You’ve probably just finished hosing down your kitchen after roasting that 25-pound Thanksgiving turkey, so you’re not in the mood for a Christmas bake-off. But sadly, the holidays demand a little culinary drama—the kind of big, festive showstopper of a dessert that means marathon prep time, a master class in pastry-making, and an internship at some Left Bank patisserie. In other words, you need more than a few cut-out snowflake cookies and some boozy rum balls (save those for yourself). Who are you going to call? Increasingly, you can go to just about any decent bakery.
In the Amazonian age of next-day-anything delivery, covetable Christmas sweets are a click away. And as more and more independent, regional bakeries either offer their own shipping or sign up with quickly expanding gourmet delivery services like Goldbely, you have a range of pastry shops to choose from. The result is a cake-happy shopping spree that lets you map the country. In the mood for hummingbird cakes and key lime pies? Consider the growing constellation of Southern bakeries willing to overnight your Mississippi mud pie. Looking for a classic Gallic Buche de Noel or a hipstery Brooklyn whimsy? They’re both ready to ship. We’ve gathered the most enticing options of the season.