This impressive-looking dessert is at the top of my list of speedy standbys. It's simple to make because it starts with a boxed brownie mix. Then the nutty brownie layers are dressed up with a fluffy frosting that has a rich creamy texture and irresistible maple taste. —Amy Flory, Cleveland, Georgia
From Spearville, Kansas, Merrill Powers shares this recipe for individual brownie-like cupcakes studded with pecan pieces. "This crinkly tops of these chewy treats are so pretty that they don't even need frosting," she relates.
"Are they a brownie or are they a cupcake?" There's no wrong answer to this question, I tell my first-grade students. I found the recipe when I began teaching nearly 20 years ago. I grew up on a farm in north-central Alberta and love to bake for my husband, a psychologist, and our children. —Carol Maertz, Spruce Grove, Alberta
THIS TREETOP TREAT for birthday parties is the kind you can fix ahead of time, then squirrel away for later—but you might want to keep an eye on it. Why? With its popular peanut butter flavor plus a light texture, folks likely won't want to wait for a taste! To create the cake, our kitchen staff shaped Edie's recipe into an acorn and leaves using a pattern from Paula Del Favero. Then frosting and pecans capped it all off. Want to make this dessert yourself? You'll find it's no tough nut to crack—just follow the easy instructions here!
My mother-in-law first shared this recipe, and now it's often requested for birthdays and other special occasions. I like to serve it at Christmastime on an antique platter surrounded by ornaments for decoration. —Candace McClure, Brookville, IN
Brownie mix and instant pudding hurry along the preparation of this scrumptious layered dessert from Opal Erickson of Branson, Missouri. "My family asks for this rich treat for birthdays instead of cake," she notes.