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Church Ladies’ Favorite Potluck Recipes: Easy Desserts

Part 4 of 4 in the Series

As we finish up the series, Church Ladies’ Favorite Potluck Recipes, I saved the best part for last – dessert! A couple of these favorite desserts have been passed down from generation to generation – they share a nostalgic flavor. I love the history and stories behind old recipes.

Church ladies' favorite potluck recipes easy desserts

Church Potlucks of the Past

When we first started this series, we talked about some of the history of church potlucks. It was a great way for them to come together as a community and have fellowship. I love thinking back to the days before I was born and imagining potlucks at church.

generation of church potluck meals

I think about the way they dressed, the way they acted socially, the way they cooked, and the way the communities came together at the churches. They seem like such good times!

In fact, it is easy to get caught up in the thoughts of “I wish I could go back to those times for a day or two…” I guess every generation probably says the same thing at one time or another.

Today’s Church Potlucks

When you think about it that way, we are in the times that future generations will be wishing they could go back and visit for a while. In reality, we will look back on these days with such fond memories ourselves.

I am fortunate to be a part of a small country church that is all about community. We still have potluck meals once a month for anyone who wants to come, and it is endearing!

If your church doesn’t plan meals together very often, I encourage you to do so. That may be a ministry for you to take on and plan. The food is always great and the fellowship is even better!

Church Ladies’ Favorite Potluck Recipes Series

In the past few weeks, I was able to share some of the ladies’ favorite salads, side dishes, and main meals. As we close out the series, we will end it on a sweet note with their favorite potluck desserts – my favorite part of the meal!

Let’s start with one I had never heard of until a few weeks ago, but I loved it!

1 – Big Vinegar Roll (Yvonne Rollins, from her mother, Lucille Stewart)

When I first saw this dish on the dessert table, I thought it was some sort of apple cobbler. I would have never guessed that a dessert this delicious would have been made with vinegar.

Yvonne’s mother used to make this dessert for church potlucks when Yvonne was young. Now she is carrying on the tradition and sharing this with new generations. If you are like me and have never heard of it, please try it.

Church ladies favorite potluck recipes desserts big vinegar roll

Ingredients for Dough

  • Other Ingredients


  1. Cream flour, salt, and Crisco together. Add ice water to form a workable dough.
  2. Roll the dough out on a floured board until the dough is thin.
  3. Spread the sugar (scant) over the dough and dot with small pieces of the butter.
  4. Roll it up and seal the ends by mashing together.
  5. Slice into 1 inch slices and put in a baking dish.
  6. Add the vinegar to the boiling water and pour over the dough.
  7. Bake in a 400 degrees oven until browned.

2 – Mom’s Hummingbird Cake (Peggy Taylor)

This is another sweet treat that was passed down from a mom to a daughter. Just like with my family recipes, I love them when they are handwritten! The more “used” they are, the better!

I don’t think I have had this cake before, but I know what kind of cook Peggy is – it must be delicious! I am looking forward to trying this one.

potluck recipes desserts mom's hummingbird cake


  • Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients


  1.  Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl, then add the eggs and oil.
  2. Mix well, but do NOT beat.
  3. Add the vanilla, pineapple, pecans, and bananas. Mix well
  4. Pour into 3 (8 in.) pans, and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
  5. Frosting Instructions

  6. Mix the cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar together well.
  7. Frost the layer cakes – individually or layer them.

3 – Caramel Apple Dump Cake (My Recipe)

I would love to give credit to the person I got this recipe from, but honestly, I found it on Pinterest several years ago. I have made this dessert many times for almost every occasion. It only has 4 simple ingredients, it is super quick and easy, and it is one of my favorite recipes.

I try to keep the ingredients on hand all the time, because if something comes up last minute, I can throw it together in no time.

I have shared this easy dessert before. It is like many other dump cakes – you pretty much dump everything in, bake, and enjoy. It is delicious if you serve it while it is still warm and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

potluck recipes desserts caramel apple dump cake



  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and spray a 9X13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Spread both cans of apple pie filling onto the bottom of your dish.
  3. Sprinkle half of the bag of caramel bits evenly over the top of the pie filling.
  4. Evenly distribute the dry cake mix over the top.
  5. Pour the melted butter evenly over the cake mix, covering as much of it as you can.
  6. Bake uncovered on the center rack for 30-40 minutes or until the buttery cake mix turns a deep golden brown.
  7. If it starts getting too brown in areas, cover it with aluminum foil while it is baking.
  8. Allow it to cool for about 5 minutes and then serve warm with vanilla ice cream (optional).

