Ready Yourself for the Summer with these Scrumptious Desserts

The days are longer, the flowers are blooming, and the birds are chirping. Summer is fast approaching, and what better way to celebrate than with a few easy summery recipes? 

Mini Pavlovas 

Named after the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, this dessert is the epitome of summertime treats. It is light yet rich, and is the perfect canvas to show off your fresh summer berries! Traditionally, pavlova is made by making a cake-sized meringue base and is topped with whipped cream and fresh berries. However, these mini pavlovas are easier to assemble (provided that you have access to meringue nests), look beautiful, and taste just as delicious. 

Ingredients:

  • Meringue nests 

  • ½ cup whipping cream

  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract 

  • Fresh berries of your choice 

  • Mint for garnish (optional) 

Method:

  1. Begin by emptying the heavy cream into a large mixing bowl. Add vanilla and whisk until soft peaks form.

  2. Place a meringue nest on your serving plate of choice and top with whipped cream and berries.

  3. Place another meringue nest atop the first layer and add more whipped cream and fresh fruit. 

  4. Garnish with mint (optional) and enjoy. 

Rosemary Lavender Cake with Blueberries

Blueberry rosemary sponge cake Original photo by Anya Fonstein

While this cake is probably the most challenging recipe I will recommend here, it is worth the effort. The sponge cake is light and fluffy, and pairs nicely with the whipped cream. The lavender and rosemary flavours give the cake a subtle springtime aura and complement the taste of the fresh blueberries. The cake was inspired by a recipe from the food blog Olive and Mango.

Ingredients for the sponge cake:

  • 5 large egg whites (room temperature)

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

  • 3 cups cake flour 

  • 1¾ cups sugar

  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder

  • ¾ tsp salt

  • 12 tbsps unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes

  • 3 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

Ingredients for the frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)

  • 4-6 cups powdered sugar

  • ¾ cup heavy cream

  • 2  tsp dried lavender bud 

  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract

  • Fresh blueberries (overtop) 

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to about 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit). 

  2. Grease and line your baking dish of choice (I used 9 inch round cake pans).

  3. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and set aside.

  4. Add the softened butter and milk, and beat with a mixer until fluffy. 

  5. In a large mixing bowl add egg whites, vanilla, and rosemary.

  6. Beat the egg white mixture with two tsp sugar until stiff, glossy peaks form

  7. Carefully fold in the egg white mixture until just combined.

  8. Add the butter to your baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

  9. Let cakes cool completely.

  10. In a small saucepan, heat the cream (without simmering) and add the lavender.

  11. Use a sieve to strain out the lavender and let the mixture chill in the refrigerator completely. 

  12. In a large mixing bowl, add butter and powdered sugar and beat with an electric mixer until combined.

  13. Slowly stream in the chilled lavender cream and beat until your desired consistency is achieved.

  14. To assemble, top each layer with your frosting and add fresh blueberries. 

No-Bake Cheesecake with Fresh Fruit

Cheesecake with raspberries Original photo by Anya Fonstein

What I love about this no-bake cheesecake recipe is how simple it is. The filling is just three ingredients (plus vanilla and lemon juice if you feel inclined), and it comes out light, creamy, and decadent. Since no baking is required, all you have to do is let the cheesecake sit in the refrigerator overnight to set. I actually prefer this recipe to the much harder and more time-consuming traditional style of cheesecake, which is typically made with eggs and baked in an oven.

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 750g full-fat cream cheese (room temp)

  • 100g icing sugar

  • 300ml double/heavy cream

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)

  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract (optional)

Ingredients for the crust:

  • 350 g graham crackers (or digestives)

  • 175 g salted butter (melted)

Method:

  1. Add your biscuit of choice to a food processor along with melted butter and mix until a sandy consistency is achieved.

  2. Press the sandy mixture into the bottom of your dish of choice.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, add cream cheese and sugar and beat on medium speed until creamy and combined.

  4. Add heavy cream and flavorings and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.

  5. Pour cream mixture into your dish and leave it in the refrigerator overnight to set. 

  6. Top with fresh fruit of your choice.

Funfetti Cupcakes (from a box)

cupcakes, baking Photo by Brooke Lark from Unsplash

Last but not least: funfetti cupcakes! Yes, I’m serious. Boxed cake mix will always have a soft spot in my heart. I love the artificial taste, though it is not for everyone, and find the pops of color fun and bright. One of the benefits of using boxed cake mix is that the cakes do not dry out as easily, so this recipe could be a good choice for someone who is looking to make their dessert last longer. The cupcakes are obviously simple to make and are certainly a crowd-pleaser.

Ingredients and method:

  1. Just follow the box!