Summer is the sweetest time of year, and there’s no better way to brighten those lazy days than with the perfect treat. And sometimes you don’t want to wait until after dinner to satisfy that sweet tooth. That’s why we collected our favorite mini takes on fun summer desserts — so you can indulge whenever you want.
Whether you want to beat the heat with something cool or creamy or savor a taste of summer with something light and fruity, we’ve got an easy recipe just for you. Our Woman’s World test kitchen even came up with some clever shortcuts so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying. So keep scrolling for the fun summer desserts that are guaranteed to delight.
1. Choco Cherry Cola Cupcakes
Cherry cola is the delicious secret to these moist and tender bites.
- 2 (10 oz.) jars maraschino cherries with stems, drained
- 1 (16.5 oz.) pkg. devil’s food cake mix
- 1 (12 oz.) can cherry cola
- 2 cups whipped topping
- 1½ cups chocolate almond frosting, like Betty Crocker Almond Joy
- Heat oven to 350ºF. Reserve 24 cherries with stems. Remove stems from remaining cherries; mince. Line 2 cupcake pans with papers.
- Prepare cake mix according to package directions, substituting cola for water, eggs and oil. Stir in chopped cherries. Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake 15 – 17 min., or until done. Let cool.
- Dollop each cupcake with 1½ Tbs. whipped topping. In microwave-safe bowl, melt frosting. Drizzle over cupcakes. Top with reserved cherries.
2. Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Cupcakes
Creamy mint ice cream and crunchy chocolate cookies come together in a dessert that is sure to cool down even the hottest summer night.
- 9 chocolate sandwich cookies
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbs. semisweet mini chocolate chips, divided
- 3 cups chocolate mint chip ice cream or frozen yogurt, softened
- 1¼ cups sweetened whipped cream
- In processor, combine cookies and ¼ cup melted chocolate chips. Pulse 30 sec. or until well blended. Divide mixture evenly among 6 lined cupcake wells. Press with spoon to make firm layer. Freeze 10 min. or until firm.
- Divide ice cream evenly among cupcakes. Freeze until ready to serve. Unwrap cupcakes. With pastry bag and open star tip, pipe whipped cream over tops. Garnish with remaining mini chocolate chips.
3. Muffin Tin Lattice Cherry Pies
Store-bought dough makes quick work of these handheld delights brimming with summer sweetness.
- 2 lbs. fresh or frozen cherries, pitted
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 cup, plus 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 3 9″ prepared piecrust dough
- 1 egg, whisked
- In saucepan over medium heat, combine first 4 ingredients and 1 cup sugar. Simmer for 20 min.
- Heat oven to 350°F. Roll out pie crusts. Using 4-inch circle cookie cutter, punch out rounds of piecrust, and press gently into 12 greased muffin tins. Cut the remaining piecrust into strips.
- Spoon ¼ cup of the cherry mixture into each muffin tin. Create a lattice pattern on top using the strips of piecrust. Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Surprise-Inside Waffle Sundaes
Talk about fun summer desserts! These cute cups combine zesty lemon curd and strawberry ice cream for a sweet treat.
- ½ cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 Tbs. butter
- ½ cup lemon curd
- 1 qt. strawberry ice cream
- ½ pint each fresh raspberries and blackberries
- 1 pkg. (4 oz.) 8 waffle bowls, like Keebler
- In small microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate and butter 30 sec. at a time until chocolate is melted, stirring occasionally.
- Divide chocolate mixture, lemon curd and berries evenly among waffle bowls.
- Scoop ice cream into bowls just before serving. Garnish with fresh mint, if desired.
5. Glazed Orange Mini Bundt Cakes
These delights get a gourmet-easy upgrade with a touch of citrus in both the batter and the glaze.
- 1 (15.25 oz.) pkg. French vanilla cake mix
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- ⅓ cup oil
- 1 (3.4 oz.) pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
- 1 Tbs. grated orange zest
- 3-4 Tbs. orange juice or milk
- 2½ cups confectioners’ sugar
- Assorted fresh berries and mint
- Heat oven to 350ºF. Coat 2 mini Bundt pans with baking spray with flour. On low speed, beat cake mix, eggs, oil and pudding mix until blended, 30 sec.; on medium, beat 2 min. Stir in zest.
