60+ Top-Rated Desserts Everyone Should Make At Least Once

Get inspired and celebrate February 14th with these 36 Valentine’s Day dessert recipes including cakes, cupcakes, and small-batch desserts that are perfect for 2. From rich chocolate cake and crème brûlée to festive Valentine’s Day cupcakes and easy sparkle sweetheart cookies, there’s something on this list everyone will love.

pink and red sparkle Valentine's day cookies

If you’re in need of Valentine’s Day dessert recipes, look no further. I have you covered!

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Rainbow Cloud Cake

birthday cake recipes  rainbow cloud cake

This is the brightest, happiest, most joyful looking cake around, and that’s what makes it so great for a birthday cake.

Get the Rainbow Cloud Cake recipe.

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Cupcake Queen Cake

birthday cake recipes cupcake queen cake

Decorate store-bought cupcakes with vanilla buttercream, arrange them in a dress pattern on cardboard, and add candy flowers to fill in the gaps for this unique birthday cake idea.

Get the Vanilla Buttercream recipe.

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Classic Vanilla Cake

birthday cake recipes   vanilla cake

If you’re wondering what type of cake is best for birthdays, you can’t go wrong with this classic vanilla sheet cake recipe. Plus, it’s a great blank slate if you want to get creative with your own DIY decorations.

Get the Classic Vanilla Cake recipe.

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Coconut Cake

birthday cake recipes coconut cake

This cake is fun to just look at, but we promise it’s even more fun to eat.

Get the Coconut Cake recipe.

Pink Ombre Cake

birthday cake recipes pink ombre cake

This recipe creates the ultimate “impress your friends” cake. For a festive, fun, and gorgeous cake, this ombre cake recipe is a beautiful and delicious option.

Get the Pink Ombré Cake recipe.

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Watermelon Cake

birthday cake recipes watermelon cake

Store-bought mix, with cans of frosting and a few strategic slices, creates a vanilla cake that morphs into the star summer melon. Have a wedge!

Get the Watermelon Cake recipe.

Chocolate Meringue Layer Cake

birthday cake recipes chocolate meringue cake

We all have that one friend who only wants the most unique, creative gifts (or cakes). For that friend, there is this textured and delicious chocolate meringue cake. It’s as beautiful as it is different.

Get the Chocolate Meringue Layer Cake recipe.

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Cannoli Cake

birthday cake recipes cannoli cake

When a friend challenged cooking duo the Casserole Queens to create a unique cannoli recipe, this layer cake featuring orange, ricotta, and chocolate was born.

Get the Cannoli Cake recipe.

Birthday Explosion Cake

birthday cake recipes colorful layer sprinkle cake by  amirah kassem of flour shop

Henry Hargreaves/Flour Shop

Flour Shop’s Amirah Kassem’s signature masterpiece: six layers of colorful cake hiding a tunnel of sprinkles that spill out in glorious fashion when it’s sliced. You can make your own wowza work of art at home with the Flour Shop Rainbow Explosion Cake Kit, available at Williams-Sonoma.

Sour-Cream Vanilla Pound Cake with Rhubarb Compote

christmas cake ideas sour cream vanilla pound cake with rhubarb compote

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Key Lime Poke Cake

birthday cake recipes   key lime poke cake

For lovers of key lime pie, this key lime cake is soaked with lime juice and is tart, sweet, and completely delicious.

Get the Key Lime Poke Cake recipe.

Headshot of Olivia Muenter

Olivia Muenter is a freelance writer and former fashion and beauty editor who writes about fashion, beauty, lifestyle, relationships, travel, home decor, and more for Woman’s Day and beyond. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Refinery 29, Glamour, Byrdie, Apartment Therapy, Philadelphia Magazine, and more. When she’s not reading (or talking about reading on Bad on Paper, the bookish podcast she co-hosts), you can find Olivia working on her first novel, curating the perfect playlist, or shopping online.

Even realtors know that there’s nothing that makes a house feel like a home as much as the smell of freshly baked goods. That’s why they always use cookie-scented candles or pop a pie in the oven right before showing a new listing. A plate of fancy and delicious stuffed cookies sitting on the counter is oh-so inviting, and who can resist an artsy watercolor cake? But just like we sometimes can’t resist classic comfort foods like mashed potatoes or mac and cheese, nothing hits the spot like old-fashioned baked goods made from scratch. Learn how to make these 17 bakery favorites, and even your walk-up studio apartment will feel like the cozy home of your dreams.

Sourdough Bread

Everyone loves a good sourdough, and it’s one of the most popular breads for making at home. This beginner-friendly recipe is perfect for anyone who wants to give homemade breadmaking a try. (Brit + Co)

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

chocolate chip cookies

Nothing tastes or smells as good as a freshly baking batch of chocolate chip cookies. Master the recipe for yourself, and you’ll never suffer through mediocre grocery store cookies again. (viaPinch of Yum).

Chocolate Cake

chocolate cake

We dare you to find someone who wouldn’t have a difficult time resisting this chocolate cake. It looks fancy, but it’s a go-to for any baker who loves chocolate and wants to impress a crowd. Did we mention it’s made with red wine and pears for an uber-romantic vibe? (via Brit + Co)

One Bowl Chewy Brownies


Clear your cupboards of those old boxed mixes, because it’s all about brownies made from scratch. This one-bowl recipe makes it easy to churn out batch after batch of chewy, chocolaty brownies. (via Nourish and Fete)

Blueberry Muffins

blueberry muffins

Save money at the coffee shop by learning how to make blueberry muffins at home. Top them with a tangy and sweet yogurt glaze and they’ll taste like the work of a pro. (viaSue Bee Homemaker)

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

coffee cake

Perfect for when you have guests in town, this easy cinnamon coffee cake can be snacked on all day. Set it out at breakfast, but don’t be surprised if you end up eating some with your afternoon tea and as a midnight snack too. (via Sugar Spun Run)

Lemon Bars

lemon bars

Tangy lemon curd nestled on a buttery shortbread crust will brighten up any dessert table. The blend of sweet and tart flavors and creamy and crispy textures makes it hard to stop snacking. (via I Knead to Eat)

Banana Bread

banana bread

Banana bread is a good recipe to have up your sleeve. Not only does it make for an easy but impressive addition to brunch; it’s also the best way to use up any bananas that are past their prime. (via Saving Room for Dessert)

Maple Pecan Sticky Buns

sticky buns

Sweet enough to be dessert but full of breakfast flavors, sticky buns transform even the dullest mornings into a celebration. And once you taste them made from scratch (no canned dough here, people), there’ll be no turning back. (via Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Classic Yellow Funfetti Cake

Homemade baked goods don’t have to be a serious culinary affair. This colorful funfetti cake will bring back childhood memories, and remind you that eating the cake is just as fun as making it. (via Neurotic Baker)

Parker House Rolls


Make your meals better by serving them with a side of fluffy homemade rolls. Parker House Rolls have buttered tops that are sprinkled with salt, contrasting with their slightly sweet insides. (via Chef de Home)

Butterscotch Blondies With Walnuts


After you learn to make brownies, you’ve got to get a handle on their chocolate-free counterpart. Sweet like toffee, chewy butterscotch blondies are best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. (via Munaty Cooking)



Snickerdoodles are one step above a plain sugar cookie. A sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar somehow renders them even more irresistible than the classic frosted lofthouse cookie. (viaVeronika’s Kitchen)

Homemade Soft Pretzels


Soft pretzels are the bomb, but when you get them at ballgames or carnivals, they’re often dried out and stale. Not so when you make them at home — every bite is moist, soft, and chewy, and best served with plenty of mustard. (via Chef de Home)

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What’s the first thing you think of when you hear fancy desserts? Is it crème brûlée or mille-feuille?

