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Christmas Desserts Oh So Delightful

Christmas dessertsChristmas desserts always hold a special place in our hearts. Whether young or old, no matter how stuffed after all the feasting, we all look forward to this last course.

While the following Christmas dessert recipes are guaranteed to bring smiles all around, saving some elbow grease will help maintain your festive spirit.

Our first Christmas cake recipe will bring back a note of nostalgia to any holiday table. With its classic shape, topped with classic buttercream icing and decorated with edible retro light bulbs, this bright and festive cake is also moist and delicious.

Christmas Tree Cake

Unless you happen to be an accomplished sculptor and have time to spare, a Christmas tree-shaped cake pan will come in handy in order to achieve the seasonal look. Perfect for a family gathering, a kids’ classroom party, or even an office get-together!

Cake Ingredients:
Baking spray with flour
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, leveled
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅔ cup whole milk, room temperature

Buttercream Ingredients:
2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Garnish: edible decorative light bulbs

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Coat Christmas tree pan with baking spray. In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy with electric mixer, 2 – 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add flour and milk, alternating between the two, until incorporated.

3. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake 25 – 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Then, invert onto rack to cool completely.

4. To make frosting, beat sugar, butter and salt with electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy, about 2 – 3 minutes. Next, beat in milk also until fluffy, another 2 – 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Then, frost top and sides of cake. Place lightbulb decorations randomly on top of cake to decorate.

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake

Sure to be a favorite, this peppermint cheesecake combines two classic holiday flavors: peppermint and chocolate. The crunch of the candy canes and the smooth texture of the cheesecake offer a lovely contrast guaranteed to wow your guests. Rich yet refreshing, this Christmas dessert is sure to be the pride of your holiday table.

Crust Ingredients:
24 Oreos, crushed
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Pinch kosher salt

Cheesecake Ingredients:
4 8 ounce blocks cream cheese, softened
¾ cup salt
3 large eggs
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
9 ounces white chocolate, chopped, melted and slightly cooled
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup chopped candy canes, plus extra for topping

Garnish Suggestion: Whipped topping with chocolate shavings

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Coat 8” springform pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix together Oreos, melted butter and salt. Press into bottom and sides of prepared pan.

2. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth with no lumps. Add eggs, one at a time, then stir in peppermint extract. Add flour and salt and beat until combined.

3. Fold in white chocolate until smooth; then fold in semi-sweet chocolate and candy canes. Pour mixture over crust.

4. Wrap bottom of pan in aluminum foil and place in large roasting pan. Add enough boiling water to reach halfway up sides of baking pan.

5. Bake an hour and 20 minutes, or until center of cheesecake jiggles slightly. Turn off heat. Prop oven door open and allow cheesecake to cool for an hour.

6. Remove foil. Refrigerate cheesecake until chilled, at least 5 hours or overnight.

7. Spread layer of whipped topping on cheesecake; dollop more topping around the edges.

8. Sprinkle top with crushed candy canes and chocolate shavings for garnish.

Eggnog Cheesecake

Uniquely linked to the Holiday season, eggnog combines beautifully with the creamy texture of cheesecake in this deliciously decadent holiday cheesecake. Eggnog’s mellow spiced flavor combines with the rum flavoring to add the perfect amount of warmth.

Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ cup eggnog
½ teaspoon rum extract
Dash of ground nutmeg
Optional whipped cream and additional nutmeg

1. Place a greased 9” springform pan on a double layer of aluminum foil. Then, wrap the foil around the edges of the pan securely.

2. Combine cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in small bowl. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Place pan on baking sheet and bake in 325° oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool on wire rack.

3. Beat cream cheese, sugar and flour in large bowl until smooth. Add eggs and beat on low speed just until combined. Stir eggnog, rum extract and nutmeg gradually into mixture. Pour filling over crust.

4. Place springform pan in large baking pan and add 1” of hot water to bottom of large pan.

5. Bake at 325° for 45-50 minutes until top looks dull and center is set. Remove springform pan from water bath and allow to cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Run knife carefully around edges to loosen. Cool for another hour. Refrigerate overnight if you wish. Garnish with optional whipped cream and nutmeg.

The following recipes can easily turn into stunning holiday dessert recipes by adapting them to suit any special celebration with very simple tweaks: flavor extracts, spices, food coloring, sprinkles, themed decorations, etc. Let your imagination run wild and have fun creating memorable, one-of-a-kind holiday desserts.

Red Velvet Cake

No holiday is complete without a beautiful red velvet cake. Its color is perfectly seasonal, and its rich and decadent flavor adds a perfect note of elegance to the Christmas table.

1 2-layer size box of German chocolate cake mix
1 8-ounce container of sour cream
½ cup cooking oil
3 eggs
2 tablespoons red food coloring
White chocolate cream cheese frosting (see recipe below)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Use two 9″D x 1½”H round cake pans and coat with nonstick cooking spray or grease and flour.

2. Beat cake mix, sour cream, water, oil, eggs and food coloring in large bowl with electric mixer on low for 30 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl and beat again on medium speed for 2 minutes.