- Divide batter among pan wells. Bake until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, 18-22 min.; cool 10 min. Transfer from pans to rack; cool completely.
- In bowl, stir together 3 Tbs. orange juice and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, thinning with more juice as needed for pouring consistency. Drizzle over cakes. Garnish with berries and mint.
6. Waffle Bowl Ice Cream Sundaes
Our genius candy-coated waffle bowl makes this dish even more dynamite — make ’em ahead so you can fill with ice cream whenever a craving strikes.
- ½ cup white candy melts
- 4 waffle bowls, from 7 oz. pkg.
- Multi-colored dragées (for decoration only)
- ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 4 mini brownies, such as Entenmann’s Little Bites, halved
- 3 cups ice cream, such coffee, strawberry and vanilla
- 1 cup thawed frozen whipped topping
- 3 Tbs. chopped hazelnuts, toasted
- Maraschino cherries
- Melt candy melts according to package directions. Brush candy in ½”-wide border around edge of each waffle bowl. If desired, immediately sprinkle dragées over candy. Let stand until dry, 15 min.
- In microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate chips and 2 Tbs. water in 15-sec. intervals, stirring, until melted and smooth. Evenly divide brownies among bowls. Top with ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped topping, hazelnuts and cherries.
7. Blueberry-Lemon Cheesecake Parfaits
Ready-made pound cake layered with an easy-prep filling make these impressive treats a cinch to put together.
- Half of 1 (10.75 oz.) pkg. frozen pound cake, thawed
- 1 (6 oz.) cont. blueberries
- 3 Tbs. cream cheese
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- Lemon slices, mint and additional blueberries
- Cut cake into ½”-thick slices then into cubes. Evenly divide cake cubes among 6 dessert glasses. Dividing evenly, top cake cubes with half of 1 cont. blueberries.
- On medium speed, beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and zest until smooth. Add 2 Tbs. heavy cream; beat until blended. Add remaining cream; on medium-low, beat to firm peaks.
- If desired, transfer to pastry bag fitted with star tip. Pipe or dollop half of cream mixture over berries. Top with remaining berries, then remaining cream cheese mixture. Garnish with lemon slices, mint and additional berries.
8. Coco-Watermelon Ice Pops
Impress everyone when you serve these layered treats that are super-simple to make.
- 3½ cups diced seedless watermelon
- 5½ Tbs. sugar
- 2 Tbs. lemon juice, from 1 lemon
- ½ cup canned coconut milk, well shaken
- 6 kiwis, peeled
- In blender, puree watermelon, 2 Tbs. sugar and 2 Tbs. lemon juice. Skim off foam.
- Pour into 10 (⅓ cup each) ice pop molds. Insert sticks; cover. Freeze until slushy, 3 hrs., stirring occasionally.
- In bowl, whisk coconut milk with 1½ Tbs. sugar; chill 30 min. Pour on top; freeze 45 min.
- Purée kiwi with remaining sugar. Spoon on top; freeze until set, 2 hrs. Run molds under warm water 30 sec. to release.
9. Mini Blackberry Crumbles
Warm blackberry-ginger compote meets buttery cornbread crumbles and rich vanilla ice cream to create a treat that’s impossible to beat.
- 1 (8.5 oz.) pkg. cornbread mix
- ¼ cup sugar
- 6 Tbs. butter, melted
- ⅓ cup chopped pecans
- 6 cups fresh blackberries
- ½ cup mixed berry preserves
- 1 Tbs. chopped candied ginger
- Vanilla ice cream
- Raspberries, additional blackberries and mint
- Heat oven to 350ºF. In bowl, combine cornbread mix, sugar, butter and pecans. Mix with fingertips to form crumbs. Transfer to greased baking sheet. Bake, stirring once, about 12 min., or until crumbs are golden brown; cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, in pot, combine 5 cups blackberries, preserves and ginger; over medium heat, bring to boil, mashing berries. Reduce heat to low; cook 5 min. Cool slightly. Stir in remaining blackberries.
- Divide blackberry mixture evenly among 10 dessert glasses. Top with crumbs and ice cream. Garnish with berries and mint.
