Courtesy of Evan Sung

Dessert recipes that are difficult but will impress

Now is the time to make these jaw-dropping desserts
Courtesy of Evan Sung

Whether it’s resisting the urge to open your oven as the chocolate souffle rises or maintaining patience throughout the multi-step process required to make a meringue, these dessert recipes will truly test your baking skills. It’s time to graduate from cookies and loaves of bread because here are 20 difficult dessert recipes that, if mastered, are sure to impress anyone that takes a bite.

Tiramisu

Tiramisu
Courtesy of Carmine's

This coffee-flavored sweet treat is a staple in many of the best Italian restaurants across the country, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try making it at home. While it may seem daunting to take on the task of baking a dessert that takes seven hours, it’s especially satisfying to make your own mascarpone and expertly assemble this delicate dish. 

For the Carmine’s Tiramisu recipe, click here.

Chocolate Chess Pie

Chocolate Chess Pie
Courtesy of Virgil's Real Barbecue

Not much can compare to a dessert that’s stuffed with chocolate. If that rings true for you, then chocolate chess pie is the way to go. Sure, nine hours is a lot of time to invest in one dessert. But when you bite into your wow-worthy, perfectly moist chocolate filling, you are guaranteed to impress your guests — or honestly just yourself. The final product will give the best dessert shop in your state a run for its money.

For the Chocolate Chess Pie recipe, click here.

Hot Chocolate Matcha Marble Cake

Hot Chocolate Matcha Marble Cake
Courtesy of Ready Set Eat, Conagra

If you’ve been spending more time at home and are looking for a way to entertain yourself, it’s time to try a new recipe. The ingredients in this treat may seem intimidating — how do you get the perfect blend of chocolate, matcha and hot cocoa without it being overbearing? But after over two hours of non-stop baking, your marble will be one for the books. And who doesn’t want a double-whammy caffeine fix in one slice of cake?

For the Hot Chocolate Matcha Marble Cake recipe, click here.

Carrot Cake Trifle

Carrot Cake Trifle
Courtesy of Ready Set Eat, Conagra

While carrot cake itself is already a popular treat, a carrot cake trifle takes things up a notch. This layered cake is loaded with pecan pieces and cream cheese, but don’t let the restaurant-worthy assembly intimidate you. Although it’s not a recipe you can make with pantry staples, it’s worth the extra work.

For the Carrot Cake Trifle recipe, click here.

Princess Cake

Princess Cake
Courtesy of Signs Birck courtesy of Aquavit

This recipe requires mastering the cake’s iconic green marzipan top and making your own pastry cream. Are you up for the challenge? While it’s not the easiest dessert to make, you can always whip up an easy dinner recipe to clear up time for what really matters — princess cake.

For the Princess Cake recipe, click here.

Spotted Dog Bread Pudding

Spotted Dog Bread Pudding
Courtesy of Lois Ellen Frank

While this dessert is fairly quick to make in comparison to some of the others on this list, that doesn’t make it any less impressive. Spotted dog bread pudding includes some ingredients you may not be used to baking with. The recipe calls for — wait for it — cheese and onions. It’s an unlikely cast of characters, but blending them into a perfectly sweet bread pudding will turn heads.

For the Spotted Dog Bread Pudding, click here.

Cheesecake

Cheesecake
Courtesy of Polish Your Kitchen

Cheesecake is one of those sweets that seem to be on every dessert menu. But have you ever made it at home? This amazing Polish cheesecake recipe is the perfect way to sweeten up your day. It takes skill to make the perfect, fluffy cheesecake filling and crumbly bottom, but there’s no time like the present. If you think it may be too advanced, try taking one of these online cooking classes first.

For the Polish Cold Cheesecake recipe, click here.

Homemade Marshmallows

Homemade Marshmallows
Courtesy of McCormick

Bunny-shaped marshmallows are an Easter staple, and this year you won’t even have to hop out of the house to enjoy the treat. Do you know anyone who has tried to make a homemade marshmallow before? Get ready to be a social media star among all those posts filled with typical popular Easter candies.

For the Homemade Marshmallows recipe, click here.

Bread Pudding Baked Alaska

Bread Pudding Baked Alaska
Courtesy of DB's Tavern

Baked Alaska is a dessert that you’ll likely find on the menu at the best restaurants in America — it’s that impressive. Layers of cake and ice cream are assembled before being artfully covered in whipped meringue and, yes, torched. While this recipe is a true time investment, making your own toasted meringue is unbelievably rewarding — and photogenic. This recipe puts a delicious twist on a traditional dessert by using bread pudding as a base.

For the Baked Alaska recipe, click here. 

Bread Pudding Souffle

Bread Pudding Souffle
Todd R./Yelp

Souffle is a notoriously difficult dessert. Meringues are no easy feat, and it takes top-rated resilience to leave the oven door shut until your creation is ready. But this bread pudding souffle, a famous New Orleans dish, is worth the temptation. After mastering the meringue and crafting a delicate bread pudding, your baking skills will truly be unmatched.

For the Bread Pudding Souffle recipe, click here.

