46 Holly Jolly Christmas Cake Ideas

Updated: Feb. 05, 2024

Christmas cake ideas come in all shapes and sizes—from yule logs to towering layer cakes to antlered reindeer treats. Find recipes for a sweet holiday centerpiece.

You’ve stirred up the cookies, you’ve made the guest list, you’ve wrapped the gifts. All that’s left is to get some Christmas cake ideas to finish your spread.

These recipes range from over-the-top snow globe cakes to holiday cheesecakes to simple sheet cakes to feed a crowd. No matter your holiday style, we’ve got the sweets your loved ones will adore.

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Chocolate Yule Log

A yule log cake, also called a Buche de Noel, is a rolled sponge cake shaped and decorated to resemble a wooden log. This fanciful dessert is a holiday baking tradition that dates back to 19th century France, and it’s one of those Christmas cake ideas we can’t get enough of.
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Taste of Home

Grandma’s Red Velvet Cake

A stunning red velvet cake topped with snowy white icing is the perfect holiday centerpiece. Make sure you have plenty of red food coloring on hand (we know it sees a lot of use this time of year!). To decorate, make it easy on yourself and top with small bottlebrush trees.

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Eggnog Tres Leches Cake

During the holidays, give a classic tres leches cake a seasonal makeover. This recipe uses eggnog in place of heavy cream. It’s one of our favorite ways to use eggnog this time of year.
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Mint Swirl Fudge Cake

Creme de menthe gives this cake its signature color and flavor. Guests will be pleasantly surprised to a see a minty ribbon when you slice into this Bundt cake.
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Baklava Cheesecake

The phyllo crust of this cheesecake gives this Christmas dessert a wonderful crunch. For a holiday look, garnish with rosemary sprigs and sugared cranberries.
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Upside-Down Fruitcake

Looking for Christmas cake ideas you’ve never seen before? This recipe turns a classic fruitcake on its head—literally. This cake is topped with plenty of holiday fruits and a good splash of bourbon (you could also use rum).
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Reindeer Cake

Who doesn’t love a cake that goes over the top—especially for the most festive holiday of the year. This reindeer cake uses melted chocolate for antlers and buttercream icing for all the piped details.
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Minted Chocolate Torte

This torte (that’s a cake with many thin layers) is a wonderful addition to your Christmas sweet spread. Topped with a fudgy frosting and crushed mint candies, how could anyone resist?
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Stacked Bundt cakes with star cookies on top
TMB Studio

Vanilla Ring Cake

Our Test Kitchen uses this classic vanilla ring cake to make this stacked Bundt cake tree. To hold the tiers in place, use bamboo skewers. Then top with plenty of icing and holiday sprinkles and sugar.

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Mama’s Spice Cake

Got a craving for old-fashioned desserts this holiday season? Get some Christmas cake ideas from Grandma’s recipe box, including this spice cake. It’s flavored with cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and sage leaves for a truly seasonal look.
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Gingerbread Bundt Cake

The holidays are a great excuse to break out festive cake pans. Use a fun Bundt pan to create this gingerbread cake. The best part of this style of cake: a dusting of confectioners’ sugar is all you need to decorate.
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Cranberry Layer Cake

This cake combines cranberry and orange, one of the season’s best flavor combos. In each slice, you’ll also get the crunch of walnuts.
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Cake Snowman

Believe it or not, you can build this snowman without any special pans. Instead, break out round cake pans and some muffin pans. With some creative sculpting and plenty of shredded coconut, you’ll have a snowman that guests will be delighted to slice into.
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Coffee Cheesecake

For an after-dinner pick-me-up, serve this coffee cheesecake. It’s rich yet not too sweet. And be sure to follow these steps to prevent your cheesecake from cracking.
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Eggnog Pound Cake

This cake starts with a package of yellow cake mix and then gets infused with plenty of flavor thanks to eggnog and a sprinkling of nutmeg. Serve slices with a spoonful of velvety custard sauce.
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Chocolate Gingerbread Yule Log

Yule log cakes are one of our Test Kitchen’s favorite Christmas cake ideas. This version is filled with plenty of ginger flavor and finished with a dark chocolate bark.
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Rich Cranberry Coffee Cake

Hosting a holiday brunch? You can still make a Christmas cake—just make it coffee cake! This recipe uses tart cranberries and rich cream cheese.
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Coconut-Layered Pound Cake

If you love chocolate, almonds and coconut, this cake is for you. It comes together in a flash thanks to a premade poundcake and tastes just like an Almond Joy candy bar!
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Pineapple & Macadamia Nut Cake

While you can lean into seasonal flavors for Christmas cake ideas, you can also try something entirely different! This cake looks wonderfully wintry, but inside it’s full of pineapple and macadamia nut flavor.
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Flourless Chocolate Cake with Rosemary Ganache

