6 All-Time Classic American Summer Desserts—With a Twist

·3 min read
Blueberry-cheesecake Icebox Cake
Blueberry-cheesecake Icebox Cake

Christopher Testani

In the great ball game of warm-weather desserts, these classic recipes are home runs. They take full advantage of the season's fruit, and please crowds with a doubleheader of nostalgia and newness. Most can be made ahead of time, some as long as a week ahead, so you don't miss out on any afternoon fun.

Related: Summer Fruit Desserts You Can Make with Five Ingredients or Less

Blueberry-Cheesecake Icebox Cake

This regal no-bake dessert gets its showstopping looks from the genius technique of layering graham crackers vertically, rather than the usual horizontal take. There's a lemony cream-cheese mixture and a blueberry filling holding the crackers in place. And yes, it's make-ahead as this beauty needs time to freeze till firm.

Peach Lattice Pie

Pie is a year round favorite but peach pie, it's a summer special. This charming lattice-topped number has a super-silky texture inside, our secret is peeling the fruit. The crust is our extra-flaky recipe and to preserve its shape and ensure a superior flake, be sure to keep the pie chilled before baking—that way, the butter in the dough melts only when it hits the oven.

Peach Lattice Pie
Peach Lattice Pie

Key-Lime Mousse Pie

Another grand slam dessert, this modern riff on the Key-lime pie is an all-round winner. The whipped cream-lime curd filling tastes like a tart Creamsicle. It goes into a baked crust of crushed spice cookies, gets a shower of lime zest, and chills in the fridge, you can make it up to 12 hours ahead.

Key-lime Mousse Pie
Key-lime Mousse Pie

Red-Velvet Ice Cream Sandwiches

Red-velvet cake got its name from its maroon color (courtesy of the natural cocoa used in early recipes) and soft, delicate crumb. Here, it transforms an ice cream sandwich. Bake the cake first, then, once it's cool, slice it in half, layer in softened store-bought ice cream, and freeze for at least eight hours. Prior to serving, cut it into rectangles and freeze them to set, then dunk both sides in melted bittersweet chocolate, freezing again after each coating. Then, enjoy blissful bites of crunchy shell, rich cake, and cool creaminess.

Red-velvet Ice Cream Sandwiches
Red-velvet Ice Cream Sandwiches

Strawberry Shortcakes

In a radical move, instead of the usual biscuit, this take on the beloved sweet is built with individual cakes inspired by the minis sold at the supermarket alongside strawberries this time of year. Our one-bowl cupcake batter is easy-peasy, bake it in a muffin-top or cupcake pan, and once they've cooled, slice the cakes horizontally and fill them with macerated strawberries and whisked cream. The result is  perfection on a plate.

Strawberry Shortcakes
Strawberry Shortcakes

Sour-Cherry Cobbler

Warm, buttery cake meets bright, tangy sour cherries in this easy take on an American classic. With a nod to the dessert's humble roots with 17th century settlers, it's made in a cast-iron skillet. As it bakes, the fruit drops down and the cake rises up, creating a lovely intermingling of sweet and tart that tastes even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Sour-cherry Cobbler
Sour-cherry Cobbler