Impressive Desserts for Special Occasions

These gorgeous desserts will be the talk of your family, friends, and guests. When you really want the final course to be special, make a spectacular sweet that will have you accepting an extra round of applause at your celebration.

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  • 1 of 15

    Croquembouche with Maple Cream

    With a shimmery sugar adornment, this pretty pyramid will elicit gasps of delight. One bite of the light, cream-filled puffs will garner even more praise.

  • 2 of 15

    Joyful Almond Cheesecake

    Treat your guests to a candy bar in party attire. A longtime favorite flavor combination goes glamorous in a cheesecake brimming with elegance and candy-store appeal.

  • 3 of 15

    Baked Alaska with Rum Pudding Ice Cream

    Ice cream in the oven is a classic contradiction, but moments under the broiler make this dessert a reality. Slice into the pretty meringue to reveal an even more striking color and flavor. Rum-raisin injects a warm, spicy kick into the stunning dessert.

  • 4 of 15

    Opera Cake

    The epitome of elegance, layers of almond sponge cake, coffee syrup, java-spiked buttercream, and opulent ganache fill this unassuming cake with taste that will make guests sing its praises.

    Editor's Tip: Although music notes are typically piped on the cake, you can create any design to suit your occasion.

  • 5 of 15

    Pomegranate Pavlova with Pistachios and Honey

    Cloudlike puffs of meringue and whipped cream will send guests into seventh heaven. Named to honor the grace and elegance of ballerina Anna Pavlova, the airy dessert resembles a dancer's tulle tutu.

  • 6 of 15

    Baumkuchen

    This exquisite treat, broiled one layer at a time in a single pan, hints at all the smile-inducing pleasures of a European pastry shop. The name (pronounced bowm-KYOO-kin) roughly translates as tree cake -- an allusion to the sliced layers' resemblance to rings on a crosscut tree.

  • 7 of 15

    Orange-Ginger Ricotta Tart

    Glossy glazed citrus garnishes this dessert, but the gleaming marmalade topper pales next to the tart's flavor. This pretty dessert is made memorable by a lightly spiced crust and a creamy filling.

  • 8 of 15

    Black Forest Cake Log

    This starring roll deserves its accolades. Chocolate sponge cake, brandied cherries, whipped cream filling, and chocolate ganache fuse into a classic flavor combination that's guaranteed to earn rave reviews.

    Editor's Tip: Shape the cake into a roll while it's still hot. If you let the cake cool, it will crack instead of bending into a beautiful spiral.

  • 9 of 15

    Cranberry-Vanilla Bean Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

    At first sight, the cake is lovely with luscious lemon cream cheese frosting, sugared cranberries, and lemon peel. But the first slice reveals the true beauty of the classic seasonal flavors in a deliciously unexpected way.

    Editor's Tip: Despite its everyday reputation, vanilla hails from an exotic source. Vanilla beans come from a tropical orchid. To use, cut a vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use a small knife to scape the seeds from the pod.

  • 10 of 15

    Malted Chocolate Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze

    Your guests will feel like kids again when they bite into this soda fountain-inspired cake. Deep chocolate flavor and an infusion of malted milk powder fill this showcase dessert.

  • 11 of 15

    Salted Caramel Pots de Creme

    Chilled to perfection and classically prepared and presented in individual dishes, this delectable custard shines in every way. A sprinkling of sea salt brings out the rich, buttery flavors in the caramel.

  • 12 of 15

    Triple-Mint Ice Cream Dessert

    Guests will be enticed by its good looks, but the sinfully pleasing taste of this ice cream treat will capture their hearts. Minty zest and chocolate richness meld to create a refreshing favorite.

  • 13 of 15

    Carrot-Coconut Cake with Raisin-Rum Filling

    Carrot cake bursts with dense spiciness; coconut cake contrasts with sweet richness. Layer them with a divine raisin-rum filling and top it all with a splendid coconut-curl flourish for a memorable final scene.

  • 14 of 15

    White Chocolate-Gingerbread Trifle

    Showcase these five layers in clear glass to tantalize guests before they even taste the sublime flavors. The striking colors accentuate the tart, spicy, and sweet elements of each tier.

  • Next Slideshow Must-Try Mexican Desserts

    Must-Try Mexican Desserts

    Craving a way to satisfy your sweet tooth after a taco dinner or fajita feast? Try one of our fan-favorite Mexican dessert recipes, including crispy churros and fruit-stuffed empanadas. Loaded with flavors like cinnamon, caramel, mango, and more, these festive dessert recipes will help any day feel more like a fiesta.
    Begin Slideshow »
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