It’s a hot summer's day, you’re getting ready to catch up with friends for a casual backyard BBQ and you’ve been tasked with the job of bringing something sweet. Unless you have an epic sweet tooth all year round, making (and consuming) sweets during the midst of summer can be a challenge. Why? Well, who wants to be eating something rich and heavy when it’s 30+ degrees outside.
That’s why we have curated a list of the best desserts for a summer BBQ. Whether you want to make something to share with friends at a backyard BBQ or to enjoy with your family as a lovely summer treat, there is an option to suit everyone.
Mount Zero’s roasted plum and olive oil cake
Plums are members of the stone fruit family, meaning they are in peak season during November through to April, making them the perfect summer fruit.
This gorgeous cake is an ideal summer dessert, with the pairing of the fresh sourness of the plum with the fruity bitterness of Mount Zero’s extra virgin olive oil, tied together nicely with the sweet cream cheese icing – delish.
Not feeling plums? This cake is super versatile, meaning you can change the fruits based on what’s in season. Have a go at creating a fresh vanilla berry compote or why not sub the roasted plums for char-grilled mango cheeks. The options are almost endless.
Quince poached in verjus, fresh fig and honey-whipped ricotta
Crafted by the talented Almay Jordaan from Neighbourhood Wine, this dessert heroes the autumnal harvest. Want to alter it to make it the perfect summer dessert? Swap out the poached quince for grilled peach cheeks or pineapple drizzled with Mount Zero’s extra virgin olive oil. Accompanied with the fresh fig and honey-whipped ricotta, this dessert is fresh and zinging with flavour.
Cumquat and semolina cake
Here we have another autumn-inspired dish that can easily be adapted to suit the warmer months! Richard Ousby, the executive chef from Stokehouse restaurant, shares this beautiful syrupy cumquat and semolina cake.
Swap out the cumquats for oranges and you’ve got yourself a light, summery cake that pairs perfectly with creme fraiche, Greek yoghurt or vanilla ice cream.
View the cumquat and semolina cake recipe.
Smoked dark chocolate mousse
A cool, light and velvety dessert on a hot summer’s day is the ultimate treat. This dark chocolate mousse gets its fragrant, woody notes from Mount Zero’s smoked olive oil. Alternatively, if you are wanting to lighten things up, switch out the smoked olive oil for any of the citrus oils (think: lemon olive oil, lime olive oil, or mandarin olive oil). The best news is that you can easily prepare this dessert ahead of time (we suggest prepping it the day before).
View the smoked dark chocolate mousse recipe.
Olive oil and smoked sea salt ice cream
Who doesn’t love ice cream?! Have a crack at this lush olive oil and smoked sea salt ice cream that has been inspired by Claire Kelsey, owner of Ginger's Comfort Emporium.
What you’ll need:
200ml whole milk
100ml double cream
4 large egg yolks
160ml of Mount Zero’s extra virgin olive oil
Step 1. Bring the milk, cream, and sugar to the boil. Leave to cool slightly for 2 minutes.
Step 2. Whilst that mixture is cooling, beat the egg yolks until they are thick and pale in colour.
Step 3. Slowly add the liquid mixture to the yolks, stirring constantly. Transfer the mixture back to the pan, stirring over low heat until the mixture resembles custard. A way to test whether the mixture is ready is to conduct the back of the wooden spoon test. Dip a wooden spoon into the mixture and run your finger down the middle of the spoon. If the line remains, the mixture is ready. If not – it’s not thick enough.
Step 4. Leave the mixture to cool.
Step 5. Once cool, mix in the olive oil, adding a good pinch of salt (tasting as you go).
Step 6. Allow the mixture to cool completely before churning in an ice-cream maker. Note: if you don’t own an ice cream maker, you can churn by hand. How? Place the mixture into a freezer-safe bowl and every hour, take the mixture out of the freezer and whisk to remove any icy fragments.
Step 7. Serve with an extra pinch of smoked sea salt and voilà, it’s ready to enjoy.
Lemon-olive oil cake
Olive oil in a cake is a match made in heaven. By replacing the fat component of the cake recipe with a good quality extra virgin olive oil, not only are you increasing the health properties of the cake (think: added antioxidants and vitamin E), but you are also giving the cake a beautiful, nutty depth.
Have a go at this recipe that has been inspired by Martha Stewart’s lemon-olive oil cake.
What you’ll need:
3/4 cup of Mount Zero’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons of Mount Zero’s Pink Lake Salt
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons fresh juice
5 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1/3 cup plus 3/4 cup caster sugar
Icing sugar, for dusting
4 cups fresh berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, and halved (or quartered, if large) strawberries
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cups thickened cream
225 grams mascarpone, stirred until smooth
Step1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Brush a 9-inch springform pan (23 cm pan) with oil and line the bottom with baking paper.
Step 2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest to thoroughly combine. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites over medium-low until foamy. Increase speed to medium-high; slowly add 1/3 cup caster sugar, beating just until whites hold soft peaks, 3 to 4 minutes.
Step 3. In another large bowl, beat egg yolks with remaining 3/4 cup caster sugar on medium-high speed until thick, pale, and tripled in volume, for 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly beat in oil, then lemon juice to combine (mixture may appear curdled). Stir in flour mixture just to combine. Gently stir one-third of the egg-white mixture into the yolk mixture to lighten.
Step 4. Then gently fold in the remaining egg-white mixture until no streaks of white remain (do not overmix). Transfer batter to prepared pan; gently smooth top with a spatula.
Step 5. Bake until the cake is golden brown on top and springs back when lightly pressed, for 45 to 55 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife between the sides of the cake and pan to loosen. Remove sides of pan; let cool completely.
Step 6. Summer fruits: Meanwhile, stir together the berries, 2 tablespoons of caster sugar, and lemon juice in a bowl. Let it stand for anywhere between 30 minutes, up to 2 hours. In another bowl, whisk the cream until soft to medium peaks. Add the mascarpone and the remaining 2 tablespoons of caster sugar. Whisk just until soft peaks form.
Step 7. To serve: Dust the top of the cake generously with icing sugar. Serve with macerated berries and whipped mascarpone cream. The cake can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Plus, it’s super easy to transport if you are wanting to take it to someone’s house – bonus!
Wanting to add more of a citrus kick? Why not sub out the extra virgin olive oil for one of Mount Zero’s citrus oils – divine!