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50 Swoon-Worthy Layered Desserts

Nothing wows like slicing into a cake to reveal a layer after layer of cake, frosting, cream, jam and other confectionery. These desserts are as beautiful as they are indulgent.

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Marvelous Marble Cake

Pound cake and chocolate make the best marble cake. — Ellen Riley, Birmingham, Alabama
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Rainbow Layer Cake

Fruity gelatin helps create the rainbow effect for this pretty cake. Lemon frosting is a nice and springy finishing touch. —Dawn Shackelford, Fort Worth, Texas
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Banana Split Icebox Cake

One day a friend showed me how to make a traditional icebox cake with just cream and graham crackers. I make it extra special with the fruit. Now everyone at your potluck can have a banana split, no muss, no fuss! —Shelly Flye, Albion, Maine
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Brownie Mocha Trifle

By using instant pudding and a convenient box of brownie mix, there's nothing to the preparation. The result is moist and chewy. And the layers look so pretty spooned into a glass trifle bowl. —Louise Fauth, Foremost, Alberta
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Pumpkin Cake with Whipped Cinnamon Frosting

My mom made this for me, and one bite can completely take me back to my childhood. You can easily convert it into a great carrot cake recipe: just use grated carrots in place of pumpkin and add raisins. —Melissa Pelkey Hass, Waleska, Georgia
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Black Forest Chocolate Torte

If you're thinking about pulling out all the stops for a dessert that says wow, look no further. This cherry-crowned beauty—stacked layers of chocolate cake and cream filling—will have everyone talking. —Doris Grotz, York, Nebraska
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Chocolate Raspberry Pie

After tasting this pie at my sister-in-law's house, I had to get the recipe. A dreamy cream cheese filling separates the tangy raspberry layer from the chocolate topping. Garnish with fresh berries for an extra-special presentation. —Ruth Bartel, Morris, Manitoba
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Strawberry-Chocolate Meringue Torte

I make this rich and delicious torte whenever I'm asked to bring dessert to any occasion. Use reduced-calorie whipped topping to create a lighter version. —Christine McCullough, Auburn, Massachusetts
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Raspberry Ice Cream Delight

This gorgeous make-ahead dessert is a light, refreshing ending to a summer meal. I first made it for my aunt's 85th birthday dinner and everyone loved it! —Nancy Whitford, Edwards, New York
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Caramel Peanut Fantasy

Packed with peanuts and gooey with caramel, this do-ahead treat is one sweet dream of a dessert to serve company. With an easy cookie crust and scrumptious candy bar layers, it goes together quickly—and will disappear just as fast! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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German Chocolate Cake

According to my husband, this is the best German chocolate cake recipe in the whole world. Every bite has a light crunch from the pecans, a sweet taste of coconut and a drizzle of chocolate. —Joyce Platfoot, Wapakoneta, Ohio
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Pineapple Breeze Torte

This lovely torte features ladyfingers, a creamy filling and a crushed pineapple topping. It's a special treat for my large family and a must at Christmas. —Barbara Joyner, Franklin, Virginia
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Butter Pecan Layer Cake

Pecans and butter give this cake the same irresistible flavor as the popular butter pecan ice cream flavor. —Becky Miller, Tallahassee, Florida
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Frozen Mocha Marbled Loaf

This showstopping marbled dessert seems fancy, but it's really simple to prepare ahead of time and pop in the freezer. Frosty slices have a creamy blend of chocolate and coffee that's delightful anytime of year. —Cheryl Martinetto, Grand Rapids, Minnesota
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Old-Fashioned Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

A pleasingly moist cake, this treat is the one I requested that my mom make each year for my birthday. It's dotted with sweet carrots and a hint of cinnamon. The fluffy buttery frosting is scrumptious with chopped walnuts stirred in. One piece of this homemade carrot cake is never enough—better than all the other carrot cakes recipes I've tried!—Kim Orr, West Grove, Pennsylvania
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Blueberry Lemon Trifle

A refreshing lemon filling and fresh blueberries give this sunny dessert sensation plenty of color. Don't worry about heating up the oven—this trifle doesn't require baking. —Ellen Peden, Houston, Texas
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Cranberry Layer Cake