How about something like a chocolate souffle that takes a bit of baking magic to get right? 

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The truth is, it’s so easy to make a fancy dessert these days, and most of the time, they’re made up of super simple components. It’s how you plate them that matters!

Cherry Cheesecake with Mint and Berries

Yes, some can be complex and full of difficult techniques and exotic ingredients. But that’s not what these recipes are about.

I’ve pulled together a list of 25 fabulous desserts that anyone can make at home. 

Dust off your best apron and get your camera ready because these fancy treats will need a serious photoshoot when you’re done!

1. No-Bake Cheesecake with a Surprise Inside

I’ve tried many no-bake cheesecakes, and unless you eat it right away, the best recipes will have gelatin.

Unfortunately, without it, it’s not unusual to see it start to sag and melt, even at room temperature. 

The beauty of no-bake cheesecake is that you can add in all kinds of fun stuff that you wouldn’t be able to if it were baked, such as a giant chocolate-covered strawberry!

Your guests’ eyes will light up when they cut into this creamy dessert and find it full of sweet, juicy fruit!.

Cheesecake Brownies

2. Cheesecake Brownies

Brownies will always be a hit, and everyone will devour them in seconds.

If you’re looking for a way to jazz things up a bit, how about adding some creamy cheesecake swirls to the mix?

I love the color contrast from the swirls on top, and the cheesecake flavors really compliment the deep, decadent brownies. 

3. Dark Chocolate Tart

If you can get the pastry case nice and neat, the chocolate filling will do all the heavy lifting here. 

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You’ll be making a chocolate ganache, using a bit more chocolate than cream, so it sets nice and firm.

All you’ll have to do is pour it in, and it will settle beautifully flat and clean. 

It’s such an easy dessert to make, but you can’t deny how fancy it looks with a sprinkling of sea salt.

4. No-Bake Blueberry Cheesecake

One of the easiest ways to elevate a simple cheesecake is to add a topping. What’s better than a vibrant layer of sweet blueberries?

You can use store-bought blueberry filling if you’re in a rush or make your own if you have the fruit on hand. 

I like to make my own because I prefer it a little less sweet. I also prefer the blueberries to be mostly whole for better texture.

5. Berries and Cream Crepes

Crepes are lovely, thin, sweet, or savory pancakes that most people associate with the French – so they’re definitely fancy!

This recipe will be filled with cream cheese and whipped cream filling along with a thick berry sauce. 

The colors and flavors are gorgeous, and these are perfect for a light dessert or even for breakfast!

6. How To Make Palmiers

Palmier cookies are super light and insanely buttery. They need just two ingredients and a bit of love, but they’ll look like you spent hours in the kitchen.

To make these tasty treats, you’ll need puff pastry and sugar – that’s it! Sometimes I add a bit of cinnamon to the mix, but they’re just as good without. 

After 12 minutes in the oven, they will be golden brown and beautifully flaky. 

7. Beignets

I’ve been a beignet lover since that first bite. I can still picture the sunshine, the music, and the intoxicating beauty that is New Orleans and Café Du Monde.

These pillowy donuts are super light and extra sweet, thanks to the powdered sugar on the top. 

If you don’t have a fryer at home, you can easily use a Dutch oven instead. Just be sure to use a thermometer and oven mitts!

8. Crepe Cake Recipe

I have to preface this with a warning – this cake takes a while to put together. 

Unless you have multiple pans that are the same size, you can only make one crepe at a time, and it is time-consuming because you need so many!

That being said, this cake looks stunning once it’s finished. The layers are impossibly distinct and thin, leaving you with the perfect ratio of sweet cream to pancake. 

You can even change up the filling to make it a little more decadent if you want. Chocolate or strawberry – or a mix of the two – would look fantastic!

9. French Apple Cake

If one thing is for sure, it’s this: French desserts are simply to die for!

This light and fruity cake is no exception. Adding big chunks of apple to the batter will infuse it with great flavor and plenty of moisture. 

10. Easy Eton Mess

I think most people see meringue as a fancy dessert, but it’s not always easy to get it looking perfect. 

That’s why I love this recipe. The key is in the title!

With an Eton mess, you’ll break up your meringue, so there’s no need to worry about any little cracks. 

Chocolate Trifle with Whipped Cream

11. Death By Chocolate Recipe

The layering in this is what gets me! You just can’t beat the deep, dark chocolate against the gorgeous white cream.

This would look sensational in a larger trifle dish. But if you don’t have one, the individual portions are super cute and much easier to put together. 

If you want it to look even more chef-y, try adding some dark chocolate shards to the top!

12. Ischler Törtchen (Austrian Shortbread)

These fantastic little cookie sandwiches consist of a buttery, almond shortbread, sweet apricot filling, and a rich dark chocolate top. 

Now, apricot and chocolate might not be the first combination you think of. I’m a big fan of raspberry and chocolate, myself, but it works so well with the nutty cookie. 

Of course, you can use any jam filling you like here. In fact, a mix of a few would make for a tasty cookie platter!

13. Homemade Strawberry Cake

As much as I love a bright and colorful cake, you just can’t beat the beauty of a natural-looking frosting. 

It’s pale and often pretty subtle, but it just looks so elegant! And the fragrant strawberries can really shine when they’re added to the frosting. 

14. French Hot Chocolate

After dinner, hot chocolate is a favorite in my house during the winter. It’s sinfully rich and such a lovely sweet treat on a cold night. 

But I’m not talking about a pack of sugary cocoa!

I’m talking about a cup of thick, silky smooth chocolate ganache made with dark chocolate and a bit of espresso powder for an extra kick!

15. Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Strawberries are always going to look fancy. They’re just so bright and beautiful, and they don’t need much to be delicious. 

I love this little recipe, and it’s an excellent option for BBQs and parties. 