10. Peach ‘n’ Berry Air-Fryer Shortcakes
No oven needed for this summer classic — we “baked” the biscuits in an air-fryer.
- 4 peaches or nectarines, pitted and sliced
- 4 Tbs. + 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbs. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ½ cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup + 3 Tbs. buttermilk
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- 1½ cups fresh raspberries
- Line air-fryer toaster oven tray with parchment paper.
- In bowl, toss peaches with 2 Tbs. sugar; let stand.
- In separate bowl, mix next 4 ingredients with 2 Tbs. sugar. Using two knives, cut butter into flour mixture until coarse crumbs form. Stir in 1 cup buttermilk until dough forms; on lightly floured surface, roll out to 1” thick. Using 2½” round cutter, cut out 8 rounds. Brush with remaining buttermilk and sprinkle with remaining sugar.
- Place rack in air fryer toaster oven; heat to air-fry bake at 425°F. In batches, air-fry shortcakes until golden, 15 min.
- On medium-high speed, whip cream to medium peaks. Reserve ½ cup whipped cream and 8 raspberries.
- Split biscuits; divide peach slices and juice evenly over biscuit bottoms. Top with remaining whipped cream, raspberries and biscuit tops. Garnish with reserved whipped cream and raspberries.
11. Lime Cheesecake Ice Box Stacks
We like to make these tangy-sweet treats up to 1 day ahead to allow the cookies time to soften and soak up more of the creamy filling.
- 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
- 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
- 8 key limes, zested and juiced
- 1 (11 oz.) box large vanilla wafers
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 key limes, thinly sliced
- In food processor, blend cream cheese, condensed milk, ½ cup lime juice, 2 Tbs. lime zest and a pinch of salt until smooth.
- Place 6 wafers on a baking sheet. Top with 1 Tbs. key lime cream. Top with another wafer; repeat so there are 5 wafers total in each stack.
- Using electric mixer, whip heavy cream, sugar and vanilla until peaks form. Pipe whipped cream on top of each stack right before serving.
- Cut the remaining lime slices into quarters. Place a lime slice on top of each stack.
12. Frozen Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes
These multilayered individual treats are sure to wow yet come together quickly and set up in the freezer — no baking required.
- 28 Famous chocolate wafers, finely ground (1½ cups)
- 4 Tbs. butter, melted
- 1 (6 oz.) cont. fresh raspberries, 1½ cups
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, at room temp.
- ½ cup seedless raspberry jam
- 1 tsp. raspberry extract
- 1½ cups sweetened whipped cream
- Fresh raspberries and mint sprigs (optional)
- Line 12 muffin cups with foil lined cupcake papers. In bowl, combine crushed wafers and butter. Dividing evenly, press into bottom of cupcake liners.
- In bowl, mash raspberries with sugar until smooth; strain. In food processor, combine cream cheese, raspberry puree, raspberry jam and extract. Process until smooth, 1-2 min., scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- Divide mixture evenly among cupcake liners. Cover; freeze until solid, at least 6 hrs. or overnight.
- Peel papers from cakes while still frozen. If desired, transfer whipped cream to pastry bag fitted with medium star tip. Pipe or dollop onto cupcakes. If desired, garnish with raspberries and mint.
13. Raspberries and Cream Parfaits
From-scratch fudgy brownies studded with semisweet chocolate chips guarantee these easy individual treats disappear fast.
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 1 (10 oz.) pkg. semisweet chocolate, melted
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tbs. + 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 Tbs. espresso powder
- ¼ cup mini chocolate chips + additional
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar
- 2 (6 oz.) conts. raspberries
- Heat oven to 325°F. Line 8” square baking pan with enough foil to overhang sides by 2”; coat with cooking spray.
- In large bowl, whisk together butter, chocolate, sugar, eggs and 1 Tbs. vanilla extract until smooth. Whisk in flour, baking powder and espresso powder until fully incorporated. Fold in ¼ cup mini chocolate chips. Pour into baking pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging, about 25 min. Transfer to rack; let cool completely in pan.
- Once cool, using foil overhangs, lift brownie from pan; carefully remove and discard foil. Transfer brownie to cutting board; cut into 1” squares.
