Cherry Yum-Yum

Cherry Yum Yum is a classic dessert that conjures feelings of nostalgia and comfort with each bite. This no-bake treat, known for its creamy layers and delightful cherry topping, has been a staple at family gatherings and community events for generations. Often associated with Southern cuisine, this dessert combines a crunchy graham cracker crust with a smooth, sweet cream cheese filling, topped off with vibrant cherry pie filling.

The allure of Cherry Yum Yum lies not just in its taste but also in its simplicity. It’s a dessert that can be assembled with minimal effort, yet it always manages to impress guests. Whether it’s a summer barbecue or a cozy winter dinner, it fits seamlessly into any menu. The recipe for Cherry Yum Yum is flexible, allowing for variations that can include different types of fruit fillings like blueberries or strawberries, appealing to a wide range of palates.

The dessert’s popularity is evident in its frequent appearances at potlucks and its revered status among homemade dessert recipes. Its components, such as the graham cracker crust and whipped cream, are also beloved in many other desserts, making Cherry Yum Yum a quintessential American treat. As we delve into the history and preparation of this delightful dessert, it’s clear that Cherry Yum Yum is much more than just a sweet treat; it’s a piece of culinary heritage that continues to evolve and captivate dessert lovers everywhere.

History of Cherry Yum Yum :

The origins of Cherry Yum Yum trace back to the American South, where desserts that are quick to prepare and satisfying to eat have long been cherished. Its exact birthplace is uncertain, but the dessert became popularized through community cookbooks and family recipe exchanges during the mid-20th century. These sources often acted as repositories of regional culinary traditions, helping dishes like Cherry Yum Yum gain a foothold in Southern cooking culture.

Cherry Yum Yum’s appeal is partly due to its simplicity and the accessibility of its ingredients. The dessert is a product of the convenience food era, which saw the rise of packaged goods such as graham crackers and canned cherry pie filling. These items were staples in American pantries, making Cherry Yum Yum an easy choice for last-minute dessert needs.

As it spread across the country, variations of the recipe began to appear. Some versions swapped the cherry topping for other fruits, like blueberries or peaches, reflecting local tastes and seasonal availability. Despite these variations, the core elements remained the same: a crumbly crust, a creamy filling, and a fruit topping.

Today, Cherry Yum Yum is celebrated not just for its taste but also for its ability to evoke memories of family dinners and community gatherings. It stands as a testament to the power of simple, comforting food to bring people together, serving as a delicious reminder of the South’s rich culinary heritage.

Ingredients Breakdown :

Graham Cracker Crust:

The foundation of Cherry Yum Yum lies in its graham cracker crust, offering a satisfying crunch that contrasts beautifully with the creamy filling. Crushed graham crackers are mixed with finely chopped pecans, sugar, and melted butter, which binds the ingredients together. Once baked and cooled, this crust becomes a sturdy base for the layers above. Some variations include different nuts or even chocolate graham crackers for an additional twist. For a deeper understanding of this versatile base, check out the history of graham crackers.

Cream Cheese Filling:

Next comes the cream cheese filling, which provides a rich and tangy layer that pairs perfectly with the crust and cherry topping. Softened cream cheese is whipped until smooth and then mixed with powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and whipped topping. The whipped topping lightens the texture, making it more mousse-like. It’s essential to ensure the cream cheese is softened for easy mixing. Using low-fat or alternative sweeteners can modify the filling for those seeking a healthier option.

Whipped Topping:

Whipped topping is a crucial ingredient in the filling and is also used as a top layer to crown the dessert. Many recipes call for commercially prepared whipped topping, but freshly whipped cream provides a more natural flavor. Learn more about whipped cream here. This layer seals the dessert, creating a fluffy, light barrier that balances the tanginess of the cream cheese and the sweetness of the cherries.

Cherry Pie Filling:

The signature feature of Cherry Yum Yum is the vibrant cherry pie filling that sits atop the layers. Canned cherry pie filling is commonly used due to its convenience and consistent flavor. However, homemade pie filling can also be a great option, especially when cherries are in season. The cherries add a bright pop of color and sweetness, cutting through the richness of the other layers.

