Our Best Christmas Cakes

Impress your holiday guests with a show-stopping cake that tastes as great as it looks on the dessert table. Here are 42 of our favorite festive cake recipes.

  • Mrs. Billett's White Cake
    Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck

    Mrs. Billett's White Cake

    We don't remember who Mrs. Billet is, but she's a cake-lover's best friend. Use a heavy-duty electric stand mixer for best results. Also, lining the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper ensures that the layers come out of the pans with ease.
  • Red Velvet Cake with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting
    Photo: Jim Franco; Styling: Lydia Degaris Pursell

    Red Velvet Cake with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting

    This cake bakes best in four pans. If you need additional pans, use 8-inch aluminum foil disposable pans. Just be sure to place them on a baking sheet for stability.
  • Peppermint-Hot Chocolate Cake
    Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck

    Peppermint-Hot Chocolate Cake

    We took every beloved flavor from the holidays and put them in a single cake. The results are heavenly. Be our guest!
  • Coconut Cake with Raspberry Filling
    Photo: Raymond Hom; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford

    Coconut Cake with Raspberry Filling

    A little coconut flour (look for it with specialty flours) adds extra nutty essence. But don't get overzealous and use more than we specify; because this flour lacks the gluten of wheat-based cake flour, it would wreck the structure.
  • Marbled Pumpkin Praline Cake
    Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck

    Marbled Pumpkin Praline Cake

    Homestyle cakes, with casual icing swirls, are welcoming and inviting. Plus, they hide any last-minute finger swipes you might make as you pass by the dessert table.
  • Layered Peppermint Cheesecake
    Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia Degaris Pursell

    Layered Peppermint Cheesecake

    Enveloped in a white chocolate mousse frosting, we love this layered cheesecake for its childlike whimsy and peppermint candy crunch.
  • Tiramisù Layer Cake
    Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia Degaris Pursell

    Tiramisù Layer Cake

    This tiramisù cake offers the best of both worlds: the beauty of a layer cake with the amazing flavor of tiramisù.
  • Chocolate-Gingerbread-Toffee Cake
    Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia Degaris Pursell

    Chocolate-Gingerbread-Toffee Cake

    Winner of the Southern Living 2011 White Cake Contest, this cake combines the wonderful flavors that come tumbling from a stocking: milk chocolate Santas, gingerbread men, and buttery toffee candy.
  • Buttermilk Bundt Cakes
    Photo: Romulo Yanes; Styling: Sarah Smart

    Buttermilk Bundt Cakes

    Try one of the three garnishing options for these adorable cakes: dust with powdered sugar, pipe sweet bourbon glaze over the top, or dunk the cakes in an orange glaze for a heavier coating.
  • Eggnog Cheesecake
    Photo: Leigh Beisch; Styling: Dan Becker

    Eggnog Cheesecake

    Although there’s no actual eggnog in this velvety cake, the same flavor is achieved with the traditional eggnog ingredients: eggs, sugar, whipping cream, brandy and nutmeg.
  • Crushed-Peppermint Cheesecake
    Christina Schmidhofer

    Crushed-Peppermint Cheesecake

    Go for double peppermint flavor by stirring peppermint extract into the cheesecake batter and topping the cake with crushed peppermint candies.
  • Chocolate Velvet "Pound" Cake

    Chocolate Velvet “Pound” Cake

    This smooth and creamy chocolate velvet batter is not a traditional pound cake batter, but is the batter used for many popular Southern Living chocolate layer cakes. However, it works fine to use this batter for a cake baked in a tube pan. Top with powdered sugar or a chocolate ganache for an extra special holiday touch.
  • Coconut Layer Cake
    Photo: Mark Thomas; Styling: Susan Vajaranant

    Coconut Layer Cake

    Costing just $0.91 per serving, this festive white layer cake is a coconut lover's dream, featuring a triple dose of coconut flavor from sweetened flaked coconut, coconut water, and coconut extract.
  • Pineapple Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake
    Photo: Jim Franco; Styling: Rebecca Donnelly

    Pineapple Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake

    Round out your holiday meal with a slice of this gingerbread cake topped with a sweet and gooey brown sugar-pineapple topping. Make sure to use a cast iron or heavy oven-proof skillet when preparing this dessert.
  • slices of cheesecake that look like Christmas trees
    Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Mindi Shapiro

