My motto is that no event or occasion is complete without a special homemade dessert. And, while the creative test kitchen person in me is always on the lookout for something new to bake, the realist often surfaces … I don’t have time! That’s when I remember there are so many recipes that I really like and I find so easy to make in my personal recipe box (these days an electronic version) that have the added advantage of “wow” factor when presented to guests. Here are a few to try:
I’ve loved cheesecake–any kind of cheesecake–forever. When you combine it with my favorite fruit–raspberries–and chocolate, as it is in this Raspberry Fudge Cheesecake … heaven!!!
While many people feel intimidated about making cheesecake, most recipes are really easy to make. Start by carefully measuring out the ingredients with appropriate measuring cups (liquid measuring cups for liquids, dry measuring cups for crumbs, sugar, etc.). Then make the chocolate wafer crumb crust in a 9-inch springform pan. Spread the crust with ganache (fancy word for chocolate melted in heavy cream), sprinkle with the berries and add the cream cheese filling. Bake according to the directions given in the recipe. The moisture added to the oven by adding a pan of water to a bottom oven rack, along with the slow cooling, helps reduce the chance of cracking. Best of all, even if the cheesecake cracks (and mine always seems to when I’m baking for a special occasion), the ganache topping covers it up! Just before serving, remove the springform sides, add more raspberries for garnish and you’re done!
When I’m in a time crunch and need an impressive dessert fast, I turn to Wilton Dimensions® pans. The detail and definition on cakes baked in these pans is awesome. One of my favorites is the Cascade Pan, and my favorite recipe to make in it is White Chocolate Pound Cake – a white cake mix made richer with melted white chocolate and other add-ins! The best part is the versatility of how you serve this cake. Here it’s shown with blueberries, strawberries and multi-colored grapes, but it’s delicious with any fruit! Want a scoop of ice cream with it? Yum! A drizzle of chocolate ganache, raspberry syrup or a favorite liqueur? Enjoy!
When nothing but a layer cake will fit the bill, I enjoy adding an element of surprise. That’s when I pull out the Fanci-Fill™ Cake Pan Set and make Mocha Raspberry Decadence Cake (did I mention I love raspberries!) This too is made with a cake mix (let’s be honest, while I love baking from scratch, I rarely have the time or all the ingredients in the house). The twist is in the creamy light raspberry filling which fills the tunnel baked into the cake. It’s all topped off with coffee flavored Vanilla Whipped Icing. You can also make this cake as a traditional layer cake using 8 x 2 or 9 x 2 in. round baking pans.
For more great cake recipes, check out our recipes section!