- On medium speed, beat heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and remaining vanilla until soft peaks form, 2-3 min.
- Place 1 brownie square and 2 raspberries in bottoms of each of 12 shooter glasses; dividing evenly, dollop with whipped cream. Repeat layering 3 times. Garnish with remaining raspberries and chocolate chips.
14. Cherry Ice Cream Mini Sandwiches
These 6-ingredient sweets are easy to customize with your favorite cookie and ice cream flavors.
- 3 cups vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
- 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted, chopped
- ½ tsp. almond extract
- 3 drops red liquid food coloring
- 18 chocolate wafer cookies, from 9-oz. pkg.
- ⅓ cup hot fudge topping, melted
- Additional whole cherries
- Line rimmed baking sheet with wax paper. In bowl, combine ice cream, 1 cup cherries, extract and food coloring. Transfer to freezer-proof container; cover. Freeze until slightly firm, 2 hrs.
- Dividing evenly, spread mixture over flat side of each of 9 cookies. Top with remaining cookies flat side down, pressing gently together and smoothing sides with back of spoon. Transfer to baking sheet. Freeze until set, 1 hr. Serve garnished with fudge topping and additional cherries.
15. Pink Lemonade Cupcake Bites
This fun twist on a classic summertime sip will have adults and kids alike begging for seconds.
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ cup milk
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
- 16 oz. strawberry frosting
- ½ tsp. lemon extract
- Heat oven to 350°F. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar 1 min. or until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat 30 sec. or until combined. Add flour and baking powder; beat until combined. Add milk, ¼ cup lemon juice and 1 Tbs. lemon zest; beat 2 min.
- Divide batter among 14 lined cupcake wells; bake 18 to 20 min. or until done. Let cool.
- With mixer on high speed, beat frosting and lemon extract until fluffy. Transfer to piping bag fitted with small star tip (like Wilton #2110). Pipe frosting on cupcakes. Garnish with fresh raspberries and lemon slices, if desired.
16. Berry Mini Pavlovas
These crispy outside, chewy inside delights are bound to bring smiles.
- 3 egg whites, at room temp.
- ¼ tsp. cream of tartar
- ¾ cup superfine sugar
- 2 cups whipped cream
- 2 cups mixed berries
- Heat oven to 200°F. Line baking pan with parchment paper.
- On medium, beat egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. On medium-high, gradually beat in sugar until stiff and glossy.
- Pipe 6 (3”) disks on pan; pipe 2 rows along edge of each disc. Bake until crisp and dry, about 1½ hrs.
- Turn off oven; let cool in oven. Top with whipped cream and mixed berries.
17. Mint-Kissed Cookies ’n’ Cream Stacks
Whipped coconut cream creates a divinely light, dairy-free filling for these simply scrumptious make-ahead treats.
- 2 cans coconut milk like Taste of Thai or Grace, chilled overnight
- 6 Tbs. powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp. peppermint extract
- 1 (9 oz.) pkg. chocolate wafer cookies
- ¼ cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 8 chocolate mint candies, like Andes
- Chill mixing bowl and electric mixer beaters 15 min. Carefully open cans of coconut milk. Scoop only thick solids on top into chilled bowl (about 1¾ cup). Beat on high speed 3 min. Add powdered sugar and extract; beat 2 min. or until thickened. Tint to desired color.
- Transfer mixture to pastry bag fitted with open star tip, like Ateco #822. Using 5 cookies for each stack, arrange 8 cookies on platter. Pipe thin layers of whipped coconut cream between cookies. Top with last cookies. Garnish with coconut and candy.
18. Layered Berry Mini Mousse Cakes
These impressive stacks are a snap to make, thanks to a quick-prep cookie crust and prepared jams.
1½ cups (9 oz.) chopped white chocolate
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, at room temp.
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbs. sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup seedless raspberry jam
6 Tbs. blackberry jam
8 soft raspberry-filled cookies, like Archway
½ pint fresh raspberries
½ pint fresh blackberries
- In bowl over hot water, warm white chocolate with cream cheese until white chocolate is just melted. Let cool.
