The result? One stellar cake.
Texas Pecan Cake
Recipe: Texas Pecan Cake
Pound cake meets fruit cake in this holiday favorite that’ll convince you to indulge just a little early this year. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Classic Apple Upside Down Cake
Recipe: Classic Apple Upside Down Cake
If you haven’t tried your hand at an apple upside down cake, this recipe is where to start. But, disclaimer, we doubt you’ll ever try another after you master our impressive confection that calls for a cast-iron skillet instead of a cake pan.
Southern Sweet Potato Cake
Recipe: Southern Sweet Potato Cake
Now here’s an idea: Skip the casserole and save those potatoes for a cake instead. This sheet cake is full of all the seasonal flavor your taste buds can desire before being topped off with decadent Brown Sugar Icing.
Fig Upside Down Cake
Recipe: Fig Upside Down Cake
Make this dessert extra special by adding port to the whipped cream. It makes the perfect topper for the rustic autumn treat.
Pumpkin Pie Cake
Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Cake
This cake is as easy as 1-2-3. Start with a graham layer that gets topped with a sweet and creamy pumpkin layer. Finish it off with dollops of a cake mix that comes together in a cinch thanks to packaged yellow cake mix.
Brown Sugar-Rum Cake
Recipe: Brown Sugar-Rum Cake
Rich dark brown sugar and a decadent rum frosting make this sheet cake the comforting dessert the fall season is just begging for.
Caramel-Frosted Pound Cake
Recipe: Caramel-Frosted Pound Cake
There never was a more Southern cake than our Caramel-Frosted Pound Cake. It serves wonderfully as a dessert or decadent breakfast when an indulgence is requested.
Praline Mini Cakes
Recipe: Praline Mini Cakes
This recipe churns out 12 mini cakes, each drizzled with dreamy brown sugar icing. If you want to kick things up, sprinkle a bit of chopped toffee onto the warm icing before serving.
Pumpkin Dump Cake
Recipe: Pumpkin Dump Cake
Does it get any easier (or more seasonal) than our Pumpkin Dump Cake? We think not. Set aside just 10 minutes of hands-on time for a showstopping dessert that is bound to be your new favorite fall dessert.