Sometimes Christmas cake ideas are as simple as infusing a favorite recipe with a holiday flavor. This flourless chocolate cake is topped with a dark ganache flavored with a hint of rosemary. The result is subtle but distinctly wintry.
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Peppermint Cheesecake on a Stick

Christmas cake ideas come in all forms—including on a stick! Dip slices of cheesecake in chocolate, then drizzle with icing. If you want to take it over the top, add a smattering of sprinkles.
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Contest-Winning Eggnog Cake

This impressive layer cake uses eggnog in the cake and the frosting. Make sure you have a full carton of eggnog in your fridge before you start this recipe!
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Cranberry Christmas Cake

Who doesn’t love an easy dessert, especially during the busy Christmas season? This cake takes just minutes to prep and makes enough to serve a whole crowd—perfect for a packed holiday house.
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Cherry Chocolate Marble Cake

Chocolate-covered cherries pop up on treat platters this time of year. Transform these candies into a dessert to share with this marbled chocolate cake.
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Italian Cream Cheese Cake

This time of year, many of us lean into cultural traditions. After serving up a delicious Feast of the Seven Fishes, serve up an Italian-inspired cake like this one.
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Ginger-Glazed Lemon Bundt

Citrus is at its peak in the winter months. Use plenty of lemons to flavor this cake—and then add ginger to add extra zing.
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Holiday Snow Globe Cake

Really want to show off your cake-decorating skills? This cake is it! Create holiday figures from fondant or cookies and then place a glass dome over the top. This will give it a snow globe effect.
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Mint Angel Cake

One sight of this light and lovely cake will have guests saving room for dessert! For an easy garnish, sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies.
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Olive Oil Cake

During the Christmas season, you’ll find yourself bombarded with sweets. After enjoying plenty of cookies (and a Christmas feast), serve up a treat that’s not overly sugary. This olive oil cake is a great Italian treat that’s flavored with plenty of almonds. It’s great after dinner or served alongside brunch.
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Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

For those looking for Christmas cake ideas that are also small-batch, try this recipe! It makes just enough cake to serve six. Plus, with plenty of chocolate flavor and hazelnuts, no one will be able to resist.
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Red Velvet Pound Cake

This delicious red velvet pound cake is the perfect combination of flavors: a hint of chocolate and cream cheese. Make sure the cake has cooled before icing it; for extra crunch sprinkle some roasted pecans on top.
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Poteca Cake

Poteca is a popular Slavic dessert. This nutty cake takes some time to make, so it’s often saved for special occasions like Christmas.
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Holiday White Fruitcake

What is a list of Christmas cake ideas without fruitcake? This white fruitcake is one of our top-rated recipes and pleases even those skeptical of this traditional treat.
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Peppermint Cheesecake

Crushed Oreos form the foundation for this cheesecake. Paired with a creamy peppermint filling, your guests will be lining up for a second slice!
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Gingerbread Coffee Cake

Love the warming flavors of gingerbread? You can get them in coffee cake form with this recipe. Serve this treat with confectioners’ sugar dusted over the top or with a simple glaze and crystallized ginger.
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Chocolate Cake Roll with Praline Filling

Learning how to make a cake roll is so satisfying—and the results look impressive. This recipe pairs chocolate cake with a creamy frosting speckled with praline.
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Coconut Chiffon Cake

Chiffon cakes have a very light texture, meaning almost everyone at the dinner table will be able to make room for a slice. Be sure to toast the coconut for color, crunch and flavor.
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Holiday Ambrosia Cake

This cake may look like a traditional fruit cake, but it has so much more flavor thanks to pineapple juice and shredded coconut.
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Ginger-Walnut Tube Cake

Crystallized ginger adds crunch and zingy flavor to this pound cake. Be sure to save some extra tidbits to sprinkle over the top along with a simple glaze.
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White Christmas Cake

Dreaming of a white Christmas? You can get a bite of it with this cake: a fluffy white sponge filled with pecans and coconut. This layered confection is topped with a velvety cream cheese frosting.
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Brown Sugar Pound Cake

This pound cake is so simple to make. The best part: The browned butter icing tastes just like pralines.
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Candy Cane Coffee Cakes

Need Christmas cake ideas for your holiday brunch? This recipe for adorable twisted coffee cake candy canes fits the bill. While this cake looks minty, it’s actually filled with apricots and cherries.
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Sacher Torte

Sacher torte is a traditional Austrian dessert. While it’s served all year long, it’s particularly popular at Christmas. This version is simple to make at home; it starts with a chocolate cake mix!
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Sugarplum Cake

Looking for some old-fashioned flavor this Christmas? Try this sugarplum cake. Don’t forget to dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving!
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Festive Cranberry Cake

This cake is chock-full of cranberries—perfect for the holiday season. Make this cake in advance. It tastes best after the flavors develop overnight.
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Rich Rum Cake

Get into the Christmas spirit(s) with this rum-soaked cake. For the holidays, be sure to break out a bottle of the good stuff.