4 – Chocolate Caramel Cake (Diane Green)

I just recently had the privilege of meeting Diane, and I immediately started hearing about her amazing desserts. She brought this one to our last potluck meal, and it got rave reviews. I can’t wait to see what she brings this month. Just hearing her brainstorm ideas made me excited.

This cake has the opposite story of the first two. Where the others were passed down from older generations, Diane got this delicious dessert recipe from her granddaughter.

I have had something similar, but this one has a secret ingredient. You will love it!

potluck recipes desserts caramel chocolate cake



  1. Bake the cake according to the package directions.
  2. Let the cake cool completely.
  3. Using the handle of one of your wooden spoons, punch holes all over the cake.
  4. Mix the caramel sauce and the sweetened condensed milk together well, and pour all over the top of the cake, letting it get into the holes.
  5. Spread Cool Whip on the top layer of caramel, and add chocolate shavings.
  6. Keep refrigerated.

Other Easy Potluck Desserts and Ideas

  • Store bought cake mix in a Bundt cake pan – melt store bought icing in the microwave and pour over it.
  • Sheet cakes are easy to make, and then you can change up the toppings for variety.
  • Lemon Bars
  • Strawberry Shortcake
  • Peach cobbler (or any berry cobbler)
  • Brownies
  • Cookies
  • Pies
  • Banana Pudding
  • Dessert Bars
  • Fruit Salad
  • Anything made with Peanut Butter
  • Homemade Candy (See the download below for the easiest homemade candies ever!)

I am curious what your favorite potluck dessert recipes are. Do you have a “go-to” dessert that you make for special occasions, or are you known for certain desserts? Please share with us.


Clever Tips for Your Next Potluck

  • Try to sit with people you don’t normally get to sit with. Meet new people and hear their stories.
  • Have a potluck for holidays as well, like Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, etc. It will take a little bit of the pressure off of the host.
  • Have everyone who brings something bring a copy of their recipe. No need for making several copies any longer. Everyone can take a picture of the ones they like.

Here are a few items I use to help with potluck meals:

I hope this Church Ladies’ Favorite Potluck Recipes series has been of some benefit to you. You may be able to use some of the recipes at church, work, or at your next family gathering.

Keep passing down those old family recipes; the next generations will thank you! When they will look back on today, they will wish they could go back in time and experience the “good ol’ days.” Let our recipes give them a slight taste of what they are looking for.


The best conversations are over food - you might as well make it good food!

Whatever you do, keep meeting together and having fellowship. 

Other Favorite Potluck Easy Recipes

1st – Church Ladies’ Favorite Potluck Recipes: Salads
2nd – Church Ladies’ Favorite Potluck Recipes: Side Dishes
3rd – Church Ladies’ Favorite Potluck Recipes: Main Meals
The Best Dessert Recipes for Your Next Potluck

Until next week…

Closing Signature


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“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6

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  1. Susan,I Plan To Bake This Cake For Our Thanksgiving Meal At Church On The 19th. We Would Love You & Bro Jay To Come And Fellowship WithUs. Love You All.

  2. This has been such a fun series, Susan! I’m definitely going to miss it because it brought back such great memories. I’m totally with you on the dump cake. They’re super easy to make and always a big hit! Hugs, CoCo

  3. Susan, this series is great! I’m often looking up nostalgia things about the good ol days on Pinterest and such. Gotta love church lady food.
    Visiting today from Unlimited Linky 138 #14&15

  4. My mother-in-law makes a delicious hummingbird cake. She adds a bit more to her hummingbird cake than the recipe you listed here. But this one sounds good too.

    I love anything with caramel. I think the caramel chocolate cake sounds like something worth trying.

    Potlucks have always been one of my favorite things to attend. I can’t stand cooking, but I do love to eat great food. I like gaining the chance to interact with others and try new food.

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