Food & Drink

Dessert recipes with no more than 4 ingredients!

Two-Ingredient Pineapple Angel Food Cake
Two-Ingredient Pineapple Angel Food Cake

Whatever happened to this scenario: Setting down a platter of cookies or a cake and saying, “I made this.”

I admit to great disappointment when I go to parties and see a lot of people struggling to get the plastic lid off the dessert.

And yes, I know we’re all busy. But come on, a special occasion deserves more of an effort than driving to the supermarket and spending a lot more money than it takes to make one of these desserts.

And don’t give me the excuse that you don’t know your way around the kitchen. Bet on the numbers in these five recipes and you can do anything with minimal equipment, expertise and time.

Here’s the first one perfect for Memorial Day weekend. I can say it in two sentences and two ingredients: Buy and bake a batch of refrigerator cookies (or make your own); cool. Spread slightly softened ice cream (your choice of flavors) between two cookies to make an ice cream sandwich. Wrap and freeze. Thaw slightly and watch how fast they disappear. I’ve served these at parties and adults act like they’ve been given a summer treat that takes them back to their childhood.

Here are the rest. They are not meant to be gourmet offerings. None has more than four ingredients. Three start with a box of white cake mix; one uses refrigerated pie crust. The recipes are from Betty Crocker and tablespoon.com.

Go forth and create in your kitchen. I think you’ll really enjoy the sound of compliments after you say, “I made this.”

For best results, use a fruit-flavored carbonated beverage, such as orange, grape, strawberry or lemon-lime, in this recipe.

Two-Ingredient Soda Pop Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix

1 can (12 ounces) carbonated beverage of choice

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.

2. In large bowl, beat dry cake mix and carbonated beverage with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping side of bowl. Divide batter among cups.

3. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove to cooling rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. If desired, frost.

Makes 24 cupcakes (minus frosting), each with 80 calories, 1 gram fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 135 mg sodium, 17 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram sugar, 1 gram protein. Exchanges: 1 other carbohydrate. Carbohydrate choices:1.

Three-Ingredient Lemon Loaf

1 box white cake mix

1 container (5.3 oz) Yoplait Greek lemon meringue yogurt

1 cup water

1 tablespoon coarse sugar, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with cooking parchment paper for easier removal, if desired.

2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, yogurt and water with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping side of bowl as necessary. Pour batter into pan. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.

3. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on cooling rack 10 minutes; run knife around edge of loaf to loosen. Remove from pan to cooling rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

Makes 12 slices, each with 160 calories, 2 grams fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 280 mg sodium, 33 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams sugar, 3 grams protein. Exchanges:1 starch, 1 other carbohydrate, 1/2 fat. carbohydrate choices: 2.

Strawberry cream-cheese mini wraps

1 box refrigerated pie crust (2 crusts)

4 ounces light cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup powdered sugar

12 teaspoons strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out each pie crust and trim the edges to form a square. Cut each square into 6 equal squares. You should have 12 squares.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar.

Turn a square of dough so it’s shaped like a diamond, with one tip at the top and one at the bottom.

Spread 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture in each square, forming a line from the top point of the square to the bottom.

Spread 1 teaspoon jelly over the cream cheese. Fold a side corner in and then the other over it. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake 15 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned. Makes 12 servings. No nutritional information available.

Note: Try another flavor of jam or fruit spread, too.

This is a classic recipe that has been around a long time. The cake has no fat, is low in cholesterol and has 160 calories per slice.

Two-Ingredient Pineapple Angel Food Cake

1 box white angel food cake mix

1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray.

2. In large bowl, mix dry angel food cake mix and crushed pineapple until combined. Pour into pan.

3. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Cool upside down as directed on cake mix box, about 1 hour. Turn cooled cake out onto cooling rack. Use serrated knife to cut into slices.

Makes 12 servings, each with 160 calories, 0 grams fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 320 mg sodium, 36 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams sugar, 3 grams protein. Exchanges:1 starch, 1 1/2 other carbohydrate. Carbohydrate choices: 2 1/2.

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