"Let's bake a cake," said no one ever on a 90-plus-degree summer day. Cakes are a budget-friendly and easily divvied up dessert option for group gatherings. But does anyone really want to turn on the oven in the middle of summer and sweat it out over a series of greased pans and messy batter bowls? No amount of layered, icing-covered dessert love could make that appealing.
Before we give up altogether and dash out last-minute for a lackluster store-bought situation, there may be an enticing at home alternative: fridge cakes. Never heard of a fridge cake? Well, we hadn't either. That is until we happened upon Jean-Luc Sady's inventive cookbook of the same name. The term refers to a cake that is essentially baked — or rather, not baked — in your refrigerator. Say what?! That's right, there are no ovens involved whatsoever in the making of these sweet masterpieces. And get ready for the real cake-y kicker: All the book's recipes take around 25 minutes total (fridge and freezer time included). Add that to the fact that most of the ingredients can be scrounged up from on-hand pantry and refrigerator staples (e.g. packaged cookies, honey, butter, cream cheese, etc.).
To get you started, we've included three of Sady's sweetest recipes ahead — from strawberry to salted caramel, and even an Oreo fudge stunner. So next time you're in a bind and need a last-minute dessert for that impending summer cookout, don't sweat it — just fridge it.