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28 Desserts That Rely on a Shocking Ingredient

Desserts with tomato soup? Chow Mein? Baby food? Surprise your family and friends with delicious desserts that have crazy secret ingredients!

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Cornflakes: Not-Fried Ice Cream Cake

We created this ice cream cake to mimic the popular dessert in many Mexican restaurants without the deep frying. It’s a no-fuss treat that feeds a crowd, and it’s conveniently made ahead. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Baby Food: Sugarplum Cake Taste of Home

Baby Food: Sugarplum Cake

Family and friends are surprised to hear this simple cake gets it moist flavor from a jar of baby food. It's a nice, light dessert. —Denita DeValcourt, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee

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Potato Chips: Potato Chip ClustersTaste of Home

Potato Chips: Potato Chip Clusters

Just three offbeat ingredients add up to one unique, delectable, no-bake treat. These super-easy, sweet-and-salty candy clusters make for merry munching during holiday trips or parties. They travel well in containers without melting or getting soft. —Donna Brockett, Kingfisher, Oklahoma

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Jalapeno: Popper Corn CupcakesTaste of Home

Jalapeno: Popper Corn Cupcakes

Cream cheese frosting may seem like an unlikely partner for a jalapeno and cornmeal cupcake, but we guarantee the treats are sure to please! —Tina Bellows, Racine, Wisconsin

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Potatoes: Super BrowniesTaste of Home

Potatoes: Super Brownies

These moist and cakey brownies came from my mom’s old cookbook. Mashed potatoes may seem like an unusual ingredient, but this recipe took first place at a local festival. —Marlene Gerer, Denton, Montana

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Rosemary: Lemon & Rosemary ShortbreadTaste of Home

Rosemary: Lemon & Rosemary Shortbread

Lemon and rosemary make these luscious treats a sweet surprise for a few friends. —Malorie Harris, Wildomar, California

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Tofu: Chocolate PieTaste of Home

Tofu: Chocolate Pie

No one will guess the secret ingredient in this amazingly rich and creamy pie. In fact, you don’t even have to tell them it’s tofu until after they’ve finished the very last crumb.—Juliana Thetford, Ellwood City, Pennsylvania

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Tomato Soup: Surprise Spice CakeTaste of Home

Tomato Soup: Surprise Spice Cake

Canned tomato soup replaces some of the oil in this spice cake, decreasing the fat, boosting the color and (surprise!) enhancing the taste. —Hannah Thompson, Scotts Valley, California

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Mayonnaise: Honey Cinnamon Bars

My Aunt Ellie gave us the recipe for these sweet bar cookies with cinnamon and walnuts. Drizzle with icing, and serve with coffee or tea. —Diane Myers, Star, Idaho

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Lavender Flowers: Lavender Honey Cheesecake

Lavender Flowers: Lavender Honey Cheesecake

I love the scent of lavender, and the edible flowers make this cheesecake one of the most spectacular I've tasted. You can use lavender honey in this recipe for extra flavor, but even without it, the lavender is very distinct. —Julie Palmer, Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania

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Balsamic Vinegar: Berry & Ganache Cheesecake BarsTaste of Home

Balsamic Vinegar: Berry & Ganache Cheesecake Bars

I use fresh blueberries and raspberries with chocolate ganache to make cheesecake bars that dare you to walk away. —Carmell Childs, Ferron, Utah

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Bacon: Butterscotch Pie with Walnut-Bacon ToffeeTaste of Home

Bacon: Butterscotch Pie with Walnut-Bacon Toffee

This recipe started as an experiment in making bacon toffee, but by the time I was done I had this sweet and savory butterscotch pie. —Juliann Stoddart, Chicago, Illinois

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Cayenne: Spiced Almond BrittleTaste of Home

Cayenne: Spiced Almond Brittle

I like sending homemade goodies to family and friends. When I couldn’t decide between brittle and spiced nuts, I combined the two into one treat. One batch fills up about six gift tins.—Leslie Dixon, Boise, Idaho

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Toasted Wheat Germ: Spiced Toffee CookiesTaste of Home

Toasted Wheat Germ: Spiced Toffee Cookies

I bake these cookies for family gatherings because my crowd likes cookies thin and chewy with a crispy exterior. The toffee bits make a happy surprise.—Gloria Bradley, Naperville, Illinois

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Green Tomatoes: Green Tomato Lattice PieTaste of Home

Green Tomatoes: Green Tomato Lattice Pie

Your pie-loving friends will be tempted by the smell of this awesome dessert baking. One slice will have them lining up for seconds.—Elizabeth Courtney, Dayton, Texas