I adapted a Bundt cake recipe to create this layer cake. Cranberries, walnuts and homemade frosting make it taste so delicious that you'd never guess it starts with a convenient cake mix. —Sandy Burkett, Galena, Ohio
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Grandma's Strawberry Shortcake

Here's a family-sized version of my grandma's summertime dessert. I can still taste the sweet juicy berries she piled over warm biscuits and topped with a huge dollop of fresh whipped cream. My father added even more indulgence to his serving by first buttering his biscuits. —Shirley Joan Helfenbein, Lapeer, Michigan
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Chocolate Bavarian Torte

Whenever I take this eye-catching torte to a potluck, I get so many requests for the recipe. —Edith Holmstrom, Madison, Wisconsin
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Coconut Italian Cream Cake

I’d never tasted an Italian cream cake before moving to Colorado. Now I bake for people in the area, and this beauty is one of my most requested treats. —Ann Bush, Colorado City, Colorado
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Sandy's Chocolate Cake

Years ago, I drove 4-1/2 hours to a cake contest, holding my entry on my lap the whole way. But it paid off. One bite and you'll see why this velvety beauty was named the best chocolate cake recipe and won first prize. —Sandra Johnson, Tioga, Pennsylvania
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Cherry Nut Cake

My grandmother made up this recipe for her children. Using Ozark-grown cherries and walnuts, she invented one they all liked. Granny always used cream from the dairy farm near her home, but the half-and half works well and is easier to find. —Diana Jennings, Lebanon, Missouri
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Lemon Ginger Icebox Cake

Everyone searches for grand desserts that have easy ingredients and minimal effort. My lemony ginger icebox cake is the answer. It’s a holiday lifesaver. —Suzanne Banfield, Basking Ridge, New Jersey
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Grandma's Red Velvet Cake

It's just not Christmas at our house until this festive cake appears. This is different from other red velvets I’ve had; the icing is as light as snow. —Kathryn Davison, Charlotte, North Carolina
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Cheesecake Strawberry Trifle

The only drawback to this lovely dessert is that there are never any leftovers. For a patriotic look, replace one of the layers of strawberry pie filling with blueberry—or use whatever filling you prefer. —Lori Thorp, Frazee, Minnesota
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Coconut-Layered Pound Cake

If you love chocolate, almonds and coconut, this cake is for you. It comes together in a flash and tastes just like an Almond Joy candy bar! —Linda L. Nichols, Steubenville, Ohio
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Peanut Butter Pudding Dessert

Here's a fun layered dessert that will appeal to all ages. If you want it even nuttier, you can use chunky peanut butter, and if you're not a fan of cashews, substitute your favorite nut. This peanut butter lasagna is one of my favorite pudding desserts. —Barbara Schindler, Napoleon, Ohio
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Caramel-Pecan Mocha Layer Cake

My version of a prize-winning chocolate cake is irresistible, especially when the rich caramel sauce oozes down the sides. —Judy Castranova, New Bern, North Carolina
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Fancy Fuss-Free Torte

Thanks to frozen pound cake and a can of pie filling, this torte's easy to make. If layers slide, keep them in place with toothpicks around the edges as you build. Just remove before serving. —Joan Causey, Greenwood, Arkansas
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Favorite Coconut Cake

When I need an impressive dessert for a special occasion, this is the recipe I turn to. My guests are glad I do! —Edna Hoffman, Hebron, Indiana
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Pumpkin Mousse Trifle

You can speed up this recipe by using a store-bought pound cake or baking and freezing one ahead of time. The sugared pecans can also be prepared in advance and stored in an airtight container.—Becky McClaflin, Blanchard, Oklahoma
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Almond Brittle Torte

I brought this impressive cake to my bridge club potluck—and now they want in every time we meet! Homemade brittle makes it extra special. —Marrian Storm, Athol, Idaho
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Pink Lemonade Stand Cake

If you love a moist and creamy cake, this is it. Lemon juice and lemonade give the layers a tangy touch, and the cream cheese frosting with sprinkles makes it pretty. —Lauren Knoelke, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Tiramisu Cheesecake Dessert

