It’s finally summer and I don’t know about you, but the picnic and barbecue invites are already abounding. I’ve always favored bringing dessert because I enjoy baking… plus summer desserts always look pretty without a lot of fuss.
The key to all the summer party madness is having a few, solid recipes up your sleeve. My favorite summer go-tos are cute desserts that incorporate fresh fruit. Let’s face it, as delicious as chocolate is, nobody wants to wolf down a triple chocolate cake when it’s 80 degrees outside—not even this chocoholic. Nope, I want light desserts that leave me satisfied without overdoing it.
Here are a few of my faves that are simple and always end up being crowd pleasers!
Blueberry Poppyseed Bundt Cake
Bundt cake is a great option for picnics and other small gatherings. Its easy to make and easy to divvy up! And you don’t need a lot of technique to decorate it. Simply sprinkle some powdered sugar over top or drizzle a glaze down the sides. While you may be skeptical about adding seeds that are typically found on bagels, poppy seeds are very trendy (and delicious) dessert ingredient. They make a great addition to cake, adding not only a subtle flavor but also great texture. Top with ice cream or serve as is.
- 3/4 stick butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 1/4 cups flour, plus 1 tbsp
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Combine sugar and butter and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
4. Add dry ingredients and the milk to the wet mixture, alternating between the two. Add poppy seeds.
5. In a small bowl, sprinkle 1 tbsp of flour over the blueberries and mix well. This will prevent their blue hue from running into the batter and turning it blue, too!
6. Grease pan and pour in mixture.
7. Bake for 25-35 min, or until a pick comes out clean. Allow it to cool in pan for about 10 minutes before inverting and placing on cooling rack.
How to Make the Glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 drop vanilla
- 2-3 tsp milk
Combine and whisk. Continue adding milk until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Pour over bundt cake and enjoy!
Vanilla Cupcakes With Fresh Strawberry Frosting
I’m obsessed with homemade strawberry frosting. Not only is it delicious, it’s also a strong childhood memory for me. My mother made me one of those cakes that looks like a dress on a Barbie doll for my fifth birthday. It had homemade strawberry frosting on it – and I can still remember the taste all these years later. I’m extremely picky about my vanilla cake, and I finally found amazing recipe from Amy Sedaris that’s fluffy, airy, and moist. Combine that with strawberry frosting and you have a blockbuster dessert.
The strawberry frosting isn’t the only great thing about this recipe. You can decorate cupcakes a hundred different ways—they’re truly an anytime, anywhere kind of dessert (which makes them a perfect option for that barbeque you got invited to just this morning). This recipe makes 18-24 cupcakes, depending on how high you fill the cups. I’ve frozen leftover, unfrosted cupcakes before and taken them out 3 or so hours before I needed to decorate with fantastic results.
- 1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/4 cups milk
1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
2. Mix butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla.
3. Combine the dry ingredients in another bowl. Add to the wet mixture, alternating with the milk.
4. Grease muffin pans. How you grease them depends on how you want to decorate these cupcakes. For instance, you can dress ‘em up with sprinkles and pretty wrappers or you can go rustic with a Mason jar theme. If you are going to use Mason jars, be sure to grease & flour the pan since you will not need to use cupcake liners.
5. Fill pans 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or when a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Let cool on the wire rack for 5-6 minutes before removing from the cupcake tin.
- 5-6 chopped strawberries
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
Beat the strawberries until they are broken up and mushy. Add butter and powered sugar. Add milk a bit at a time until it reaches desired consistency.
When you add fresh fruit to a frosting it will tend to be a little runnier from the natural liquids in the fruit. You will not be able to pipe this type of frosting – so count on a more “homemade” look to your cupcakes. I like to refrigerate them right after I frost so the frosting sets, and then take them out about 5-10 minutes before serving.
Mason Jar Decoration
To go with the Mason jar theme, cut 2 cupcakes in half. Stuff the bottom half of the cupcake into the bottom of the Mason jar, facing up. Spoon a layer of frosting on top, then stuff the top half of the first cupcake on top. Repeat until all four pieces are layered in the Mason jar. Top with a fresh strawberry!
Baking for summer parties can be stressful without a plan – but now you have one. Keep the key ingredients around your place and you’ll sail through the summer party season stress-free, and with delicious desserts by your side.
Had enough sugar? Check out these delicious and easy dinner ideas.