These bite-sized babies need to be washed a dried before you fill them with a light cheesecake filling.

The blueberries look adorable, or why not add a drizzle of chocolate?

Mini-Cheesecake Bites

16. Mini-Cheesecake Bites (+5 Flavors)

When making cheesecake, there are a few rules to make sure it’s perfect every time. 

One: always use room temperature ingredients, so they blend flawlessly. The last thing you need is a lumpy cheesecake!

Two: always blend your cream cheese before adding anything else to the bowl.

This will ensure you won’t have any lumps of cream cheese in the mix and will help to avoid over-mixing once you add the eggs. 

17. Chocolate Covered Strawberries Tuxedo-Style

I’ve made these so many times, and I can’t tell you how excited people get when they see them.

Full disclosure: they’re insanely easy! You’ll just need to dip your strawberries in white chocolate before letting it set and strategically dipping them in dark chocolate. 

One key thing for this recipe is to get lovely, big strawberries. The bigger, the better!

It’s hard to double-dip with smaller berries, and you won’t get the same effect.

18. Cream Cheese Chocolate Truffles Recipe

Truffles are a quick and delicious fancy dessert that you can make last minute. 

I usually use a simple ganache, but adding in cream cheese will give you a delightfully creamy texture and added tangy to the otherwise rich chocolate. 

19. Fresh Strawberry Cream Cheese Cake

Like with the French apple cake from above, this cake relies on the fruit for added moisture. There’s no frosting needed.

As the strawberries cook, they will seep into the cake a little, giving lovely flavor and color when you cut a slice.

Plus, they will darken slightly on top for a gorgeous finish. 

20. Classic French Madeleines

Madeleines are soft and lighter-than-air cookies you would usually see in the window of a Parisian boulangerie.

They’re billed as a cookie, but the spongy texture is more of a buttery cake.

Where it differs from other recipes is that the batter needs to be chilled before you bake it. 

21. Berry Vanilla Cheesecake Parfaits

When you want something colorful for your fancy desserts, look no further than fresh fruit!

This recipe uses blueberries and strawberries for a lovely contrast to the simple cheesecake filling, but I think mango and raspberry would look incredible!

22. Blueberry Ice Cream

You might not think it, but if you pull out a batch of homemade ice cream, you’ll look extra fancy!

After all, who makes their own ice cream? Chefs! That’s who!

This recipe doesn’t need an ice cream machine, but it’s just as light and creamy.

23. French Lemon Tart

When life gives you lemons, forget the lemonade – make a lemon tart!

It’s sweet, zesty, a little tangy, and silky smooth. If you like it a little sweeter, add a touch more sugar and serve with some whipped cream. 

24. Strawberry Panna Cotta

Vanilla panna cotta is dreamy and elegant. Strawberry panna cotta is its fancier cousin!

To ensure you still get that velvety finish, you have to strain your strawberry juice – twice if necessary.

I still recommend using vanilla paste if you have it because the flecks just make the whole thing pop.

25. Creamy Strawberry Semifreddo

Semifreddo is almost like an ice cream cake. It consists of whipped cream, yogurt, and fresh fruit. 

It’s creamy, tangy, and ready in just a few hours! You won’t want this to sit in the freezer too long; that way, you can slice it with ease. 

Unlike the recipe above, you want chunks of fruit in this for fabulous pops of sweet color. 

Fancy Desserts

Peach-Bourbon Upside-Down Bundt Cake

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Lindsey Lower; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Peach-Bourbon Upside-Down Bundt Cake

Next time you think you need to run to the grocery store before a summer party for a premade, store-bought dessert, think again. Set aside some time to practice your cooking skills and make this Peach-Bourbon Upside-Down Bundt Cake. With its medley of flavors and infusion of fresh seasonal peaches, it will be leagues better than anything you find covered in plastic in a bakery section. Garnish with a drizzle of homemade glaze for a pretty, party-worthy finish.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

To make these chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes, make this recipe for extra moist chocolate cupcakes, fill them with sweet strawberry buttercream, and top them with rich chocolate ganache.

Nutella filled cupcake
chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars
Valentine’s Day cupcakes & chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars.

Champagne Cake Roll

This light and spongey champagne cake roll is flavored with reduced sparkling wine and vanilla. Fill with champagne whipped cream to make an extra sparkly and celebratory dessert!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Recipe: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Moist, delicious, and surprisingly easy, this upside-down cake may become your go-to recipe for entertaining. After you try it for the first time, you’ll wonder how you ever got on without this recipe card in your life.

Soft Cream Cheese Cookies With Nutella Glaze

These soft cream cheese cookies with Nutella glaze are truly the softest sugar cookies. The dough is easy to work with, the cookies hold their shape beautifully, and each bite is smooth and creamy. An added bonus is that the Nutella glaze sets on top, making the cookies convenient for stacking, storing, and gifting.

red velvet cookies dipped in white chocolate with Valentine's Day heart sprinkles on top
white chocolate strawberries & cream cookies on marble backdrop with fresh strawberry and white chocolate chunks.
White chocolate red velvet cookies & strawberry cream cookies.

Mississippi Mud Cake

Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Ana Kelly Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke

Recipe: Mississippi Mud Cake

Imagine the richest, darkest, most indulgent chocolate dessert you’ve ever eaten. Now add some marshmallows, and you’ve got this decadent yet simple-to-bake cake. Mississippi is known for many things, but a Mississippi Mud Cake is one of the tastiest things we can trace back to the great state of Mississippi.

Pink Party Donuts

Baked pink party donuts are flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg; covered in pink-tinted vanilla frosting; and topped with rainbow sprinkles. It’s love at first bite. 😉

Red Velvet Cake Balls

Photography: Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners

Recipe: Red Velvet Cake Balls

When we think of velvet, we think smooth, luxurious, elegant, beautiful, indulgent. And it’s true: all of those words can be used to describe this decadent but festive cake balls recipe. Plus, the frosting and sprinkles are a scene-stealer. This tasty creation is made out of red velvet cake that is bonded together with homemade cream cheese frosting and coated in white chocolate for a combination you can’t pass up. Don’t take our word for it. You’ve got to taste it for yourself.

Classic Chess Pie

Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley, Food Stylist: Ana Kelly

Recipe: Classic Chess Pie

It may be simple, but that doesn’t make this classic dessert any less impressive. We use refrigerated pie crust to help pull together this old-fashioned pie recipe with ease.

Peanut Butter Sweethearts

And a peanut butter version, too! Soft-baked and extra thick peanut butter sweethearts are loaded with chocolate-peanut butter flavor. They’re like my peanut butter blossoms, now all dressed up for Valentine’s Day.

close-up of heart-shaped Valentine's Day cookie decorated with pastel purple royal icing with xoxo piped on top.
heart sugar cookies with Nutella glaze on a baking sheet
Valentine’s Day cookies & Nutella-glazed cream cheese cookies.

