Backyard Entertainment | 08/21/13

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Summer is the best time to entertain in your Phoenix backyard living environment.

The days are longer and the nights are calmer, so take advantage of the slower pace and enjoy this time with friends and family. Part of enjoying quality time in your Arizona outdoor living space is taking time to indulge in the little things. Next time you invite your loved ones over for some backyard relaxation by your Shasta pool, try out one of these great outdoor dessert recipes from The Kitchn. Quick and easy to make, your guests are sure to be impressed by ALL of these tasty treats!

Here are just a few of the yummy recipes that made the list:

Strawberry Dessert Pizza

For the crust:
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons milk

For the filling:
12 ounces (1 1/2 block sized packages) cream cheese
3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-4 cups fresh strawberries, washed, dried and sliced
1/4 cup agave syrup

Preheat oven to 350°F.

First, make the crust: Mix the flour, sugar and salt and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the oil and milk. Mix the dry and the wet ingredients together until evenly combined. Pat dough into a 14–inch pizza pan, creating a very thin, even layer. Bake for about 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking, make the filling: Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whisk the cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth and creamy. When the crust has finished its initial bake, remove and carefully pour custard on top of cookie crust (you may have a little extra). Bake another 20 minutes until the custard is set and golden brown.

Arrange the strawberries on top of the pizza and brush with agave syrup. Chill until ready to serve.

Blueberry Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rum (optional)
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (from about 3 bananas)
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups blueberries, washed and picked over

For the cream cheese icing:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package light cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Pinch salt
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper, with enough paper that paper hangs over the two long sides. Grease lightly with baking spray or butter.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer) cream the butter with the sugars. Blend in the eggs one at a time, and whip until creamy. Add the vanilla and rum, if using, as well as the bananas. Mix until creamy.

Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir the mixture roughly, but do not combine completely. In a large measuring cup, mix the lemon juice with the milk. (Reserve the lemon zest for the icing.) With the mixer running, slowly pour the milk into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix until smooth. Fold in the blueberries. Spread the batter in the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 75 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. (Start checking after 60 minutes.) When the cake is firm and a tester comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven. Run a knife between the cake and the short edges of the pan to help release the cake. Lift up on the parchment paper to remove the whole cake from the pan, and place the cake, parchment and all, on a cooling rack. Place the rack in the freezer for 30 minutes. Remove from freezer and let the cake cool completely before icing.


Shasta Pools is a Phoenix pool builder who provides a variety of services including swimming pool remodeling, commercial pool building, and pool service and repair. Since its establishment in 1967, Shasta has helped over 80,000 families realize their dream of pool ownership. By providing exceptional value, quality craftsmanship and superior customer service, the Shasta team continues to fulfill the corporate mission of astonishing and delighting their customers and exceeding expectations. You can learn more about Shasta Pools & Spas by visiting them online, or by connecting with them on Facebook or Twitter.