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Last Minute Dessert Ideas

Now that school’s out and summer is here, we are all enjoying the warm temperatures and longer days. Summer is definitely the season for last minute backyard get togethers with family and friends. Since I love to bake, dessert is usually what I bring to these social gatherings. For a planned event, I love to browse through my recipes to find something perfect depending on the season and number of guests. Sometimes though, if it is a last minute potluck, I often don’t have the time to plan and shop, so I depend on some staples that I always try to keep in my pantry.

Recently, I made a chocolate loaf cake. This is a great dessert for a smaller crowd, as it’s quick,  easy and you can dress it up several different ways, depending on what’s in your fridge.

Chocolate Loaf Cake


1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup sour cream or plain greek yogurt, room temperature

1 2/3 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks

1/2 cup hot coffee (or hot water) I always use coffee


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
  2. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment cream butter and both sugars until combined, about 2 to three minutes.
  3. Add in eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl between each addition.
  4. Next add vanilla and sour cream or yogurt.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and cocoa powder.
  6. Add half the dry ingredients to the mixer and incorporate, then add the rest and mix just until combined- don’t over mix.
  7. Add hot coffee or water and beat on high for one minute.
  8. Fold in chocolate chips by hand and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out mostly clean
  10. Place the cake on a cooling rack and cool completely.
  11. Once cool, loosen edges with a knife and remove cake to cutting board.


If you have to leave before your cake has cooled, simply bring the cake in the pan to your party, and cut it there, otherwise you can wrap in foil as you would a loaf of bread. I had some fresh raspberries in my fridge, a carton of whipping cream, and a bottle of ghiradelli chocolate sauce so I tossed them in a bag, and off I went. I individually plated each dessert, and voila. Doesn’t it look pretty? This also works well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream  drizzled with chocolate sauce, a chocolate ganache, or simply dust with a little powdered sugar and if you have an herb garden you can add a sprig of mint.

Chocolate Ganache

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

3-4 tablespoons milk

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and whisk to combine. After the cake has cooled, remove from pan and drizzle with ganache. Allow it to firm up before slicing. (about an hour)

Pantry essentials for the baker


granulated sugar

brown sugar

powdered sugar

baking soda

baking powder

cocoa powder

semi sweet chocolate chips

pure vanilla extract

graham cracker crumbs

active dry yeast

For the Fridge



milk (or almond milk)

plain greek yogurt (or coconut milk yogurt)

frozen berries and fruit ( great for a last minute cobbler)

There is so much you can do with a few basic ingredients and a little imagination.

Have a great week!~ May

Where there’s a whisk, there’s a way.

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