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Quick and Easy Desserts

Desserts at a Moments Notice


2009 Basic Trifle Photo by Carroll Pellegrinelli, licensed to About.com

Basic Trifle

2009 Basic Trifle Photo by Carroll Pellegrinelli, licensed to About.com
There are times when you just don't have the time or the energy to make a dessert completely from scratch. Or you may also lack the space to make elaborate desserts. Below is a list of food items to keep on hand for those times. I've also listed a couple of dessert ideas. Use your imagination. Remember presentation is more than half the battle. If it looks delicious, then it will probably taste delicious. Unlike everything else in baking, these desserts are not an exact science. Ingredients and amounts are up to your creativity and judgement.


  • Cake Mix
  • Brownie Mix or frozen homemade Brownies
  • Pudding Mix
  • Frozen Pound Cake*
  • Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt
  • Whipped Cream, Frozen Whipped Topping, or Spray Can Whipped Topping
  • Hot Fudge Sauce, Chocolate, Butterscotch or Strawberry Syrups and maybe some other flavors.
  • Flaked Coconut**
  • Toasted Nuts
  • Assorted Candy Bars or Pieces
  • Fruit, Fresh, Canned or Frozen
  • Jar of Maraschino Cherries, stems on
  • Nonpareils or Decors (like red hots, chocolate jimmies, and colored sugars)
  • Tube Frostings with Decorator Tips
  • Birthday Candles


Ice Cream Sundaes

  • Prepare your brownie mix. (I like to add a bag of peanut butter chips to the mix. Regular chocolate, chocolate mint or even butterscotch will work, as well. Once cooled, cut the brownies into 3" squares or use a cookie cutter for pretty shapes. In soup bowls or any other wide bowl, place a brownie. Top with a scoop of ice cream. Pour heated hot fudge sauce over top. Put a whipped cream cloud on next. Sprinkle with salted Spanish Peanuts. Finish with a maraschino cherry.
  • Tortes

  • (A torte has a couple of different definitions but for this example, it is a many layered cake.) Cut your pound cake into four equal layers, horizontally. Crush or chop several candy bars. Mix with the whipped topping. (Save some crumbs or pieces for garnish.) Frost the first layer with 1/4 of the topping mix. Repeat with the remaining layers. Frost the cake with the last 1/4 of the topping mixture. Chill until set. Garnish slices with leftover candy bar crumbs.
  • Trifles

  • (A trifle is a layered dessert of cake, pudding, and topping, displayed in a trifle bowl or a deep glass bowl.) Prepare vanilla pudding according to package directions. Cut pound cake into 1" cubes. Layer 1/3 whipped topping, 1/2 cake cubes, 1/2 pudding, sliced strawberries, 1/3 whipped topping, remainder of cake cubes and pudding, blueberries and top with remainder of whipped topping.
  • *Lightly toasting pound cake, right before serving, will bring out all the wonderful flavors.

    **Coconut and nuts keep well in the freezer.

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