It’s that time of year when it seems like anything flavored with pumpkin spice gets all the love and attention. But if you’re just not feeling it, you’ll be glad to have these alternative treats for your autumn enjoyment. You’ll still taste all the best fall flavors — think apples, pears, caramel, maple, nuts, and dark chocolate — but without that overwhelming PSL vibe.
This easy-to-make apple and walnut Bundt cake drizzled with homemade caramel sauce is perfect for fall parties. Jenn says, “Absolutely delightful! I added 1 cup of chocolate chips as well. Worked wonderfully with the cinnamon.”
You’re going to want to serve this crisp while it’s warm from the oven, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Watch the video to see how easy it is to make.
Almonds, pears, and a touch of amaretto liqueur make this tender cake an autumn standout. Kerry Rodgers raves, “Very simple and tasted great! Will definitely make this again.”
Cardamom is quickly gaining in popularity as a substitute for cinnamon. Not that there’s anything wrong with cinnamon, but why not expand your taste horizons? Kari says, “Amazingly good. I love cardamom. Also had a great shortbread-type texture.”
The merest pinch of cayenne pepper intensifies the chocolate in this boldly flavored cookie. Chef John shows you how to pull it all together in this video.
Smart tip: Toast the pecans before making this recipe to deepen their flavor. jvoigt says, “Giving this 5 stars because even the people who don’t normally eat dessert enjoyed this. Easier than pecan pie.”
These delectable cookies are going to go fast, so stash a few away just for yourself. Larrlach says, “This is the only cookie recipe I now use.”
How good are they really? Yoly says, “These are the best tasting brownies ever. I have been making this recipe for over 30 years now and I won’t change a thing. Fudgy, nutty, chocolatey, what’s not to like?”
Use real maple syrup in this super simple candy so the flavor really shines through. “Fantastic! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these! This was so quick and simple to make and tastes soooo delicious. This is a definite keeper~YUM, YUM, YUM!!!!!! Thanks for sharing. :), ” raves Christina.
10. Chai Cupcakes
If you love the warm and spicy flavors of chai tea, you’ve got to try these chai-kissed cupcakes. “I was a bit skeptical the first time I made these for a family gathering! They were an instant hit! Have made them numerous times since then, including as a dessert item for a nephew’s wedding!” — babaloo53
This recipe is so good, it even surprised Chef John himself. Take a look at the video to get his secret for the perfect apple fritters.
Warm up a brisk autumn night with this ultimate comfort food dessert. “I was told this is the best bread pudding ever,” says callanne. “I used cinnamon raisin challah bread and used almost a whole loaf.”
13. Plum Cake
Make this late summer, early autumn cake when fresh plums are in season. Anjali says, “I thought this was a good cake recipe with just the right amount of sweetness.”
This Basmati rice pudding is made fragrant with cardamom and rose water. jeninAZ offers this suggestion: “As others have said, trust the rice quantity and don’t add more! And use golden raisins instead of regular–it’s more traditional and much nicer looking.”
With apples, caramel, and pecans in the mix, this is the perfect dessert to end any fall feast. The video shows you how to make this crowd-pleaser.
If you love all things fall…
- Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Cakes 7 Different Ways
- Celebrate Apple Cider Season with 10 Terrific Fall Recipes
- Discover our most popular fall dessert recipes.