Fresh Apple Cake

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Recipe: Fresh Apple Cake

This classic is so fresh and substantial that it can stand on its own. Thinly sliced fresh apples (the recipe calls for two and a half pounds of Granny Smith apples) create rich, moist, irresistible layers of fruit within the cake. This cake can truly do it all. Go simple or adorn it if you’d like to take the recipe a delicious step further. Take your pick of your favorite topping, and cover the apple cake with your choice of Browned Butter Frosting, Cream Cheese Frosting, or Dark Chocolate Frosting. You can’t go wrong with your choice. It’s just that good.

4-Ingredient Oreo Balls

Oreo balls are a super easy and downright irresistible 4-ingredient chocolate treat you can make at home. Choose regular, golden, or another flavor of Oreo cookies, mix with a little cream cheese, and dunk in white or dark chocolate.

Grilled Peach Cobbler

Recipe: Grilled Peach Cobbler

The fire gives this classic an extra smoky, caramelized flavor that, we’re willing to bet, you won’t be able to resist. Serve hot off the grill or at room temperature. Crown the cobbler with a scoop of vanilla for an extra sweet touch. This dish is infused with smoke, creating a luscious mixture of textures. Just the right blend of gooey and crisp emerges as the soft slices of caramelized peaches sink underneath the crisp sweet biscuit crust. Pick up a basket of peaches at the farmers’ market in the morning, make this gooey treat, and we guarantee that your afternoon will be smoky and sweet.

The Jam Cake

Recipe: The Jam Cake

Jam cakes are deeply rooted in Appalachia, a region where ingredients like sugar were once expensive and scarce. There, natural sweeteners like jams, fruits, and jellies were used to sweeten cakes. Coincidentally, the berries and fruit preserves delivered a flavor so rich sugar alone could never compete. That’s why the jam cake is such a prize dessert still today.

Sprinkle Sandwich Cookies

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Sprinkle Sandwich Cookies

As cute as they are addicting, it may be hard to eat just one. These colorful cookies are perfect for a gift box of holiday treats, and you can use different colored sprinkles throughout the year to celebrate the seasons, your favorite school’s team, or any special holiday. With two cookies sandwiching together vanilla buttercream, what’s there not to love?

Rainbow Sherbet Cake

Photographer: Jennifer Causey; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Rainbow Sherbet Cake

Why eat sherbet with a bowl and spoon when you can make it oh so much more fun. We gave this classic dessert a new spin by turning this creamy springtime treat into a refreshing cake. We took a few of our favorite flavors­–pineapple, orange, raspberry– and paired them with pound cake and whipping cream. Summer has begun, and we’re going to celebrate in sherbet style.

Sparkle Sweetheart Cookies

Fun and festive sparkle sweetheart cookies glisten with Valentine’s Day sprinkles and a chocolate heart nestled on top. This simple cream cheese drop-style sugar cookie dough requires just 30–60 minutes of chilling before baking.

Chocolate Soufflé (GF)

A quintessential Valentine’s Day treat! My naturally gluten-free chocolate soufflé recipe is heavily detailed to help give beginner bakers the confidence to try this classic French dessert.

One giant monster cookie
one giant chocolate cookie on a white plate
One giant peanut butter monster cookie & one giant double chocolate cookie.

Mini Vanilla Pound Cakes

These adorable mini vanilla pound cakes are moist, flavorful, and wonderfully buttery. If you don’t have a mini Bundt cake pan, use mini loaf pans or even a regular loaf pan—see recipe Note.

chocolate raspberry cake cut open with raspberries and mint on top sitting on a marble cake stand with pink backdrop behind it.
stack of frosted sugar cookie bars
Chocolate raspberry cake & sugar cookie bars.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Buttermilk-Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe: Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Buttercream-Cream Cheese Frosting

Inspired by a classic carrot cake, these light, fluffy carrot cake cupcakes are infused with even more bright flavor with the moist Pineapple Filling. Finish them off with adorable eggs for easter or simply pipe the Buttercream-Cream Cheese Frosting on top in whatever design you’d like for a slice-free, party-ready dessert.

Caramel Apple Cake

Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Caramel Apple Cake

Looking out your window, you may imagine the leaves changing green to red to gold as you smell fresh apple cake baking in your oven. We would bake this dessert any time of year just to imagine the arrival of autumn, but it’s true that this cake is at its best in September, October, and November, when fresh apple harvests send crisp, sweet, freshly-picked apples dripping with flavor into our fruit baskets.

Strawberries & Cream Cookies

Soft-baked with crisp edges, loaded with chewy dried strawberries and creamy white chocolate, these strawberries & cream cookies deliver a summery-sweet taste any time of year.

chocolate lava cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a white plate.
Homemade chocolate truffles on Valentine's Day heart plate
Chocolate lava cakes and homemade chocolate truffles.

Lemon-Orange Chiffon Cake

Recipe: Lemon-Orange Chiffon Cake

Serve this decadent spring dessert at your next ladies’ luncheon, shower, or party and wow the crowd—all of your friends and family—with a garnish of edible flowers, which are easily purchased and shipped from online retailers. Here, we’ve garnished the completed and cooled Lemon-Orange Chiffon Cake with edible flowers, kumquat slices, and a lovely lemon-orange buttercream frosting. Its an airy dessert, one easily enjoyed at a party or luncheon with minimal mess and minimal effort. The texture is a treasure, with the diaphanous hint of chiffon complemented by the perfectly paired citrus duo of vibrant lemon and exuberant orange.

Coconut-Banana Pudding

Hector M. Sanchez

Recipe: Coconut-Banana Pudding

The fire gives this classic an extra smoky, caramelized flavor that, we’re willing to bet, you won’t be able to resist. Serve hot off the grill or at room temperature. Crown the cobbler with a scoop of vanilla for an extra sweet touch. This dish is infused with smoke, creating a luscious mixture of textures. Just the right blend of gooey and crisp emerges as the soft slices of caramelized peaches sink underneath the crisp sweet biscuit crust. Pick up a basket of peaches at the farmers’ market in the morning, make this gooey treat, and we guarantee that your afternoon will be smoky and sweet.

No-Bake Lemon Icebox Pie

Photography: Caitlin Bensel, Food Styling: Margaret Monroe Dickey, Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hilegas

Recipe: No-Bake Lemon Icebox Pie

Zesty is the perfect word for this refreshing citrus dessert. It is completely invigorating on a hot summer day. And, lo and behold, there’s no baking involved. With just 15 minutes of hands-on time, you’ll have a gingersnap-based crust that’s prime for freezing. After freezing, pile in the cool, creamy filling, and you’re ready to serve.

