In need of some Christmas dessert inspiration? If you always serve pie or fruitcake, give your guests (and yourself) a break with some creative new ideas. While some of these flavors might be unexpected, all of the cakes below have a tie to Christmas traditions in one way or another.

1. YULE EGGNOG CAKE

 

A Bûche de Noël is a Yule log cake. It is traditionally made by rolling up a thin sheet cake to create the log. That isn't easy, but Stella Parks at Brave Tart has a technique that works. She created this lovely and realistic Yule log cake with a cake recipe that contains your favorite alcohol (such as rum or brandy), custard filling, and chocolate. The "bark" is painted-on chocolate, and the mushrooms are meringue.

2. CHRISTMAS RIBBON CANDY RUFFLE CAKE

 

Darla Wireman at Bakingdom made a fancy Christmas cake that evokes memories of traditional Christmas ribbon candy. You can use any kind of cake, because the real secret is in the decorating. Wireman touches on the icing technique in a different post, and recommends this video, but to get the shape and the stripes right, you should have some experience with decorator tools.

3. JAPANESE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

 

Strawberry shortcake for Christmas? It's a Christmas tradition in Japan, where they eat Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas dinner and end the day with a romantic date. But these aren't American-style shortcakes with strawberries dumped over cake, they're a carefully-constructed holiday treat. Rachael Hutchings at La Fuji Mama shows us how it's made, with sponge cake, whipped cream, and artfully-arranged strawberries.

4. CANDY CANE CAKE

 

The Candy Cane Cake by Annie Shannon has all kinds of good things inside, like applesauce and coconut milk, and peppermint flavor throughout. Plus, it's completely vegan. Get the recipe at Meet the Shannons.

5. POMEGRANATE CHRISTMAS CAKE

 

Pomegranate is a traditional flavor for Christmas in Ukraine, and it can be at your table, too, with the Pomegranate Christmas Cake. Natasha Kravchuk, the "Ukranian foodie," made hers with POM pomegranate juice used in the cake, in the frosting, and in the topping.

6. SPARKLING CRANBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE

 

Lindsay Conchar added fresh cranberries to a vanilla cake, and then topped it with white chocolate ganache and sugar-frosted cranberries. Get the recipe and instructions for her Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Bundt Cake at Life, Love and Sugar.

7. GINGERSNAP SPICE CAKE

 

Nikki at Chef in Training laced a cake with some of the traditional flavors of Christmas: ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and then iced it with delicious cream cheese frosting. Learn how to make her Gingersnap Spice Cake yourself at her site.

8. WHIMSICAL EGGNOG CHRISTMAS CAKE

Darla Wireman at Bakingdom // CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Now this cake really says "Christmas"! Darla Wireman at Bakingdom gives us a recipe for cake made with eggnog. She split her colored layers into thin slices and alternated red and green layers for the finished cake. The recipe and decorating instructions are at Bakingdom. 

9. BACON CHRISTMAS TREE

 

This one really stretches the definition of "cake," but it deserves a mention for sheer ingenuity. The Bacon Christmas Tree is assembled from three pounds of bacon held together with cake frosting (you can also use cream cheese). The complete instructions for making it are at Oh, Bite It! There, you can also see how it looks with candy ornaments.