20 Festive Thanksgiving Cakes to Serve on Turkey Day

Complete Your Dessert Spread

Pumpkin Cake Roll With Cream Cheese Filling

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

We don't know how it goes at your house, but if our guests have room on their plates for every Thanksgiving dessert we're serving, then it's a sign we haven't made enough. And while Thanksgiving pies usually get the spotlight, don't forget about cakes that carry the best fall flavors. We love serving a slice of apple, pumpkin, or spice cake alongside pies, cookies, and tarts to really round out the after-dinner experience. Try one or two of these favorites to top off the big meal—you may want to save room for two pieces.

  • 01 of 20

    Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Topping

    Fresh apple cake

    ​The Spruce

    Bake this simple, fresh-tasting apple cake in a tube pan that will stand tall among your other dessert offerings. Pouring a hot butter and brown sugar topping over the warm cake just as it comes out of the oven gives it an extra sweetness that makes it really special.

  • 02 of 20

    Skillet Pear Upside-Down Cake

    Skillet Pear Upside-Down Cake

    Diana Rattray

    For a cake that looks as good as it tastes, try this skillet upside-down cake that makes the most of fall's fresh pears. A gooey caramelized layer complements the fruit perfectly. Use either Bosc or Anjou varietals for the best texture, since Bartlett or Comice pears get too soft when baked.

  • 03 of 20

    Pumpkin Cake Roll

    Pumpkin Cake Roll With Cream Cheese Filling

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    For a dessert special enough for a big holiday, turn to this beautiful pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling. Careful not to overbake the spice-scented cake, or it won't roll properly. Individual slices freeze well, if you end up having leftovers.

  • 04 of 20

    Pecan Pie Cheesecake

    pecan-pie-cheesecake-4767663-16

     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

    If you can't decide between pecan pie or cheesecake for your dessert tray, go for this decadent dessert that combines the two favorites. You can bake the cheesecake up to four days ahead too, for a make-ahead dessert to bring to a potluck or family get-together. It comes out rich, elegant, and delicious.

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  • 05 of 20

    Pumpkin Spice Sheet Cake

    Pumpkin spice sheet cake

    Diana Rattray 

    With a tender crumb and spiced pumpkin flavor, this simple sheet cake is a surprise show stealer. Browning butter for the cream cheese frosting gives it an extra nutty, complex flavor so don't skip that extra step. We like piping a little dollop on top of each square, but feel free to frost the entire cake evenly, too.

  • 06 of 20

    Carrot Cake with Pineapple

    Carrot cake with pineapple

    The Spruce

    While not strictly a fall dessert, the warming spiced flavors in carrot cake play perfectly alongside the traditional dishes served on Thanksgiving. Crushed pineapple and coconut flakes give this recipe extra sweetness and moisture, while walnuts and raisins keep the texture interesting. Omit the nuts if anyone in your party has allergies.

  • 07 of 20

    Pumpkin Dump Cake

    Pumpkin Dump Cake

    The Spruce Eats

    When you've got a to-do list as long as both arms, this pumpkin dump cake will help you cross one off with delicious ease. Just gather your ingredients and "dump" them into the pan, no extra dishes required. It comes out soft and scoopable, and tastes great with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on top.

  • 08 of 20

    Apple Cranberry Cake

    Drizzle over cake

    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

    Don't relegate cranberries to the sauce dish this year! Combining in-season apples and fresh cranberries gives this easy cake a lovely autumnal taste. We've included instructions for a rich caramel sauce that makes it extra special, but you can also serve it plain or dusted with powdered sugar.

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  • 09 of 20

    Hummingbird Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

    Slice of cake

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

    Your guests will hover (get it?) over this hummingbird cake that gets its tender texture from pineapple and banana with ground cinnamon that will make your kitchen smell amazing as it bakes. A rich cream cheese frosting tops it all off. While it does take some time to put together, the results are definitely worth the work.

  • 10 of 20

    Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

    Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

    The Spruce/Ulyana Verbytska

    A tart cranberry and brown sugar mixture atop a cake base makes a lovely Thanksgiving dessert that keeps the sweetness balanced. It also looks gorgeous on your dessert table, to bring a little festive flare to the celebration. Try dolloping some whipped cream on each slice before serving.