Hot Buttered Rum Bread Pudding

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Hot Buttered Rum Bread Pudding

Is there anything more comforting or indulgent than a bread pudding? Maybe, but taking one look at this buttered pan of bread pudding, we can’t think of anything we would rather nibble on a chilly fall evening. Though you are free to make this dessert in summer if you have a craving for a rum dessert.

Strawberry-Lemonade Layer Cake

Recipe: Strawberry-Lemonade Layer Cake

You can assemble this recipe for Strawberry-Lemonade Layer Cake up to two days ahead of time, minimizing prep time—which we love. Be sure to store at room temperature. Also, you can freeze cooled layers up to a month in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, ensuring that you are always ready to assemble a layer cake for impromptu parties and get-togethers anytime during the day or night.

Chocolate Delight

Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Recipe: Chocolate Delight

No matter what you call it, this chocolate dessert with layers of pudding and whipped topping is sure to delight. We bet the first bite will bring back memories of summer’s past.

Eggnog Bundt Cake

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Eggnog Bundt Cake

Did you think eggnog was just for December holiday parties? Think again. This light and fluffy Bundt cake makes eggnog accessible all year round—in warm weather and in cool weather—though we have to admit, it is still perfect for family gatherings around the holidays. Just when you thought Bundt cake couldn’t get any better—eggnog and nutmeg raise the bar.

The Lemon Cheese Layer Cake

Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: The Lemon Cheese Layer Cake

Expecting a twist on cheesecake? You’re in for an even sweeter surprise. These layers are filled with a buttery rich lemon curd instead. Light, sweet, and tart: It’s a beguiling blend. The curd is smooth, a bright citrus explosion within a sweet cheesecake concoction. It’s like nothing you’ve ever tasted. The Lemon-Orange Buttercream frosting coats the exterior of the cake like a sweet, thick veil. It opens to the lemon curd-interior and doubles, nay, triples the citrus flavor. Perfect for summer, this sweet cake is best served outside, under a starry sky, surrounded by glowing candles and light, fresh cocktails.

Classic Cola Cake

Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner

Recipe: Classic Coca Cola Chocolate Cake

Our cola cake is simply one of the best in the world. The magical brew of carbonated cola is the secret to the tender texture of the cake and chocolate frosting. You can use any number of similar colas, but since Coca-Cola is the quintessential Southern beverage—first blended in Atlanta (where the ever-popular Coca-Cola factory welcomes visitors to this day) in the early 20th century, then disseminated in mid 1900s soda fountains across the country—we created the ultimate Cola Cake. It’s a sheet cake with a rich syrup, and it certainly lives up to the Southern beverage that anchors it.

8-Ingredient Homemade Crepes

These homemade crepes are ultra thin and delicate with the most buttery crisp edges. Easy to make with just a blender and skillet, they’re ready for your choice of sweet or savory fillings.

Q: Which of these Valentine’s Day dessert recipes have you tried? Do you have any favorites?

Mississippi Mud Cheesecake

Recipe: Mississippi Mud Cheesecake

Fluffy marshmallows, chopped pecans and chocolate frosting—who knew that mud could be so delicious? Mississippi did. This Southern state knows how to do a chocolate dessert just right, and we’ve taken it to another level in our Mississippi Mud Cheesecake. Just look at those crunchy, nutty pecans; smooth, chewy mini marshmallows; and decadent, chocolatey cheesecake. There’s definitely nothing better than these treats to pacify a chocoholic.

Easy Blackberry Cobbler

Recipe: Easy Blackberry Cobbler

Make the most of summer’s blackberry bounty with this recipe for blackberry cobbler. Our farmers’ markets and grocery stores are filled with blackberries for sale, and we’ve already picked up more than one container. This versatile, deep-purple hued berry is a winner. A winning fruit demands a top-notch recipe, which we provide here. This recipe for blackberry cobbler is so simple that it only uses six ingredients. Six! Easy to make on even the most harried of nights, you can make it special by topping it with whipped cream and garnish with sprigs of fragrant mint. Confession: We planted an herb garden last spring in anticipation of just this sort of recipe. There’s nothing quite like a garnish of fresh herbs in a flavorful summer dessert.

White Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

Extra fluffy white chocolate strawberry cupcakes combine creamy white chocolate and real strawberries. Reduced strawberry puree and freeze-dried strawberries are the secrets to the real (nothing artificial!) strawberry flavor.

The Lane Cake

Recipe: The Lane Cake

In March 1966, Southern Living featured a recipe for Lane Cake in its second issue. Our latest twist? Dried peaches (finely diced and ridiculously delicious) stand in for raisins, and the traditional meringue frosting gets a spirited makeover with—get this—a triple shot of peach schnapps. This is your summer cake. The levity of meringue plus the playful taste of peach schnapps makes this cake a fruity cocktail of a dessert. We love it at summer parties, and the meringue frosting creates a dramatic visual, sweeping and soaring and inviting guests to partake in a party of a cake. It’s covered in clouds but it’s a substantial sweet. It’s a dessert that defies gravity.

Buttermilk-Lime Mini Cakes with Vanilla-Mascarpone Buttercream Recipe

Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Buttermilk-Lime Mini Cakes with Vanilla-Mascarpone Buttercream

You know those desserts that make everyone go “Wow!” when they bite into it? This is one of those desserts. As pretty to look at as it is to slice into, it will be hard to have just one bite of this decadent dessert. With a thick swirl of vanilla-mascarpone on top, it mixes buttermilk and lime in a substantial cake with a delightful, dainty presentation.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This any-time hit is good enough to make grandma proud. What’s the trick? Browning butter. This simple step gives that classic cookie dough its signature taste and chewy, crisp texture. It’s a quick, extra step worth taking every time.


A truly special and romantic dessert! This tiramisu recipe is from the late Maida Heatter and is easily the best homemade tiramisu that I’ve ever tried.

flourless chocolate cake with mocha whipped cream
chocolate souffles
Gluten-free flourless chocolate cake & chocolate soufflé.

Black-and-Blue Buttermilk Tart

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Black-and-Blue Buttermilk Tart

This enticing topping of bright berries is just another reminder to revel in the bounty of berries Southerners are lucky enough to experience each summer. This creamy tart and sweet-and-salty buttery cracker crust is topped with a beautiful mix of blueberries and blackberries, but it is equally delicious with strawberries, peaches, or your favorite fresh fruit.

Sea Salt-Caramel Cake

Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Sea Salt-Caramel Cake

This cake may well be the ultimate in layer cake decadence. While these tender cake layers taste divine, it’s the caramel frosting that really wows. It’s outrageously rich— and doesn’t require the use of a candy thermometer. In this recipe, you’ll see that the rumor is true: Salt really does bring out, enrich, and enlarge the flavor of the sweet caramel.

