Make Holiday Dessert Simply Special

A favorite family story at our house involves the evening my niece casually mentioned over dinner, "I'm supposed to bring a Bûche de Noël to the French club potluck tomorrow." There followed several frantic hours as my sister tried to figure out what a Bûche de Noël even is (a cream-filled sponge cake made to resemble a Yule log) and how to make it with ingredients she had on hand. In the end, my niece went to school the next day with a "log" that resembled something far less appetizing than one you might find in the Argonne Forest!

Everybody loves a really spectacular dessert to cap off a holiday feast … but since most of us aren't pastry chefs, our efforts can too often end up looking like something the Grinch left under the tree as a cruel joke.

This year I decided to play it safe with practically foolproof Tastefully Simple products I knew I could use to make an impressive dessert without a lot of fuss or decorating ability. And for me, there's no more "Christmasy" combination than chocolate and cherries. With that in mind, and Pinterest for inspiration, I created a simple – yet simply spectacular – Classy Toffee "Black Forest" Cake.

Denser than the traditional sponge cake used in Black Forest cakes, the Classy Chocolate Pound Cake layers make a delicious foundation for a luscious filling of canned cherry pie filling and cream cheese filling flavored with English Toffee Cheese Ball Mix. I brushed each layer with a bit of Mulled Wine Mixer for added moistness and a hint of holiday spices. I sprinkled the toffee bits coating from the cheese ball mix on top of the assembled cake and studded the filling between the layers with marachino cherries for an extra pop of color.

My mom declared the finished product almost too pretty to eat. But I'm pretty sure I can tempt her and the rest of the family to indulge in a slice – or two! – to celebrate the holidays. It is the sweetest season, after all!

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