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Corn: Corn Ice CreamTaste of Home

Corn: Corn Ice Cream

You have to give this novel ice cream a try. It’s actually made with corn, sweetly flavored by vanilla extract and maple syrup. I plan to make this surprising treat every summer.—Diana Burrink, Crete, Illinois

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Zucchini: Blueberry Zucchini SquaresTaste of Home

Zucchini: Blueberry Zucchini Squares

I saw a bar recipe on a box of muffin mix using apple and lemon zest. I tried it from scratch with shredded zucchini and fresh blueberries instead. It’s a tasty combo. —Shelly Bevington, Hermiston, Oregon

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Sour Cream: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Sour Cream ToppingTaste of Home

Sour Cream: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping

Instead of a traditional pie, I like to surprise holiday guests with a silky cheesecake. Make it a day ahead and let it chill overnight. It's one less thing you'll have to make on the big day. —Dorothy Smith, El Dorado, Arkansas

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Lemon-Lime Soda: Tie-Dyed CupcakesTaste of Home

Lemon-Lime Soda: Tie-Dyed Cupcakes

Take a trip back to the sixties with these sweetly psychedelic cupcakes. Each is a simple white cake, but tinting the batter all the colors of the rainbow makes them funky and fun!— Gwyndolyn Wilkerson, Kyle, Texas

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Chow Mein Noodles: Chocolate Butterscotch HaystacksTaste of Home

Chow Mein Noodles: Chocolate Butterscotch Haystacks

My grandmother made these haystack cookies and gave them to my cousin Vonnie and me when our parents didn't want us to have any more sweets. —Christine Schwester, Divide, Colorado

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White Wine: Molly's Sweet and Spicy Tzimmes CakeTaste of Home

White Wine: Molly's Sweet and Spicy Tzimmes Cake

My husband and I are always on the lookout for new ways to incorporate Jewish traditions into our interfaith home. Rich with apples, carrots and sweet potato, this sweet and spicy cake is perfect for Rosh Hashana or any fall holiday. —Molly Haendler, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Sweet Potato: Sweet Potato Cheesecake BarsTaste of Home

Sweet Potato: Sweet Potato Cheesecake Bars

Your whole house will be filled with the aroma of pumpkin spice when you bake these wonderful sweet potato cheesecake bars. They look complicated but are so easy, you can whip up a batch anytime. —Nancy Whitford, Edwards, New York

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Popcorn: Popcorn CookiesTaste of Home

Popcorn: Popcorn Cookies

It's so much fun to surprise people with the crushed popcorn in these yummy cookies. They're definitely a distinctive cookie on the holiday tray.—Leigh Anne Preston, Palmyra, Indiana

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Cola Soda: Coke CakeTaste of Home

Cola Soda: Coke Cake

I get a great response every time I serve this cake, and it seems like I'm forever sharing the recipe! Folks are always curious about the ingredients, and when I tell them the cake has cola in it, they are really surprised. The unusual combination of ingredients makes it moist and delicious. —Anna Baker, Blaine, Washington

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Bacon: Bacon Chocolate Chip Cheesecake BlondiesTaste of Home

Bacon: Bacon Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Blondies

If you're a sweet and savory fan like me, you'll go wild over this bacon cookie bar recipe. You just can't beat a cookie, brownie and cheesecake all mixed up and sprinkled with bacon. —Katie O'Keeffe, Derry, New Hampshire

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Potato Chips: Buttery Potato Chip CookiesTaste of Home

Potato Chips: Buttery Potato Chip Cookies

Can't decide whether to bring chips or cookies to the tailgate? These crisp and buttery cookies make plenty for the crowd, and will keep people guessing the secret ingredient. —Rachel Roberts, Lemoore, California

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Zucchini: Yummy Zucchini Chocolate CakeTaste of Home

Zucchini: Yummy Zucchini Chocolate Cake

As a confirmed chocoholic, this is my all-time favorite treat. I found the original recipe more than 20 years ago, but have lightened it up quite a bit. Everyone asks for the recipe, and no one suspects that it's lighter than most chocolate cakes. —Carleta Foltz, Sunrise Beach, Missouri

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Sour Cream: Cashew CookiesTaste of Home

Sour Cream: Cashew Cookies

Some merry dairy snacking is guaranteed when you pass out these cashew-packed goodies! I found the recipe years ago in a flier promoting dairy products. It's been this farm wife's standby ever since. —June Lindquist, Hammond, Wisconsin

Caroline Stanko
As an Associate Digital Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.

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