White Chocolate Red Velvet Cookies

Made from scratch, these white chocolate red velvet cookies are soft and chewy, simple to make, and totally festive. Dunk in pure white chocolate and top with colorful sprinkles.

Easy Cheesecake Pie

This cheesecake pie is perfect for cheesecake lovers who want a quicker, easier alternative to making a classic cheesecake. The smooth and creamy filling is made with just 6 simple ingredients, and there’s no water bath step required. (And you don’t need a springform pan, either!)

pink and red sparkle Valentine's day cookies
overhead image of peanut butter cookies with chocolate heart candies on top
Sparkle sweetheart cookies & peanut butter sweethearts.

Ultimate Apple Pie

Photo: Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Ultimate Apple Pie

Buxton Hall isn’t just known for their BBQ. Their in-house pastry chef, Ashley Capps, serves blue ribbon-worthy pies daily, and she gave us the inside scoop to their legendary Ultimate Apple Pie. Serve this beauty at Thanksgiving, and you’re sure to have guests asking for to-go slices for the road.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Ana Kelly Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke

Recipe: Cream Cheese Pound Cake

You can’t go wrong with a cake so beloved. Look no further for the perfect pound cake recipe. This traditional cake is extra-rich. It’s also sturdy and substantial because of the cream cheese, and it is always, always in style. Fourth of July? Perfect. Thanksgiving? Ideal. Christmas? Nothing better. Half-birthdays? Yes. We’ve even been known to dream up holidays on random Wednesday afternoons just to get in the kitchen to make this beauty.

Homemade Strawberry Cake

Packed with strawberry flavor, this homemade strawberry cake has strawberries inside the cake and in the frosting too. 100% real ingredients—no boxed mix here!

slice of chocolate cake on a plate
whipped cream and raspberry sauce topped cheesecake pie with 1 slice removed.
Triple chocolate cake & cheesecake pie.

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Recipe: Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Is an ice cream sandwich your go-to summertime dessert? Then it’s time to give your typical ice cream sandwich an upgrade. Now the fan-favorite ice cream bar can become a crowd-pleasing dessert. This decadent ice-cream cake worthy of slicing. Make the whole cake ahead and freeze until ready to serve.

The Ultimate Carrot Cake

Recipe: The Ultimate Carrot Cake

A classic at the pinnacle of its powers, our recipe for The Ultimate Carrot Cake is a multi-purpose, always-appropriate star of the dessert table. It is dense and moist, an ideal no-fail recipe for when you need a reliable go-to cake. We went for three thick layers plus a creamy brown sugar-cream cheese frosting. For additional edible decoration, try our recipe for candied carrot curls, pretty helixes that add something special to the display. It’s a traditional cake, but with a few thoughtful touches, it feels brand new.

Red Velvet Ice-Cream Cake

Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Red Velvet Ice-Cream Cake

This frozen dessert comes together quickly. After mixing, this ice cream cake recipe just needs a little time to set in the freezer. It’s an ideal blend, with its depth of flavor enhanced by fresh berries on top. Plus, its red, white, and blue layers make it the perfect treat to pull out of the freezer after a Fourth of July feast.

Fudge Pie

Recipe: Fudge Pie

This Fudge Pie starts with semi-sweet chocolate and pecans and ends with a dollop of ice cream on top. To keep things easy, it calls for a frozen pie crust, but the end result is so tasty, anyone who cuts a slice may swear it’s fully from scratch. Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe it.

The Coconut Chiffon Cake

Recipe: The Coconut Chiffon Cake

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies

Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies

Fudgy and flourless? It’s possible, and this simple chocolatey recipe is proof. Thanks to whipped egg whites, the cookies are airy and crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside, like a brownie in cookie form.

Triple Chocolate Cake

This is my favorite homemade chocolate cake recipe. With a super moist crumb and fudgy, yet light texture, this chocolate cake recipe will soon be your favorite too.

Chocolate Cake Pops

Kids and adults alike love chocolate cake pops (and vanilla cake pops). Top with sprinkles for a festive touch! For best results, start this recipe the night before.

Cheerwine Cherry Cupcakes with Cherry-Swirl Frosting

Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner

Recipe: Cheerwine Cherry Cupcakes with Cherry-Swirl Frosting

Inspired by the classic North Carolina cherry-flavored soda, these cupcakes are the cherry on top to any event. This recipe lets you transform your favorite way to bake a cake into a cherry treat. Whether you combine the bubbly drink with a recipe for homemade white cake or pound cake or a packaged cake mix, the result is a pale pink crumb that tastes of almond extract and mild cherry.

Red, White, and Blue Poke Cake

Recipe: Red, White, and Blue Poke Cake

The ultimate patriotic dessert for a Fourth of July celebration, this cake has everything: bursting berries, rich mascarpone frosting, and fresh fruit filling. It has red, white, and blue to spare. Our patriotic spin on poke cake is the coolest dessert of summer. With a cake this pretty and patriotic, it serves as decoration and dessert all at once.

Georgia Pecan Double-Decker Brownies

Photographer Jennifer Causey, Prop Stylist Lindsey Lower, Food Stylist Torie Cox

Recipe: Georgia Pecan Double-Decker Pecan Brownies

We know that we don’t need to convince you to try a new brownie recipe, but we’re still going to gush about how much we love this one. They are thick and fudgy—hence the double-decker in its name—with an accessible, comfortable depth of flavor. Speckled with pecans, they sit on a perfectly crumbly layer of chocolate wafer crust you’ll taste in every bite. Don’t let this recipe pass you by.

The Red Velvet Cake

Recipe: The Red Velvet Cake

Triple-Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cake

Recipe: Triple-Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cake

We took the traditional pound cake recipe and raised it a stunning, triple-chocolate twist. This cake means business. A duo of glazes—one creamy chocolate, the other subtle buttermilk—comes together atop this dreamy confection. It’s indulgent and, we admit, so much fun to eat and serve. Chocolate enthusiasts will be over the moon for this recipe, but it has enough unexpected flavor—thanks to the addition of the buttermilk glaze—that you’ll also win over the harder-to-please dessert eaters at the table. Warning: You—and they—won’t be able to resist a second slice. Go for it. We won’t tell.

Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie

Recipe: Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie

We’re Southerners. We know our pecan pie, and this twist on a regional favorite has us wishing for pecan harvest. We’ll spend days picking up pecans in the orchard if it means we can conjure this chocolate-bourbon concoction in the kitchen. We have also gained a new appreciation for whiskey. The liquor goes way beyond drinking and finds its way into sauces, braises, and especially desserts.

