20 Desserts to Help You Celebrate Summer

posted on June 4, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Summer is finally here, and it’s time for picnics in the park, walks on the beach, and maybe even some yummy desserts.  Check out these fun and delicious recipes that will help you celebrate the long-awaited summer weather!

1. Lemon Orange Chiffon Cake

spring cake


Preheat oven to 350°. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Make a well in center of flour mixture; add oil, egg yolks, and orange juice. Beat at medium-high speed 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth. Stir in zest.  Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into flour mixture. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.  Bake at 350° for 17 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour). Spread Lemon-Orange Buttercream Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.


2.  Pineapple Upside-Down Coffee Cake

pineapple upside down cake


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; set pan aside. For pineapple topping, melt 1/2 cup butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in 1 cup brown sugar. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring frequently. Pour into prepared pan. Drain pineapple rings, reserving 1/2 cup juice. Fit 12 rings into bottom of pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. In a large bowl, beat softened butter, granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add eggs; beat until combined. On low speed, beat in half the flour mixture. Pour in reserved 1/2 cup pineapple juice and the milk; beat until combined. Beat in remaining flour mixture and vanilla. Spread batter carefully atop pineapple slices in pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. (If you invert the coffee cake too soon, the pineapple rings may stick to pan.) Place a serving tray or baking sheet over coffee cake; carefully invert. If any pineapple sticks to pan, gently replace on cake top. Serve warm topped with yogurt and maraschino cherries.

3.  Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

key lime cheesecake bars


In small bowl combine graham crackers, margarine, and sugar. Press crumb mixture in the bottom of a 2-quart square baking dish. Refrigerate while preparing filling. In large bowl combine gelatin and water. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Set aside. In blender, combine cottage cheese and cream cheese. Cover and blend or process until smooth, stopping several times to scrape down sides. Whisk 1/2 cup of the cottage cheese mixture into the gelatin mixture. Whisk in remaining cottage cheese mixture until smooth. Fold in whipped dessert topping. Spoon filling over chilled crumb mixture. Cover and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours or until filling is firm. To serve, cut in squares. Top with lime wedges.

5. Lemon Blueberry Cake

creamy lemon blueberry cake


For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 3 9-inch round baking pans and line the bottom of each with a round of parchment paper. Butter parchment paper and lightly dust pan with flour, shaking out excess. Sift cake flour into a mixing bowl. Add all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk for 30 seconds, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (if you don’t have the paddle attachment that constantly scrapes sides of the bowl while mixing, then stop mixer occasionally throughout entire mixing process and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl), whip together butter, granulated sugar and lemon zest until mixture is pale and fluffy. In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, measure out milk then stir in sour cream and lemon juice, let rest 3 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix eggs into butter mixture one a time, then stir in lemon extract and vanilla extract. Toss blueberries with 3 Tbsp of the flour mixture. Working in three separate batches, beginning and ending with remaining flour mixture, add 1/3 of the flour mixture alternating with 1/2 of the milk mixture and mixing just until combined after each addition. Gently fold in blueberries. Divide mixture evenly among prepared baking pans. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 24 – 27 minutes. Cool in baking pans about 20 – 30 minute then invert onto wire racks to cool completely. Once cool, frost with cream cheese frosting and decorate with blueberries and lemon slices if desired. Store in an airtight container.

For the cream cheese frosting:

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitter with the paddle attachment, whip butter until pale and fluffy. Add cream cheese and mix until smooth and fluffy. Add vanilla and lemon extract and powdered sugar and blend several minutes longer until smooth and fluffy (if frosting seems slightly runny, you can chill it for a bit before frosting cake).

6.  Lemon Angel Food Cupcakes

lemon angel food cupcakes


For the lemon angel food cake:

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl, combine flour, ½ cup sugar and lemon zest. Set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat egg whites on medium high for around 2 minutes, until they are frothy and have loose peaks (will stand for a second and then sink back into the eggs). Add a pinch of salt and cream of tartar, continue to beat on medium-high for 3-5 more minutes until stiff peaks form (won’t sink back into eggs). At this point, continue beating on medium speed and gradually add the ⅓ cup portion of granulated sugar *by the tablespoon* over a period of 3-5 more minutes. Stop and scrape the sugar/eggs down from the bowl every few minutes. Once sugar has dissolved completely (check by running meringue between your fingers, if no grains remain, you are done), fold in the vanilla extract followed by the flour/sugar/lemon zest mixture (best to do this in several batches, and *be gentle*)  Spoon mixture into muffin pan lined with muffin papers. The batter will stick out of the top of the muffin papers but it won’t overflow while baking. Bake at 350 F for 15-18 minutes, until tops become golden brown. Set aside to cool.

