20 of Our Favorite Popular Desserts

Coffee Cookie Crumble
Photo: Eric Wolfinger

These are ubiquitous American desserts, the ones you expect to see in bakery cases, on pastry menus, at bake sales, and on the table at family get-togethers. They've rightfully earned their top spots as our most-craved treats: There's no denying the deliciousness of cream cheese icing on a moist carrot cake, the whipped decadence of rich chocolate mousse, or the compelling simplicity of a perfectly executed chocolate chip cookie. Get reacquainted with your favorites, from traditional renditions to slightly reimagined classics.

01 of 20

Georgia Peach Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Georgia Peach Pie
William F. Dickey II

When you slice into this delicious pie, don't be surprised by the gap between the filling and the top crust. This happens when a pie is baked at high heat because the crust sets before the fruit in the filling has cooked down.

02 of 20

Double Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache Glaze

Double-Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache Glaze
© Quentin Bacon

Many bundt cakes are heavy and buttery, but this one is surprisingly light and incredibly moist under its silky chocolate glaze. Strong-brewed coffee in the batter intensifies the chocolate flavor while cutting the sweetness.

03 of 20

Biscoff Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

The subtle spice of Biscoff cookies helps to balance the sweetness of each decadent layer of creamy custard and fresh bananas in this tall and impressive banana pudding for a crowd. It's inspired by one made by 2019 F&W Best New Chef Kwame Onwuachi's aunt Yolanda, of Beaumont, Texas.

04 of 20

Lee Lee's Double Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Lee Lee's Double Chocolate Chunk Brownies
Greg DuPree

Pastry chef Lee Lee Reid is a self-proclaimed brownie aficionado. "I'm always looking for that perfect chew," she says. This chocolate chunk brownie recipe she developed is the ideal balance of cakey and fudgy. While many recipes call for creaming the butter and sugar before adding the eggs, Reid whips eggs and sugar together to aerate them, leading to the ultimate brownie consistency.

05 of 20

Best-Ever Birthday Cake

best-ever birthday cake
Greg Dupree

Celebrate your birthday any day with a big slice of this super-fun sprinkle cake. Sour cream adds a perfect tangy balance to the easy chocolate frosting — and gives this kid-at-heart cake a delicious grown-up twist. The key to a tender crumb is to cream the sugar and butter longer than you think — at least five minutes — to incorporate plenty of air into the batter.

06 of 20

Tiramisu Icebox Pie

Tiramisu Icebox Pie
Eric Wolfinger

When developing the dessert menu for Pastaria in Nashville, pastry chef Mathew Rice knew he wanted to update the classic tiramisu. "The original has a uniform mouthfeel," he says, "but I love to play with texture in pastry." His crunchy, salty, coffee-laced streusel does just that in this dessert.

07 of 20

Lemon Pudding Cakes

Lemon Pudding Cakes
© James Baigrie

These pillowy cakelets are adapted from The Greyston Bakery Cookbook. "When you overwhelm dry ingredients with wet ones, an amazing texture separation happens," food writer Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan says. "These cakes are rich without being too heavy."

08 of 20

Strawberry Shortcake for a Crowd

Strawberry Shortcake
Jen Causey

This giant biscuit-cake is split and stuffed with a pile of fresh strawberries and fluffy whipped cream for a tender, delightfully messy dessert. Cut it into wedges and serve up a strawberry shortcake that is modern not only in looks, but also in how easy it is on the cook.

09 of 20

Double Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling

Double Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling
© Dana Gallagher

Cookbook author Peggy Cullen fills her tender chocolate cupcakes with a creamy, salty peanut butter mixture, then dips the tops twice in a rich, silky chocolate ganache frosting. "For some reason most bakers don't fill their cupcakes," says Cullen, "but taking that extra step is no big deal." All you need to do is poke a hole into the top and squeeze in the simple blend of peanut butter, sugar, and butter.

10 of 20

Classic Carrot Cake with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting

Classic Carrot Cake with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting
Tina Rupp

Carrot cake, that 1970s favorite, has a new audience at luxe restaurants like Manhattan's Le Bernardin. Austin pastry chef Jodi Elliot prepares the ultimate version: moist and not too sweet.

11 of 20

Brown-Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland

Most traditional chocolate chip cookie recipes start by creaming softened butter with sugar. Here, the butter is first melted in a skillet until golden brown and nutty. This simple step does require a bit of extra time (mainly for chilling the butter), but the result is an intensely toasty butterscotch note that makes these thin, chewy cookies irresistible.

12 of 20

Apple Cake with Toffee Crust

Apple Cake with Toffee Crust
© Anna Williams

When pastry chef Lara Atkins was little, her mother made this cake for her bridge club; Atkins remembers how she and her brothers would have to wait (and wait and wait) for their slices until all the ladies of the club had served themselves. Atkins now makes the cake for her son, who never has to wait for his piece.

13 of 20

Ultimate Chocolate Mousse

Ultimate Chocolate Mousse
Greg DuPree

In 2018, Food & Wine named this recipe one of our 40 best. The key to this dessert is to use the very best semisweet dark chocolate you can find — we like Valrhona. The better the chocolate, the better the mousse.

14 of 20

Lemon Meringue Pie with Marcona Shortbread Crust

lemon meringue pie
Jennifer Causey

Recipe developer Ann Taylor Pittman's bright, sunny pie isn't fussy to make. "The crust, which is made in a food processor and requires no rolling, comes together lickety-split," she says. "The filling, which I chill in an ice bath before it goes into the crust, sets in lightning speed. And the meringue, which does not need to bake, is ready to enjoy as soon as it's whipped up — because when you want lemon pie, you want it now."

15 of 20

Triple-Cheese Cheesecake with Amaretti Crust

Triple-Cheese Cheesecake with Amaretti Crust
© Johnny Miller

Made with ricotta, mascarpone, and cream cheese, this killer cheesecake has an ethereally light, creamy texture and fantastic crunchy crust made from honey graham crackers and amaretti cookies.

16 of 20

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Double Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pie
© Rob Howard

This incredibly chocolaty and creamy quick-bake pie is chef Vitaly Paley's grown-up version of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.

17 of 20

Mama's Blueberry Buckle

Mama's Blueberry Buckle
© Keller + Keller

"Sometimes the cake buckles, and the top is full of sinks and holes," cookbook author Martha Greenlaw remarked about this delicious coffee cake–like dessert with a streusel topping. "But put whipped cream on it and it looks perfect."

18 of 20

Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake

Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake
© Alexandra Grablewski. Cake Keeper Cakes

This pound cake is made especially rich by swirling in the chocolate-hazelnut spread Nutella. Serve it with coffee ice cream for an extra-special treat.

19 of 20

Old-Fashioned Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Old-Fashioned Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp
© Stefan Anderson

Chef Rollie Wesen's secret for making a crisp topping is to sprinkle it lightly over the fruit in a thick, even layer without packing the crumbs together. He's super generous with the topping because he loves how it complements the tangy filling.

20 of 20

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Filling

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Filling
© Wendell T. Webber

With a creamy center and chocolate frosting layered on top, this delicious recipe delivers on its promise of being over-the-top and decadent.

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