Upside-Down Bahama Mama Cake

Catch a Wave with Beach Drink Desserts

This recipe and photography was provided courtesy of local cookbook author and chef, Carla Snyder. Learn more about Carla and discover her recipes at or in her cookbook, One Pan Whole Family. 

We may not escape to a tiki hut vacation in the South Pacific this summer, but beachy-good vibrations are right around the corner. It’s easy to bring an ocean breeze-inspired vibe to your backyard with beach drink desserts featuring pineapple, coconut and citrus. In much of the world, dessert is a fruit-based affair and these Caribbean and Southeast Asian flavors infused with Limoncello and rum bring the south seas to your summer cookout.

The fruit-forward flavors and bright colors of these desserts hint at the big flavors to come. Like their drink-based cousins, these sweet treats include a touch of alcohol — just enough to boost flavor and make them fun. As beautiful as these delicious goodies are  are, don’t let them fool you into thinking they are time-consuming and difficult to make. The hands-on time is under 1 hour and all these recipes can be made in advance.


Limoncello Lemon Mousse with Raspberries is a dessert I’ve been making for years. This sweet and tart dish can be made and kept for days in the fridge. An Italian liquor made from lemon peel and grappa, Limoncello is often served direct from the freezer in chilled shot glasses. It’s definitely a charming sipper after a summer meal, and incorporating it into a light and fluffy mousse takes it to the next level of sophistication. I like to serve this dessert in ramekins with a chilled shot of Limoncello on the side. Lemony-bright and pretty to look at, this simple but chic dessert works with just about anything on your summer menu from grilled fish to steaks.

Upside-Down Bahama Mama Cake

Upside-Down Bahama Mama Cake will take you back to your childhood. It’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, but with a twist. A touch of lemon and rum sets this cake apart and makes the pineapple even more “pineappley”. Did you know that alcohol carries flavor, making the taste of fruit even fruitier? Studded with maraschino cherries and topped with coconut ice cream, this exotic, but familiar cake just might be your new favorite.

Blackberry Mojito Cupcakes

The last recipe is a beauty of a cupcake. Blackberry Mojito Cupcakes consist of a limey cake doused with mint and rum and topped with a pink-tinged blackberry infused icing. I made these for my daughter’s bridal shower freezing the naked cupcakes and then icing them the day of the event. The color is worthy of a glamour shot on Pinterest and the berry flavor in the icing is just as bright. This recipe makes 24 cupcakes, so there’s plenty of these showstopping little cakes for everyone.

Plan to make one of the following desserts for your next summer get together with a spirited game of limbo, a beachy drink of your choice and a dose of palm swaying beach music on the side; grass skirts and leis are optional.

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