For the raspberry buttercream frosting:

Using a mesh strainer and a spoon, mash raspberries against strainer until only seeds remain, collecting raspberry juice below in a bowl. Set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the butter on medium high until light and fluffy. Beat in the powdered sugar, starting on low and increasing speed to medium once sugar begins to become incorporated. Beat for 2 or so minutes until all sugar and butter are well combined. Beat in vanilla and raspberries. *your buttercream may look broken but it needs to be beaten for several minutes to completely incorporate the raspberries* Beat on medium-high for one minute; scrape sides of bowl with spatula and repeat for 5 or more minutes until the color of buttercream is uniformly pink and smooth.

7.  Sweet Soft Cherry Bread with Cherry Almond Glaze

cherry bread with cherry almond glaze


For the bread:

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 8×4-inch loaf pans with floured cooking spray or lightly grease and flour the pans; set aside. Recipe may be baked in one 9×5 pan, as 4 mini loaves, or as muffins. Adjust baking time accordingly. Remove cherries from jar and place on a cutting board. Roughly chop them. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons flour (prevents them from sinking during baking) and toss to coat evenly; set cutting board aside. Set jar with the cherry juice aside. In a large mixing bowl, add 1 3/4 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, optional salt, and whisk to combine; set aside.  In a small mixing bowl or glass measuring cup, combine eggs, oil, all the cherry juice from the jar except 1/4 cup to be reserved for the glaze, almond extract, vanilla extract, and whisk to combine.  Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and stir to combine; don’t over mix. Batter will be very thick.  Lightly fold in the chopped cherries.  Turn batter out into the prepared pans, smoothing the tops lightly with a spatula. Strategically place a few cherries on top for visual appeal.  Bake for about 40 minutes, or until bread is domed, set, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Allow bread to cool in pans on top of a wire rack for about 15 minutes before removing and allowing to finish cooling completely on rack. While bread cools, make the glaze.

For the glaze:

In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup reserved cherry juice, almond extract, about 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, and whisk to combine until smooth and satiny. Add sugar until desired consistency is reached. Glaze the bread prior to serving. After the photos were done, I glazed much more liberally, spreading the glaze like butter on the interior of the slices.

8.  Strawberry Lemonade Bars

Strawberry Lemonade Bars


For the crust:

Beat together sugar and butter until light and creamy. Gradually beat in flour and salt until the mixture is crumbly. Press mixture into a 9 in. x 13 in. pan and bake at 350 degrees for 17 minutes.

For the filling:

While the crust is baking, place all filling ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into the hot crust when it’s finished baking. Bake for an additional 25 minutes or until the middle is set. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

9.  Frozen Raspberry Dessert

frozen raspberry dessert


Line a 8×4 bread (loaf) pan with foil.  Mash 2 cups of berries in a large bowl. Stir in condensed milk, lemon juice, and 2 cups Cool Whip.  Pour into the loaf pan.  In a plastic bag, combine cookies and butter.  Crush together with a rolling pin, and when combined, press over the top of the berry mixture.  Freeze at least 6 hours.  To serve, invert onto a plate, top with remaining Cool Whip and berries. Serve immediately.

 10.  Lemon Poppy Seed Cheesecake with Berry Puree

lemon poppyseed cheesecake with berry puree


Preheat the oven to 300°F. Butter a 9in springform pan. Grate the zest from the lemons and squeeze 4 tbsp lemon juice. Process the cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, cornstarch, and 3 tbsp lemon juice in a food processor until smooth. Add the eggs and process to combine. Stir in the poppy seeds and transfer to the pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until the sides of the cheesecake are beginning to brown. To make the berry sauce, puree the berries, sugar, and remaining 1 tbsp lemon juice in a food processor. Cover and refrigerate. Transfer the cheesecake to a wire cake pan. Run a knife around the inside of the pan. Cool completely in the pan. Cover and refrigerate at least 5 hours, until chilled. Remove the sides of the pan, slice, and serve, with the berry puree.

11.  Cherry Limeade Layered Mousse

cherry limeade layered mousse


Pour jello into two separate large bowls. Add 1 cup boiling water to each and stir until dissolved. Stir 1 1/2 cup ice into each, stirring until ice is melted and gelatin is soft set. You may need to remove a few slivers of ice. Refrigerate briefly, just until slightly thickened. Fold 1 1/2 cup of whipped cream into each until blended and smooth. Layer mixture into small bowls, jars, or one large trifle dish. Garnish with remaining whipped cream and cherries.

