7 Spectacular Holiday Desserts

These centerpiece cakes and cookies taste even better than they look
Charity Ferreira

Candy Cane Cake
Our whipped cream cake sprinkled with crushed peppermint might just become your next holiday tradition.

Orange Ribbon Cheesecake
This creamy cheesecake has a glistening topping of caramelized, candylike orange slices.

Cranberry Pumpkin Upside-down Cake
Caramel-coated walnuts and cranberries top this tender cake, based on one in Emily Luchetti's book A Passion for Desserts (Chronicle Books, 2003; $35). It's very easy to make.

Vanilla-bean Leaf Cookies
These crisp, buttery cookies are just right for those who want a small bite of something sweet after dinner.
Variation: Ginger Leaf Cookies

Spice Cake with Coffee Toffee Crunch
This towering cake, garnished with chunks of coffee-flavored toffee, makes a luscious centerpiece for the holiday dessert table.

Coffee Toffee Crunch
Although it was developed as a topping and filling for our spice cake, this candy tastes great with a cup of joe too.