Don’t get us wrong- eating healthily is great. But sometimes, we just need something sweet and want to get creative in the kitchen. And baking is one of those great activities that you can do for practically any occasion, no matter what the weather is. When you’re in the kitchen, you’re both an artist and a scientist, with every aspect of your recipe completely dependent on both your personal tastes and exact numerical measurements. To help get you inspired for your next baking endeavor, we’ve handpicked these delicious recipes for you to try out. Here are our top dessert recipes for every color of the rainbow.
Red- Red Velvet Cupcakes
Few things are quite as classic as a soft red velvet cupcake with rich cream cheese frosting, and you can make your own in about an hour. You can make this recipe into cupcakes or one giant cake, although cupcakes are easier to share (and grab on the go). While the list of ingredients seems extensive, the process isn’t all that daunting, and in fact, is pretty therapeutic. The buttermilk gives the buttery flavor of the red velvet a bit of bite, and the cocoa powder lends a bit of a chocolatey taste.
When assembling the cupcakes (pouring the batter into the paper cups), try adding a bit of nonstick cooking spray to ensure they pop out effortlessly after they’ve cooled off completely. When making your frosting, leave the cream cheese and butter on the counter for about three-quarters of an hour before beating together with vanilla and powdered sugar. Any extra crumbs? Use your fingers to tear them apart and sprinkle them on your cupcakes for a pop of color.
Find our go-to recipe for awesome cupcakes here.
Orange- Iced Orange Cookies
Italian dessert recipes have a way of perfectly combining crunchy with delicate (like the world-famous Napoleon), and these orange cookies are no exception! With their irresistible icing (with fresh orange zest) and full-bodied cookie base, these are a bit reminiscent of Starbucks iced vanilla scones, only tangier and softer. Despite the distinctly old-world taste, these cookies are made with simple ingredients like all-purpose flour, butter, and white sugar, with fresh-squeezed orange juice and almond extract adding depth. This wedding cookie *espouses* the softness of store-bought sugar cookies (minus the preservatives) and the flavor of creamsicles (minus the preservatives). Next time you’re having trouble in a class, try whipping up a batch of these guys for your professor (and ask for a bit of extra help).
You can find this recipe here.
Yellow- Lemon Bars
If you’re on the lookout for a dessert that gets its vibrant color from its ingredients and not some sort of food coloring, this is the treat for you. This recipe is the result of dozens of tests to find which combination would provide the crispiest shortbread crust, the perfect lemon filling, and the prettiest color. You only need nine ingredients and an hour and a half to make these for yourself. Pro tip: putting your crust ingredients in a food processor, freezing for 15 minutes, and popping the crust in the oven for another 15 will ensure that you have a solid foundation upon which to build your zesty masterpiece. The only real patience required is waiting for them to cool! After you’ve cut them into squares, dust with lots of powdered sugar- this will give your bars an insta-worthy finish and cover up any imperfections on the top left from baking.
Green- Matcha Ice Cream
Matcha’s gained a cult following recently, and its incorporation into favorite desserts like cake, macarons, and more have only left us wanting more! This foolproof recipe is perfect for those days when you’re craving hipster dessert without the price tag (move over, avocado toast). Next time you head out to the store, we recommend stocking up on heavy cream, vanilla extract, condensed milk, and matcha powder so you can have some on hand when your friends come over to hang out. Plus, you don’t need an expensive machine to make this ice cream the perfect consistency- all you need is a hand mixer to beat the whipped cream and add the other ingredients before freezing for 5-6 hours. This recipe lasts quite a long time in the freezer too, so you can make a batch (one recipe makes 12 servings), set it, and forget it. Optional: ordering a dragon sushi roll to go with your dessert.
Blue- Blueberry Cobbler
It seems a little counterintuitive to incorporate fresh, crisp blueberries into a hot dessert, but this sweet-tart combo makes for a total show-stopping dish. This cobbler is a bit different than a pie or a buckle, because there is only crust (or batter) on the top, and you don’t physically combine the blueberries with the batter. Just slice your butter, put it in a glass tray while your oven preheats, combine your blueberry mixture (which includes lemon zest and sugar), and make your batter mixture to go on top. Then, after 40 minutes (or until the top is golden brown), take out your gorgeous cobbler and serve with some decadent French vanilla ice cream (we recommend Tillamook). Like you cobbler a little juicier? Go for frozen blueberries, which release more liquid as they bake. Find the recipe here.
Purple- Plum Cake
With September comes the prime time for produce such as heavenly plums, and this wonderful cake is the perfect way to welcome them. This recipe for plum cake features a generous supply of sliced plums, sour cream, and cardamom, all complementing each other perfectly to create a fluffy, rich, and subtly spicy desert. If plum season has (sadly) passed by the time you want to make this cake, try substituting with another stone fruit such as apricots or nectarines. No matter how you make this treat, you can be sure of one thing- the smell it leaves in your kitchen will have your roommates begging for a slice!
Did any of our dessert recipes tempt you to make a colorful treat of your own? Tell us in the comments below!
Anna Livia is a Junior Communications student at John Paul The Great Catholic University. Her hobbies include reading how-to guides on being an adult, exploring the many pockets around North Country (San Diego) and attempting whatever new pasta recipes appear on Pinterest. She hails form Los Angeles but aspires to live in Houston one day for a career in Magazine Editing (not to mention the low housing prices). Her perfect afternoon would include cats of any kind, hot cider, and Malcolm In The Middle.