12. Fruit and Buttermilk Tart

fruit and buttermilk tart recipe


In a heavy saucepan, whisk sugar and flour together. Add eggs and buttermilk, and whip until mixed. Over medium heat, cook for 8-10 minutes or until pudding like thickness is achieved. Make sure to whisk constantly. Remove from heat, and add in vanilla bean paste. Cover and refrigerate for few 4-5 hours. Meanwhile, bake tart shells as per package directions, and let them cool completely. Spoon the above mixture into tart shells and top with seasonal fresh fruits.

13.  Orange Cake with Whipped Orange Frosting

orange cake with whipped orange frosting


For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans, line bottoms with parchment round and dust sides with flour. In a medium measuring cup with a spout, lightly break up the eggs and yolks. In a separate measuring cup, combine the orange juice and milk.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With the mixer set to low speed, add the cold butter one piece at a time, about 10 seconds apart. (You can keep half in the fridge while you add the first half of butter.) Continue mixing on low speed until all of the butter has been blended and there are no clumps. Mixture should have a fine crumbly, cornmeal-like texture. Gradually add the milk/orange juice mixture to these dry ingredients, and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all of the ingredients are well incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the egg mixture; once the mixture has been added, increase speed to medium and beat for 1 minute, but no more. Gently fold in the zest. Divide batter evenly among the 3 prepared pans (use a kitchen scale to ensure 3 even layers–cakes should weight ~460 g each). Place two of the cake pans on a baking sheet and bake until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs but no batter, about 23 minutes. Repeat with the final layer. Let the layers cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then loosen sides with thin metal spatula or knife, and carefully turn out onto wire racks, peel of the paper liners, and let cool completely.

For the Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream Filling:

In a small stainless steel bowl, place the cold water and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. In a small saucepan, bring 1/3 cup of the cream just to a simmer, then stir into the gelatin mixture until the gelatin has dissolved. Refrigerate, stirring frequently, until cool but not set, about 8 minutes. (Be careful to keep your eye on it, or you’ll end up with Panna Cotta!) In a chilled stainless steel mixer bowl with a chilled whisk attachment, beat the remaining whipping cream, icing/confectioners’ sugar, vanillla and salt until it thickens just slightly and soft peaks begin to form, about 1 minute. Very gradually add the gelatin mixture and continue beating until medium-firm peaks form (should be thick enough to spread). Fold in zest. Keep covered and chilled until ready to use.

For the Whipped Orange Frosting:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use “4″ on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy. Add sifted icing sugar, orange juice and salt, and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy and fluffy.

Assembly of the Orange Party Cake:

Trim any dark edges or crust from cake layers with a very sharp serrated knife. Place your first cake layer, face-up, onto a cake stand, plate or 8-inch round foil cake board. Fill your pastry bag with about 1-1/2 cups of the Whipped Orange Frosting and pipe a dam around the perimeter of the cake layer (this will keep our Orange-Vanilla Whipped Cream Filling in place). Place about 1 cup of the cream filling on top of the cake layer, inside of the dam. Gently spread the filling using a small offset spatula. Repeat until you come to your final cake layer, which you will place face-down. If you find the cake too soft and unstable, put in refrigerator for a few moments to firm it up, then resume. Use your clean offset spatula to carefully smooth the frosting so it’s flat against the cake. Cover the entire cake gently with plastic wrap (I like Press n’ Seal), and then, once covered, use your hands to carefully ensure the cake is lined up straight and flattening any lumps or bumps of frosting. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Once cake is stable and chilled, apply an even layer of frosting to the entire cake, to seal in crumbs. Chill again until frosting is firm, about 30 minutes. Place cake plate/board with cake onto a turntable, if possible. Be sure your remaining frosting is smooth and fluffy, working it with a rubber spatula for a few moments. You can even warm in microwave for a few seconds to soften it up. Divide frosting into 4 separate small bowls. Tint 3 of them: 1 orange, 1 bright pink, 1 bright coral (pink + orange). Leave the remaining frosting un-tinted. Place cake on a turntable, if possible. Using a small offset spatula, spread the orange frosting on the top of the cake, letting it extend about 1/2″ over the edge. Using a straight medium spatula, spread a thick layer of bright pink frosting along the bottom third of the entire cake, followed by the un-tinted frosting on the middle of the cake, and the coral on the upper third of the cake. Clean your medium straight spatula and then smooth the sides of cake, slowly turning the cake turntable while holding the spatula steady. Use your small offset spatula to smooth top of cake. Top with sanding sugar and sugar blossom, if desired.

