Impress for Less: 6 Elegant & Budget-Friendly Dessert Recipes/Guest Post

This is a partnered guest post.


When you think of eating on a budget, you likely rewind to your college days and think of ramen, rice and anything else that only involves adding boiling water. And your idea of budget-friendly desserts? Two apple pies for a dollar, definitely. However, preparing sweet treats on the cheap in your own kitchen is easier than you think! The key to budget desserts is simple, quality ingredients despite their low cost. These elegant budget desserts are not only economical for the party host who is looking for ways to cut corners, but they also focus on low-cost pantry staples, easy additives like instant pudding and fresh ingredients. You can still get all the richness, without having to be rich.

Double the Chocolate Mousse

Aside from being a top choice among budget desserts, this chocolate mousse recipe is some serious eye candy and provides portion control for every guest. Plus, you can make it ahead of time. Fresh raspberries add a boost of color, flavor and nourishment.

Servings: 6



1-1/2 cups fat-free milk, divided

2 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate

1 pkg. (1.4 oz.) chocolate instant pudding

2 cups thawed whipped topping, divided

1/2 cup fresh raspberries



Microwave 1 cup milk and chocolate squares in large microwaveable bowl on high 2 minutes; whisk until chocolate is melted. Add remaining milk and dry pudding mix; beat 2 minutes. Refrigerate 20 minutes.

Whisk in 1-1/2 cups whipped topping; spoon into 6 dessert dishes.

Top with remaining whipped topping and berries.



Flour-Free Chocolate Mint Cake

From gluten-free diets to health incentives, there are many reasons why people live flourless-ly. If you want to please all your guests, serve this flour-free chocolate cake and watch it disappear before your very eyes.  Additionally, it’s one of the easiest and tastiest budget desserts around!

Servings: 10



1/2 cup plus 2 tsp. sugar, divided

1 pkg. (8 squares) semi-sweet baking chocolate

1/2 cup butter or margarine

2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint

4 eggs



Heat oven to 350ºF.

Spray bottom and side of 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray; dust side with 2 tsp. sugar.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on high 1-1/2 minutes or until both are completely melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in remaining sugar and mint.

Beat eggs in medium bowl on high speed 9 to 10 minutes (or 5 to 6 minutes with stand mixer) or until eggs are very thick, pale yellow and quadrupled in volume. Add half the eggs to chocolate mixture; stir gently until well blended. Repeat with remaining eggs. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Run small knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; remove rim. Cool cake completely.


Banana & Strawberry S’Mores

Most of us remember making s’mores as kids, so why not extend this fond memory to your grown-up guests? Put a refreshing spin on them by adding strawberries, bananas and strawberry jam—yummy! This is one of those budget desserts that will never go out of style and always please the crowd.

Servings: 9



9 graham crackers, broken in half (18 squares), divided

2 milk chocolate bars, coarsely chopped or broken into squares

9 jumbo marshmallows, cut in half

5 large fresh strawberries, sliced

1 banana, sliced

1/4 cup strawberry jam



Heat grill to medium-low heat.

Place 9 graham squares on bottom of 9-inch square disposable foil pan; top with chocolate, marshmallows, berries and bananas.

Spread remaining grahams with jam; place, jam-sides down, over grahams in pan to make 9 s’mores.

Grill 4 to 6 minutes or until marshmallows are puffed and chocolate is melted. Cool 5 minutes before serving.


Twice-as-Much Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

If you’re having many guests over for coffee and tea, you can’t afford not to offer this delicious treat as one of your budget desserts—it will be the talk of the get-together! Easy on the wallet and plenty big, this lemon poppy seed cake bakes to perfection.

Servings: 16



1 pkg. (2-layer size) lemon cake mix

1 pkg. (3 oz.) lemon flavor gelatin

1-1/4 cups water

1/2 cup oil

4 eggs

1/4 cup poppy seed

1/2 cup (1/2 of 8-oz. tub) cream cheese spread

2 Tbsp. butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

2 Tbsp. shredded peel and 1 Tbsp. juice from 1 lemon, divided



Heat oven to 350°F.

Beat first 5 ingredients in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Stir in poppy seed. Pour into well-greased and lightly floured 12-cup fluted tube pan or 10-inch tube pan.

Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan 30 minutes. Loosen cake from sides of pan with knife. Invert cake onto wire rack; gently remove pan. Cool cake completely.

Beat cream cheese spread and butter with mixer on low speed until well blended. Gradually beat in sugar and lemon juice. Spread over top of cake. Garnish with peel.



Bite-Size Banana Cups

These banana cups are just too cute to pass up—perfect for a baby or wedding shower. The dulce de leche gives this budget dessert a nice caramel flavoring, while the banana and blueberries serve as a natural sweetener. Guests can take as many bite-size snacks as they wish (just be sure to make enough)!

Servings: 8



16 slices white bread, crusts removed

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup Mexican caramel spread (dulce de leche)

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 banana

2 Tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted

1/4 cup blueberries

16 fresh mint sprigs



Heat oven to 350ºF.

Flatten bread slices with rolling pin to 1/4-inch thickness; cut each diagonally in half, then diagonally in half again to make 4 triangles. Brush with butter. Line each of 16 muffin pan cups with 4 bread triangles, press firmly, allowing points to extend over edge.

Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, mix sour cream, dulce de leche and sugar in medium saucepan. Dissolve cornstarch in milk; add to sour cream mixture. Cook on medium-high heat 12 to 15 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Cool completely; stir in vanilla.

Chop banana; place in toast cups. Top with sour cream mixture, nuts, berries and mint.


* This is a sponsored/guest post.


I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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  1. The banana and strawberry smores sound delish!

  2. Sound so yummy!!

  3. Love these! Thanks for sharing!

  4. These are great recipes, I might have to give a few of them a try,