The Best Make-Ahead Desserts

Updated April 17, 2017

Whether you're planning a dinner party, a picnic or a special meal at home, many foods can be made the day before. Some foods even taste better after the flavours have had time to blend. This is especially true of refrigerated desserts. Add finishing touches such as whipped toppings immediately before serving.

Raspberry Delight

What could be better than vanilla wafers, a cream cheese filling, raspberry gelatin and fresh berries in a dessert that you make the night before. Crush about 50 vanilla wafers. Add 1/4 cup of melted butter. Press the mixture into a 9- by 13-inch pan. Reserve 1/2 cup of crumbs for the topping. Mix together 3/4 cup of soft butter, 2 cups of icing sugar and one 85.1gr. package of cream cheese. Spread this over the crust. Sprinkle a layer of chopped nuts on this filling. Mix together two packages of frozen raspberries and a package of prepared raspberry gelatin. Chill until the gelatin thickens and spread it over the nuts. Whip 1 1/2 cups of cream. Stir 3 tbsp of icing sugar into the cream and spread it over the gelatin layer. Sprinkle the top with the reserved crumbs and chill the dessert overnight.

Cherry Cream Pie

Combining the goodness of cherries with cream cheese and a graham cracker crust tantalises the most finicky taste buds. Begin by mixing together 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of melted butter and 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs. Press this mixture into an 8- or 9-inch pie pan. Add 1 cup of icing sugar and one 227gr. package of cream cheese to a tub of whipped topping. Pour this mixture into the pie shell. Let it chill for an hour. Spread a can of cherry pie filling over the chilled layer. Allow it to chill for at least three more hours before serving.

Applesauce-Gumdrop Cake

This cake satisfies the most eclectic tastes for the wholesomeness of moist applesauce cake. The addition of gumdrop pieces instead of dried fruits make it even better. Mix together 1 cup of melted shortening and 2 cups of sugar. In another bowl mix 4 cups of flour, 2 heaping tsp of baking soda, 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1/8 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of cloves. Alternately add the flour mixture and 3 cups of applesauce to the sugar mixture. Fold in a box of raisins, 1 cup of black walnuts and 1 cup of chopped red, green and yellow gumdrops. Bake the cake in a greased and floured tube pan at 149 degrees Cor two hours.

PB and J Pudding

Combining toasted peanut butter and jelly with the nutrition of vanilla pudding results in an irresistible make ahead dessert. Spread four slices of toast with peanut butter. Add a layer of jelly to each one. Cut the toast in small cubes. Divide the toast cubes between four or five dessert dishes. Prepare one package of instant vanilla pudding. Pour the pudding over the toast cubes in each dish and chill for several hours. Add a spoon of whipped topping on each dish and put about a 1/2 tsp of jelly in the centre of the topping as the finishing touch.

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About the Author

Gracie Sprouse has been writing professionally since 1976. Her areas of expertise are in antiques, crafts, real estate, income taxes and small businesses. Her education consists of an Associate of Applied Science with a business and accounting major from Piedmont Virginia Community College.