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36 Unusual Desserts That Rely on a Shocking Ingredient

Desserts with vegetables? Tofu? Baby food? Surprise your family and friends with these unusual desserts that have crazy secret ingredients!

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Summer Squash Pound Cake Exps Rc21 257712 E02 19 3b 9

Summer Squash Pound Cake

Ingredient: Yellow Squash

This golden brown, tender pound cake is the perfect treat to make when you have an abundance of summer squash in your garden. It’s not overly sweet, so it appeals to everyone. —Lisa Brockwell, Necedah, Wisconsin
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Fried Ice Cream Dessert Bars  Exps Sdjj19 232652 B02 06 1b Rms 2

Fried Ice Cream Dessert Bars

Ingredient: Cornflakes

Fried ice cream is such a delicious treat, but it can be a hassle to make individual servings. This recipe gives you the same fabulous flavor in an easy and convenient bar form. —Andrea Price, Grafton, Wisconsin

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Peaches And Cream Whiskey Loaf Exps Rc21 257086 E02 18 7b V2 1

Peaches and Cream Whiskey Loaf

Ingredient: Whiskey

I love when fresh peaches are in season! This recipe is sweet from the ripe peaches with a slight tang from the whiskey. This is a perfect after-dinner treat, but it’s just as good with your morning coffee. It also makes a welcome gift for neighbors and friends. —Anne Ormond, Dover, New Hampshire

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Vegan Chocolate Mousse Exps Rc20 255149 E09 09 11b 16

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Ingredient: Avocados

My son is allergic to dairy and eggs, so I created this silky vegan chocolate mousse recipe that he could enjoy. It’s also gluten free and grain free. If you’re having company over, it can be prepared the night before and stored in the refrigerator. —Sarah Meuser, New Milford, Connecticut
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Pink Peppercorn And Sake Ice Cream Exps Dai18 134799 E08 29 1b 2

Pink Peppercorn and Sake Ice Cream

Ingredient: Peppercorns

There’s plenty of sake flavor in this rich ice cream studded with peppercorns. You’ll get an interesting pop of heat with every bite. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Black Bean Brownies Exps Hrbz16 135925 B09 08 3b 5

Black Bean Brownies

Ingredient: Black Beans

You’d never guess these rich, velvety chocolate treats contain a can of black beans. Who would have thought black bean brownies would be so amazing? —Kathy Hewitt, Cranston, Rhode Island
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Pineapple Carrot Cake Exps Hca18 12965 C06 08 6b 8

Pineapple Carrot Cake

Ingredient: Baby Food

This moist cake with cream cheese frosting is the best I’ve ever eaten. It’s so simple, too, because it uses two jars of baby food instead of fresh carrots that need to be grated. —Jeanette McKenna, Vero Beach, Florida

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Blood Orange Goat Cheese Galette Exps Thca19 158266 E09 12 1b 10

Blood Orange & Goat Cheese Galette

Ingredient: Goat Cheese

I made this French galette for my mother-in-law’s birthday, and it was a sensational hit. There is something about the gorgeous hue of the blood oranges that transforms a rustic pie into an elegant dessert. —Tia Laws, Enterprise, Oregon
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Exps35015 Bhd153762c07 10 4b 3

Potato Chip Clusters

Ingredient: Potato Chips

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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Tropical Compote Dessert Exps Hscbz19 128895 B07 12 2b 3

Tropical Compote Dessert

Ingredient: Jalapeno

To make a more adult version of this recipe, use brandy instead of the extra tropical fruit juice. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Easy Pink Lemonade Pie

Ingredient: Saltine Crackers

I love bringing something sweet to a potluck, but I don’t like spending all day in the kitchen. Saltine crust is amazing with a no-bake, tart-sweet strawberry lemonade filling. — Gina Nistico, Taste of Home Food Editor
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Contest Winning Chocolate Potato Cake Exps Fbmz19 27688 E05 02 8b 10

Contest-Winning Chocolate Potato Cake

Ingredient: Potatoes

I won grand champion honors in a potato festival baking contest with this moist chocolate cake. The icing recipe can be doubled for real sweet tooths. A great-grandma, I’ve spent over 85 years on the farm.
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Rosemary Citrus Sorbet

Ingredient: Rosemary

This pretty pastel dessert bursts with the fresh flavors of grapefruit, lime and rosemary. —Rebecca Baird, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Raspberry Moscow Mule Cake Exps Toham20 202310 B11 06 2b 2

Raspberry Moscow Mule Cake

Ingredient: Ginger Beer

This Moscow mule cake is my favorite cake I’ve ever made from scratch. It’s so moist and flavorful, and it reminds me of my favorite cocktail. —Becky Hardin, St. Peters, Missouri
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Butternut Harvest Pies Exps Hck17 158608 B10 18 1b 10

Butternut Harvest Pies

Ingredient: Tofu

This egg- and dairy-free pie is a great alternative to standard pumpkin pie! We love to make the pies with squash from our garden. Feel free to adding more of your favorite spices! You’ll be glad the recipe makes two. —Juliana Thetford, Ellwood City, Pennsylvania
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Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake Exps Diyd19 172 B05 14 1b 7