Cherry-Nectarine Pandowdy

Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl Jones

Recipe: Cherry-Nectarine Pandowdy

If you’ve seen sweet, plump nectarines at your local grocery store but have refrained from buying them because you wondered how best to use them, look no further than this fresh, pandowdy. Here, nectarines pair with cherries for a beautifully cooked fruit under a pastry crust. As the dish cools, the broken crust absorbs the sweet juices from the cooked fruit, creating a deliciously messy dessertSo next time you see nectarines in the fruit aisle, pick up a few—two pounds, actually—and try out this delectable recipe.

Easy Peach Cobbler

Iain Bagwell; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Easy Peach Cobbler

We can’t get enough of fresh peaches—especially in a warm cobbler with a gorgeous, golden brown crust. If you’re going to try a new recipe for a peach dish this season, make it this one.

Wacky Cake

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Wacky Cake

The batter for this chocolate cake is mixed together right in the pan, so there’s no dirty mixing bowl in the sink. Originally created to make during leaner times, it also doesn’t’ call for any eggs or milk. We top the simple cake with a layer of fudgy icing sprinkled with toasted pecans for an even sweeter finish,

Homemade Chocolate Truffles

Ditch the boxed chocolates this Valentine’s Day and make homemade chocolate truffles. These extra creamy truffles come together with just 4 simple ingredients.

chocolate fudge cake in a white ramekin
red velvet seven layer bars
Chocolate fudge cakes & red velvet layer bars.

Homemade Pralines

Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Homemade Pralines

As Southern as they come, making your first batch of Homemade Pralines is alike a right of passage. One of the many dazzling and flavorful things to hail from New Orleans, these sweet and creamy treats have become a holiday tradition for many across the South. They make wonderful food gifts anytime of year, but there’s something delightful about in baking a batch just to have at home too.

Brown Sugar Cookie Stars

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Brown Sugar Cookie Stars

These Brown Sugar Cookie Stars are the closest you’ll get to earning a gold star straight from your oven. Perfect for any celebration, from the Fourth of July to Christmas time, the touch of brown sugar gives this sugar cookie a deeper, richer taste than a traditional recipe.

Strawberry Dream Cake

Photo: Greg Dupree

Recipe: Strawberry Dream Cake

This Strawberry Dream Cake is an elegant and eye-catching surprise! It’s sure to astonish at any prince themed birthday party. The fluffy whipped frosting and upright strawberries make for a stunningly beautiful display.

Hummingbird Cake

Photographer: Fred Hardy II, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Props Stylist: Christina Brockman

Recipe: Hummingbird Cake

If you love Southern Living, you’ll know how proud we are of our Hummingbird Cake. We celebrate it every chance we get. It’s not just pretty. It’s not just tasty. It’s a wonder. Thanks to Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina, this pineapple-banana spice cake with cream cheese frosting became one of our most requested recipes. Decades after it graced the pages of our magazine, we still stand by Mrs. Wiggins’ original, indulgent creation.

Small 6-Inch Chocolate Cake

This 1-layer 6-inch chocolate cake serves 4, so it’s perfect for whenever you need a scaled-down cake. You can also use this chocolate cake batter to make a small batch of 6 cupcakes.

overhead image of heart shaped chocolate hand pies drizzled with chocolate topping
Slice of tiramisu on white plate
Chocolate hand pies & homemade tiramisu.

Red Velvet Brownies

Photography: Caitlin Bensel, Prop Styling: Audrey Davis, Food Styling: Rishon Hanners

Recipe: Red Velvet Brownies

This scrumptious, melt-in-your-mouth treat combines two things almost everyone loves: red velvet and brownies. Our red velvet brownies are a bite-size version of the classic cake. Top them with a decadent cream cheese frosting for the ultimate dessert. It is just special enough—a few degrees beyond a traditional chocolate brownie—and it can be dressed up so easily with a beautiful topping of frosting, icing, cream cheese, or whipped cream.

Gluten-Free Flourless Chocolate Cake

This rich and deliciously moist flourless chocolate cake is naturally gluten free. A 1-bowl cake recipe without any special tools or assembly required, this is chocolate cake MADE EASY.

Pepper Texas Sheet Cake

Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner

Recipe: Dr. Pepper Texas Sheet Cake

Everything is bigger in Texas. Everything is more decadent there too, it seems. Somehow, Texas claimed the sheet cake as its own in the mid-20th century, perhaps because of the pecans, an ingredient that grows in abundance throughout the Lone Star State. Better yet, this cake takes it’s cues not only from the classic, but from the beloved flavor of Texas-made Dr. Pepper too. The defining element is its shape—and, of course, the icing, which has to be heated and poured on the warm, just-out-of-the-oven cake. The result is a rich, chocolaty treat that’s iconic in Texas.

Sweetheart Swirl Chocolate Bark

3-ingredient sweetheart swirl bark is wildly festive and incredibly simple to make. Made from semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate tinted pink, the two are swirled together and topped with candy hearts and Valentine’s Day sprinkles.

chocolate covered oreo balls truffles topped with crushed Oreo cookie crumbs and arranged on green baking sheet.
zoomed in image of strawberry cheesecake truffles with a bite out of one showing the inside
Oreo balls & strawberry cheesecake truffles.

Homemade Cookies-and-Cream Ice Cream

Recipe: Homemade Cookies-and-Cream Ice Cream

Here, five ingredients come together in a swirl of cookies and cream. All you need is your electric ice cream maker and a little freezing time. This combination elevates a typical summer afternoon ice cream treat to a memorable experience—certainly a moment to savor. For a party, we like to showcase scooped cones in decorative glassware for a personal touch.

Mini Strawberry Tarts

Recipe: Mini Strawberry Tarts

Valentine’s Day “Cupid” Cupcakes

Festive Valentine’s Day cupcakes are the ultimate declaration of love: strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla all in one! Fill with Nutella and garnish with a chocolate heart for an eye-catching Valentine’s Day treat.

Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars

Top these sugar cookie bars with pink frosting and load them up with Valentine’s Day sprinkles. People go ABSOLUTELY NUTS whenever I make them. And they’re pretty easy, too!

slice of red velvet cake on a black plate
overhead image of homemade strawberry cake on a marble cake stand
Red velvet cake & homemade strawberry cake.

Creamy Small Batch Cheesecake

Homemade creme brûlée with a spoon
6 inch chocolate cake with chocolate ganache on top sitting on a pink cake stand.
Crème brûlée & small batch chocolate cake.

Fan-Favorite Valentine’s Day Dessert Recipes

white chocolate raspberry cheesecake bars
Mini pound cakes with raspberry icing and sprinkles
White chocolate raspberry cheesecake bars & mini vanilla pound cakes.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

Easier and quicker than a full cheesecake, white chocolate raspberry cheesecake bars are creamy, sweet, and swirled with layers of homemade fresh raspberry sauce. They’re baked in a 9-inch square pan and sit on an Oreo cookie crust.

