Top 5 budget Christmas dessert ideas to impress your guests

Santa may have elves to help him prepare for Christmas, but many of us aren’t as lucky to find little helpers, especially when it comes to getting busy in the kitchen. But fret not, we’ve got some sweet ideas to help you ‘sleigh’ your Christmas desserts this year AND save yourself some time and money. Supermarkets including Coles and Woolworths have all the basics you need in their Christmas ranges, and on the shelves, so the rest is down to a little imagination and preparation.

Top 5 budget Christmas dessert recipes

Here are our top ticks for easy and affordable Christmas dessert ideas.

1. Iced VoVo or raspberry lamington cake

A popular TikTok user recently shared a hack for creating a four-tier Iced VoVo raspberry lamington cake using a Woolies Unfilled Sponge Slab, which costs just $5 for two ready-made cakes. You can alternatively use Coles’ Rectangular Double Sponge Unfilled Cake for the same price. Other ingredients you’ll need include unsalted butter, icing sugar, and vanilla for the buttercream, as well as baking cocoa for the chocolate sauce. And of course, shredded coconut, raspberries, and jam.

Here’s a basic rundown of the Iced VoVo lamington cake recipe:

  1. Cut each cake slab in half.
  2. Make the chocolate sauce by mixing cocoa powder, icing sugar, and water. Pour this onto a plate or bowl that’s large enough to fit a slab of cake, and fill a separate plate with shredded coconut.
  3. Dip each slab into the chocolate sauce, then the shredded coconut, before placing it on the serving platter.
  4. Pipe the buttercream (add food colouring for a pink effect) along the sides of the cake, and top with jam and fresh raspberries.
  5. Repeat until all layers are done.

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2. Pavlova wreath

One Aussie mum also went viral on Instagram after whipping up a showstopping no-bake pavlova wreath, centering the Christmas staple around the Woolworths Gold Lemon Myrtle Meringues. Each box costs $6 and contains four meringues, making the total cost of the dessert fairly affordable considering the recipe calls for one meringue per person. Coles similarly sells an eight-pack of meringue nests for $4.40 and a nine-pack of Petite Pavlovas for $5.

Here’s a brief summary of how you can recreate the pavlova wreath:

  1. Whip thickened cream into stiff peaks, then leave it to set.
  2. Arrange the meringues into a circle on the serving platter. Use the back of a spoon to spread whipped cream over the meringues, to create a ‘wave-like’ design.
  3. Put dollops of passionfruit pulp on top of the cream.
  4. Sprinkle crushed pistachios over the wreath, along with your favourite fresh fruits. You can also use fruits to fill any gaps (i.e. where the meringues connect).

Supermarket mud cake recipe

3. Supermarket mud cake hack

The humble pre-made supermarket mud cake is a budget-friendly birthday staple that has recently become the secret ingredient to some seriously impressive creations – saving shoppers a chunk of money. And, there’s no reason as to why this same trick can’t be used for the silly season, too. Each cake is generally 600g, which is approximately eight servings.

If you’re not a fan of caramel or chocolate mud cake, you can opt for a sponge cake instead. Coles even has cream-filled and iced options available for $5.50. Here are several ways you can decorate a mud cake:

  1. Top with a variety of things like edible flowers, plastic toys, candy canes, mousse, and chocolates.
  2. Use a dessert sauce to create a ‘drip’ effect, which is usually made from ganache – but you can also use buttercream.
  3. Stack the pre-made cakes on top of each other to create a tower, using buttercream to ‘glue’ each layer (or whipped cream if you’re making a trifle).

4. Christmas pudding truffles

Even a pre-made supermarket fruit cake can be something the whole family can get on board with. Another amateur cook posted her much-loved recipe for Christmas pudding truffles, which uses pre-packaged fruit cake or leftover Christmas pudding. You can also use the Lightly Fruited Sultana Cake from Coles for $4.30, or Woolies’ Lightly Fruited Cake for the same price. Woolworths also has gluten-free options between $6 and $9. For those who aren’t fans of fruit cake, you can swap it for sponge or mud cake. And, the best part? It’s a no-bake recipe!

Here’s a quick breakdown of what to do:

  1. Put your fruit cake into a food processor until it turns into crumbs.
  2. Add the fruit cake crumbs into melted butter and chocolate, before rolling the mixture into balls.
  3. Drizzle melted white chocolate onto the puddings truffles and decorate with chocolates or lollies.

5. Slow-cooked Christmas cake

This isn’t a ‘hack’ per se, but it’s certainly an easy way to make a classic Christmas dessert. This dish was posted on the Slow Cooker Recipe & Tips Facebook page and uses just four ingredients: self-raising flour, mixed fruits, chocolate milk, and Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur (or another alcoholic drink). Supermarket branded bags of mixed fruits tend to be cheaper than other alternatives, typically priced under $5.

Here are the steps to make this dessert:

  1. Soak mixed fruits in choc milk and an alcoholic drink of your choice for 24 hours.
  2. Fold/combine flour with the fruits mix to make a batter.
  3. Line all sides of the slow cooker (including the bottom) with baking paper.
  4. Pour the batter into the slow cooker evenly, then place a tea towel under the lid (to collect condensation).
  5. Cook on low heat for seven to eight hours.

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