Party Dessert Recipes

From impressively elaborate tortes and layer cakes, to simply delicious bundt cakes, fruit crisps, or bite-sized desserts, our party dessert recipes include ones suited to all levels of cooking experience, including desserts that feed a crowd, like sheet cake and slab pie.

Most Popular

Our All-Time Favorite Pound Cake Recipes

Our collection of pound cake recipes includes everything from classic vanilla and cinnamon spice to chocolate and citrus flavors. If you're in the mood to make this traditional treat, know that there's a sweet recipe here for you.
By Kelly Vaughan

These Impressive Holiday Trifle Recipes Are Actually Easy to Make

There's nothing trifling about these dramatic desserts, which are guaranteed to impress guests but are surprisingly simple to prepare—all you need to do is layer cake with fruit, custard, whipped cream, and other surprises to create a showstopping treat.
By Jennifer Anderson

Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes

Rating: 3.5 stars 158
The most popular flavor at the celebrated New York City bakery is vanilla for a reason! With a moist, tender crumb and rich buttercream frosting, these cupcakes are a true classic. This recipe comes from "More from Magnolia: Recipes from the World-Famous Bakery and Allysa Torey's Home Kitchen."

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

Rating: 3.5 stars 494
A super-easy chocolate layer cake belongs in every cook's recipe repertoire. This chocolate-buttermilk cake is luscious enough for a special occasion, but easy enough for everyday desserts. And the recipe gets brownie points for using just a single bowl. You can also use this cake batter to make two dozen cupcakes: Fill lined tins two-thirds full and bake for 20 minutes, rotating once. A decadent chocolate frosting is the finishing touch and your cake is ready for its star turn at a birthday, anniversary, or pretty much any celebration.

Cookie-Press Cookies

Rating: 3.5 stars 567
Rich, buttery, and made with lots of vanilla, these cookies are simple to make. Use a cookie press—a hollow tube fitted with a decorative nozzle at one end and a plunger at the other—to press the cookies directly onto the baking sheet.

Vanilla Pound Cake

Rating: 3.5 stars 2324
The ingredient list for this pound cake recipe is short—just butter, granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, eggs, pure vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. There's no leavening, other than eggs and the air incorporated into the batter from creaming the butter and sugar, so mix thoroughly. The result is a dense, buttery, rich, and versatile pound cake. Enjoy a slice with a cup of coffee or tea, pair it with whipped cream and berries, or use it as the base for all kinds of desserts.

Basic Gingerbread Cookies

Rating: 4 stars 124
Use this basic gingerbread recipe to make cutout cookies in various shapes. Our favorites are gingerbread boys and girls in different sizes, decorated with white royal icing and currant "buttons."

Pumpkin Bars

In between bars and a crowd-friendly sheet cake is this autumnal dessert. Moist and tender pumpkin spice cake is lavished with cream cheese frosting for bars that are simply irresistible. 

Noel Nut Balls

Rating: 4 stars 101
No holiday cookie tin would be complete without at least a few Noel nut balls, rich nut-and-butter domes, rolled in confectioners' sugar to resemble miniature snowballs. In Martha's family, the cookie dough was traditionally made with a touch of bourbon (or orange juice), for extra flavor.

New York-Style Cheesecake

Rating: 3.5 stars 594
Once chilled, this cake can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to three days. In fact, it actually tastes best after being chilled overnight. Let it stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. Adapted from"Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook."

Coconut Cloud Cake

Rating: 4 stars 565
What makes this cloud cake so cloud-like? The flour and superfine sugar are sifted four times and the delicate batter is leavened by plenty of beaten egg whites. The result is a light and tender vanilla cake that is the perfect complement to the silky seven-minute frosting that’s used to fill and ice it. Coconut flakes are the final touch, bringing flavor and a light crunch.

Speculaas Cookies

Rating: 3.5 stars 190
When imprinting the fragrant spiced cookie dough with springerle molds, stop frequently to clean the patterns with the tip of a skewer. This allows for a better impression in the dough and resulting cookie.

Inspiration and Ideas

15 Cupcake Recipes That Are Just Right for a Baby Shower
Whether topped with swirls of frosting or a shiny glaze, decorated with flowers or piped lettering, cupcakes are the ultimate dessert for a party to celebrate a mom-to-be.
Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake
Rating: 3.5 stars 901

Everyone needs a delicious coffee cake recipe in their repertoire, and this cinnamon streusel coffee cake recipe is the perfect option. Meaning "something strewn" in Old German, streusel is easy to throw together -- and then to throw on top of this sour-cream coffee cake. The sweet glaze in the recipe is the perfect coffee cake topping.