The Top 10 Christmas cakes might be up for a bit of debate but these classics will never fail! There’s nothing like a special Christmas cake prepared from scratch. So turn on some White Christmas, get out your apron and bake the recipes that will be your family’s newest holiday tradition. With everything from classics to extravagant showstoppers, there’s something here for everyone!
Tips for the best holiday cakes
No matter what cake you’re baking, there are some universal tips that every baker should know.
Know your oven’s actual temperature. Even though you set the thermostat to 350 or 400 doesn’t mean that’s your oven’s temperature. They can run up to 50 degrees hotter or colder so use a separate thermometer to see what yours is actually doing.
Line cake tins with parchment to prevent sticking. Who wants to do all that work only to have your cake stick to the pan?! Use unbleached parchment paper for reliable results and never grease your tins with butter.
Don’t over mix your batter. Mix only until any dry pockets of flour are incorporated then stop. Over mixing can cause your cake to sink or be tough.
Warm your ingredients. Eggs and butter will incorporate more evenly and give you a lighter cake if they are room temperature so give them time outside the fridge before baking.
Check your cakes earlier than the recipe suggests. Start checking your cakes for doneness 5 to 7 minutes before the recipe suggests. This will prevent over baking and dryness.
The holidays are busy so make things easier on yourself and pre-bake those layers! With the exception of cheesecake, cranberry apple cake, and the thin Buche de Noel on this list, all cake layers can be made and frozen individually wrapped for up to 6 weeks.
Simply thaw them overnight on the counter (still wrapped) and they’ll be ready for frosting the next day. How easy!
Loaf cakes can be frozen after baking right in their tin. Wait to frost them until after they have thawed.
Real food ingredients make the final result better (and a tad healthier!)
I’ll always be a believer that the ingredients you choose matter.
When baking, choose real butter over margarine or tub butters.
Use avocado oil in place of vegetable oils or coconut oil for Crisco shortening.
Some of the granulated sugar could also be swapped for coconut or date sugar in many of these recipes 1:1.
Whenever possible, use natural food coloring and avoid the artificial dyes.
Our top 10 Christmas cake recipe favorites
Italian Cream Cake
What a showstopper! Three layers of coconut, pecans, and delicate cake that make a truly special holiday treat. If you love cream cheese frosting and want a thick layer, make a double batch–but this moist cake is delicious no matter what.
Inspired by the baking of Ina Garten, this cake is fresh and fruity and all things holiday baking in one place. Tender apples, tart cranberries and a cake studded with orange zest that’s a little bit cobbler and a little bit pound cake is addicting from the first bite.
Oh the joys of a tender and moist cream cheese pound cake! The perfect base for any of your holiday flavors, feel free to drop in orange extract or top your cake with piles of whipped cream and fresh fruit. Perfect to freeze, make it up to a month in advance or bake it in a loaf pan and give it as a Christmas gift.
This tender crust uses nuts for a toasty flavor and a fluffy, not too sweet vanilla cream cheese filling. The raspberry sauce is easy to make from frozen berries and is the perfect accompaniment. Make this dessert a day ahead and refrigerate it for your holiday sideboard.
This small 6 Inch Gingerbread Cake recipe made from scratch without cake mix is a moist and fluffy cake that tastes like Christmas in every bite. A great dessert to gift as a loaf, or make for a small crowd this holiday season. It could also be doubled for more servings if needed.
Step by step guide on how to make a classic Bûche de Noël (Yule Log Cake). Delicious and spectacular as a Christmas treat! A little cocoa powder and some love bring together a Christmas Day dessert treat to round out your holiday meal.
Cheesecake is a pretty universal dessert, perfect for anytime of the year. Infuse yours with the flavors of the Holiday season with our Cranberry Sauce Topped Eggnog Cheesecake. It’s a little Christmas miracle in every bite.
This easy Banana Pudding Cake is a decadent Christmas dessert the whole family will love. The cake batter is banana flavored and it’s all topped off with a fluffy whipped frosting and crumbled ‘Nilla wafers. How fun and special (especially if you’re Southern!)
This cranberry orange bundt cake is a perfect Christmas dessert. It tastes amazing and looks so pretty on the table. It’s a very moist cake with an intense orange flavor, studded with bright red fresh cranberries. It stays moist for days. I served it with white chocolate orange glaze and sugared cranberries.
Let’s round out our Top 10 Christmas Cakes with a traditional fruit cake and this gluten free one makes it easy to accommodate anyone on a special diet. It can be cured with spirits or served fresh–both ways are delicious!