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10 Southern Dessert Recipes

Updated on September 10, 2010

Desserts (and their recipes!) Popular in the South

Baking can be a lot of fun, and it can have yummy results as well. This lens will focus on 10 dessert recipes that I like to make; those that are fairly common in a lot of Southern households. All of these cakes or pies are really easy to make, and they seem to be crowd pleasers as well (seeing as how they usually disappear really fast).


Alabama Fudge Cake

This recipe is very simple to make since it's not entirely from scratch. The vanilla ice cream really smooths out the richness of the cake, and the added pecans give this cake a resemblance to brownies. There are several variations of this cake's recipe, but this is one that I tend to make.

1 pkg devil's food cake mix

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa

2 cups hot water

1 tsp vanilla extract

Vanilla ice cream

Chopped pecans

Prepare cake batter according to directions on package. Pour into lightly greased cake pan (13 in x 9 in).

Stir together sugar, cocoa, hot water, and vanilla extract and then pour mixture over batter (this will sink to bottom of pan). Don't stir.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve with ice cream and chopped pecans.

Don't Like That One? Try This One Instead


2 sticks of butter

4 squares of bitter chocolate

4 eggs

2 cups of pecans

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. vanilla

miniature marshmallows

Fudge Icing:

2 cups of sugar

2 squares of chocolate

2 TBSP of light Karo syrup

2/3 cup milk

2 TBSP butter

2 tsp. vanilla


Melt butter with chocolate. Let cool. Beat eggs well. Add sugar and chocolate. Add flour sifted with baking powder. Add nuts and vanilla. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes in a 9" x 13" baking pan. Cover with marshmallows and return to oven for about 5 minutes, until marshmallows melt. Frost with fudge icing.

Fudge Icing:

Mix all ingredients and cook to soft ball stage. Let cool before beating. Beat well and spread over marshmallow on cake.

Mississippi Mud Cake

This cake is ideal if looking for a sheet cake recipe. It's easy to make and really indulgent, and sure to appeal to any chocolate lover. Again, there are several variations of this cake's recipe. Some like to use miniature marshmallows, but I prefer cream as it makes a prettier cake.


1 cup butter-flavor shortening or margarine

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup cocoa

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow creme



3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/3 cup cocoa

1/2 cup evaporated milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the first three ingredients. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add flour, baking powder, coconut and nuts; beat for about two minutes.

Spread batter in a greased and floured 9x13 pan; bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees..

Spread marshmallow creme over the top while still hot. Cool and frost. Store in the refrigerator.

Frosting: Combine all ingredients; beat until creamy. Then, spread on cooled cake. Garnish with chopped nuts.

Banana Pudding - More Nanner Puddin, Please, Mom!

While I am not a fan of bananas, I still like banana pudding when made this way. This is a creamy merigue topped treat that is sure to please the family.

40 to 50 vanilla wafers

6 medium ripe bananas, sliced

3/4 cup sugar, divided

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

dash of salt

4 eggs, separated

2 cups milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine 1/2 cup sugar, flour and salt in top of double boiler. Stir in 4 egg yolks and milk. Blend well. Cook uncovered over boiling water stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Spread layer of vanilla wafers on bottom of casserole dish and top with layer of bananas.. Top with a layer of custard over bananas. Continue to layer wafers, bananas and custard to make 3 layers of each ending with custard. Beat egg whites until stiff; gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Spoon on top of pudding spreading to cover entire surface and sealing well to edges. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until merigue is slightly browned and filling is bubbly. Enjoy.

Recipe Books on Amazon

Not just desserts....grab a book featuring recipes from all over the South.

Pistachio Cake

This is a cake that my grandmother used to make at holidays and on birthdays. This is not a "from scratch" cake, and any beginner should have no problems with it because it isn't a complicated cake by any means. This cake is a bit sweet...just like she was.

