The holidays are upon us, which means we’re all decorating, shopping, wrapping – and cooking! Thinking about entertaining this season – maybe a special holiday dinner or New Year’s Eve celebration? If so, I have 12 scrumptious, elegant, make ahead desserts for you to pick from. From my selection of crowd-pleasing cakes, pies and puddings – one’s even frozen! – I’m sure you’ll find the perfect dish for your event. All can be made ahead, anywhere from 8 hours to 1 month before your party. So have fun cooking this holiday season and whip up one of these delectable delights!

Note: this post has been updated, adding more delicious desserts for you to choose from!

Biscuit cake sitting on a glass cake stand with one piece cut out and sitting on a plate in front

Royal Chocolate Biscuit Cake

With all the articles and postings about Prince William’s choice of a Chocolate Biscuit Cake for his wedding reception last week, I became intrigued and wanted to learn more. I had never heard of this cake, and thought the name alone made it sound delicious – chocolate and cookies (the British biscuit is more like


Frozen Brandy Alexander Pie

Frozen Brandy Alexander Pie is super easy to prepare ahead, calling for only 8 ingredients. Simply blend vanilla ice cream, brandy, softened gelatin and crème de cacao, spoon on a cinnamon-graham cracker crust, and freeze. Top with ground nutmeg when serving, and you have a pretty, absolutely amazing dessert.

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

Sticky Toffee Pudding is a scrumptious cake spiked with dates and served with an amazing toffee-flavored sauce. Easy to prepare, the cake can be prepared up to one month ahead, the sauce earlier the day of serving. Super delicious!!

Light blue cake stand holding a Sticky Ginger Cake

Sticky Ginger Cake

Intensely flavorful and super moist, Sticky Ginger Cake isn’t your typical gingerbread – and it’s super easy to prepare, too. The warm, earthy flavor of ginger is combined with molasses, cinnamon and allspice, resulting in a deeply spiced, scrumptious cake. A two-ingredient lemon-sugar glaze is the perfect finish!

overhead shot of Rum Pumpkin Tart with a slice on the side

Rum Pumpkin Tart

Rum Pumpkin Tart is lighter, fluffier and more flavorful than a traditional pumpkin pie. The crust is comprised of gingersnap cookie crumbs, butter and rum. In addition to traditional pumpkin pie ingredients, the filling includes crystallized ginger – and more rum!

Note this recipe contains raw egg in the finished dish. Consuming raw egg may increase the risk of foodborne illness. If you prefer, cook the egg in 140-degree water for 3 minutes before using.

Red and white pots de creme filled with Rum Pumpkin filling

Rum Pumpkin Pots de Crème

Rum Pumpkin Pots de Crème are basically a deconstructed pumpkin pie with crystallized ginger and rum added. They are fluffy and mousse-like, light and full of flavor. If you don’t have pots de crème, use wine glasses or ramekins.

Note this recipe contains raw egg in the finished dish. Consuming raw egg may increase the risk of foodborne illness. If you prefer, cook the egg in 140-degree water for 3 minutes before using.

Individual Butterscotch Pies

These muffin-sized Individual Butterscotch Pies are adorable and heavenly tasting. The crust is light and flaky (due to the addition of baking powder) and the no-bake filling rich and delicious.

White platter with Caramel Cheesecake Apples

Cheesecake Stuffed Baked Apples

Stuffed Cheesecake Apples take caramel apples to the next level of deliciousness by filling the apples with cheesecake cookie batter and baking. They’re easy to prepare, using purchased caramel sauce. And, I provide detailed step-by-step instructions, so you can rest assured they will come out perfectly every time.

Bundt Apple Cake on a glass cake stand with flowers

Apple Bundt Cake

In this Apple Bundt Cake, the combination of tart apples with sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg is heavenly. Dark, moist, spicy – and beautiful. It’s easy to prepare, too – no electric mixer required!

glass cake sand holding Jam Cake with Caramel Frosting

Jam Cake Recipe with Caramel Frosting

Jam Cake with Caramel Frosting is super moist and flavorful. Blackberry jam is added to a spice cake batter, ramping up the flavor and adding moisture.

slice of Frozen Strawberry Pie on a white plate with rest of pie in the background

Strawberry Cream Pie Recipe

Frozen Strawberry Cream Pie is fluffy, refreshing, and chock-a-block full of sweet, fresh strawberry flavor. Plus it can be made and frozen up to 2 months ahead, making it perfect for entertaining!

Note: this recipe contains raw egg. Consuming raw egg may increase the risk of food borne illness. If you prefer, cook the egg in 140-degree water for 3 minutes before using.

Pecan Cookie Cups with Rum-White Chocolate mousse and berries

Pecan Cookie Cups with White Chocolate-Rum Mousse

Delicate and elegant Pecan Cookie Cups are filled with scrumptious Rum-White Chocolate Mousse and topped with fresh berries.

photo collage of 8 dessert recipes

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I’ve provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.

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