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If You Want to Gift Baked Goods, Store Bought Is Fine

16 ready-to-ship desserts that will definitely be better than homemade

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Three brownies, a stack of cookies, and a cake on a cake stand. Shutterstock
Monica Burton is the deputy editor of

Somehow, we’re right in the middle of the holiday season. After getting caught up in preparing for Thanksgiving and scouting Black Friday deals, you may feel like December has arrived about two weeks too soon, leaving you little time to do any holiday baking. If this is the case (or even if baking was never on your agenda) relax and return to your holiday shopping: You can still get the sweet indulgences the season calls for. Bakeries around the country offer nationwide shipping on baked goods that provide all the festivity with none of the measuring, mixing, and hoping it all turned out okay.

Below are just a few suggestions for particularly festive desserts to have shipped. Bring these cakes, cookies, and other holiday treats to a party, send them to a loved one, or simply order them as a gift for yourself to enjoy during a quiet moment, cozied up in the warm glow of the space heater.


Milk Bar offers nationwide shipping on all its classics, but for the holidays, Christina Tosi’s dessert juggernaut is offering specials featuring traditional holiday flavors. The peppermint bark layer cake takes Milk Bar’s chocolate malt cake and layers it with chocolate crumbs and fudge sauce, topped with birthday frosting and peppermint bark. You can order it in a 6-inch size ($50) to serve up to 12 people or a 10-inch size ($113), which feeds up to 30.

Caroline’s Cakes ships cakes for any occasion from its bakery in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The cake bites, which pack all the flavor of a slice of cake into a dense, chocolate-covered chunk, are very giftable at a dozen for $25. But, if you’re looking for something winter holiday-specific, or to serve a crowd, Caroline’s offers on-theme seven-layer cakes. There’s the Christmas caramel cake with vanilla buttercream and red and green polka dots ($70); the Yuletide, composed of layers of yellow cake with caramel buttercream covered in chocolate ganache and chocolate holly leaves ($80); and a chocolate cake with peppermint frosting that comes with DIY peppermint sprinkles ($70).

Peppermint is clearly a popular flavor this time of year, and Brooklyn bakery Ovenly’s Peppermint Patty cake would make a striking centerpiece for the holiday dessert table. The chocolate layer cake is decorated with an ombre chocolate and vanilla buttercream and topped with an elegant sprinkling of edible gold glitter. Cutting into the cake reveals a pleasingly pink minty buttercream stripe down the middle. It’s $80 to ship, and $55 to pick up from one of the New York stores.


Ovenly’s holiday-special cookie is packaged expressly for gifting. The molasses snowflake cookies are soft and chewy with balanced ginger flavor, decorated with a white glaze in a loose snowflake design. You can order eight packed in a cylinder and tied with a gold ribbon, with an Ovenly-branded Porter mug for $69, or without the mug for $42. The same set is $25 when picked up in store.

Fellow Brooklyn bakery Gracie Baked doesn’t have any holiday-themed goods on tap quite yet, but baker Gracie Bensimon’s creations are the kind of over-the-top treat that feels especially warranted this time of year. The “half baked” cookies in chocolate chip and funfetti flavors are stuffed with eggless cookie dough, and the Dunkaroo cookie sandwich might be the perfect gift for the ’90s-obsessed. It’s $18 for a six-cooke sampler, and you can express flavor preferences when you order.

New York City’s Levain Bakery ships its own over-the-top cookies in gift boxes of four ($27), eight ($49), or 12 ($68) cookies. The flavors of these classic 6-ounce cookies never change, and when you order online, you have the option of choosing one variety or an assortment of all four: chocolate chip walnut, dark chocolate peanut butter chip, oatmeal raisin, and dark chocolate chocolate chip.

Other desserts

The market outpost of celebrated Savannah, Georgia restaurant the Grey is selling a number of baked goods and desserts via Goldbelly, all seemingly designed to make things easy for the ambitious host who is perhaps pressed-for-time (or culinary ability). Order a dozen pimento cheese biscuits for $75; pies in flavors like lemon chess and salted honey for $59; or, for an unexpected finish to a dinner party, a half dozen chocolate pots de creme ($65).

Babka and rugelach are peerless contributions to holiday gatherings. Longtime New York City appetizing shop Russ & Daughters ships its traditional babka and rugelach nationally. Both cinnamon and chocolate babkas are $14 each. Chocolate, raspberry, or apricot rugelach, or an assortment of all three, are available for $17.50 per pound.

New York City’s Breads Bakery sells its babka in three packs (one cinnamon and two chocolate, which is swirled with a mixture of dark chocolate chips and Nutella) with for $50. An ideal package for the holiday party host, the combo pack comes with the three babkas plus two dozen chocolate rugelach for $80.

Another cult-favorite New York City bakery, Mah Ze Dahr, offers select nationwide shipping. The brioche doughnuts and pastry cream-filled choux are, unfortunately, only available for New York City delivery, but dark chocolate brownies and Mah-Ze-Dahr bars (an oatmeal brown sugar cookie base, topped with toasted pecans and chocolate and baked in a brown butter salted caramel sauce), are each $24 for six. They’re homey, but better-than-homemade desserts equally appropriate for a special occasion as they are for no occasion at all.