These tools will help you prepare ultra-chocolatey brownies, springy cakes, and more.

By Bridget Hallinan
May 01, 2020
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Justin Walker / Williams Sonoma

If you're planning a homemade meal to celebrate Mother’s Day this year, whether brunch or a seasonal, springy dinner, these desserts can help it feel extra special. Try black-and-white cupcakes or a tangy cheesecake; a simple, adaptable skillet crisp with fruit would also be a nice touch. We’ve gathered those recipes and more to round out your menu, and included the major kitchen tools you need to pull them off, too, like cake pans and a hand mixer. Read on for the full spread.

New York–Style Cheesecake with Pink Grapefruit and Marmalade

Sur La Table / Charissa Fay

Alex Guarnaschelli’s impressive cheesecake, topped with grapefruit supremes and orange marmalade, is made using a 9-inch springform pan. Make sure you grease the bottoms and sides with softened butter so the cake doesn’t stick.

What You’ll Need: Nordic Ware Leakproof Springform Pan, 9”, $22 at surlatable.com

Olive Oil Cake with Honey-Yogurt Cream and Strawberries

Eric Wolfinger / KitchenAid

Dense and moist olive oil cake, juicy macerated strawberries, and a bright yogurt whipped cream make a lovely spring dessert. Just like with the cheesecake, you’ll need a springform pan (this recipe calls for 8-inch), but you’ll also need a mixer to make the batter. Either a stand mixer or electric mixer will work; this KitchenAid hand mixer got great reviews, with over 1,000 five-star ratings.

What You’ll Need: KitchenAid 5-Speed Ultra Power™ Hand Mixer, $35 (was $50) at kitchenaid.com and target.com

Black-and-White Cupcakes

Sur La Table / Christina Holmes

The frosting design on these cupcakes may look complicated, but Food & Wine’s Justin Chapple has an easy hack to pull it off, using plastic wrap, a small spatula, and a pastry bag. For the cupcakes themselves, you’ll need a 12-cup muffin tin; bake them for about 17 minutes, until they’re springy and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.

What You’ll Need: Nordic Ware Naturals Muffin Pan, 12 Cavity, $18 (was $22) at surlatable.com

Get the Recipe: Black-and-White Cupcakes

Red Wine Chocolate Snack Cake

Justin Walker / Williams Sonoma

Chocolate cake is delicious on its own—chocolate cake with red wine in it? Even better. Cabernet Sauvignon helps brighten it up, incorporated in both the cake and the ganache topping. (With a sprinkle of flaky sea salt for good measure). The recipe calls for a 9-inch round cake pan to bake the cake, greased with butter and lined with parchment paper.

What You’ll Need: Williams Sonoma Goldtouch® Nonstick Round Cake Pans, 9", $25-$45 (was $25-$50) depending on order size at williams-sonoma.com 

Molten Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Filling

Sur La Table / James Baigrie

In this recipe, Grace Parisi takes the classic molten chocolate cake recipe and swaps in a warm peanut butter filling instead. (For moms who love chocolate peanut butter cups, this would definitely be a winner.) They’re baked in ramekins and then served with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. 

What You’ll Need: Sur La Table Porcelain Round Ramekin with Ribbed Sides (7 oz.), $2 (was $4) at surlatable.com

Pistachio Pavlova with Rhubarb Cream

KitchenAid / Nicole Franzen

This seasonal pavlova features strawberries, rhubarb, and pistachios, making it just as colorful as it is tasty. Use a stand mixer to make the meringue, and a hand mixer (like the KitchenAid model previously mentioned) to whip the cream for the topping. To bake the pavlova, you'll need a baking sheet.

What You’ll Need: Nordic Ware Naturals Half Sheet and Big Sheet, $30 at crateandbarrel.com; Artisan® Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer, $280 (was $380) at kitchenaid.com

Skillet Apple-Ginger Crisp

Antonis Achilleos / Sur La Table

Susan Spungen says crisps are a “choose-your-own-adventure cooking experience,” and provides a few different filling ideas in her skillet apple-ginger crisp recipe. You can try various kinds of apples, or swap in pears; berries would be nice too, as would peaches or nectarines come summer. The whole thing comes together in just over an hour, all in one 9-inch cast-iron skillet. 

What You’ll Need: Le Creuset Signature Cast-Iron Skillet, 9”, $120 (was $150) at lecreuset.com and $150 at surlatable.com

Get the Recipe: Skillet Apple-Ginger Crisp

Coffee Ice Cream

Bed Bath and Beyond / Abby Hocking

If you’re up for making your own ice cream, this recipe has a relatively simple ingredient list: egg yolks, whole coffee beans, heavy cream, half-and-half, light brown sugar, kosher salt, and vanilla extract. After you’ve made the custard, you’ll need to put it in an ice cream maker—Cuisinart’s ICE-100 compressor is a great option, getting consistently good reviews across several retail sites. If you don’t want to use an ice cream maker, Justin Chapple’s vanilla-almond ice cream with cherries and pistachios doesn’t require one.

What You’ll Need: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop, $15 at bedbathandbeyond.com; Cuisinart Ice Cream and Gelato Maker, $222 at bedbathandbeyond.com 

Get the Recipe: Coffee Ice Cream

Lee Lee’s Double Chocolate Chunk Brownies 

Greg DuPree / Sur La Table

Brownies are always a good idea, and this recipe from pastry chef Lee Lee Reid of Nathaniel Reid Bakery is super chocolatey. You’ll need a 13- x 9-inch metal baking pan to make them; let them cool fully for at least two hours before you dig in.

What You’ll Need: Sur La Table Platinum Pro Rectangular Cake Pan, 9" X 13”, $25 at surlatable.com

Lemon Meringue Pie with Marcona Shortbread Crust

Food52 / Jennifer Causey

Ann Taylor Pittman engineered this lemon meringue pie recipe to come together quicker than usual, and made it even more lemony. You mix everything up for the shortbread crust in a food processor (this Hamilton Beach one is well-reviewed), and bake it in a 9-inch pie pan.

What You’ll Need: Hamilton Beach 8-Cup 2-Speed Black Food Processor and Vegetable Chopper, $40 at homedepot.com; Emile Henry Classic Ceramic Pie Dish, $48 at food52.com