Pecans (for Garnish):

Pecans, finely chopped and sprinkled on top, add a nutty flavor and crunch to the final presentation. This garnish enhances the dessert’s visual appeal while offering a final touch of texture. While not a strict requirement, pecans elevate the dessert, making it extra special.

Each ingredient in Cherry Yum Yum plays a distinct role, and together they create a dessert that is as visually appealing as it is delicious.

Step-by-Step Recipe:

  1. Crust Preparation:
    • Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs, ½ cup of finely chopped pecans, and ¼ cup of granulated sugar. Stir these dry ingredients together until well blended.
    • Add ½ cup of melted, cooled butter to the mixture and stir until the crumbs are evenly coated.
    • Press this mixture firmly into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish, ensuring it’s tightly packed to create a solid crust.
    • Bake the crust for 8 minutes until it’s lightly golden. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.
  2. Cream Cheese Filling Preparation:
    • In a large bowl, beat one package (8 ounces) of softened cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add 1¼ cups of powdered sugar and ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract while continuing to beat until creamy.
    • Fold in one container (8 ounces) of thawed whipped topping, mixing gently until fully incorporated. This step ensures the filling remains fluffy and light.
  3. Layering and Assembly:
    • Once the graham cracker crust is cooled, spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over it, forming the first layer.
    • Top this layer with two cans (21 ounces each) of cherry pie filling, ensuring the cherries are evenly distributed for a vibrant and delicious second layer.
    • Spread the second container of whipped topping over the cherry layer to form the final creamy layer. Ensure it covers all the cherries for a clean, neat appearance.
  4. Garnishing and Chilling:
    • Sprinkle the top of the dessert with 3 tablespoons of finely chopped pecans. This garnish not only enhances the look but also adds a subtle crunch.
    • Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dessert for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, to allow all the layers to set firmly.

With the dessert chilled and firm, Cherry Yum Yum is now ready to be served. Cut into squares and serve chilled, ensuring each portion contains all three luscious layers. For more dessert inspiration, consider trying other layered delights like those found here.

Tips for the Perfect Cherry Yum Yum :

  1. Crust Consistency:
    • For a sturdy, non-crumbly base, ensure the graham cracker crust is tightly packed into the dish. The melted butter binds the crumbs together, and a little pressure will create a firm foundation for the creamy layers. If the mixture seems too dry, a few more tablespoons of melted butter can help.
  2. Cream Cheese Filling Mixing:
    • Ensure that the cream cheese is fully softened before beating. This prevents lumps and makes it easier to incorporate the powdered sugar and whipped topping, creating a silky-smooth filling. Take care to fold in the whipped topping gently to maintain its airy texture.
  3. Layering Balance:
    • Achieving the right ratio between the cream cheese filling and cherry pie filling is key to the dessert’s harmony. Spread the cream cheese layer thickly to hold up against the cherries and whipped topping.
  4. Topping for Visual Appeal:
    • While pecans are a traditional garnish, other nuts like walnuts or almonds work just as well. You can also consider adding a drizzle of chocolate or caramel for an extra touch of flavor. For added flair, pipe whipped topping into decorative patterns on top.
  5. Chill Time for Optimal Setting:
    • Patience is crucial in making the perfect Cherry Yum Yum. Allow the assembled dessert to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. This gives each layer time to firm up, making it easier to cut neat squares.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be able to craft a Cherry Yum Yum that looks just as good as it tastes. For more no-bake dessert recipes that can be easily customized, check out this Pinterest board.

Variations and Customizations :

While Cherry Yum Yum is traditionally made with cherry pie filling, its versatile base and creamy layers offer endless opportunities for customization:

  1. Different Fruit Toppings:
    • Experiment with various pie fillings, such as blueberries, strawberries, or peaches. These fruits pair well with the tangy cream cheese filling and add a seasonal twist. Consider combining multiple fruits for a colorful layered dessert, or explore other options on this Pinterest board.
  2. Flavor Extracts:
    • Adding a few drops of almond extract to the cream cheese filling introduces a subtle nutty flavor that complements cherries and other fruit toppings. Lemon or orange extracts can add a citrusy freshness that balances the dessert’s richness.
  3. Alternative Crusts:
    • Instead of graham cracker crumbs, try a shortbread crust or use chocolate wafers for a unique flavor profile. The chocolate wafers especially bring a new dimension that pairs well with fruit.
  4. Healthier Modifications:
    • Opt for low-fat cream cheese or reduced-fat whipped topping. Use sugar substitutes like Stevia to reduce sugar content without compromising taste. For the crust, ground nuts or gluten-free graham crackers can be used as a base.
  5. Nut-Free Alternatives:
    • If you’re serving those with nut allergies, eliminate the pecans and replace them with toasted coconut flakes or a sprinkle of graham cracker crumbs.

