10 make-ahead Christmas desserts | BBC Good Food

Nothing merits the ‘Christmas showstopper’ title more than this majestic mash-up of three popular sweet treats in one chocolatey bombe. Marbled chocolate sponge walls give way to a surprise cheesecake and rocky road filling and a delightful array of tastes and textures. Although the hard work will have been done ahead of time, you’ll still need to decorate this cheesecake before serving by covering it in a chocolatey glaze and toppings of your choice. We’ve gone with white chocolate drizzle, edible sprinkles and chocolate truffles.

Choose from more cheesecake recipes.

Shortbread biscuits decorated with chocolate and dried fruits

Transform these exquisite Christmas biscuits into edible works of art by adorning them with the vibrant accents of candied orange peel, the delightful crunch of flaked almonds, or the playful tang of freeze-dried raspberries. Let your creativity shine by using star- or tree-shaped cutters to add an extra dose of festive charm to each delectable treat. This is your chance to craft edible masterpieces that capture the spirit of the season in every bite.

Check out more Christmas shortbread recipes.

Oval dish of tiramisu with a mouthful missing from the side

We’re all for combining cultural influences in food and this tempting twist on a classic Italian dessert does just that. Flavour tiramisu with Irish cream liqueur for a brilliantly boozy pudding to round off a dinner party or Christmas Day meal. This light dessert can be prepared in under half an hour before chilling, making it a speedy saviour. Sprinkle with a dusting of cocoa powder and you’re ready to go.

Try more creamy tiramisu recipes.

White chocolate and meringue roulade with cherries on top and inside

When it comes to retro dessert favourites, it’s sometimes hard to break with tradition – but once you’ve tried our snowy spin on a black forest gateau, you won’t be going back. This luxurious roulade combines white chocolate, meringue and cream with a velvety clove-spiced cherry sauce for a striking Christmas centrepiece. It can be frozen for up to a month. Defrost overnight and serve with cherries and a drizzle of melted white chocolate.

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Discover more roulade recipes.


Don’t let those leftover mince pies go to waste! Instead, give them a spectacular second life by incorporating them into the decadent base of this cheesecake. It’s not just a way to minimise Christmas food waste; it’s a stroke of culinary genius

Use up more leftover festive bakes with our leftover Christmas pudding recipes.


Wow your guests with a show-stopping tart that’s destined to be the star of your Christmas dessert spread. Nestled in a delicate pastry case and artfully crafted with the convenience of frozen cherries and raspberries, it not only tastes great, but also serves up a hefty dose of festive cheer.

Check out more sweet tart recipes.


Take the classic trifle to a new level with our all-out indulgent makeover. Layers of raspberry jelly and rich clotted cream custard are topped with custard creams, double cream, sprinkles and maraschino cherries. This dazzling dessert will keep in the fridge for up to three days, saving you all the hassle of assembling it at the last minute.

Check out our chocolate-orange mini trifle for a delicious boozy alternative, and find even more ideas in our collection of Christmas trifle recipes.


Can’t choose between a Christmas pudding or cheesecake? Then why not try a mouth-watering combination of both. With a boozy orange filling and crunchy gingerbread base, this simple chilled dessert is sure to become a festive favourite. For an extra flavour boost, caramelise some clementine slices using a kitchen blowtorch and arrange over the cheesecake. It will keep in the fridge for up to three days.

See more of our gorgeous Christmas cheesecake recipes.


If you aren’t a fan of traditional Christmas pudding, this decadent, sticky, spiced ginger pudding makes a great alternative. The sponge can be made up to a week ahead, so all you need to do is heat it on the day, and whip up a luscious rum caramel sauce to pour over. We recommend serving with a generous dollop of ice cream or whipped cream.

Mincemeat cake wrapped in large gold decorative wrap

Delight your friends with a heartfelt Christmas gesture – a charming, homemade bake that’s not just a gift but a delicious treat. Crafted to utilise leftover mincemeat, it offers a lighter and more contemporary twist compared to the classic, dense fruit cake. This lovely bake can serve up to 10 people and, for added convenience, it’s freezable for future enjoyment.

Discover more festive dessert showstoppers…

Our best Christmas desserts
Easy Christmas desserts
10 ways with leftover Christmas desserts
Our most indulgent vegan Christmas desserts
Festive dessert collection
Christmas chocolate recipes
Five ways with mince pies

What’s your favourite make-ahead Christmas dessert? Leave a comment below…

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