Dessert ideas for a dinner party

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The best dinner parties inspire guests to talk about them for days, and what better way to leave a lasting impression than with delicious dinner party dessert ideas.

Save the best bite for the last part of the evening with a dessert that comes compliments of the host or as a gift from a dinner guest who would rather not show up empty-handed. The best dessert to bring to a dinner party doesn't have to be extravagant or expensive to be impressive. Think classic and simple, something chocolate, or perhaps fruit inspired, even vegan. The goal is to make those last bites of the night flavorful and memorable. It's always a good idea to think of options that pair well with after dinner drinks to add that special touch to the evening.

Here are a few sweet ideas to consider.

Chocolate layer cake

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The comfort of chocolate cake always pleases as a go-to dessert. While some might settle for a sheet cake to satisfy a room filled with guests, your dessert can be so much more with a slightly different version featuring creamy chocolate mousse in between thin layers of moist cocoa cake. It's classic, simple and easy, if not even a bit decadent if you opt for richer variations of mousse with dark chocolate or buttercream.

Tasty tarts

Individual mini tarts filled with fresh fruit, cream, custard or even key lime bites are among the most flavorful delicious dinner party dessert ideas. Made with a flaky layer of crust rich with butter, the baked tart can be topped with either sweet or savory, or both if you're feeling adventurous. Each serving is perfectly sized as an individual dessert enjoyed by each guest, and that's just the way they'll want to selfishly devour these tarts.

Sweet and spicy carrot cake

The best carrot cake offers a little bit of everything. It's sweet and a little spicy; moist and a bit delicate; creamy, but not sugary. Topped with ground nuts and a heaping of rich cream cheese frosting, and the perfect carrot cake is hard for anyone to resist. While this offering likely will present guests with a classic slice taken from the beautiful presentation of the final result, it's a bold combination of flavors defined by the contrast of sweet and tangy with rich texture in each mouthful.

Do-it-yourself Crepes

For the more adventurous dinner party where guests are feeling creative, try offering crepes they can use to build their own desserts. A plate filled with dinner-party ready crepes can inspire many treats with the help of toppings that can range from creamy to chocolatey to fruity, or some delicate combination of all of the above. It is one of the playful delicious dinner party dessert ideas that serves as an alternative to the traditional offerings, and is limited only by the imaginations of each individual guest chef tasked with creating their own treat.

Magnificent Mousse

Another individual treat you can offer for dessert are mini mounds of mousse served as the perfect light, or perhaps richly decadent, delight at the end of the evening. Any flavor will do, and there are many to consider: chocolate, of course, or a tangy, creamy custard style, or pumpkin, even lemon or peanut butter. And each serving has the added benefit of allowing for a flavorful topping, whether it's fruit or chocolate crumbs or chips of cinnamon. Allow each guest to sample their mousse with a sweet or salty cookie that compliments the flavors instead of just scooping it up with spoons.

Pavlova Cheesecake

The perfect combination of pavlova and cheesecake offers a fresh take on the classic desserts. The meringue-based treat with its crisp, light crust is filled with the creamy cheesecake goodness, and easily complimented by summer seasonal fruit. A familiar and comforting treat, this combination offers just the right amount of sweetness tempered with creamy cheesecake.

Tempting Tiramisu

What's better than dessert? A dessert that leans a little to the boozy side, like tiramisu. The classic Italian delight can feature a touch of Kahluah or Frangelico, a nice contrast with the cream and mascarpone traditionally used in this delight. With a foundation of ladyfingers or Savoiardi sponge finger biscuits, this dessert can be topped with drizzles of coffee and chocolate, fresh whipped cream or even flakes of cocoa. With individual portions offered in dessert cups, you'll find guests asking for more of this adult temptation.

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