Food & Drink

Deck the Halls With These Holiday Cakes From Around the World

All over the world, holiday dinners and parties call for cake. It can be soaked in liquor, covered with chocolate or fruit, or rolled in nuts. Our favorite dessert recipes are here for your next dinner or buffet, including an Italian Panettone, a French Buche de Noel, and a German Kuchen.


This rich and buttery Italian panettone from Chicago baker Greg Wade is a holiday favorite.

Jamaican Black Cake

Brigid Washington’s Black Cake has a Jamaican flair thanks to the delicate almond flavor (and extract), warm allspice notes, and rum.

Buche de Noel

This Buche de Noel is a step above the rest, thanks to a few clever moves. The cake can be allowed to cool down while it is still rolled. This helps prevent cracking. Mascarpone stabilizes the whipped cream so it can be chilled for hours without weeping. The ganache is kept smooth and glossy by the butter and corn syrup. Stirring slivered almonds into the frosting will give it the appearance of “tree bark.” It also adds texture and contrast to the soft cake and silky filling.

Christmas Boiled Fruitcake

This simple and forgiving recipe was inspired by the boiled fruitcake Andrew Zimmern tried when he visited Newfoundland. The cake is made deliciously moist and spongy by boiling dried fruit, rum, molasses, and cream with spices.

Plum Pudding

The British term for this dessert is dessert, not pudding. This rich, moist, steamed cake is bursting with holiday cheer thanks to its orange zest, spices, and dried fruits. It is essentially brandy butter in a hard sauce. It slowly melts when you put it on the cake. The buttery sweetness, brandy warmth, and sweetness of the sugar are all infused into the pudding.

Almond-Cardamom Budapest Roll

Ann Taylor Pittman’s decadent roll-cake combines an almond meringue with sweetened cream and orange segments.

Saffron Tea Cakes


These tea cakes are made with brioche and flavored to resemble lussekatter – a Swedish pastry containing saffron spices and raisins.

Chocolate Babka

The swirl of Melissa Weller’s babka cake is enhanced with cookie crumbs. It’s also topped with a rich, chocolatey glaze.

Apricot Kuchen

Kuchen, a traditional German fruit or cheese-filled yeast cake that is common in North Dakota and can be served any time (Nancy Olson claims it appears in many church cookbooks), is available at all times. Olson has adapted her grandmother’s recipe. She says, “I love this rustic, hearty pastry that fills your belly. It’s not dainty at all.”

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