Extra-Cozy Fall Desserts to Add to Your Baking Wish List

Think: pumpkin pie cobbler, sweet potato cinnamon buns, and more.

September 27, 2020
Photo by Rocky Luten. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth.

In partnership with Lodge Cast Iron, we're celebrating the holiday season with our favorite fall desserts. Whether you’re baking up a tender apple cake or chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, Lodge Cast Iron’s bakeware line—starring essentials like pie pans, casserole dishes, loaf pans, skillets, and more—will help make sure your sweet treats (savory recipes, too!) come out juuuust right.

As the weather gets cooler and the leaves begin to turn red and golden-yellow, we’re gearing up for the endless amounts of baking that the holidays (and your hungry family and friends) demand.

That’s why we’ve gathered up some of our greatest fall dessert recipes—from pillowy-soft sweet potato cinnamon buns with brown butter frosting to a pumpkin pie cobbler that’s a little more laid-back than the classic. Oh, and cookies, scones, and cakes, too.

To achieve the perfect bake, our go-to kitchen sidekick is cast iron. Seasoned with a light layer of oil to create a naturally nonstick surface, cast iron (like the new bakeware from Lodge) is durable, versatile, and actually gets better with every use. Plus, cast iron retains heat well, which means you’ll get more consistent, even results.

Here are our favorite flaky-crusted, chewy-gooey, warm-from-the-oven fall dessert recipes that come together like a dream with help from cast iron.

Our Best Fall Dessert Recipes

Brown Butter Banana Bread With Peanut Streusel

Photo by Rocky Luten. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth.

Reminiscent of a childhood favorite, this banana bread recipe has all the makings of the comforting loaves your grandmother would welcome you home with—plus a few twists. It’s intentionally ever-so-slightly undercooked in the center to maintain its moisture, but gets topped with a thin layer of peanut streusel for crunch. If you’re feeling generous, top it off with warm chocolate sauce or serve it next to a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

A cast-iron loaf pan works well for this recipe because it’ll distribute heat evenly across its surface (meaning you won’t get patches of raw batter). You can also use this loaf pan to make a mesmerizing Chocolate Swirl Brioche laced with a whirlpool of dark chocolate or a picture-perfect Finnish Cardamom-Coffee Bread topped with coffee-tempered sugar.

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Buns With Browned Butter Cream Cheese Glaze

Photo by Rocky Luten. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth.

If you have a few picky eaters that resist vegetables in your family, these sweet potato cinnamon buns will quickly change their minds. Fluffy, warm buns get topped with a browned butter cream cheese glaze, swirled with cozy cinnamon, brown sugar, and toasted pepitas. We love the way they fill the house with the intoxicating aromas of freshly baked dough and hot melted butter—the smell alone will draw everyone to the kitchen.

You don’t need a special occasion to whip up this recipe, but if you’re looking for added presentation points, allow your piping-hot cinnamon buns to cool down and serve them in the same cast-iron baker’s skillet they baked in for a rustic table display.

Once you have your family on board the hidden-vegetables-in-desserts train, try making this Genius-approved Extremely Moist Chocolate-Beet Cake.

You can certainly never go wrong with this Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake, either. Coat the bottom of your skillet with a dense layer of brown sugar, then cover with fresh bananas to create the top layer of your dessert. Once baked, it’s time for the big reveal: the moment you invert your upside-down cake to expose the caramelized, sunset-golden fruit that will become the beaming centerpiece of the dessert table.

Pumpkin & Tahini Pie with a Chocolatey Crust

Photo by Rocky Luten. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth.

On top of the more traditional spiced pumpkin pie ingredients (like clove, ginger, and nutmeg), this recipe also calls for the less-conventional addition of tahini—and it’s a game-changer. This toasted sesame paste not only adds a rich, nutty umami taste, but also makes your filling even creamier. Oh, and did I mention this crust is made with chocolate? Enough said.

If you’ve got any friends or family on plant-based diets, this Vegan Apple Pie recipe is a delicious addition to the menu. (We bet it’ll be the best you’ve ever tasted.) Use a medley of apple varieties like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, and Pink Lady for a balanced ratio of sweet to tart flavors.

Butternut Squash & Sage Scones

Photo by Rocky Luten. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth.

Take advantage of this season’s squash harvest and transform your local farmers’ market bounty into a delicate scone. This Scottish-born pastry pairs nicely with a fresh seasonal jam (like cranberry or apple), a dollop of clotted cream, and a warm cup of chai. Normally, you’d form the dough into circles and bake them on a sheet pan, but we actually prefer making this recipe with a wedge pan, which creates an especially golden crust.

If you’re a crispy-edge fan that eyes the corner pieces of a pan of brownies as soon as they come out of the oven, try some other wedge-pan-friendly recipes, like Super Fudgy Brownies or Miso Butterscotch Bars.

Aunt Lolly’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Photo by Rocky Luten. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth.

Make a large batch of these extra-chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, store 'em in the freezer, and enjoy for months on end. Made with minimal flour, these super-thin, almost lattice-like cookies quickly spread out while baking; help prevent the cookies from kissing while they bake by leaving enough room in between as you space out the batter on the baking sheet.

Fortunately, cast iron doesn't dent, bend, or warp at high temperatures (unlike some conventional metallic baking pans), and won’t create imperfections in your homemade cookies.

Pumpkin Pie Cobbler

Photo by Rocky Luten. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth.

Making pumpkin pie can be a challenging guessing game of “When is the crust fully baked?” Omit this tedious and stressful step with this showstopping, zero-hassle pumpkin pie cobbler that is quicker and easier than the traditional version. Serve warm out of the oven or at room temperature—either way, this cobbler will quickly become your new go-to for the holidays.

It comes together in a cast-iron casserole pan (which should really be dubbed “the kitchen workhorse”) that’s perfect for making big-batch desserts (savory dishes too!) of all kinds, like this Old-Fashioned Apple Spice Cake.

What are your favorite cast-iron recipes, tips, and secrets? Tell us in the comments below!

We've teamed up with Lodge Cast Iron to kick off fall baking season on a sweet note with our best dessert recipes for the cooler months. From crumbly butternut sage scones to toasty brown butter banana bread, these treats bake to perfection in Lodge Cast Iron's bakeware line, which has top-notch heat retention for the most even, consistent results.

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Maki Yazawa

Written by: Maki Yazawa

Food Writer & Recipe Developer