Polish Donuts

Polish Donuts
Courtesy of Polish Your Kitchen

There are a lot of ingredients you’ll be working with for this recipe, and you’ll be tasked with making your own filling. When you bite into these Polish donuts and see that you were able to craft a donut that is soft, fluffy and not at all greasy, you’ll be ready to tackle any baking challenge. With a topping of powdered sugar and a warm, doughy inside, these donuts pair perfectly with delicious homemade coffee recipes.

For the Polish Donuts recipe, click here.

Beignets

Beignets
Courtesy of Kenneth Temple

These little deep-fried treats are such staple in New Orleans that they were declared Louisiana’s official state donut in 1986. While this chef-worthy recipe takes over eight hours to make and calls for making your own glaze, the final product yields beautiful beignets that will take you to the heart of New Orleans without leaving your kitchen. It’s just one of many Cajun and Creole dishes you can make at home.

For the Beignets recipe, click here.

Bananas Foster

Bananas Foster
Courtesy of Chris Granger

The combination of rum and brown sugar in this dessert is balanced out by the healthy bananas, right? While making a bananas Foster may be your first time attempting to flambee anything, it is a new baking skill that goes a long way when it comes to impressing someone. If you have any leftover bananas, turn them into banana bread — it’s a childhood dessert you forgot existed.

For the Bananas Foster recipe, click here.

Chocolate Tart

Chocolate Tart
Jacqui/Wedewer/The Daily Meal

This chocolate tart recipe requires a lot of focus. While it only takes about an hour to make, you’ll be tasked with making your own dough and chocolate ganache. But, when you show off the final product, you will be surprised at how talented of a baker you really are. Try making this for your child’s birthday this year. In fact, baking together is just one way to throw your kid an amazing birthday at home.

For the Chocolate Tart recipe, click here.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie
© Tealsuns - Dreamstime.com

Meringue seems to be a common theme for desserts that are both challenging and impressive. But lemon meringue may take the cake — err, pie. Not only do you have to master the cloud-like meringue top, but you also need to create the perfect blend of sweet-yet-tart flavors. But mastering this iconic dessert’s palate is a rewarding feat, and a great way to turn lemons into something that isn’t lemonade.

For the Lemon Meringue Pie recipe, click here.

Rainbow Layer Cake

Rainbow Layer Cake
Courtesy of Ready Set Eat, Conagra

Why have one layer when you can have six? This rainbow layer cake is certainly magnificent, with each tier of the cake marking a different color on the rainbow, it’s the perfect recipe to make if you want a challenge. In addition to effortlessly laying the cake, you will also have to make your own buttercream for this dessert. Try baking it during Pride Month this year and celebrate the LGBTQ people in your life.

For the Rainbow Layer Cake recipe, click here.

Fried Apple Hand Pies

Fried Apple Hand Pies
Courtesy of Miss in the Kitchen

While at first glance these fried apple hand pies may not look like they’d be a jaw-dropping dessert, just wait until you bite into one of them. The challenging and rewarding part about these little guys is that they are made entirely from scratch. For this recipe, you will make everything from the pastry to the glaze. There’s a reason apple pie is one of the best pies in America,  andthis recipe just kicks the tried-and-true dessert up a notch.

For the Fried Apple Hand Pies recipe, click here.

Carrot Cake with Candied Ginger and Toasted Walnuts

Carrot Cake with Candied Ginger and Toasted Walnuts
Courtesy of American Bar

While your idea of good carrot cake likely comes from your favorite special occasion restaurant, have you ever tried your hand at making this classy dessert on your own? Making sure you maintain a moist cake while simultaneously whipping up your own homemade frosting is no easy feat, but there’s something to be said about a baker who masters a dessert commonly reserved for dining out.

For the Carrot Cake recipe, click here.

Three-Way Creme Brulee

Three-Way Creme Brulee
Courtesy of Evan Sung

This recipe is a masterful mashup of cookie dough and creme brulee, but it’s not easy. Many things can go wrong when making creme brulee, like getting water in the pudding or burning the top when it’s time to torch the sugar. But that’s also the reason this dessert is one of the most impressive recipes on our list — it requires skill and a keen attention to detail. While there are plenty of baking tips you learned from your parents, it’s time to show them a thing or two.

For the Three-Way Creme Brulee recipe, click here.

Torrijas

Torrijas
Courtesy of Rachel Vanni

This is a recipe you may not have heard of, which makes it even more exciting to try. Torrijas are a Spanish-style French toast that requires you to make your own soak by steeping milk, cinnamon and vanilla bean. But making sure you don’t over-soak the bread so that you can perfectly brulee it is key, and it’s what makes this dessert so impressive. It's a great way to turn one of the most iconic breakfast foods in America into a dessert.

For the Torrijas recipe, click here.

Cannoli Icebox Cake

Cannoli Icebox Cake
Courtesy of Jason Golstein

Although icebox cake is an old-school recipe, when you pair it with cannoli filling, there’s no denying that this dessert is primed for a comeback. But this recipe is a time investment. It takes over eight hours to set and requires you to make your own cannoli filling. But the multi-layered dessert is remarkable when done. Top it with some chocolate chips and voila, you’ve whipped up a masterpiece. If you’re looking to put a spin on other classic recipes, take a look at these vintage recipes no one makes anymore — but should.

For the Cannoli Icebox Cake recipe, click here.

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