In the summer, the right desserts can take you from overheated and famished to elated and relaxed. They're cool, creamy and fruity -- with the perfect balance between sweet and refreshing.
Celebrate (or if you're really sad about it, mourn) the fleeting days of summer's end with these 15 light and luscious treats. After all, you'll need to load up on warm-weather fruits before the reign of pumpkin spice begins.
Three milks -- evaporated, sweetened condensed and heavy cream -- take a vanilla cake from tasty to positively delicious and perfectly soaked in creamy liquid. Fresh berries speckle the frosting for a bit of tartness in each sweet bite.
This cake is a triple threat. Its base consists of chewy, buttery, brown sugary peach blondie. Its center is made of cool and creamy caramel cheesecake. And it's all topped off with finishing touches of peaches soaked in cinnamon brown sugar and rum, studs of whipped cream and a healthy drizzle of caramel.
Betty Crocker's pie crust is unique in that it's made extra rich with egg yolks, and in addition to butter flavor, it's enhanced with vanilla bean and limoncello. The bodacious crust is filled with mascarpone cheese and whipped cream -- a delightfully luscious topping with the essence of yet more vanilla and lemon. The final creation is vibrantly decorated with raspberries and spread with raspberry jam for glossiness.
Egg whites do marvelous things when beaten with sugar and baked -- like form this delicate, airy disc of sweet deliciousness. It's spread generously with sweetened whipped cream and piled high with fresh berries, which have been tossed in Ina Garten's triple raspberry sauce. It's incredible already, but since my mom and I are gluttons, we like to add Nutella.
Pound cake is cut meticulously to get rid of any evidence of crust. It's then layered with a lemon curd mascarpone cream and blueberry sauce. It's frozen until set so each slice shows layers that even the most self-deprecating of bakers would be proud to have created.
Bring the flavors of Disney World to your home for cheap with just three ingredients: frozen pineapple, pineapple juice and vanilla ice cream. Serve it on its own, as a float with extra pineapple juice or soda, or as the star ingredient in a wonderful dessert cocktail situation.
Crumbly butter cookies mingle blissfully with vanilla ice cream that's nearing the melted stage, especially when thoroughly stirred with tart yet sweet strawberries, warm and roasted in a sticky mixture of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup.
Heavy cream forms a gelatin-like custard in the classiest of ways when enhanced with the essence of vanilla bean. The world's easiest berry compote comes together in minutes with frozen berries and sugar for a tart contrast with the cool, mild panna cotta.
If you can make sugar cookies, you can make these easy-as-pie (well, easier than pie) bars. Their cookie crust is smeared with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting before frozen and bejeweled with ruby red strawberries.
Cocktail or sundae? It's a perfectly boozy, layered concoction of ice cream, whipped cream, vodka-infused blueberry filling with a mint leaf on top. Enjoy it as a dessert or as the perfect happy hour treat for you and someone very cool.
White cupcakes resembling the finest of soft snow are cut in half and filled with yet more airy wonder: fluffy whipped cream, plus slivered strawberries.
White rice cooks slowly until it soaks up the moisture from almond and coconut milks, along with the flavors of vanilla and honey and the texture of coconut flakes. Chunks of fresh mango add fruitiness to every bite, while toasted coconut lends a welcome crunch.
This ethereal, cloud-like dessert must be the true stuff of angels. The trifle-like concoction begins with angel food cake, made even lighter when cut into cubes and folded into cream cheese and evaporated milk. The creamy cake mixture is layered with sweetly tart blueberry filling and whipped cream. Eat this when you need a mental vacation somewhere high in the sky.
You'll be sad when the strawberry cheesecake -- made light-ish with Greek yogurt -- portion of these popsicles is gone, but with a good inch of buttery graham cracker crust, the ending sure is sweet.
These guilt-free ice cream sandwiches come together with not one, but two flavors of the country's trendiest ice cream: Halo Top's lemon cake and strawberry flavors, sandwiched simply between two graham crackers.