    Cheesecake Christmas Trees

    Start with a frozen cheesecake and a bottle of chocolate fudge shell coating to make these cute 5-ingredient cakes.
  • Red Velvet Peppermint Cake
    Photo: Tina Cornett

    Red Velvet Peppermint Cake

    Transform a classic red velvet cake into a festive holiday dessert by adding peppermint extract to the rich cream cheese frosting and garnishing the cake with peppermint candies.
  • Chocolate Chunk Candy Cane Cheesecake
    Oxmoor House

    Chocolate Chunk Candy Cane Cheesecake

    We can’t think of a better use for candy canes than lining them up all around the sides of a chocolate-and-peppermint flavored cheesecake. This easy garnishing idea results in one very impressive cake.
  • Chocolate-Citrus Cake With Candied Oranges
    Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Caroline Murphey

    Chocolate-Citrus Cake With Candied Oranges

    A rich whipped chocolate ganache filling is the happy surprise when you slice into this decadent chocolate layer cake. Frost with 7-Minute Frosting and decorate with festive candied orange slices, citrus leaves and cranberries.
  • Cranberry Obsession Snow Cake
    Photo: Leigh Beisch; Styling: Dan Becker

    Cranberry Obsession Snow Cake

    This stunning white cake features a brilliantly-colored cranberry filling and a rich buttercream frosting. The crowning glory, and the feature that will generate “oohs” and “ahhs,” is the topping of white chocolate curls.
  • Spice Cake with Citrus Filling
    Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia DeGaris Pursell

    Spice Cake with Citrus Filling

    Fill your kitchen with the aromas of cinnamon, allspice and cloves as the spice cake bakes, then top the cake layers with a tangy filling made with lemon curd, coconut and orange juice.
  • Ginger Cake with Maple Frosting
    Photo: Charles Schiller; Styling: Lynn Miller

    Ginger Cake with Maple Frosting

    A creamy frosting made with maple syrup is the perfect partner for this richly spiced holiday cake. Decorate the top and sides of the cake with homemade or store-bought gingerbread cookies and candy canes for a cake that can double as the centerpiece.
  • Chocolate-Vanilla Holiday Torte

    Chocolate-Vanilla Holiday Torte

    Add a touch of elegance to your holiday table with this chocolate cake coated with a white chocolate ganache and topped with a festive white chocolate ribbon and bow.
  • Candy Cane Cake
    Leigh Beisch

    Candy Cane Cake

    For a simple yet stunning holiday dessert, top angel food cake with whipped cream and crushed peppermint candies. For a shortcut, start with a store-bought angel food cake instead of making one from scratch.
  • Spiced Eggnog Pound Cake

    Spiced Eggnog Cake

    Eggnog not’s just for sipping: Use it to add extra richness and flavor to a holiday bundt cake.
  • Peppermint Ice Cream Cake
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

    Peppermint Ice Cream Cake

    Add holiday flair to chocolate cake layers with a filling of peppermint ice cream and a frosting of frozen whipped topping. Top the cake with crushed peppermint candies to make it colorful and give it double mint flavor.
  • Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake
    Photo: Southern Living

    Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake

    This Italian cream cake recipe is enhanced with a pecan and cream cheese frosting and sweet, tangy orange curd between the cake layers. Garnish with glazed pecans and a boxwood garland to make it special for the holidays.
  • Christmas Fruitcake
    Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross

    Christmas Fruitcake

    This nutty, rum-soaked cake will defy all the jokes made about fruitcake during the holiday season. It’s tender, filled with sweet raisins, currants, apricots and figs, and gets a little crunch from chopped pistachios.
  • Holiday Gift Cakes
    Oxmoor House

    Holiday Gift Cakes

    Make your friends really happy by baking them a small loaf of cream cheese coffee cake drizzled with a sugary glaze and topped with maraschino cherries and pecans.
  • Hazel's Fresh Coconut Cake
    Oxmoor House

    Hazel's Fresh Coconut Cake

    Southerner Hazel Burwell has been making this stately fresh coconut cake for her family for over 40 years. She brushes the layers with a coconut syrup to keep the cake moist, and adds marshmallows to the frosting to keep it soft.
  • Ambrosia Cheesecake

