It is time to reinvent your desserts — but not with a revolutionary recipe or one that is overcomplicated and involves ingredients you’ve never heard of. Instead, you can repurpose foods that already have a sweet taste into another dessert. Sometimes this is totally straightforward — hardly transforming the original food. Other times, it can take the food and use it in a way you hadn’t previously imagined.
There can be several reasons for wanting to make a dessert into another food. In certain instances, it can reduce food waste. Other times, it jazzes up a dessert that isn’t going stale, but its taste has become boring to you. Transforming one food into another can also just be fun, and who doesn’t like an unexpected dish? One thing is certain, you’ll never look at excess sweet foods or leftovers the same way again.
1. Donut cake
We’ll kick it off with donut cakes. This is a case of simply using a food in a new way, and the only skill it requires on your end is plating. How your cake stacks up is entirely at your discretion. If you have a tiered cake stand, you can fan the donut around the various levels, like My Juice Cup did. Without a cake stand, you can still make a pyramid out of your donuts, or vertical stacks, using toothpicks to help keep your donuts in place. Another trick is to use dabs of icing as “glue” for structural purposes.
2. Cake pops
But what about when you have too much actual cake? In that case, you have everything you need to make cake pops. The Bakery explains how to make any bits of leftover cake into the perfect pop.
- cake scraps and/or cake made to destroy and form into delicious balls (chocolate)
- 1 can of frosting (chocolate)
- 1 bag of chocolate
- as many cake pop sticks as you think you will need (a dozen or so)
- Styrofoam or a cake pop stand
- mixing bowl
- Pyrex or other microwave-safe bowl
Directions: In a mixing bowl, mangle your leftover cake. You can use a food processor, a fork, your hands, whatever. Dump some (not all!) of the frosting in with the cake and mix it up. Continue adding frosting until you get a semi-solid sticky lump of chocolatey goodness. If you can’t form the whole thing into a ball that holds its shape you may have gone a bit too far with the frosting. That’s OK! Make more cake! And then keep working it until you get a good consistency.
Form the sticky chocolatey lump into balls that are an inch or two in diameter and set them on a cookie sheet. Jam a cake pop stick in them and set them in the freeze to chill for 15 to 20 minutes. When the cake pops are just about ready to pull out of the freezer, dump your bag of chocolate into the microwave safe bowl and nuke it until melted. You’re not cooking it here, just melting it, so go easy on the timing.
Pull out your cake pops, dip them in the chocolate so they’re completely covered. Hold them for a moment until the excess has dripped off, and then dip them or cover them in sprinkles. Poke them into your styrofoam or set them in your cake pop holder, and put them back in the fridge to freeze overnight. You can also set them back on the cookie sheet, but you will get weird flat-topped cake pops.
3. Cookie cupcakes
But you might be plagued with cookies, not cakes. Perhaps you and the person you live with both ordered massive quantities of Tagalongs from the Girl Scouts. Or your cupboards are suffering from an Oreo-overdose. When that happens, it’s time to start baking. For a substantial cupcake foundation, turn to cookies. Whether you make the Culinary Chronicles’ “Tagalong” cupcakes or this Oreo cupcake by Beantown Baker, you’ll having a delightful dessert with a surprise at the bottom.
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2¼ cups flour, plus 2 tablespoons for the Oreo chunks
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1⅔ cup sugar
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 package Oreo cookies (about 45 cookies)
- cream cheese frosting (recipe here, or purchase pre-made container)
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan. Twist apart 24 Oreos. Place the wafer with filling on it, filling side up, in the bottom of each paper liner. Cut other wafers in half. Save 24 halves to place in the frosting. Crush the other wafer halves, also for garnishing.
Cut the remaining Oreo cookies into quarters with a sharp knife. Toss with 2 tablespoons flour and set aside. In a large bowl cream the butter until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the milk and vanilla and mix to combine. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix until integrated. Stir in sugar. With an electric mixer on low speed, beat for 30 seconds. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes. Add the egg whites. Beat for 2 more minutes. Stir in the quartered cookies. Fill the cupcake lines three-quarters full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.
Once cupcakes have cooled completely, frost with cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle with crushed Oreos and place 1/2 of an Oreo on the frosting of each cupcake.
4. Bread pudding
Moving on to food that is starting to sour, bread pudding can extend the shelf life of most breads, or dough-based foods. It works especially well with brioches and regular breads, but also for cinnamon rolls (like Love Bakes Good Cakes recommends), or with waffles — what Zoe Bakes chose to do.
- 4 to 5 leftover waffles
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream, plus more to serve on top
- 8 yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or ½ vanilla bean
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
- 4 cups whole fresh or frozen strawberries
- ¼ to ½ cup sugar (depends on the sweetness of the strawberries)
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
Directions: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and butter a 9-inch-by-13-inch oval baking dish. Whisk together the milk, cream, yolks, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, zest, and brandy. Arrange the waffles in the baking dish and pour the custard over the top. Press the waffles down into the custard and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the waffles to absorb the custard.
Bake, tented with foil for about 45 to 50 minutes. Check it after about 30 minutes to make sure the custard isn’t already set up. You can turn the pan at this point and remove the foil. Test the custard by poking the center to make sure it is no longer liquid. Once it sets up like thin pudding, it’s done. It should not set hard or the custard will not be smooth.
While the pudding bakes make the strawberry sauce by placing all the strawberries, sugar, zest and 2 tablespoons water into a pot with a lid and cook over low heat. You want to cook the fruit gently so it will not fall apart. Cooking times will depend on the fruit.
Spoon the berries over the pudding and add a dollop of freshly whipped cream. The pudding can be served hot or at room temperature. Switch out the whipped cream for ice cream and serve as dessert.
Budino is an Italian dish, and it means “pudding.” However, that does not mean the dessert resembles anything what is made with instant Jell-O packets. Rather, you’ll be making something more akin to a cake, and using leftovers to give it texture. The Galley Gourmet used Pepperidge Farm Bordeaux cookies, but explains that biscotti, or any cookie or dry cake will add the desired taste qualities.
- 2 extra large eggs
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1¼ cups heavy cream, plus more for topping
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups coarsely crumbled biscotti, cookie, or dry cake
- 3½ ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder, sifted
Directions: Line an 8-inch cake pan with plastic wrap, leaving a few inches of overhang on all edges. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar. Add the cornstarch and continue whisking until no lumps remain. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and milk to a simmer. Remove from the heat and pour 1 cup of the mixture into the eggs and sugar, whisking constantly to temper the eggs.
Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the milk and cream. Return the pan to medium heat and whisk continuously until the custard thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes. Do not let the mixture come to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate, cookie, vanilla extract, espresso powder, and cocoa powder. Stir until combined and until the chocolate has completely melted. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and cover with plastic wrap, laying it directly on top of the pudding. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
To serve, remove the top sheet of plastic wrap, invert the pudding onto a serving plate, and remove the plastic wrap. Garnish with more cookies, grated chocolate, and lightly sweetened whipped cream. Cut into wedges and serve. Enjoy.