perfect BBQesque dessert

Aaaand the holiday weekend begins. There’s a good chance you’re going to a barbecue over the next few days, and you better not show up empty handed. My BBQ staple is a simple macaroni salad (elbow mac, mayo, onion, celery, salt and pepper), but that makes for a boring blog post, so instead, here’s an awesome, barbecue-themed dessert: strawberries and cream cake kabobs (adapted from How Sweet It Is).

Cookies and brownies are great hand-held treats, but my group of friends consistently has 10 packages of each at every gathering; I thought it was time for a change. Cake is a much less BBQ-ready dessert, but putting it on a stick is a quick fix and makes for a more delightful presentation. I made these for this year’s Memorial Day barbecue, and they were gone in minutes.

The cake is very moist (fresh strawberries have a tendency to do that), so I lost a few pieces whilst skewering; as a result, this yielded only about 15 sticks of two cake chunks and three strawberries. If you have a bigger group, you might want to double up on everything.

Hands down, the star of the show is the strawberry cream dipping sauce. Don’t settle for the kabobs alone. Make the sauce.

3 eggs
2 tbs. heavy cream
1 tbs. vanilla extract
1-1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt.
3/4 c. sugar
1-1/2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1-1/2 c. strawberries, chopped (*Make sure you reserve enough of your container to have fruit for your kabobs)

Combine eggs, vanilla extract and heavy cream in a small bowl. Use mixer (my second KitchenAid mixer masterpiece!) to combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add butter. Once combined, add half egg mixture and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add remainder of mixture, and mix for 30 more seconds. Add strawberries and mix until combined.

Butter sides and bottom of loaf pan. Pour batter in pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Once cooled, cut into cubes and alternate on skewer with reserved sliced strawberries. For a more patriotic take, add blueberries!

1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
3 tbs. heavy cream
2-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 strawberries, smashed

Whisk mashed strawberries with powdered sugar, vanilla and cream until smooth and creamy. Be sure to taste test. If you prefer a thicker (or sweeter) consistency, add powdered sugar. If sauce is too thick, add vanilla and/or cream and continue to whisk. Store in fridge until ready to serve.

Total time? 25 minutes prep, 1 hour bake, 20 minutes to dress.
Cost? $2 strawberries, $1.50 heavy cream, $1 skewers.
Overall success relative to expectations? 9 out 10. When the cake came out of the oven, I wasn’t blown away. It was good, but I spent a few moments questioning my decision to serve this instead of some standard cookies or cupcakes. Once I started skewering, I found solace in the novelty of the dessert kabob; I thought, “Well, at least no one’s had these before.” It all came together when I took that first strawberry sauce-covered bite. All my worries melted away into creamy, strawberry bliss. If you didn’t catch it the first time: MAKE. THE. SAUCE.

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