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Favorite Make Ahead Cake for Christmas?

My husband and I are cooking Christmas dinner, and I would like to make a yummy, classic dessert. I tested out Roy Finamore's chocolate cake from Tasty this weekend. It was absolutely delicious, but tasted the best the day it was made.

Do you have any suggestions for cake recipes that I can bake the day before and then frost on Christmas? And would I store the cake in the fridge? Or is it OK to leave out?

I love cookbooks so I'm happy to pick up something new for the perfect cake.

And if cake is a terrible idea, I'm open to other suggestions too. Just nothing too wacky - my grandpa doesn't like "funny food". :-)

Thanks so much for your help!

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  1. Jfood recently posted about a chocolate cake he made that tasted better the seond day. You can search for it--the title of the thread was something about a chocolate cake needing chocolate.

    I also found that the much praised Elvis cake was better the second day. Not elegant, but tasty.

    1. A wonderful holiday cake is Nigella's Clementine cake. It's true that it is better the second day. Read through to see if you think grandpa would think it wacky. Even I can make this cake and that's saying something!

      4 Replies
      1. re: Pat Hammond

        Didn't this cake get a lot of discussion on these boards a year or two ago?

        1. I may make a cheesecake for Christmas. No need to frost and it tastes better if it's sat around for a day or so. I don't know if you could call cheesecake a "classic" Christmas dessert, however.

          I've had good success with the cheesecake recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours.

          1. It's not really a show stopper, or a baked cake, but the Nabisco icebox cake (with the chocolate wafer cookies) is pretty good. You can make it in the log as the recipe on the box describes or you can make little individual cakes (4-5 wafers per "cake"). It has to soften overnight, so it's certainly best made the day before. I swear I've seen it somewhere on this board, but I've also used this recipe:
            http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

            I've made it with the coffee cream and with vanilla cream, but you could also do a peppermint one and garnish with crushed candy canes. It comes out as thin layers of softened cookie with light whipped cream in every bite.

            http://threedogkitchen.com

            1. I keep mentioning this one -- but it's perfect for the flavor you describe. You make this in a loaf pan -- but if you want a deep rich moist chocolate cake (to serve with ice cream, rather than frosted) go for Nigella's chocolate loaf cake in Domestic Goddess. YUM. Better with age, like gingerbread. I couldn't believe how I was going crazy over it - I don't usually get into sweets, even. This is the kind of cake that I wish I could serve to my grandpa, if he were here this Christmas ;) because he always loved a fantastic chocolate cake.

              I just made a more "traditional" chocolate cake over the weekend and it couldn't even compare with Nigella's.

              2 Replies
              1. re: foxy fairy

                Thank you all for your suggestions - I really appreciate it! So many fantastic ideas, of course. I love Chowhound! Happy holidays. :-)

                1. re: sfcitygirl

                  Now the fun part: the trial run, right?! I imagine a happy chowhound sitting surrounded by all kinds of chocolate cakes and cheesecakes and other goodies, sampling.... ;) Happy holidays to you, too!

              2. Christmas is a perfect time for Red Velvet Cake. The deep red color against the snow white frosting looks great. I use green trim on the cake at Christmas.
                My family likes it better the day after it's made and prefers it cold. I use Mama's classic recipe which is a denser cake than some modern renditions so that really works well.
                Paula Dean's recipe is a good one and looks pretty foolproof if you don't already have one you like. I think Alton Brown has one too.

                1. I keep reading about this Bacardi Rum Cake that keeps well for more than a day or 3 and more, well covered. It sounds like something that'd be great, preparing a few days in advance, when things are a little quieter. Has anyone made this cake? Input, please? Thanks.

                  AnnieG

                  1. I recommend it so frequently, baked in loaf pans, the Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread (on Epicurious).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Emme

                      I love gingerbread cake the next day. It gives the fresh ginger a chance to meld. This is a festive looking gingerbread cake, too, and incredibly moist. Chocolate covered gingerbread cake:

                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...