Tiramisu didn't do it for me until I tried this recipe with its luscious layers of cheesecake. It's one of my favorite desserts to make this time of year. —Christie Nelson, Taylorville, Illinois
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Citrus-Kissed Sweet Potato Cake

I came up with this spiced cake to use up leftover sweet potatoes after Thanksgiving. Cover the grated sweet potatoes with a damp paper towel to prevent discoloration.—Deborah Biggs, Omaha, Nebraska
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Red, White 'n' Blue Torte

Guests will see fireworks when you turn a frozen pound cake into a patriotic pleaser. Assemble this tempting torte early in the day and keep it in the refrigerator until it's time for dessert. —Margery Bryan, Moses Lake, Washington
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Mini Chocolate Wafer Cakes

I first made these cakes for a friend when I lived in the dorms at college and had no access to appliances. Little did I know I would be making them 20 years later for my children! —Lara Pennell, Mauldin, South Carolina
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Mamaw Emily's Strawberry Cake

My husband loved his mamaw's strawberry cake recipe. He thought no one could duplicate it. I made it, and it’s just as scrumptious as he remembers. —Jennifer Bruce, Manitou, Kentucky
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Chocolate Hazelnut Pudding Torte

This recipe is a busy mom's twist on one of my favorite desserts—tiramisu. The dish is simple to assemble and perfect to make the day before you want to serve it. The hardest thing about this recipe is waiting for it to chill so you can eat it! —Cheryl Snavely, Hagerstown, Maryland
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Cherry Cola Cake

Cherry cola and marshmallows make a zippy chocolate dessert that is scrumptious topped with vanilla ice cream. — Cheri Mason, Harmony, North Carolina
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Strawberries & Cream Torte

This festive strawberries and cream summer treat is one of my mom's favorites. It wows guests every time yet is simple to make. —Cathy Branciaroli, Wilmington, Delaware
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Creme de Menthe Squares

This layered bar hits all the sweet spots: It’s airy, creamy, crunchy and the perfect mix of cool mint and rich chocolate. It has a vintage dessert appeal that no one in our family can resist. —Marilyn Blankschien, Clintonville, Wisconsin
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Chocolate Spice Cake with Caramel Icing

I found this recipe back in the late '80s and knew it was a special cake. The caramel icing can be a little tricky because you have to work quickly, but it's so worth it! —Mariann James, Ferguson, Missouri
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Brownie Torte

My mother-in-law first shared this recipe, and now it's often requested for birthdays and other special occasions. I like to serve it at Christmastime on an antique platter surrounded by ornaments for decoration. —Candace McClure, Brookville, Indiana
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Lady Baltimore Cake

I first made this cake for my fathers' birthday and now it is the only cake that he requests. This cake has complex flavors and is very unique. —Cleo Gonske, Redding, California
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Peanut Butter Cup Trifle

Using just five ingredients makes this recipe so simple. You can add a little extra decoration with chocolate jimmies, too. —Chris Nelson, Decatur, Arkansas
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Maple Walnut Cake

This maple-flavored cake with candied walnuts honors beloved my grandpa, who made maple syrup when I was a child. It honors his memory and has proven to be a favorite with family and friends throughout the years. —Lori Fee, Middlesex, New York
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Confetti Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream

This simple and tender cake has been celebrated in my family for years. Dressed up with tinted frosting and confetti, it becomes pure party fun. — Karen Berner, New Canaan, Connecticut
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Chocolate Lover's Mousse Torte

With layer after luscious layer of creamy filling and cake, Chocolate Lover’s Mousse Torte proves irresistible every time. —Brenda Fisher, Stella, Missouri
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Special Raspberry Torte

With raspberry preserves, a burst of lemon and a homemade buttercream frosting, this berry-topped cake always gets rave reviews. It’s my mom’s absolute favorite. —Lori Lee Daniels, Beverly, West Virginia

Kristin Sutter
A big fan of homegrown cooking, Kristin has been a writer and editor for nearly 20 years. She has mastered the art of learning from her inexpert riffs on other people's truly good recipes.

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