Decadent Desserts

Alabama Living Magazine

Food styling and photos: Brooke Echols

When we first came up with the idea of “Decadent Desserts” for our February recipe pages, we assumed many of the recipes submitted would be for dishes made of chocolate.  Apparently “decadent” doesn’t necessarily mean it must contain chocolate, but it does usually translate as rich and indulgent.  We hope you enjoy trying these luscious dessert recipes, which ranged from those using caramel to butter to heavy whipping cream, and yes, cocoa, and of course, a fair amount of sugar. Whatever dessert you make for your Valentine, may you be rich in the things that can’t be cooked in a kitchen: the love of family and friends. Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Alabama Living!

Cook of the Month: Karen Turnquist, Cullman EC

Karen Turnquist of Vinemont enjoys sending us recipes every month, but she was especially happy to learn she’d won Cook of the Month honors for February. She lost her husband in December 2021, and the months since have been hard, she says. “I’m so happy to learn that I won,” she adds, “because he’s all I’ve had on my mind all year.” Karen got the recipe for Hummingbird Cake from her mother, who was an avid baker in Texas who baked the wedding cake for Karen and her late husband. “My mom baked all the time, and that cake was her wedding gift to us.” Karen remembers the first time she ate a piece of Hummingbird Cake: “I loved it, because of all that’s in it.”  The cake, loaded with sugar, pecans, pineapple, bananas and topped with a cream cheese icing, is a favorite for special occasions. “It is rich,” she says. We’d agree, but that’s why it fit so perfectly into our February category of decadent desserts. If Karen’s name is familiar, it’s because she won first place in our Christmas Cookie Contest in 2021 for her “Big Soft Ginger Cookies.”

Hummingbird Cake

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1½ teaspoons oil
  • 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, with juice
  • 2 cups bananas, chopped
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, add beaten eggs and oil. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not beat; stir in vanilla, pineapple and pecans and bananas. Put in a well-greased and floured bundt pan. Bake for one hour at 350 degrees. 


  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 stick butter
  •   1  16-ounce package powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pecans, chopped

Combine cream cheese and butter, add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix well. Frost cake and sprinkle pecans on top. Refrigerate cake.

Blueberry Bread Pudding 

  • 2 cups sugar  
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (fresh is best but can use frozen )
  • 3 large eggs  
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla 
  • 4 cups heavy whipping cream 
  • 1 package white chocolate baking chips 
  • 1 16-ounce loaf French bread, cut into cubes 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine eggs, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla. Stir in blueberries and white chocolate chips. Stir in French bread cubes and let stand until bread is softened, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Bake, uncovered, until knife in center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Laurie Myer, Southern Pine EC

Black Forest Cake


  • 1 3/4 cups white flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 11/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 11/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs


  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 21/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups tart cherries (canned or frozen, if thawed first)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • Whipped cream (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate syrup 

Mix the cake ingredients in a large bowl. Divide between two 8-inch cake pans. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 25 minutes, then cool completely. Meanwhile, stir sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl until combined. Add cherries and toss. Stir in butter and almond extract. Set aside. Slice both 8-inch cakes in half horizontally. Place one onto a plate or stand, then drizzle the top with half of the chocolate syrup. Top with the other half of that cake round. Add on cherry filling (reserving 1/4 cup), spreading across top. Place another cake round on top of cherry filling. Drizzle with the remaining chocolate syrup. Top with the remaining cake round. Spread whipped cream over the entire cake. Use extra cherry filling to decorate top of cake. 

Robin O’Sullivan, Wiregrass EC

Kay’s Caramel Cake

  • 1 box Duncan Hines cake mix
  • Use one box of Duncan Hines golden cake mix. Bake as directed on the box. Makes 2 layers.

Caramel Icing:

  • 2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 1/4 sticks butter
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Brown 1/4 cup sugar in heavy pan. Remove from the eye of the stove. Add butter and mix well. Then add 1 cup of sugar and mix well. Put back on the heated eye of the stove. Add evaporated milk and bring to a boil. Add another cup of sugar and let boil until a soft ball forms in ice water. (Soft boil stage on candy thermometer, about 15 minutes.) After reaching the soft ball stage, remove from heat and add 1/3 cup of powdered sugar and 11/2 teaspoons of vanilla. Beat well with a whisk, about 10 minutes. When the icing starts to dry on top, start icing the cake. Ice the first layer edges before placing the 2nd layer on top of the first layer. Ice top and then edges. Cool cake at least 15 minutes and then remove from the pans. Recommended: use baking spray with flour to grease pans.

Kay Fillingim, Baldwin EMC

The Buttered Home

Peach and Pecan Custard Pie is certainly what tastes like a decadent dessert and we have it for every special occasion here at The Buttered Home. Trust me when I tell you that while a custard pie isn’t all that sweet, the addition of pecans and peaches take this custard to another level. It becomes everything we would want in a decadent pie: sweetness without heaviness!

Peach and Pecan Custard Pie

  • ½ cup pecan halves
  • Pie crust
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups sliced peaches, fresh, frozen or canned
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup lowfat milk

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl,add sugar, milk, yogurt, eggs, flour, cornstarch, vanilla and salt. Mix well. Fit a standard pie plate with pie crust. Place all but a few peach slices and pecans, reserving some for the top, in the pie crust. Pour custard mixture over. Add reserved peaches and pecans directly to top of pie. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and tent edges if needed. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for 30-60 minutes more until a knife comes out clean in the center after testing. Cool for one hour.


Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Monthly Newsletter

Get a sneak preview of each month’s magazine when you sign up! 


While You're Here

Related Posts


Never Miss A Story

Get our Weekly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.
Cookie policy
We use our own and third party cookies to allow us to understand how the site is used and to support our marketing campaigns.

Sign up for our e-newsletter

for the latest articles, news, events, announcements and alerts from Alabama Living