Strawberries-and-Cream Sheet Cake

Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Strawberries-and-Cream Sheet Cake

When served in a dish, strawberries and cream are a favorite English dessert and traditional teatime accompaniment. This strawberries and cream riff on the sheet cake will have your guests fawning over a new way to enjoy the fruit and cream mix. One of the most versatile desserts, strawberries and cream is always appropriate—it’s delicate and luscious, a dulcet harmony of flavors that we can’t get enough of. The fruity thrill of strawberry, the cooling comfort of cream—it’s great any time. Taking that idea and transforming it into the ultimate berry sheet cake was no small feat. But we did it, and with the help of this fantastic recipe, you can too.

Chocolate Cobbler

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Chocolate Cobbler

A simple list of ingredients that you probably almost always have on hand in your pantry are used to create a decadent chocolate dessert that can be described as a mix of cake and pudding. If there’s one tip we have for you, it’s that no matter how tempted you may be, absolutely do not stir the cobbler after pouring the water over the chocolate mixture. This helps create the pudding pockets while it’s in the oven.

Shaker Lemon Pie

Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Ana Kelly

Recipe: Shaker Lemon Pie

Straight from the pages of the Junior League of Charleston, West Virginia’s Mountain Measures cookbook, this old-fashioned pie deserves a comeback. Made with thinly sliced whole lemons—peels and all—this incredibly easy citrus dessert only calls for four ingredients.

5-Ingredient Strawberry Cheesecake Truffles

Easy strawberry cheesecake truffles come together with cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, fresh strawberries, white chocolate, and graham crackers. Cheesecake is now a finger food!

slices of champagne cake roll on a white serving platter
close-up of chocolate covered strawberry cupcake filled with strawberry buttercream and sliced open.
Champagne cake roll & chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes.

Praline Bread Pudding

Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Praline Bread Pudding

Talk about comfort food. We were, weren’t we? This dish oozes sweetness, the perfect Southern indulgence. It’s no typical bread pudding, though. We gave our favorite bread pudding a Louisiana-style revival with the addition of an oh-so-decadent homemade Praline Sauce. Our Test Kitchen recommends using stale, day-old bread—better for soaking up the sweet custard. So once your bread has graced your shelf just a day too long, you’ll know it’s time to whip up this sweet treat. We love dipping generous helpings into petite clear dishes—which are all the better to showcase the layers of gooey praline goodness that await you during the dessert course.

Lemon Bundt Cake

Recipe: Lemon Bundt Cake

If you can’t get enough citrus in your life, you may want to try this Lemon Bundt Cake recipe. With one bite, it will transport you to the breezy tropics, or at least a sunny nearby lemon grove. This recipe gets just the right bit of punch from the grated lemon zest and fresh lemon juice. The result: one of the best, and simplest, cakes you’ll ever make. Add our two-ingredient glaze and, for added effect, candied lemons—they taste great scattered atop the cake.

Egg Custard Pie

Recipe: Egg Custard Pie

We think this old-fashioned pie still deserves a spot on dessert tables today. You may be surprised to learn that you just need a handful of ingredients to pull together a dessert that guests of all ages will enjoy.

Red Velvet Cake

Red velvet cake is the queen of layer cakes. My homemade recipe yields a buttery cake with hints of vanilla and cocoa flavors, all topped with tangy cream cheese frosting.

Cakey Strawberry Cobbler

Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Christine Keely, Food Stylist: Ana Kelly

Recipe: Cakey Strawberry Cobbler

Fresh strawberries and cake-like filling bake together to create this delicious batter cobbler. You can substitute sliced stone fruit, like peaches, for the strawberries if you prefer, but we love the taste of strawberries and a dash of lemon zest in this cobbler. You can easily refrigerate the leftovers, but don’t expect to have any!

Classic Chocolate Pound Cake

Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck; Food Styling: Erin Merhar

Recipe: Classic Chocolate Pound Cake

This moist, classic chocolate cake is dusted with powdered sugar to create a slice chocolate lovers will dream of for days. Plus, with just 30 minutes needed, this traditional cake is a great recipe for experienced and novice bakers alike.

Fresh Peach Ice Cream

Recipe: Fresh Peach Ice Cream

When peach season rolls in—in the South, any time from May to September—we’re out in the orchard, picking plump, sweet ingredients to churn into this sweet mixture, which is one of our absolute favorite ice cream recipes. We guarantee that your family will ask for this chilly treat over and over again. Best of all, the seven-ingredient mixture requires no cooking, just stirring.

Chewy Peanut Bars

Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Chewy Peanut Bars

Bite-sized and nutty, these bars are great for tucking into lunch boxes or for sweet and indulgent after-dinner treats. This recipe also has a surprising origin. We weren’t exactly excited to test our old microwave column recipes again, but these chocolate-peanut blondies truly surprised us. We whipped them up and had to immediately make another batch. They’re easy, the perfect combination of homemade and crowd-pleasing.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

There’s so much to love about this ultra-rich chocolate raspberry cake. Layers of moist dark chocolate sponge, silky chocolate buttercream, and homemade raspberry cake filling are enrobed in a luxurious chocolate raspberry ganache.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

Seriously indulgent and creamy, these chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars are like eating a peanut butter cup in cheesecake form.

strawberry cupcakes with white chocolate strawberry frosting topped with white chocolate dipped strawberry
cheesecake in a loaf pan cut into slices
White chocolate strawberry cupcakes & small batch cheesecake baked in a loaf pan.

Just One Giant Double Chocolate Cookie

And one giant double chocolate cookie, just in case peanut butter isn’t your thing.

And if you need some Valentine’s Day breakfast ideas:

heart shaped donuts topped with pink glaze and sprinkles on a baking sheet
Pink heart-shaped donuts & homemade crepes.

Red Velvet Layer Bars

These red velvet layer bars are everything you love about classic 7-layer bars, but they’re baked on top of a red velvet cookie crust. These loaded bars are extra chewy, gooey, buttery, and sweet!

chocolate cake pops on a purple plate
pieces of sweetheart swirl bark
Chocolate cake pops & sweetheart chocolate bark.

Cakey Lemon Brownies

Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Jennifer Wendorf

Recipe: Cakey Lemon Brownies

These easy-to-make bar cookies have the chewy, cakey texture of a brownie, but all of the bright and tangy flavor of a lemon bar. Feeling a little extra? Garnish with a few lemon slices for an extra bright, in both flavor and looks. All you need are pretty, thin slices of lemon, which dazzle on top of the brownie slices.

Atlantic Beach Pie

Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Atlantic Beach Pie

Often referred to as the easiest pie ever, this citrus pie from North Carolina Chef Bill Smith is just the dessert hot summer days need. One reviewer claimed it is the best lemon pie they’ve ever eaten.

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