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Ingredient: Mayonnaise

Mom always made this special chocolate mayonnaise cake for my birthday meal. It is very moist and has a nice light chocolate taste, and the flavorful frosting is the perfect topping. —Deborah Amrine, Grand Haven, Michigan
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Lavender Honey Cheesecake Exps Cwmjj20 137942 B02 14 9b 5

Lavender Honey Cheesecake

Ingredient: Lavender

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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Dark Chocolate Ice Cream With Paprika Agave Exps Dai18 134795 E08 29 3b 2

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Paprika & Agave

Ingredient: Paprika

Pair this rich and creamy ice cream with a cup of hot or iced coffee. It’s mildly sweet with a hint of paprika. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Chocolate Guinness Cake Exps Ft19 74724 F 1023 1 15

Chocolate Guinness Cake

Ingredient: Stout

One bite and everyone will propose a toast to this silky-smooth chocolate Guinness cake. The cream cheese frosting reminds us of the foamy head on a perfectly poured pint. —Marjorie Hennig, Seymour, Indiana
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Quinoa Fresh Fig And Honey Balsamic Parfait Exps Tohca20 88942 B02 21 5b 1

Quinoa, Fresh Fig and Honey-Balsamic Parfait

Ingredient: Balsamic Vinegar

This quinoa yogurt parfait is special to me because of its wholesome ingredients. Quinoa is gluten-free, which is good for those who have food allergies, like my daughter. And I love fresh ripe figs when they are in season. Enjoy this for breakfast or dessert. —Dawn Hutchins, St. Johns, Florida
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Exps Ft19 242522 F 0530 1 15

Olive Oil Cake

Ingredient: Olive Oil

A good olive oil cake isn’t overly sweet, so it can just as easily be a breakfast treat or an afternoon snack as a dessert. —Lisa Kaminski, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
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Bacon Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Blondies

Ingredient: Bacon

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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Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake Exps Thso18 7377 C04 18 4b 2

Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake

Ingredient: Sauerkraut

For an adventurous cake, try this recipe. People might need a little coaxing to try it but once they do, they will love it.—The Fremont Company
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Red Curry-Pandan Ice Cream

Ingredient: Curry Powder

The curry and coconut flavors are subtle, allowing the flavor of pandan leaves to shine. Pandan is a tropical plant that grows in Southeast Asia with a naturally sweet, bright flavor. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Chocolate Cayenne Souffles

Ingredient: Cayenne

This rich, chocolaty souffle has a surprise ending…a little kick of heat from the cayenne pepper. It’s very yummy. —Diane Halferty, Corpus Christi, Texas
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Exps159886 Cc153599d05 20 2b 2

Spiced Toffee Cookies

Ingredient: Toasted Wheat Germ

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 Tomato Pie Exps Jmz18 3499 B03 06 5b 5

Green Tomato Pie

Ingredient: Green Tomatoes

When frost nips our garden, I quickly gather all the green tomatoes still on the vine and make this old family favorite. It’s been handed down from my grandmother, and now my granddaughters are asking for the recipe.—Violet Thompson, Port Ludlow, Washington
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Creamy Corn Custard Exps Rc21 258411 E02 18 3b 2

Creamy Corn Custard

Ingredient: Corn

I make this custard all summer long! When I serve it to guests, I try to make them guess the secret ingredient. Not many guess corn, so it’s a fun surprise. —Margee Berry, White Salmon, Washington
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Exps187312  Mc163887b03 22 5b 8

Blueberry Zucchini Squares

Ingredient: Zucchini

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 Sugar Cookie Cake Exps Hca21 222050 B10 15 11b 32

Sour Cream Sugar Cookie Cake

Ingredient: Sour Cream

My husband requested a giant sugar cookie for his birthday. I wanted to do something a bit more exciting than birthday cookies, so I came up with this sugar cookie cake. The secret to a dense, yet cakelike texture is to make sure that you don’t overbake the cake. —Carmell Childs, Orangeville, Utah
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Watermelon Cupcakes Exps Rcmz21 256695 E10 23 10b 9

Watermelon Cupcakes

Ingredient: Lemon-Lime Soda

My granddaughter and I bake together each week. She was inspired by her mommy’s flavored syrups, so we came up with these watermelon cupcakes. If you are not going to pipe the frosting, you can reduce the amount of frosting by half. —Elizabeth Bramkamp, Gig Harbor, Washington
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Haystack Cookies with Peanut Butter

Ingredient: Chow Mein Noodles

Peanut butter haystacks are one of my favorite desserts. I love to serve them to guests because they marvel at how something so simple tastes so good! —Starrlette Howard, Ogden, Utah
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Molly S Sweet And Spicy Tzimmes Cake Exps158925 Th132104b06 21 10bc Rms 8

Molly's Sweet and Spicy Tzimmes Cake

Ingredient: White Wine

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 Cheesecake Bars Exps Tgcbbz 47472 D05 10 3b 2

Sweet Potato Cheesecake Bars

Ingredient: Sweet Potato

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 Cookies

Ingredient: Popcorn

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 Cake with Strawberries & Cream

Ingredient: Cola Soda

We Southerners have been eating cola cake for decades. This easy version has strawberries, too. Chill it in the fridge for a dreamy summer dessert. —Peggy Walpert, Fort Worth, Texas

Caroline Stanko
As 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.
Katie Bandurski
Katie is an Associate Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in writing and email newsletters. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and combing through antique shops.

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