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30 Showstopping Christmas Desserts (You Can Actually Pull Off!)

Your holiday dessert really can be the belle of the ball! These Christmas desserts dazzle, yet they're simple to make. Some from-scratch and some shortcut, they all use foolproof techniques that require no special equipment (not even a rolling pin).

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Raspberry Fudge Torte

This special-occasion cake impresses all who see and taste it. People are surprised to hear that this torte starts with a simple cake mix—they're sure I bought it at a bakery. —Julie Hein, York, Pennsylvania
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Reindeer Cake

Whether you turn this cake into a reindeer or decorate it with your own creative vision, it’s a three-layer stunner that will command center stage at your next holiday get-together. Embrace your baking prowess! —Lauren Knoelke, Des Moines, IA
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Minted Chocolate Torte

Our family has enjoyed this remarkable layered cake for years. It's a favorite for many occasions. —Barbara Humiston, Tampa, Florida
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Cranberry Coconut Cake with Marshmallow Cream Frosting

Filled with a homemade cranberry curd and smothered with one of the fluffiest frostings you've ever had, this tall cake will make a memorable impression at any gathering. —Julie Merriman, Seattle, Washington
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Raspberry Red Bakewell Tart

I fell for the Bakewell tart, a British dessert, while stationed in Dubai with the Navy. Jam with almond filling is traditional, but red velvet makes this a holiday dazzler. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
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White Christmas Cake

"Wow!" is the reaction from family and guests when they see and taste this lovely three-layer beauty. White chocolate, coconut and pecans make it so delicious. You can bake the cake layers in advance and freeze them. Then assemble and decorate the cake the day of the party. —Nancy Reichert, Thomasville, Georgia
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Chocolate Peppermint Log

What a great make-ahead treat! This cake log is perfect for the holidays because you can make it when you have time, store it in the freezer and scratch dessert off of your to-do list. —Brenda Sinclair, Princeton, Missouri
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Mini Neapolitan Baked Alaskas

Surprise—there's ice cream inside these tiny showstoppers! Dinner guests will be thrilled with the pretty presentation. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Pumpkin Torte

This beautiful layered cake has a creamy filling with a mild pumpkin flavor and a little spice. It's quick and always turns out so well. The nuts and caramel topping add a nice finishing touch. —Trixie Fisher, Piqua, Ohio
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Peppermint Chip Cheesecake

I love to make cheesecakes and frequently give them as gifts or donate them to fundraisers. This one is very popular. —Gretchen Ely, West Lafayette, Indiana
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Ganache-Topped Chocolate Cake

To say this cake is elegant would be an understatement. It’s worthy of special occasions, but once you learn how to make chocolate ganache, it's so easy to whip together that you can enjoy it any day of the week. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Very Vanilla Slow-Cooker Cheesecake

Cinnamon and vanilla give this cheesecake so much flavor, and making it in the slow cooker creates a silky, smooth texture that's hard to resist. —Krista Lanphier, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Cranberry Cheese Crumb Pie

My mind works overtime to plan treats that surprise the family. They give this cranberry pie a “wow” and invite friends over to share it. —Lorraine Caland, Shuniah, Ontario
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Tiny Tim's Plum Pudding

In A Christmas Carol, everyone claps for plum pudding. Our family has made this pudding our own tradition, and it really is something to clap for. —Ruthanne Karel, Hudsonville, Michigan
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Chocolate Swirl Delight

I made a few updates to a great recipe and ended up with an impressive dessert. Everyone loves its light texture and chocolaty flavor. —Lynne Bargar, Saegertown, Pennyslvania
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Favorite Coconut Cake

When I need an impressive dessert for a special occasion, this is the recipe I turn to. My guests are glad I do! —Edna Hoffman, Hebron, Indiana
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Rum-Glazed Pumpkin Cake

For years, my co-workers were taste testers as I worked on a recipe for pumpkin cake. This version wins, hands down. —Gilda Smith, Santee, California
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Black Forest Chocolate Torte

If you're thinking about pulling out all the stops for a dessert that says wow, look no further. This cherry-crowned beauty—stacked layers of chocolate cake and cream filling—will have everyone talking. —Doris Grotz, York, Nebraska
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Mint Angel Cake

One sight of this lovely cake will have guests saving room for dessert! For an easy garnish, sprinkle with crushed mint candies.—Agnes Ward, Stratford, Ontario
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Red Velvet Marble Cake

I watched my grandma prepare her red velvet showstopper many times for family get-togethers. The fluffy butter frosting perfectly complements the flavor of this gorgeous cake.—Jodi Anderson, Overbrook, Kansas
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Walnut Toffee Tart

I usually serve this scrumptious tart on Christmas and New Year’s Day. It really showcases walnuts and is so impressive to serve. —Patricia Green, Yuba City, California
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Decadent Fudge Cake

Everyone loves the rich flavor in this decadent cake made with four types of chocolate. —Anna Hogge, Yorktown, Virginia
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Toffee Bar Brownie Torte

Heads will turn when you serve this showstopping cake. The mild espresso frosting nicely complements the bittersweet brownie layers.—Megan Byers, Wichita, Kansas
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Baklava Tartlets

Want a quick treat that's delicious and easy to make? These tartlets will do the trick. You can serve them right away, but they're even better after chilling for about an hour in the refrigerator. —Ashley Eagon, Kettering, Ohio
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Dark Chocolate Flourless Cake

When working with so few ingredients, I like to use the best ones—such as good quality bittersweet chocolate. Pomegranate juice adds a subtle fruit flavor to this rich, decadent cake. —Vivian Taylor, Middleburg, Florida
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Coconut Citrus Layer Cake

Make a showstopper holiday treat: tender white cake layered with tangy grapefruit curd and topped with fluffy cream cheese frosting. To make it more spectacular add a little toasted coconut and some citrus garnishes. Your guests will never guess you started with a convenient boxed mix. —Carmell Childs, Ferron, UT
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Cranberry Layer Cake

I adapted a Bundt cake recipe to create this layer cake. Cranberries, walnuts and homemade frosting make it taste so delicious that you'd never guess it starts with a convenient cake mix. —Sandy Burkett, Galena, Ohio
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Decadent Chocolate Crepe Cake

No other dessert has wowed family and friends the way this stunning crepe cake did the first time I made it. A showstopper in every sense of the word, it features layers of tender chocolate crepes and rich white chocolate buttercream frosting draped in a semisweet chocolate ganache. —Tina Sawchuk, Ardmore, Alberta
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Rustic Cranberry Tarts

I like to serve colorful desserts for gatherings with family and friends. These beautiful tarts are filled with cranberry and citrus flavor, and they’re easy to make and serve. —Holly Bauer, West Bend, Wisconsin
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Layered Peppermint Icebox Cake

Our home economists take four ingredients and turn them into an impressive, no-bake cake. Do-ahead desserts don't get any better! —Taste Of Home Test Kitchen

Christine Rukavena
Christine loves to read, curate, sample and develop new recipes as a book editor at Taste of Home. A CIA alumna with honors, she creates cookbooks and food-related content. A favorite part of the job is taste-testing dishes. Previous positions include pastry chef at a AAA Five Diamond property. Christine moonlights at a boutique wine shop, where she edits marketing pieces and samples wine far higher than her pay grade.
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