Desserts for a Crowd

Carrot Cake Squares

Desserts for a large crowd are the one thing that everyday cooks are least likely to prepare. For big crowd functions,  desserts are often store-bought and arrive at the event in abundance.

Making desserts from scratch for a large crowd does not have to be overwhelming or overly complicated. Most guests will welcome a simply done cake, ice cream or fruits dressed with a luscious homemade sauce.

Basic Yellow Cake with Simple Creamy Icing

Bake in two 12 x 18 x 2 inch pans or six 9” round cake pans. Serves about 60

Well maybe not all that easy but this recipe delivers a HUGE cake.

2 lbs plus 5 oz cake flour
3 ¾ tbsp baking powder
1 lb shortening
2 lbs plus 13oz granulated sugar
2 tsp salt
2 cups whole milk
8 large eggs
2 ½ cups milk
2 tbsp vanilla

Place flour, baking powder and shortening in an extra-large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape sides and mix for 3 more minutes. Combine sugar, salt and milk. Add to flour mixture. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape sides and mix for 3 more minutes.

Combine eggs, milk and vanilla. Add half to flour mixture. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides and mixing for an additional 1 minute. Repeat with remaining egg mixture, mixing for 2 ½ minutes more.

Carefully divide batter evenly between pans. Bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes.

Top with Simple Creamy Icing or Chocolate Icing. Also good topped with whipped cream, ice cream or simply sprinkled with powdered sugar

Simple Creamy Icing
Makes 1 ½ quarts

12 oz butter
½ cup evaporated milk
1 tbsp vanilla
2 lbs sifted powdered sugar

Cream butter in mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add milk and vanilla and mix until blended. Gradually add sugar and mix until smooth and creamy.

For Chocolate Icing: Increase milk to 1 ¼ cups. Add 6oz cocoa powder sifted with the sugar

Simple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This cake will serve about 60 2” x 3” portions. Bake in 2 well-greased pans 12” x 18” x 2”

2 lb 6 oz granulated sugar
2 ½ cups vegetable oil
9 eggs
1 lb 12 oz all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons table salt
5 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 lb 8 oz carrots, grated
1 lb nuts, use pecans or walnuts; toasted and chopped

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil and eggs. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Combine flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

Slowly add dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat 1 minute or until blended but not overmixed. Add carrots and nuts. Mix by hand until combined.

Divide evenly into pans and bake at 325°F for 40-45 minutes. When cooled, top with Cream Cheese Frosting


Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes about 1 ¾ quarts of frosting

12 oz cream cheese, softened
2 oz unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup milk
2 lb 12oz powdered sugar, sifted
1 tbsp vanilla

Blend cream cheese, butter and milk in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Gradually add sugar. Add vanilla and beat until smooth and spreadable.



The recipe makes 2 pans 12” x 18” x 1”.  Enough to serve 50-60 guests 1 brownie each.

These light and tender brownies come together in a snap and will satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.

15 eggs
2 lb 4 oz granulated sugar
18 oz melted butter
2 tbsp vanilla
14 oz cake flour
10 oz cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
12 oz nuts, toasted and chopped (optional but delicious)

Beat eggs on high speed for 5 minutes. Add sugar, butter and vanilla and mix for 5 minutes until blended.  Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

Gradually add to wet the egg mixture and mix on low speed for about 3 minutes. Add nuts if using and blend by hand.

Divide batter evenly into lightly greased pans. Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes. Watch carefully as not to overbake. 

Brownies should be soft to the touch when done. Remove from oven and allow to cool.


Everyone's Favorite Apple Crisp

This easy fruit dessert can be made with other fresh or unsweetened frozen fruits such as peaches.

Use two 12 x 20 x 2 inch pans for baking.   This recipe serves about 70.

16 lbs apples, sliced
12 oz. granulated sugar 
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 lb 4 oz butter, softened
12 oz all purpose flour
12 oz quick cooking oats, uncooked
1 ½ - 2 lbs light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
8 oz pecans, toasted and finely chopped (optional)

Mix sugar and lemon juice with sliced apples. Place apples in well-greased pans. In large bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix until crumbly. Distribute topping evenly over apples in both pans.

Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream


Mini Cherry Cheesecakes
Makes 72 little cheesecakes

6 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 1/3 c. sugar
6 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cans cherry pie filling
72 vanilla, chocolate or cinnamon wafers.  Check the package.

72 paper baking cups      

Mix cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Place a vanilla wafer in paper baking cups, placed in 2-inch tins.  Fill to 1/3 inch from top.  Bake 15 minutes at 350°F.

While still warm, put cherry pie filling on each cake.  Remove from cup cake tins when cool.

Top of Desserts for a Crowd


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