Thanksgiving Cake Recipes

Fragrant, Sweet Endings

No meal is complete without dessert, and these Thanksgiving cake recipes ensure that your holiday dinner will end in delicious style. In keeping with the colors and tastes of a Thanksgiving theme, you'll see lots of yummy use of apples, pumpkin, cranberries, and sweet potatoes in these Thanksgiving desserts.

Pumpkin Roll

pumpkin cake roll sliced and presented on platter

If you're looking for a change from layer cakes and Bundt cakes (not that they aren't fabulous), then this dessert roll is a delicious Thanksgiving cake recipe alternative. You have to make the sponge cake and filling separately, but don't get scared off by the steps involved. It's well worth the effort, and your guests will be pleading for the recipe!


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin, canned
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
  • powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 11 oz cream cheese
  • 5 Tbsp soft butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Grease, flour, and wax-paper line a jelly roll pan. You can also use a cookie sheet that has sides.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer on high speed for 8 minutes.
  4. Add to the eggs the sugar, pumpkin, and lemon juice. Mix well.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt together. Slowly add this dry mixture to the pumpkin mixture, beating on low speed.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with chopped nuts.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Put a large tea towel (cotton is best) sprinkled with powdered sugar on the countertop. Invert the cake onto the towel.
  9. Roll cake up, towel and all, so that it forms a log shape. Cool in refrigerator.
  10. Unroll and spread with filling. Roll up again and dust with powdered sugar just before serving.
  1. Place all the ingredients in a medium bowl and beat until creamy.
  2. Spread evenly over the chilled cake.
  1. Once you have spread the filling over the cake, roll the cake up again.
  2. If not serving right away, wrap in waxed paper and keep refrigerated. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
  3. This cake also freezes well.

Applesauce Cake

A wonderfully simple cake that's fragrant with the tastes of the autumn season, this is a Thanksgiving cake recipe that uses only one bowl. A baked good this easy means store-bought is out, delicious fragrance from the oven is in!

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped raisins (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour a 13" x 9" baking pan.
  3. In a large bowl, on high speed beat together the eggs, butter, and applesauce.
  4. On low speed, beat in the rest of the ingredients: sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, spices. Mix well, scraping the bowl occasionally. Stir in walnuts and raisins by hand.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Let cool, then cut into squares and serve.

Cranberry-Apple Crisp

A Thanksgiving cake recipe that reminds you of Grandmom's down home desserts. The sweetness of the crumb topping contrasts wonderfully with the slight tartness of the apples and cranberries.


  • 5 medium Granny Smith apples
  • 1 can (16 oz) whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1-3/4 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped finely
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Peel, core, and slice apples. Cut the apple slices in half. Arrange in a 13" x 9" baking pan.
  3. In a large bowl, mix cranberry sauce with sugar and 2 tablespoons of flour. Toss this mixture with apple slices in the baking dish.
  1. In a large bowl, mix walnuts, oats, brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and cinnamon.
  2. Mix in melted butter.
  1. Sprinkle topping evenly over apple-cranberry mixture.
  2. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes, until topping is golden brown and fruit is tender.
  3. Makes 15 servings.

Jewish Apple Cake

This is a moist, easily made Thanksgiving cake recipe full of delicious chunks of apple.

  • 5 or 6 apples (firm ones, e.g. Granny Smith or Gala)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp + 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour a Bundt or tube pan.
  3. In a small bowl, peel the apples and cut into chunks about the size of a thimble. Sprinkle the cinnamon and 4 tablespoons of sugar over the apples. Mix and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat together the flour, 2 cups of sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla extract; beat until smooth.
  5. Pour about 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a spatula. Arrange about 1/3 of the apple mixture over the batter. Pour another 1/3 of batter over the apples. Continue alternating layers, ending with the apples arranged artfully on top. This is a Thanksgiving cake recipe that's as pretty as it is delicious.
  6. Pour any syrup left from the apple and sugar mixture's bowl over the top of the cake.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 70 to 90 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Let cool in the pan on a cake rack before removing from pan and serving.

Return from Thanksgiving Cake Recipes
to Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

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