  • 11 of 20

    Spiced Honey Cake

    Spiced Honey Cake

    Anita Schecter

    While traditionally enjoyed as a Rosh Hashanah dessert, honey cake also works well as a Thanksgiving dessert because of its spiced flavors. This one also has a sticky ginger and cinnamon glaze that makes it taste even more special. A cup of coffee would pair perfectly alongside.

  • 12 of 20

    Honey Cinnamon Apple Cake

    Honey Cinnamon Apple Cake

    Anita Schecter

    Use up those extra bushels from your annual apple picking expedition with this sweet and homey cake that works great with just about any variety. Bake it in a nine-inch round cake pan or a loaf pan for a different look. The batter already includes lots of fragrant cinnamon, but nutmeg and ginger would taste wonderful, too.

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  • 13 of 20

    Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake

    Easy layered pumpkin cheesecake recipe

    ​The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Pumpkin and cheesecake go together like Bert and Ernie, and this layered version adds a crunchy graham cracker crust and a double hit of pumpkin that tastes tailor-made for Thanksgiving. You don't even need a springform pan, since it bakes in a regular pie tin. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and some caramel or butterscotch sauce before serving.

  • 14 of 20

    Snickerdoodle Cake

    Snickerdoodle Cake

    The Spruce / Jennifer Perillo

    Turn the classic cookie into a stunning Snickerdoodle cake with pretty marshmallow filling. The buttery cinnamon cake just screams autumn. To make it look extra special, use a culinary torch to toast the edges of the filling before serving, then make sure your guests have their phones ready for the 'gram.

  • 15 of 20

    Banana Pudding Cake

    Banana Pudding Cake

     Kristina Vanni

    You probably already know all about the wonders of banana pudding, but the cake version also makes a perfect comforting Thanksgiving dessert. With a moist banana cake base, vanilla pudding and sliced bananas in the middle, and whipped cream with a sprinkle of Nilla wafers on top, it has all of the classic elements in deliciously slice-able form.

  • 16 of 20

    Sweet Potato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

    Sweet Potato Loaf Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
    Photo Credit: Diana Rattray

    This sweet potato cake has all of the moist sweetness of the traditional Southern pie, but baked in a loaf pan and topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting. Add some toasted pecans and flaked coconut on top for extra flare that makes it really holiday-worthy. Serve with a cup of coffee or tea.

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  • 17 of 20

    Apple Bundt Cake with Caramel Icing

    Apple Bundt Cake With Caramel Glaze
    Apple Bundt Cake With Caramel Glaze. Diana Rattray

    Something about a bundt cake just feels special, even though they're even easier than a layered confection. This version comes chock full of chopped apples, pecans, or walnuts, and drizzled with a sticky caramel icing. Sprinkle on some extra chopped nuts or some toasted flaked coconut after drizzling for a pretty topping.

  • 18 of 20

    Caribbean Black Cake

    Caribbean Christmas Cake Recipe

    The Spruce

    Sometimes called wedding cake, great cake, or Christmas cake, this traditional Caribbean dessert gets its intoxicating flavor from aged rum-soaked dried fruit. The flavors in the fruit develop as they soak at least overnight, so plan ahead. Start with this recipe as a base, then add your favorite fruits, spices, or other tweaks to make it your own.

  • 19 of 20

    Pumpkin Cake with Broiled Coconut Topping

    Cake Mix Pumpkin Cake With Broiled Coconut Topping

    Diana Rattray

    Start with a yellow cake mix for this easy pumpkin cake that adds a broiled coconut topping to make it taste fancy. You will love how complex-tasting it turns out, when you add pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, pecans, and flaked coconut to the basic mix ingredients.

  • 20 of 20

    Salted Caramel Cheesecake

    Salted Caramel Popcorn Cheesecake

    Elaine Lemm

    Your guests' eyes will widen when you bring out this stunning salted caramel popcorn cheesecake. Adding yogurt to the filling keeps it from getting tooth-achingly sweet, while Maldon salt in the sauce and the base add a pleasant tingle. The popcorn will start to go soft after the first day, but we bet your guests will polish it right off.