17 Easy & Delicious Cake Recipes for the Holidays

a recipe photo of Almond Flour Cake
Photo: Photographer: Jen Causey, Food Stylist: Ali Ramee

There's nothing like desserts during the holiday season, and these cake recipes embrace the flavors of the season—think gingerbread, apple, pumpkin and more. With only 20 minutes or less of active time, these delicious cakes are easy to prepare. Recipes like our Almond Flour Cake and Apple Coffee Cake are perfect additions to your holiday table.

01 of 17

Almond Flour Cake

a recipe photo of Almond Flour Cake
Photographer: Jen Causey, Food Stylist: Ali Ramee

This light and fluffy almond flour cake is flavored simply with almond extract and orange zest. Whipped egg whites give this gluten-free cake a light texture. Serve with fresh seasonal fruit and whipped cream.

02 of 17

Apple Coffee Cake


Apples lend their sweet-tart flavor to this warm and comforting apple coffee cake. The nutty oat and pecan filling in the middle of the cake also acts as a crispy topping that's drizzled with a sweet vanilla glaze.

03 of 17

Chocolate-Coconut Dump Cake

Chocolate-Coconut Dump Cake
Photography / Caitlin Bensel, Food Styling / Ruth Blackburn

This rich and chocolaty dump cake has plenty of nutty, sweet coconut flavor. Shredded coconut and pecans give texture to this easy mix-and-bake cake. It's great on its own but adding a whipped topping and toasted coconut are worth the little extra effort.

04 of 17

Cranberry Clafoutis

Cranberry Clafloutis
Eric Wolfinger

One of Colorado chef Eric Skokan's favorite desserts is this simple French dish. The sweet, custardy cake is a wonderful foil for tart cranberries.

05 of 17

Apple-Cinnamon Cake


This simple nondairy apple cake, which is often called Jewish apple cake, has origins in Eastern Europe. Cinnamon and sweet-tart Granny Smith apples make for a fragrant cake, while orange juice in the batter adds a sweet, fresh touch. Make it for Rosh Hashana or any other fall holiday or occasion. The leftovers (if there are any) pair nicely with a cup of coffee the next morning.

06 of 17

One-Bowl Irish Stout Cake


This Irish stout cake can't get any easier: everything is mixed in one bowl, poured into the cake pan and is in the oven in 15 minutes flat. Lining the cake pan with parchment paper makes removing the cake easy and helps with cleanup. After this rich chocolate cake has cooled, enjoy it with the espresso- and Irish whiskey-laced whipped cream topping.

07 of 17

Gingerbread Cake

hot water gingerbread
Andrea Mathis

Full of warming spices like ginger and cinnamon, this gingerbread cake recipe is perfect for the holidays. Serve topped with whipped cream for an extra-festive treat.

08 of 17

Carob Molasses Cake (Sfouf b' Debs)


With all due respect to baklava, we've found a new favorite Lebanese dessert. This rich, moist cake is sweetened with carob molasses and has a hit of anise. We may or may not have fought over it in the Test Kitchen.

09 of 17

Marble Spice Bundt Cake

Marble Spice Bundt Cake
Ryan Liebe

Unleash your artsy side when marbling the light and dark batters together. The latter is fragrant with loads of cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg and gets its color from molasses and espresso powder.

10 of 17

Vegan Vanilla Cake

Vegan Vanilla Cake
Photographer / Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist / Christine Kelly, Food Stylist / Karen Rankin

Layers of fluffy cake are coated in a creamy frosting to create this sweet vegan vanilla cake. Mixing almond milk and apple-cider vinegar creates a vegan alternative to buttermilk. We top the cake with fresh berries, but other fresh fruit like peaches or cherries would be just as delicious.

11 of 17

Brown Sugar Glazed Apple Cake


This healthier apple cake recipe relies on yogurt and canola oil instead of butter to make it moist. Grated apple and warm spices give it the flavor of fall. To finish off the cake, drizzle on a quick brown sugar glaze before serving.

12 of 17

Pumpkin Dump Cake


This pudding-like pumpkin cake has a luscious cream cheese swirl amid the spiced pumpkin layer. Organic cake mix is "dumped" on top, then the cake is smothered with butter. Once baked and cooled, the mix forms a sweet and crispy topping.

13 of 17

Chocolate-Cherry Dump Cake

Chocolate-Cherry Dump Cake
Photography / Antonis Achilleos, Styling / Christine Keely, Ali Ramee

Brewed coffee enhances the rich, fudgy chocolate flavor in this easy dump cake, while cherries add a hint of tartness. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

14 of 17

Vegan Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel

Vegan Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel
Photographer / Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist / Christine Kelly, Food Stylist / Karen Rankin

This vegan coffee cake with cinnamon streusel is subtly sweet, with a nutty streusel spiked with just enough spice and walnuts. Whip up this dairy- and egg-free cake for your next brunch to satisfy vegans and non-vegans alike!

15 of 17

Apple-Caramel Pound Cake

Apple-Caramel Pound Cake
Photographer / Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist / Kay Clarke, Food Stylist / Emily Nabors Hall

This tender apple-caramel pound cake has tons of flavor from the apples, brown sugar and cinnamon. The caramel glaze sends this easy cake over the top with a sweet and buttery finish.

16 of 17

Castagnaccio (Chestnut Cake)

Castagnaccio (Chestnut Cake)
Penny De Los Santos

Sweets not your thing? This cake, a specialty of northern Italy, is almost savory, flavored with rosemary and pine nuts, and gets just a touch of sweetness from plumped raisins, with no added sugar. Chestnut flour tends to clump together, so for the best texture don't skip the sifting step. This recipe is part of Brooke Siem's Grandmother Project. Learn more about this recipe and other recipes Siem learned to make in the article How Cooking Connected One Chef with Grandmothers Across the World.

17 of 17

Karidopita (Walnut Cake)

Karidopita (Walnut Cake)
Leigh Beisch

This syrup-soaked walnut cake—a traditional Greek dessert that's often served for holidays—gets its structure from breadcrumbs instead of flour. It's delicious unadorned, but feel free to top it with unsweetened whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or warm chocolate sauce for an extra layer of decadence.

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