Classic Cajun dessert recipes for sweet food lovers. Easy New Orleans favorites including Mardi Gras King Cake, bread pudding, and beignets.
With its bright flavors and delicious seafood, Cajun cuisine is one of the best and most vibrant culinary styles in North America. However, when listing its best dishes, people often overlook Cajun desserts.
Traditional Cajun desserts are sweet and packed with flavor, just like savory dishes. The next time you make Cajun jambalaya at home or order from your favorite restaurant, don’t forget about dessert. These best Cajun desserts are the perfect way to round off any meal.
Old-Fashioned Cajun Cake
Cajun cake is a sweet dessert packed with warm flavors. The main ingredients are pineapple and pecan, which give the cake a hint of tropical flavors. However, you won’t have to put in a lot of effort to make this delicious cake. This simple yet delicious cake is a staple of the Cajun region and is popular among home bakers throughout North America thanks to its simplicity.
To make Cajun cake, create a yellow cake batter or use a box mix. Then, add crushed pineapple and bake the cake. Make the icing by adding coconut and pecans to a basic icing recipe.
Try This Recipe: This old-fashioned Cajun cake is packed with crushed pineapple, coconut, and pecans, and only takes 30 minutes to bake.
Mardi Gras King Cake
King cake is a filled and iced cake that’s a Cajun staple during Carnival season and stands out thanks to its rainbow-like frosting. It’s often enjoyed during Mardi Gras, from Three Kings Day until Ash Wednesday, in the early weeks of the year.
Make an enriched dough and cinnamon sugar filling for homemade King Cake. Roll the filled cake dough into a log, then shape it into a wreath. Ice the cake with purple, green, and gold (the traditional Mardi Gras colors for justice, faith, and power).
Store-bought king cakes usually have a hidden plastic baby figurine, commonly referred to as a fève. Finding the baby is a sign of luck and prosperity – but also means getting the king cake for the next party!
Try This Recipe: Mardi Gras King Cake made with traditional cinnamon filling, baked until golden brown, and coated in vanilla icing and colored sugar.
Beignets are one of the most popular desserts in New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana. These fried donuts covered in powdered sugar are popular with visitors and locals alike, so including them here is a no-brainer.
Beignets are made with choux pastry, but you can also use a regular yeast dough. To make beignets, shape the dough into rectangular donuts, deep-fry them, and then cover generously with powdered sugar.
Try This Recipe: New Orleans-Style Beignets made from all-purpose flour, vanilla and sugar, before deep-fried and served with coffee.
New Orleans Pralines
Pralines are the signature candy of New Orleans and Cajun cuisine as a whole, which is why this candy has to be on this list. Pralines vary from place to place, but the New Orleans variety contains pecans, the most popular nut in Cajun cooking.
To make New Orleans pralines at home, combine pecans with sugar, milk, and butter and bring to a boil. Spoon the mixture into individual dollops onto parchment paper and allow it to cool.
Try This Recipe: New Orleans Pralines are loaded with toasted pecans and brown sugar candy to make a simple homemade treat.
Pumpkin Tarte à la Bouille
Tarte a la bouille are custard tarts made from sweet dough and pumpkin filling, making a delicious Cajun twist on the classic American pumpkin pie. The difference is that the crust is sweeter and is thicker, like a cookie crust. The filling is like a pudding and silkier than your traditional pumpkin pie.
To make your own pumpkin tarte à la bouille, make a Cajun sweet dough crust like traditional pie dough with more sugar and baking powder. Mix pumpkin puree with sugar, milk, and cream for the filling and cook on the stove. Assemble in a tart dish and bake.
Try This Recipe: Pumpkin Tarte à la Bouille is a delicious pudding pie made with a sweet dough pie crust and silky smooth filling.
Southern Sweet Potato Pie
This regional specialty is also a popular Cajun dessert, where it is a favorite for holidays such as Thanksgiving. Sweet potato pie is like any other pie but filled with a sweetened sweet potato puree.
Start with your favorite pie dough recipe to make Southern sweet potato pie. Then, puree sweet potatoes with eggs, evaporated milk, cinnamon, and sugar. Bake the pie and serve with whipped cream.
Try This Recipe: Southern Sweet Potato Pie is a holiday favorite enjoyed across all of North America, not just Lousiana. The creamy baked sweet potatoes combine perfectly with the flaky pie crust to create a simple but scrumptious dessert.
Louisiana Stranger Bundt Cake
Louisiana Stranger Cake is another traditional Cajun cake that’s a regular favorite at church potlucks and parties. Where the name comes from isn’t clear, although some people speculate it may come from its unconventional baking method, where frosting is added to the batter.
To make Louisiana Stranger Cake, start with a butter pecan cake mix or homemade dough. Add pecans and butter pecan frosting to the batter, pour it into a bundt pan, and bake.
Try This Recipe: Simplicity is the name of the game with this Louisiana stranger cake recipe. Using pre-made cake mix you just need to add coconut pecan frosting, eggs and chopped pecans to complete this Southern classic.
Cajun Sweet Dough Pies
The American South is famous for its pies and pastry dough, and New Orleans is no different. This sweet dough adds an extra twist to the tradition with this sweetened pie and pastry dough. Traditionally, Louisiana locals use this dough to make hand pies, but you can use it just like regular pastry dough.
Start with a regular pie dough and add extra sugar, baking powder, and an egg to make a sweet dough. For traditional pies, make a filling out of cherries.
Try This Recipe: This sweet dough recipe is light and rich, and it shows off the best of the region’s cuisine. The pastry rolls out to make a dozen mini pies and is filled with a delicious blackberry filling.
New Orleans-Style Bread Pudding
Bread pudding is a staple during festive meals in the South, and this version puts a Cajun twist on the traditional dessert. The method is similar to other bread puddings, but it has a kick thanks to its added shot of bourbon.
To make New Orleans-style bread pudding, start with chunks of stale bread. Soak the bread in a sauce made with bourbon, raisins, and other traditional bread pudding ingredients and bake.
Try This Recipe: While everyone has their own homemade version they always go back to, we’re pretty fond of this New Orleans bread pudding. It’s sweet and buttery thanks to its raisins and brandy, while its vanilla and butter sauce elevates it to an almost-heavenly level.
Peach & Blackberry Cobbler
Cajun country, like the whole South, grows delicious fruit. Desserts celebrating those flavors, such as this delightful cobbler, are popular in spring and summer.
To make peach and blackberry cobbler, pour sliced peaches, blackberries, and a basic batter made with flour, sugar, baking powder, and milk into a dish and bake. This dessert might appear simple but its rich and gooey flavors are unmatched.
Try This Recipe: This Blackberry Peach Cobbler is extra rich courtesy of its fresh fruit filling, while its crisp crust adds a irresistible finish to the dessert.