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Holiday desserts US
Photograph: Craft Gourmet Bakery

The best over-the-top holiday desserts in the U.S.

We're here for sugar in every form and every sparkly color. These gorgeous holiday desserts satisfy every sweet tooth!

Erika Mailman
Written by
Erika Mailman

There’s a strong connection between the holidays and indulging in over-the-top, exquisite desserts! Many people incorporate cookie-making into their celebrations, and the bûche de Noël is an elaborate “yule log” made of rolled-up cake that is supremely beautiful and delicious. But even a detailed milkshake or a winter take on summer s’mores can qualify for a dessert that makes reveling in this time of year special. And if you’re looking for a Kwanzaa recipe, this lovely chocolate fruit cake recipe from Hersheyland with seven colors of fruit helps honor the holiday’s seven principles of unity, faith, self-determination, responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose and creativity. Whatever your December celebration entails, hopefully, one of these destination bakeries will lure you in with a glittering sugar glow!

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Over the top holiday desserts

Miami’s White Winter
Photograph: Courtesy The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort

1. Miami’s White Winter

At Miami’s St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, travelers can take part in the various decadent holiday desserts, including this unique take on eggnog. The eggnog mousse is infused with toffee to add a caramel flavoring and complemented by a rosé champagne gel. It’s plated with coquito (coconut-flavored eggnog) ice cream, harking to assistant pastry sous chef Nagypsy Marzouka’s Caribbean culture. You can gorge on this dessert at the resort’s Greek-inspired restaurant Atlantikós during the Christmas season.

Buddy’s Breakfast Show Stopper Shake
Photograph: Courtesy Hotel Valley Ho

2. Buddy’s Breakfast Show Stopper Shake

Inside the retro Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, AZ, ZuZu restaurant will offer a special version of its famous and ever-changing Show Stopper Shake this holiday season, in honor of the 20th anniversary of the movie Elf. Throughout December, you can order Buddy's Breakfast, a chocolate and candy cane milkshake base encircled by a green fondant elf suit just like Buddy’s. On top, you’ll find a pasta bowl in honor of Buddy’s sugar spaghetti binging, filled with a chocolate ganache tart dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with M&M's, whipped cream "noodles," marshmallow cereal, and chocolate sauce. On the side is a s'mores pop tart, and everything sits in a tray of red and green sprinkles, candy cane milk crumb, candies and marshmallows. With this decadent dessert, you’ll want to sing loud for all to hear. One dollar of each shake sold ($20) goes to Desert Tails animal shelter.

Bûche de Noël (yule log)
Photograph: Craft Gourmet Bakery

3. Bûche de Noël (yule log)

This wonderfully over-the-top dessert is laborious to prepare, but so worth it. Craft Bakery in Pensacola, FL, makes one that incorporates chocolate sponge cake, white chocolate mousse, caramel chocolate ganache, meringue mushrooms, and cranberries—the “bark” is scored to make it look like an actual tree branch. Craft has been making these since its first Christmas in 2018. They are available by special order and come in two sizes. Devour on the premises, or better yet, take it home...that’s a lot of log to work your way through. Merry Cakemas!

Rosca de Reyes
Photograph: Courtesy La Monarca Bakery

4. Rosca de Reyes

Los Angeles residents look forward to December when La Monarca Bakery brings out its traditional Rosca de Reyes cakes to celebrate Three Kings Day, or Dia de los Reyes. The circular desserts are studded with dried fruit to remind diners of the jewels in the crowns of the three wise men. A little plastic baby figurine is provided that can be hidden within the cake: whoever gets the baby in their slice must throw a party later! La Monarca uses pan dulce dough, a signature cookie crust, candied cactus and walnuts. You can eat the cake at any of the bakery’s 12 L.A. locations, or do pick-up or delivery.

Santa Down The Chimney Cake
Photograph: Courtesy Deerfields Bakery

5. Santa Down The Chimney Cake

At Deerfields Bakery in Buffalo Grove, IL, an adorable two-story bakery that looks like Shakespeare’s house, you can purchase this amazing holiday cake featuring Santa’s generously-proportioned, red frosting butt as he disappears head-first into the chimney. There’s a cafe at this location (another location in Deerfield is just for retail) to settle in with coffee as you contemplate the best holiday ass you’ve seen rendered in sugar. The cake can be chocolate or vanilla, filled with buttercream. Both locations also sell DIY kits to decorate cookies at home, including a Hanukkah cookie kit.

6. Happy Hanukkah Bundt Cake

Available at Nothing But Bundt Cakes in Peabody, MA, as well as 500 other locations across the US and Canada, the Happy Hanukkah bundt cake can be customized for your favorite flavor (vanilla, red velvet, carrot, lemon and more) and frosting (pictured is the signature frosting petals, but you can also choose drizzle frosting or other options). A quote card on a stick says Happy Hanukkah, and a black and white photo card shows dreidels. A royal blue bow sits on top, and the whole thing is gift-wrapped in cellophane for a beautiful presentation.


7. Gingerbread pinecone

Crafted by chef Dominique Ansel, this adorable gingerbread pinecone is made with around 60 meticulously hand-cut tiny petals, and is composed of speculoos ganache, ginger mousse and spice cake, glazed with dark chocolate and a snow flurry of confectioner’s sugar. Although Ansel got started in Las Vegas (you can still visit at Caesar’s Palace), the New York bakery in Soho is where he seems to focus efforts—there are also locations in New York’s Flatiron district, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Paris.

Texas-shaped holiday mousse cake
Photograph: Courtesy Marriott Marquis Houston

8. Texas-shaped holiday mousse cake

Texans always do things big, so along with a rooftop lazy river in the shape of the state, the Marriott Marquis Houston is rolling out a holiday cake in the same shape. It’s part of a new six-course holiday dining experience during their annual Texas Winter Lights, held inside a “gastrodome” (whoa), essentially your own private dining igloo on the rooftop. The cake itself is a mousse cake paired with TX Whiskey Boulevardier, a retro Parisian cocktail from the 1920s.


Peppermint Bark Shake
Photograph: Courtesy PLS on Post

9. Peppermint Bark Shake

This offering comes from PLS on Post in San Francisco (which stands for Peace Love Soul), a new restaurant within the Hotel Zeppelin that honors the city’s 1960s counterculture. This beautiful shake has chocolate and vanilla ice cream, peppermint essence, candy canes, sprinkles, two kinds of Ghirardelli peppermint bark, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, chocolate frosting on the rim and a cherry. Whew!

Hot Cocoa Chocolate Trifle
Photograph: Courtesy Caribe Royal Orlando Resort

10. Hot Cocoa Chocolate Trifle

At the Caribe Royale Orlando resort, you can experience this fun wintery trifle. It’s made of decadent layers of fudgy chocolate cake with milk chocolate crème, crispy dark chocolate pearls, mini marshmallows, double chocolate sauce and hot cocoa flavored whipped cream. Don’t trifle with our feelings; we want this deliciousness in our mouths right now.

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