3. Spread batter evenly into your pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the centers should come out clean when done.

4. Remove cakes from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

5. Spread white chocolate cream cheese frosting (recipe below) between layers, then on sides and top of cake.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces white baking chocolate
½ cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
4 cups powdered sugar

1. Melt white baking chocolate over low heat in small saucepan, stirring frequently; set aside and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

2. While baking chocolate cools, beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla in large bowl on medium speed for 30 seconds.

3. Gradually beat in 2 cups of powdered sugar. Beat in 1 tablespoon of milk. Then gradually beat in remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar.

4. Beat in melted white chocolate until mixture is combined well.

5. If frosting is too thick, add additional milk one tablespoon at a time and beat until you achieve desired consistency.

Brown Butter Pound Cake

This brown butter pound cake recipe is simple, yet decadent. The secret? A tasty glaze that tastes just like pralines. You’d be wise to make an extra bowlful to stash away for yourself when everyone’s gone to bed… It will have your guests raving.

A good quality bundt pan will make this cake look fancy and ensure it bakes up spongy and even. Try this one with an amazing rating on Amazon.

Cake Ingredients:
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
2 ¼ cups packed brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream

Glaze Ingredients:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup chopped pecans
1 cup confectioners sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash salt
2 to 3 tablespoons half and half

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour your bundt pan.

2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla.

3. In separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture, alternating with sour cream. Beat well after each addition until just combined.

4. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Bake 55-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes; then remove to wire rack to complete cooling.

5. For glaze, combine butter and pecans in small pan over medium heat. Stir constantly 4-5 minutes until butter is a light golden brown color. Stir into bowl with confectioners sugar. Add vanilla and salt, with enough cream to reach consistency for drizzling. Drizzle over top of cake, allowing glaze to run down sides. Then let set completely.

Pumpkin Cake

Fall’s seasonal favorite flavor can easily transition into winter, which is why this easy pumpkin cake belongs on any holiday baking list. Fluffy and moist, it challenges you to stop at just one piece! Keep it simple by using a 9” x 13” rectangular cake pan, or use two 9” round pans for a lovely double-layer cake.

Cake Ingredients:
Cooking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree

Frosting Ingredients:
1 8-ounce block cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoon butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt
Crushed gingersnaps for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9”X13” baking pan with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and ginger.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Add vanilla and pumpkin puree and beat until incorporated. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.

3. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Smooth top with spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely.

4. For the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat until no lumps remain; then add vanilla and a pinch of salt.

5. Lift cake out of pan using the parchment paper and place on serving platter or cutting board. Frost cake with an offset spatula and top with crushed gingersnaps.

Tres Leches Cake

Traditional to Latin America, ‘tres leches’ means ‘three milks’, as this cake is in fact made with three different types of milk: condensed, evaporated and whole. The secret to this simple, light and airy dessert is a sponge cake base. Add a topping of fresh fruit and whipped cream, and you’ll think you’re in heaven!

Cake Ingredients:
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 large eggs, separated
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled

Filling Ingredients:
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar

Garnish:
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar
Sliced strawberries for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9” x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

2. In another large bowl, beat together egg yolks and 1 cup of sugar until stiff ribbons form; then beat in vanilla and set aside.

3. In a third large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form, then gradually add in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

4. Add yolk mixture to dry ingredients and beat together. Add in milk and melted butter and beat until combined. Gently fold in egg whites until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into middle of cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool.

5. In a medium bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, milk, and vanilla. Using a fork, poke holes all over cake, then pour milk mixture evenly over cake. Cover and place in refrigerator until all of the mixture is absorbed, at least 1 hour.

6. When ready to serve, make whipped cream. In a large bowl, beat together heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Frost cake with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Serve with strawberries or other fresh fruit.

Chocolate Almond Torte

Decadent, complex, sophisticated – it’s hard to believe that this simple yet elegant dessert recipe only calls for five simple ingredients which also makes it perfect for a family potluck or a hostess gift. Moist and luscious, this nutty chocolate torte is a sure winner. Your guests will think you’ve spent all day slaving over a hot stove – I won’t tell if you don’t…:)

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
9 ounces good-quality dark chocolate
6 large eggs
1 cup superfine sugar
2 ounces of almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly butter 10” springform cake pan, then set aside.

2. In a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir until combined. Set aside to cool.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually pour melted chocolate into egg mixture. Stir constantly. Fold in almonds. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, beat egg whites on medium until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture just until combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes. Place torte on wire rack to cool in pan completely for at least an hour.

Holiday Almond Bars

Dense yet flaky, with a sweet, rich almond flavor, these almond bars make a festive ending to any family holiday meal no matter what time of year. A classic 13″x 9″ Pyrex baking dish with lid for easy storage and transportation is perfect for these bars.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup almond paste
2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup slivered almonds

1. Cream butter, almond paste and 2 cups sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and extract. Gradually add in flour and mix just until moistened.

2. Spread into greased 13″ x 9″ baking dish. Sprinkle with leftover quarter cup sugar. Top with almonds.

3. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Cut into squares and store in the refrigerator.

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