Pistachio Cake


1 pkg. white cake mix (the kind you need to add eggs and oil to)

1 pkg. instant pistachio pudding mix (like, Jello brand)

2 eggs

3/4 cup oil

1 cup ginger ale

green food coloring (add a few drops to give it a green tint)


large tub of Cool Whip (plain)

1 pkg. pistachio pudding mix

1 can of Eagle Brand milk

1/2 cup nuts (I use chopped walnuts, but pecans are also good)


Mix Cake ingredients, and then bake cake according to package directions for size of cake baking. (I usually do a 2 layer or a sheet cake) . When it is done, set out to cool.

For the icing, mix all icing ingredients together and beat until thick enough to spread on cake. Add a few drops of green food coloring to give greener color.

Now, here's a TIP! After you mix the icing together, put all back in the Cool Whip tub and place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. It will be much easier to spread and won't glaze on the cake if you do that.

When you're all iced up on the cooled cake, you can add walnuts to the top (or whatever nut you use).

This cake is best stored in the refrigerator (because of the Cool Whip topping)or in a cool room.

There are probably a million calories in this cake, which is why we only have it on Holidays. But, it's been a favorite in both sides of my family for quite a while. There are several ways to do this cake, and one of the most presentable is by making it into a bundt. If you choose to do it that way, do not add the nuts to the frosting. Instead, set them aside to sprinkle on top of the cake. Instead of icing the cake, drizzle the room-temp icing along the top of cake (it will act as a glaze). Sprinkle with nuts and enjoy.

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie is a staple at our holiday gatherings. This recipe is really easy to do, but check out the video below for any help. Enjoy!

1 Cup Karo light or dark syrup (choice is yours!)

3 eggs

1 cup of sugar

2 TBSP butter, melted

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 & 1/2 cups pecans (chopped, if desired)

1 9 inch deep dish pie crust (unbaked or frozen)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust.

Bake on center rack of oven for 60 to 70 minutes. Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.

Tip: Tap center surface of pie lightly before removing from oven; it should spring back when done.

How to Make a Pecan Pie

Thanks to

Blackberry Jam Cake

1 cup softened butter

2 cups sugar

4 beaten egg yolks

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground allspice

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup seedless blackberry jam

4 egg whites, beaten till stiff but not dry

Cream butter and sugar; add eggs and vanilla.

Sift all dry ingredients together. Add alternately to butter mixture with buttermilk. Stir in jam, mixing thoroughly. Fold in egg whites.

Pour into buttered and floured tube or bundt pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Increase heat to 350 degrees and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes before removing from pan

What are your favorite desserts? Let me know in the Guestbook below!

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie is a staple at our family holiday dinners. It's super easy to make and tastes great!

1 (1 pound) sweet potato

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 9" unbaked pie crust

Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Cool with cold water and then remove the skin.

Mash sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Sock It To Me Cake

This cake is fairly popular, not only in the South. It's quite tasty and when done in a bundt, makes a pretty cake.

1 package butter cake mix

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup water

4 eggs

1 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F .Grease and flour one 10-inch tube pan.

In large bowl, blend together cake mix, sour cream, oil, 1/4 cup white sugar, water, and eggs. Beat at high speed for 2 minutes. Pour 2/3 of the batter into prepared tube pan.

Combine pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and sprinkle over batter in pan. Spread remaining batter evenly over filling mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 45-55 minutes until toothpick or knife insert comes back clean.. Let cake cool.

Mix together confectioners sugar and milk. Remove cake from pan and drizzle with glaze

Can I Buy Any of These Online? - Sure You Can!

There are several websites that specialize on baked goods, even Southern style goods. Here are a few links of interest. Sending a baked good (like a pecan pie!) would make a great holiday or "just because" gift, especially if the recipient is a transplant (has southern roots, but no longer lives in the South).