    Ambrosia Cheesecake

    Turn the traditional holiday fruit side dish into a cheesecake featuring orange curd and sweetened coconut.
  • Cream Cheese-Coconut-Pecan Pound Cake

    Cream Cheese-Coconut-Pecan Pound Cake

    As if a cream cheese pound cake were not rich enough, this one goes over the top with the addition of shredded coconut and chopped pecans. And don’t forget the sugar glaze that’s drizzled over the top. For a special holiday occasion, garnish the cake plate with sugared rosemary sprigs and sugared cranberries.
  • Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
    Oxmoor House

    Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

    Shiny glazed cranberries give a tangy new holiday twist to this classic homestyle dessert.
  • Chocolate-Bourbon-Pecan Cake

    Chocolate-Bourbon-Pecan Cake

    Fill and frost a velvety, three-layer chocolate cake with a rich buttercream frosting accented with bourbon, and top the cake with toasted pecans and chopped chocolate. The combination of chocolate, pecans and bourbon is the trifecta of flavor.
  • Chocolate-Mint Cake

    Chocolate-Mint Cake

    It’s hard to beat the flavor pairing of chocolate and mint that’s showcased in this cake, featuring velvet chocolate cake layers, a peppermint buttercream filling, and a luscious chocolate ganache.
  • White Chocolate-Almond Cake

    White Chocolate-Almond Cake

    Offer your holiday guests a present in the form of cake. This recipe features classic chocolate cake layers, a vanilla buttercream frosting, and white chocolate-almond candy that’s chopped and sprinkled over the top of the cake.
  • Chocolate Velvet Cake With Cream Cheese-Butter Pecan Frosting

    Chocolate Velvet Cake With Cream Cheese-Butter Pecan Frosting

    Top the rich chocolate cake layers with a luscious cream cheese frosting accented with toasted pecans. Make the cake special for the holidays with festive garnishes such as sugared ivy leaves, toffee candy and shelled pecans.
  • Bûche de Noël

    Bûche de Noël

    Bûche de Noël is a traditional French Christmas cake shaped and decorated to look like a tree log. It's filled and frosted with silky chocolate buttercream. Crunchy meringue mushrooms are the perfect contrast. Chopped pistachios scattered around resemble moss growing on the (chocolate) log.
  • Holiday Lane Cake
    Photo: William Dickey; Styling: Mary Lyn Hill Jenkins

    Holiday Lane Cake

    Adorn your table with a show-stopping cake that starts with a cake mix and store-bought icing, then adds rich homemade flavor in the fruit-and-nut filling and the festive garnishes.
  • Cranberry-Orange Coffee Cake

    Cranberry-Orange Coffee Cake

    Dress up coffee cake for the holidays by adding cranberry sauce, pecans and a sugary citrus glaze.
  • Cheesecake-Stuffed Dark Chocolate Cake
    Oxmoor House

    Cheesecake-Stuffed Dark Chocolate Cake

    Start with a package of devil's food cake mix for this decadent cake that's filled with chopped frozen cheesecake bites and chocolate candy bars. The over-the-top cream cheese frosting is drenched with dulce de leche caramel sauce and topped with chocolate cookies.
  • Mile-High White Chocolate Hummingbird Cake
    Photo: Oxmoor House

    Mile-High White Chocolate Hummingbird Cake

    Hummingbird Cake remains the most-requested Southern Living recipe of all time. The origin of the name is unknown, but its signature ingredients—mashed banana, pineapple, coconut and pecans—assure its continued popularity. Eight layers and a spoon-licking white chocolate-cream cheese frosting make this updated version more spectacular than the original. But it's easy as can be because of convenience products such as cake mix, instant pudding mix, and canned pineapple.
  • Brown Sugar Cake with Peanut Buttercream and Brittle Topping
    Oxmoor House

    Brown Sugar Cake with Peanut Buttercream and Brittle Topping

    This gorgeous cake is pretty enough to be a holiday centerpiece, and it's as delicious as it is eye-catching.
  • Coconut-Lemon Cake
    Southern Living

    Coconut-Lemon Cake

    This is a classic Christmas white cake in every way, with three golden yellow layers and fluffy white frosting. The homemade lemon filling is a quick and easy stovetop stir-together that can also be used to fill tart shells.
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