dessert ideas for 25 women

I need to take a dessert to a women's group of about 25. I need some ideas that don't involve a lot of work and that are economical. Unfortunately the typical desserts feature cake-mix cakes or concoctions featuring Jello. Not the way I usually bake, but I don't want to get too elaborate. The dessert is served with coffee, tea, and usually a platter of fresh fruit. I'd like to make something pretty and delicious. I don't know of any specific food allergies. Help, anyone?

  • Posted by: ATL
  • April 15, 2015


Nancy April 22, 2015
Dear ATL - if your group met, what did you make, how did you serve it, how did the women like the dessert? if not yet met, please tell us later, when you can ;)
taxidog April 19, 2015
Trifle! You can use store bought cake if you'd like, lightly cooked frozen fruit, whip up some cream and a custard or pudding ( I'd go with homemade; much better and easy enough). The only issue is a container (or two). A cheap glass deepish bowl, vase etc. Try looking in kitchen and decorating sections. Just throw the layers in fairly evenly and chill. It looks fancy without much work.
PazzoNico April 16, 2015
A jar of nutella and a bunch of pretty spoons. :)
nutcakes April 16, 2015
Strawberry shortcake? Easy to make cream biscuits ahead, Cut and sugar the strawberries ahead. Already whipped cream will hold chilled or I would just use the prepared cans. If you don't want to make biscuits in the morning, you could do a few pound cakes a day or two before or even freeze. I like to fan 2 thin slices of the lemon pound cake from Baking with Julia--It is an especially easy recipe. You could use lemon extract or oil instead of zesting that many lemons.

Probably that would just be fine with cake and berries and you could get away with no cream or just a dab. Good with peaches too, in season.

I have a recipe for strawberry - rhubarb crisp if you need one. This is from Cindy Pawlycn. I leave the brandy out for crowds. You can make 2 or 3 pans of that.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

4 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
4 cups rhubarb, cut into ½-inch pieces, 7 stalks
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
1 tablespoon brandy

½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups flour
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup blanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Place strawberries and rhubarb in a large bowl. Mix together the sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon and add it to the fruit, along with the orange zest and brandy.

For the topping, combine sugars, butter, salt, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl. Add the flour, oats and almonds and mix until crumbly.

Spread fruit in baking pan, cover it evenly with two-thirds of the topping, and bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining topping over the top and bake another 15 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the top is golden brown and crisp. Serve warm with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Oil based cakes are least expensive.

ATL April 16, 2015
They sound lovely, thanks.
PieceOfLayerCake April 16, 2015
I love going individual pavlova for group desserts, especially when its a woman's function, because they often like things lighter. They are simple (literally egg whites, sugar and cornstarch/meringue powder) and easy to do in large quantities. I usually get a really good sorbet, fresh fruit and candied nuts to top them but one can use them for pretty much anything (curd, mousse, whipped cream, etc.). They can also be flavored and topped with nuts/cacao nibs/etc. before baking, in which case...they're ready to go. They also have a really good shelf life, so they can be made in advance. The only downside to them is they take a good hour - hour and a half to bake in a low oven.
Kate P. April 19, 2015
Something along these lines would be my suggestion too. You could simplify it even more by making good size meringues, which can be made days ahead and stored, and then taken along to the event with some whipped cream, lemon curd or nice yoghurt perhaps and fruit - either a compote of berries or something fresh. People can assemble their own dessert in what ever combination of ingredients they prefer according to their taste or dietary preference.
Healthline April 16, 2015
This Lemon Breakfast Bread is great for large gatherings. It's not too rich, so it goes really well with coffee/tea.
ATL April 16, 2015
I should have clarified--this is for an early evening get-together.
ChefJune April 16, 2015
Honestly, I don't know why anyone ever considers making a mix cake. Scratch cakes are no more difficult to make and ALWAYS taste better! This Coconut Pound Cake is stupid-easy, and everyone adores it. I'd recommend baking it up in a tall, pretty Bundt pan -- so much more festive than loaves, imho.
ATL April 16, 2015
ChefJune, I couldn't agree more. Cake mixes have that metallic aftertaste and then the canned icing--no thanks! Thanks for the Coconut Pound Cake recipe.
Bevi April 16, 2015
Maybe next time consider pavlovas. All you need is egg whites, sugar, and fruit of your choice. Easy peasy and really a beautiful "Ladies" dessert.
Hollie D. April 16, 2015
or these
ATL April 16, 2015
Thanks, Hollie D! I have made madeleines before and they are beautiful--but wanted something more substantial for this occasion.
Hollie D. April 16, 2015
I made these recently for an after brunch treat and they were great. Just the madeleine pan is needed. can make batter a day ahead.
samtaylor April 16, 2015
There's a few tasty desserts on here - specifically the 5 Minute Chocolate Chip Pudding Cakes. So easy, and very tasty!
ATL April 16, 2015
Thank you all for great ideas! I think I'm going to make some kind of cheesecake bars--yum. KimmyV, I'm enticed by your scones. Could you please post the recipe? Thanks, all!

Voted the Best Reply!

arcane54 April 16, 2015
How about a bar cookie? cheesecake bars, lemon bars, nanaimo bars, pecan bars. Even a gussied-up brownie or blondie would work (if chocolate even needs gussy-ing). Bar cookies are easy (you're making one or two vs. many), very portable, and can be scaled to individual appetites. Recipes abound on this site and other websites. Have fun!
KimmyV April 16, 2015
I make scones all the time for large gatherings. I get frequent requests for them. I usually make cinnamon chip scones. You can even make the dough ahead of time and bake them later. So easy and always a big hit. If you are interested ill post my recipe.
Nancy April 16, 2015
Agree with scones. If you're making them now, try Nuaghty rhubarb scones (on this site) for a spring touch. For economy and to let people eat as much or as little as they want, make mini scones or bake them in mini muffin tins, if it doesn't offend your sense of the recipe's origins.
ChefJune April 16, 2015
Altho I love scones, I never think of them for dessert. To me they are breakfast/brunch food.
Nancy April 16, 2015
Chef June - of course, have your opinion. But/and scones are served at yes, so why not a few hours later at a coffeeklatch?
Nancy April 17, 2015
"At yes" was meant to be "at tea"
Bunnee B. April 15, 2015
I've made these mini-cheesecakes several times. Super-easy and the main ingredients are Nutella and cream cheese. You'd have to double the recipe but they keep for three days in the refrigerator, so you could do ahead.
keg72 April 15, 2015
What about a mousse or a tiramisu (scaled up as needed) instead of cake? That might be a nice departure. Or, if you'd prefer a cake, Louisa's cake and this chocolate Bundt cake are both great -- you'd just need to make a couple.
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