Pineapple Layer Cake & More Quick Summer Desserts


By the time August rolls around most of us are tired of the usual summer menu. A steady diet of grilled foods and watermelon will eventually become boring, no matter who's doing the cooking. And one can only eat so many salads and sandwiches.

One way to perk up interest and appetite is to serve a dessert. Not just any dessert will do. It's too hot to spend time working on anything that requires hours of preparation. So I'm about to share a few recipes from my selection of Boxed, Canned, or Frozen Desserts. Each is easy and quick.

The blueberry pie recipe uses canned blueberry filling. It's an unusual recipe and I've never seen another similar to this one. The addition of marshmallows and orange zest intensifies the flavor. Using a frozen or refrigerated piecrust will also speed up preparation. One note about the streusel topping. The pie will be at its best on the day it's cooked. By the second day the topping may become slightly soggy. The pie may be served without any extra topping, but either vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream will dress it up a bit.

All the ingredients in the pineapple cake are boxed, canned, or frozen, except for the ingredients required to mix the cake. Keep the major items on hand and the cake may be thrown together for a last minute cake emergency. This is a pretty cake and garnishing it with coconut or chopped pecans gives it a more festive look. This cake may be prepared in a 9x13-inch baking dish rather than in two layers. However, there will be more icing than can be used on the cake. To solve this problem, use the same amounts of pudding and pineapple, but cut back on the amount of whipped topping.

And now, one of my favorite desserts. The combination of baked crust, ice cream and strawberries is irresistible. Although the recipe specifies the use of a refrigerated piecrust, homemade crust will add a nice touch. The pastry strips may be baked ahead and stored in a plastic bag. This dessert sounds almost too simple to be good, but it really is a nice ending to any meal. The recipe indicates it will yield four servings. These will be generous servings. On several occasions I have divided this into five or six smaller bowls to accommodate the crowd on hand.

One tip about these three desserts. There's no reason to limit their use to just the summer months. Maybe ice cream is a bit much in January, but for the rest of the year and the rest of the recipes, keep the ingredients handy.

Blueberry Pie


  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 21-ounce can blueberry pie filling
  • 1 cup marshmallows
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 9-inch unbaked pie crust


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F degrees.
  2. Combine the sugar and flour.
  3. Use a pastry blender or two knives to cut in the butter and 1 tablespoon orange zest until the mixture forms small crumbs. Set aside.
  4. Combine the pie filling, marshmallows and the 2 teaspoons zest, stirring gently.
  5. Pour into the crust.
  6. Sprinkle and smooth the crumb topping evenly over the filling.
  7. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is golden.
  8. Cool on a wire rack.

Pineapple Layer Cake


  • 1 18-ounce package yellow cake mix
  • 1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 3-ounce package instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 12-ounce carton frozen whipped topping, thawed


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees.
  2. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
  3. Mix the cake according to the package directions.
  4. Add the drained oranges, beating until well combined.
  5. Pour in the prepared pans.
  6. Bake about 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool 10 minutes and turn out of the pans onto wire racks to cool completely.
  8. For the icing, mix the pudding and pineapple together.
  9. Gently fold in the whipped topping.
  10. Ice between the two layers and on the top and sides of the cake.
  11. Store in the refrigerator, tightly covered.

Strawberries, Cream and Crust


  • 1/2 15-ounce package refrigerated ready-to-use piecrust (use 1 crust)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • vanilla ice cream
  • 2 10-ounce packages frozen strawberries in syrup, partially thawed
  • Preparation:

    1. Preheat the oven to 425°F degrees.
    2. Unfold the piecrust and cut along the fold lines to make 4 wedges.
    3. Cut each wedge into three strips.
    4. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the sugar.
    5. Bake about 10 minutes until lightly browned.
    6. To serve, put three strips of crust into four serving bowls, breaking crust in half if necessary to fit the bowl.
    7. Place a large scoop of ice cream in each bowl and top with the strawberries and syrup.