- In bowl, beat together heavy cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into white chocolate mixture. Divide mixture into thirds. Stir raspberry jam into one portion and blackberry jam into second portion.
- In processor, pulse cookies to crumbs. Place six 3” x 2” cake rings on wax paper-lined baking sheet. Divide cookie crumbs evenly among rings, pressing with spoon to compact. Layer rings with blackberry, vanilla, then raspberry mousse.
- Cover and freeze 2 hrs. Unmold; garnish as desired.
19. Key Lime Tartlets
Prepared puff pastry dough makes it foolproof to bake up these mini marvels.
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup key lime juice
- 1¼ cups sugar
- ½ cup butter
- 4 drops green liquid food coloring
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 1 (17.3 oz.) pkg. frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
- Grated lime zest
- In medium bowl, beat eggs. In pot, combine juice and 1 cup sugar; over medium-high heat, bring to boil. Slowly whisk hot mixture into eggs; return to pot.
- Over low heat, cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, 2 min. Remove from heat. Stir in butter until melted and blended; stir with food coloring. Transfer to bowl; cool to room temp. Cover; refrigerate until cold, 2 hrs.
- Heat oven to 400°F. Grease 10 (4”) tartlet pans. Working with 1 dough sheet at a time, roll out into 14”x12” rectangle. Using 4¾” round cookie cutter, cut out 5 rounds shapes per sheet.
- Fit into tartlet pans; with fork, prick bottoms. Line each with square of foil; fill with dried beans, rice or pie weights. Bake 15-20 min. until lightly browned. Remove foil and beans. Bake 4-5 min. until bottoms are baked through; cool.
- Beat cream with remaining ¼ cup sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold 2 cups whipped cream into lime mixture. Transfer remaining whipped cream to pastry bag fitted with medium star tip; refrigerate. Evenly divide lime filling among tartlet shells.
- Cover; refrigerate until set, about 2 hrs. Just before serving, garnish with piped whipped cream and lime zest.
20. Mini Brownie Whoopie Pies
Fruity buttercream frosting is sandwiched between shortcut fudgy cookies for guaranteed bite-size bliss.
- 1 (18.3 oz.) pkg. chewy fudge brownie mix
- ⅓ cup oil
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup butter, at room temp.
- 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
- ½ cup raspberries
- ½ cup strawberries, chopped
- 1 tsp. strawberry extract
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease baking pans.
- In large bowl, combine brownie mix, oil, egg and 2 Tbs. water until blended. Drop by rounded Tbs. 2” apart on baking sheets; press down slightly by ¼”. Bake 7-8 minutes or until just set in center. Cool 1 minute on pans. Transfer from pans to rack; cool completely.
- On medium-high speed, beat butter, sugar, berries and extract until frosting is fluffy and light pink, 2-3 min.
- Spread frosting on 12 cookie bottoms. Top with remaining cookies pressing lightly together.
21. Sunflower Mini Cakes in Jars
Chocolate chip centers and frosting petals make for the sweetest decoration on these surprisingly easy mini layer cakes.
- 8 green gumdrops
- Green edible glitter
- 2½ cups butter, at room temp.
- 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
- Golden yellow concentrated food coloring
- 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup milk
- 24 yellow cupcakes
- 16 (8 oz.) canning jars
- 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
- Store-bought candy ladybug decorations
- Knead 2 gumdrops together; on wax paper, roll out to ⅛” thickness. Sprinkle and press on edible glitter. Cut 1½” leaves from gumdrops. Repeat with remaining gumdrops and glitter; reserve.
- On medium speed, beat butter until fluffy. On low, gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, then vanilla. In separate bowl, tint 1 cup frosting yellow with coloring; transfer to pastry bag fitted with small leaf tip; reserve.
- On low, gradually beat cocoa and milk into remaining frosting; on medium, beat until fluffy. In batches, transfer to separate pastry bag fitted with medium star tip.
- Cut each cupcake in half crosswise. In each jar, layer 3 cupcake halves with chocolate frosting. Pipe ring of yellow frosting on each top. Add leaves; pipe on ring of petals, leaving 1” area open in center. Fill centers with chocolate chips. Decorate with ladybugs.
Can’t get enough fun summer desserts? Check out these delicious recipes:
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