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Best of: Thanksgiving Baking + Dessert Recipes

by Kristina Gill

There’s no denying that we have a sweet tooth here at Design Sponge.  Dessert is definitely my favorite part of Thanksgiving, and most holidays.  A pie or cake are also easy dishes to bake and take if you’re a guest during the holidays, or even if you just want one (or a selection!) for your own celebration.  We’ve put together a collection of great ideas from our archives that we’ll hope you make, adapting to what’s in season where you live, as necessary.  We’ll do a Christmas baking round up next month.  Happy Thanksgiving!  –Kristina

Cherokee Rose Pound Cake
Pound cake is one of my favorite holiday treats, and a pretty dangerous one.  I eat tiny paper thin slices, convincing myself they aren’t so caloric, until there is no cake left to slice…  Nicole Taylor’s Cherokee Rose Pound Cake is a southern beauty.  It is moist, uniquely and delicately flavored, and keeps well.

Ellise Pierce’s Pecan Salty Caramel Tart is not a pie in the strictest sense of American pie, but it is full of pecans which are another food I associate with the holidays. It is also a hundred times more dangerous than the pound cake not jus tin calories but in addictiveness.

See our other favorite cakes and pies after the jump!

Lena Corwin shared her mother’s recipe for pumpkin bread with cranberries.  I’ve written about this cake many times over the years because it is one of the cakes that my friends ask for most.  It is easy, incredibly good, and the perfect way to win friends and influence people.  And cranberries and pumpkin just scream Thanksgiving!


Autumn is apple season, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to include an apple dessert in the round up.  Aran Goyoaga shared a gluten-free Apple and Almond Cake made with olive oil which will certainly go down a treat with those lucky enough to get a slice!

Adrienne Blumthal shared this blackberry and balsamic pie with us right in the thick of berry season.  If you can find berries where you are, this is definitely worth a try (and bring your pie in a pie box!).  If not, try it with apples.


I admit that we have been quite partial to fruit pies on the column, so I had to sneak some chocolate in.  In my family we often have plain chess pie during the holidays. Cheryl Day’s chocolate chess pie is a way to satisfy chess pie lovers while providing a chocolate fix.  A variation on a classic.

Molly Hatch shared the perfect holiday cake with us a few years ago that incorporates maple syrup, pecans, and raisins.  It’s even better the next day (if it lasts that long without being devoured).  The recipe is large and makes three loaves, so you can keep one (or two) and wrap up the third and take with you wherever you may be a guest.

I noticed when going through our archives that we have so few pear recipes, which is a shame because they are wonderful to eat, especially in pie and in autumn!  Annette Joseph’s apple and pear cobbler is the perfect answer, though if I must be honest, I really eat cobbler for the crust!

Another big cake for you, chocolate included, is the chocolate chip pudding cake shared with us by the ladies at Hable Construction.  It’s a cinch to make, and will make a grand statement.

Megan Fizell’s Pear Tart with whiskey cream is a very refined treat for the Thanksgiving table.  The flaky buttery crust made with hazelnuts is divine, and the whiskey cream even better!  Make two because they will go fast.


A recent entry on the column was Kyra Bussanich’s gluten-free pound cake.  This should be a standard item on every Thanksgiving banquet!  It is so good and so easy to make, you shouldn’t worry about offering a gluten option.

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