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 up 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.
Apple-Pecan Carrot Cake
Recipe: Apple-Pecan Carrot Cake
This cake magically mixes many of our favorite fall dessert ingredients, like apple, pecans, caramel, and carrots—all topped with creamy mascarpone frosting, apple cider caramel sauce, and spiced pecans.
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.
Triple-Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cake
If you’re going to do a chocolate dessert this year, go all the way with this rich chocolate pound cake that's topped with not one, but two glazes. You’ll never want to make any other chocolate pound cake again.
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.
Meyer Lemon-Cranberry Bundt Cake
Recipe: Meyer Lemon-Cranberry Bundt Cake
A sweetened cranberry filling makes the perfect addition to this lemon-infused Bundt cake. It will outshine your Thanksgiving cranberry sauce in a second.
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.
Mini Pumpkin Cakes
Recipe: Mini Pumpkin Cakes
If you like a pretty presentation, these are about as cute as you can get for a Thanksgiving dessert—plus, they're super tasty to boot. A caramel-rum glaze (you can substitute a vanilla glaze with no rum) and caramel stems, leaves, and vines add the finishing touches.
Mile-High White Chocolate Hummingbird Cake
The classic Hummingbird Cake is hard to beat, but if you want to switch it up a little, try this eight-layer recipe with a delicious white chocolate-cream cheese frosting. You won’t regret it!
Pecan Pound Cake
Recipe: Pecan Pound Cake
What makes this pecan pound cake stand out is a lemon-infused glaze that’s drizzled on top to complement the nutty flavor.
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 sheet 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.
Amaretto-Almond Pound Cake
Recipe: Amaretto-Almond Pound Cake
We love how the beautiful almonds speckle the top of this cake after it’s baked, and the amaretto glaze is just decadent and delicious.
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!
Nutter Butter Turkey Cupcakes
Recipe: Nutter Butter Turkey Cupcakes
These cute cupcakes are perfect for the kids' table. They might not love pumpkin pie yet; but odds are, they’ll love a cookie-topped cupcake. Make it a group acitivity by setting up a buffet of candy corn, cookies, candy eyes, etc. on the table so they can decorate their own. We recommend giving each child a frosted cupcake to start with, to avoid what could be a frosting mess.