14.  Puff Pastry Almond Twists

puff pastry almond twists


Start by toasting 1/2 cup of sliced almonds.  Take your defrosted puff pastry dough, and roll it out into a 12X12 square.  Sprinkle half the dough with some almond paste, brown sugar, and toasted almonds.  Fold the dough over and roll it out again, then slice the rectangle into ten 1″ strips.  Then twist the strips and lay them on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Put them in the oven for 16-19 minutes until puffy and golden brown.  Place on a cooling rack.  Then use butter, almond paste, confectioners sugar, and heavy cream to make the glaze.  Pipe it onto the twists once they are cool.  Sprinkle with more toasted almonds.


15.  Jam Shortbread



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line an 8-inch-square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang. Whisk the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Work in the butter with your fingers to make a crumbly dough. Refrigerate 2 tablespoons of the dough for topping. Press the remaining dough into the baking dish; freeze until firm, about 10 minutes. Bake the crust, 15 minutes. Spread the preserves on top, leaving a 1/2-inch border; crumble the reserved dough on top. Return to the oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, 25 more minutes. Let cool 20 minutes, then lift out of the pan and cut into squares.

16.  Lemon and Almond Rice Pudding

lemon and almond rice pudding


In a heavy, medium saucepan, combine the milk, rice, sugar, vanilla seeds, vanilla pod, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 35 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix together the lemon juice, amaretto, and lemon zest. Slowly stir the lemon mixture into the rice mixture and cook for 10 minutes longer. Remove the vanilla pod and discard. Stir in the whipping cream (mixture will still be runny but will thicken as it cools). Spoon the rice pudding into bowls. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  Sprinkle the chilled rice pudding with sliced almonds and serve.

17. Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

mocha chocolate icebox cake


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, espresso powder and vanilla. Mix on low speed to combine and then slowly raise the speed until it forms firm peaks. To assemble the cake, arrange chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan, covering the bottom as much as possible. (I break some cookies to fill in the spaces.) Spread a fifth of the mocha whipped cream evenly over the cookies. Place another layer of cookies on top, lying flat and touching, followed by another fifth of the cream. Continue layering cookies and cream until there are five layers of each, ending with a layer of cream. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Run a small sharp knife around the outside of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the top with the chocolate.

18.  Blueberry Fools

creamy blueberry dessert


Make the blueberry sauce: Heat 1 1/2 cups blueberries, 1/4 cup sugar and the salt in a saucepan over medium heat until bubbling. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the blueberries are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and juice; remove from the heat. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup blueberries and let the mixture cool to room temperature.  Beat the heavy cream in a bowl with a mixer or whisk until soft peaks just begin to form. Beat in the vanilla and the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Gently fold all but 1/3 cup of the blueberry sauce into the whipped cream. Divide among glasses and top with the remaining blueberry sauce. Serve with cookies.

19.  Easy Plum Tart

easy plum tart


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lay the pastry on a floured surface and cut in half. Sprinkle one piece with the almonds and some sugar; lay the other piece on top. Press together with a rolling pin to make a 6-by-14-inch rectangle. Score a 1-inch border with a knife. Pierce the middle with a fork and make small slits with a knife. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, brush with water and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a rack. Stir 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons water and the lemon juice in a heavy pan. Cover and cook over medium-high heat just until the sugar melts. Uncover and cook, swirling the pan, until amber, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; add the plums, 3 tablespoons butter and the vanilla pod and seeds. Cook over low heat, tossing, until the plums are soft and the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and swirl to combine. Transfer the crust to a platter. Top with the plums and half of the sauce. Serve with ice cream and the remaining sauce on the side.

20.  Blackberry Summer Pudding

blackberry summer pudding


Toss 4 cups blackberries with the granulated sugar, honey and lemon zest and juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently, uncovered, until the berries burst, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 4 cups berries. Let cool. Butter the bottom and sides of a 2-quart souffle dish and line with plastic wrap. Trim off the bread crusts, then line the bottom and sides of the dish with a single layer of bread, trimming the slices as needed to cover the dish completely. Spoon half of the berries and juice into the dish. Cover with a single layer of bread slices. Top with the remaining berries and finish with another layer of bread to completely seal the pudding. Pour any remaining juices over the top layer and cover with plastic wrap. Set a small flat plate on top and weigh it down with a large heavy can. Refrigerate the pudding at least 6 hours or overnight. Before serving, split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into a chilled bowl. Add the cream and confectioners’ sugar and beat with a mixer until it holds soft peaks. Remove the plate and plastic wrap and set the souffle dish in a sink filled with 1 inch of warm water to loosen the pudding. Place a serving plate on top, invert the pudding onto the plate and remove the plastic wrap. Serve with the whipped cream and more blackberries.

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