Now that we've rounded the corner of a new year, we're looking back with nostalgia at some of our favorite recipes of 2011. First up: our most impressive sugary standouts from the past 365 days. Want to end your meal in an outstanding way? Click through for some sweet inspiration.
Lemon Curd Cake
For a departure from the usual brownie, cheesecake, or cookie, we turned to lemon curd cake , and with outstanding results. The flavor of the cake was reminiscent of Madeleine cookies, and it was layered with both a distinct Meyer lemon curd as well as a zesty sugar glaze.
Guinness Ice Cream With Chocolate-Covered Pretzels
At initial thought, ice cream doesn't seem a sure fit with a dark stout beer, but once we tried making Guinness ice cream topped with chocolate-dipped pretzels , we were convinced the deep, dark flavor of this beer was a natural pairing with chocolate and heavy cream.
Chocolate Beet Cake
With its hint of earthy flavor, this chocolate beet cake  is one of the most interesting and delicious desserts we've tried in a long time.
Nothing could be better than eating a fresh, vine-ripened strawberry at the peak of its season. . .right? That's what we thought, until we dove into Donatella Arpaia's weightless and ethereal strawberry semifreddo .
Sweet Potato Pie With Candied Nut Cream
Forget all those other pies: sweet potato pie  was the one to beat. With a soufflélike texture, buttery graham crust, and caramelized, cool whipped topping, this dessert is addictive enough to make anyone reach for a second piece.
While it's true that the cupcake trend's feeling a little uninspired these days, there's no denying that these Champagne cupcakes  elicited more than a few eyebrow raises. Who, after all, can resist Champagne?
Lemon Ginger Cheesecake
With its light, creamy, and fluffy texture, a cheesecake accented with lemon and ginger  is quite possibly the best cheesecake ever made.
German Chocolate Pudding Cups
German chocolate pudding cups  were just as rich and decadent as their classic cake counterpart, only more modern, with a sumptuous coconut-pecan custard.
Whiskey Bundt Cake
Inspired by a neighbor in Natchez, MS, whiskey bundt cake  consists of super-moist yellow cake with butterscotch flavor, toasted pecans, and lip-smacking honey whiskey. It's perfect for morning, noon, and night.
Pumpkin Cake Pops
With a miniature dessert trend sweeping the country, pumpkin-flavored cake pops  seemed only apropos. We loved their precious, bonbon size and their distinct Fall-Winter flavor.