Quick and Easy Peach Cobbler

Peach cobbler is perhaps my favorite southern dessert, but I only get serious about making it a few times throughout the year. (Using a more drawn out recipe). For a quick and easy dessert here at home for the family, I stick to this recipe because while it doesn't take long to prepare, it also tastes great. It can also be changed and adapted for any type of fruit cobbler. I've used it with blackberries, blueberries, and other fruits as well without changing much.

1/2 cup unsalted butter (if using salted, do not add any more salt)

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar, divided

1 tablespoon baking powder

Pinch of salt (unless using salted butter)

1 cup milk

4 cups peach slices, fresh

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Ground cinnamon or nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Melt butter in microwave and pour in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt (forget the salt if using salted butter); add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moist. Pour batter over butter but do not stir.

Place remaining 1 cup sugar, peach slices, and lemon juice in a boiler and boil over high heat, stirring constantly for a few minutes; Then, pour over batter, again, do not stir.. Sprinkle with cinnamon..

Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Best if served warm. (Great with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream!)

Hummingbird Cake

I've heard tale this is a Victorian recipe, but it's still fairly popular today in the South. Perhaps in other regions as well. It's easy to make though the recipe calls for a lot of items. This is perhaps the only "mixed fruit" cake that I like.

3 cups All-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 8oz can crushed pineapple with juice

1 cup cooking oil

3 large eggs well beaten

2 cups chopped bananas (about three bananas)

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon vanilla


1 TBSP butter or margarine, melted

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 10 inch tube pan.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

Remove 2 TBSP of juice from the can of pineapple. Set aside for the glaze.

Add the can of pineapple, the oil, eggs, banana, nuts, and vanilla to the flour mixture. Stir until just blended but do not beat.

Pour the batter into the greased pan. Bake in the oven at 325 degrees for about 1 hour and 5-10 minutes or until a toothpick or inserted knife comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 15-20 minutes. Remove cake from pan by inverting onto wire rack and removing pan. Let it cool.


In a small bowl combine the melted butter/margarine with the powdered sugar. Add the reserved pineapple juice, just enough to make mixture "drizzly". Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake.

This cake is also good with a cream cheese frosting instead of the above glaze. To substitute with a cream cheese frosting, do the following:

16 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature

2 sticks of butter softened

2 boxes of powdered sugar

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1/2 cup of toasted walnuts chopped

Using your mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese.

Once that's well combined, add the vanilla extract.

Then slowly add the powdered sugar one cup at a time

Add on top of cake.

Also, I like to use walnuts in the cake and frosting, but you can substitute with pecans.

Cakes of a Different Sort - Cakes & Mixes Popular in Other Regions

Available to buy on

What Southern Fashioned Desserts are your favorites? I'm not too picky...what's your favorite dessert, never mind the region? Or, just want to shout out and give a holler? Do so here!

Bon Appetit Ya'll - Here's Your Corner!

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    • MamaRuth profile image


      7 years ago

      Yum! I loved reading about these desserts--I've made most of them and certainly have eaten my share of these southern favorites. I guess my favorite old-fashioned southern dessert is bread pudding. I like it plain or with yummy sauces.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 

      7 years ago

      My husband has a peach cobbler recipe very similar to yours. I love all your recipes.

    • JanTUB profile image

      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 

      8 years ago from Australia

      Chocolate cake is my weakness! Great recipes.

    • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image


      8 years ago from Berkshire, United Kingdom

      Wow where to start...these all look soooo delicious. I'm from the UK and I've heard of some of these like Pecan Pie and Mississippi Mud Cake but others are completely new to me...I have to say that Sock It To Me Cake looks amazing! Yummy lens - blessed by a SquidAngel :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love food lenses. Yours looks very tasty. I'll try the Pecan Pie. Thank you.

    • TheyCallMeVarmit profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      It is some count! Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comment.

    • missbat profile image


      8 years ago

      Although I'm from the Pacific Northwest, I really want to make that Mississippi Mud Cake! These recipes look delicious. What a yummy lens!


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