Happy Endings

I like desserts. But, during the summer season, I don't always feel like making them. Schedules are busy, the weather is beautiful and I don't want to fuss with such things.

But ... what if making dessert weren't such a fuss?

Enter the recipes in this month's column. Normally, I try to include unique ideas and even some frilly recipes here. Not this month. This month is all about getting something sweet on the table without breaking a sweat. Of course, you can always dress up the recipes here. The cake can find a creative frosting and decorations or the "mousse" can be layered with chocolate syrup or any other sauce or sprinkles you desire. So these aren't really desserts that should be relegated to the back burner of life. They are special enough for company -- especially if you spruce them up a bit. So sit back and enjoy the thought of being able to have your cake and make it too!

Easy Coke Cake

Diet soda will work in this recipe as well and some of the flavored varieties -- like cherry or vanilla -- add an especially nice touch.
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain devil’s food cake mix -- no pudding in the mix varieties
  • 1 can (12 ounces) cola-flavored soda
  • Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix the cake mix and soda. Once the batter is moist, spray a 9x13-inch glass baking pan with cooking spray and pour the batter into the pan, spreading it evenly to the edges of the pan. Bake the cake as directed on the cake mix packaging. If desired, decorate the cooled cake with powdered sugar, chocolate frosting or enjoy as-is with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

  • Yields: 16 servings
  • Preparation Time: about 45 minutes

Easy Chocolate 'Mousse'

While this isn't really a mousse at all, its light texture and creamy taste will make you think that's what you're eating -- and the time savings will make it a great dessert option.
  • 1 3/4 c. skim milk
  • 1 package (3.9 ounces) chocolate fudge instant pudding mix
  • 1 container (8 ounces) frozen fat free non-dairy whipped topping, thawed

Pour the milk into a large bowl and add the pudding mix. Beat on the lowest speed of a mixer for about minutes. Carefully fold in the thawed whipped topping until the color of the mixture is even. Spoon the mixture into dessert glasses and garnish as desired. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before serving.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: about 30 minutes
As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!

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