By making these variations, you can tailor Cherry Yum Yum to suit different tastes, dietary needs, or seasons, ensuring it remains a delightful dessert for any occasion.

Health Considerations and Nutritional Value :

Despite its indulgent appearance, Cherry Yum Yum can be modified for different dietary preferences and health goals. One serving of the traditional recipe, which includes a graham cracker crust, cream cheese filling, whipped topping, and cherry pie filling, contains approximately 400 calories. It is also high in sugars and fats, particularly if prepared with full-fat cream cheese and whipped topping.

To reduce the dessert’s caloric content, consider using low-fat or fat-free cream cheese and light whipped topping. These ingredients significantly cut down on the fat while maintaining a creamy texture. Additionally, substituting regular sugar with a natural sweetener like Stevia in the filling can decrease the overall sugar content.

For those following gluten-free diets, alternative crusts made from gluten-free graham crackers or ground nuts provide a similar base. Almond flour, in particular, is an excellent choice due to its mild flavor and lower carbohydrate count. Another option is to use whole-grain crackers for added fiber.

Despite these modifications, moderation remains important. Each layer brings its own nutrients and flavor to the dessert, so balancing portions is key. For similar dessert ideas, discover no-bake recipes that can align with your specific nutritional needs.

Frequently Asked Questions :

Q1: Can I use different types of crust in Cherry Yum Yum?

Yes, while the traditional recipe calls for a graham cracker crust, you can experiment with other bases. Crushed shortbread or digestive biscuits provide a buttery foundation, while chocolate wafers add a rich flavor. You can also try gluten-free graham crackers or ground nuts for those with dietary restrictions.

Q2: How long does Cherry Yum Yum need to chill?

It’s best to refrigerate the assembled dessert for at least four hours to ensure the layers set firmly. Overnight chilling is preferable, as this gives the flavors time to meld and creates neat, well-formed slices.

Q3: Can I make this dessert ahead of time?

Certainly! This dessert can be made a day or two ahead of serving. Prepare the layers, cover tightly, and refrigerate. Add the pecans or other garnishes just before serving to maintain their crunch.

Q4: What other toppings work well besides cherry?

Blueberry, strawberry, and peach pie fillings are all popular alternatives. You can also mix and match different fruit toppings to create a colorful layered dessert. Lemon curd or fresh fruit can provide a refreshing twist. For more ideas, check out this collection of layered desserts.

Q5: How can I store leftovers?

Leftovers should be covered with plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container before refrigerating. They can last up to four days when properly stored. Avoid freezing Cherry Yum Yum, as the cream cheese filling may separate and the whipped topping could lose its texture.

Q6: Can I make the whipped topping from scratch?

Absolutely! If you prefer to use homemade whipped cream instead of commercially prepared whipped topping, whip heavy cream with a bit of sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Fresh whipped cream will have a more natural taste, but be sure to use it within a day or two.

Q7: Is there a way to reduce the sugar content in Cherry Yum Yum?

Yes, you can use natural sweeteners like Stevia or Monk fruit as substitutes in the filling. Additionally, consider using sugar-free pie filling or making your own with fresh or frozen cherries, adding sweeteners to taste.

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𝗖𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗿𝘆 𝗬𝘂𝗺 𝗬𝘂𝗺

  • Author: Easy Recipes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 28 minutes



For The Graham Cracker Crust:

2 cups (14 full-size crackers) graham cracker crumbs

½ cup finely chopped pecans

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ cup salted sweet cream butter, melted and cooled

For The Cream Cheese Filling:

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

2 (8-ounce) containers whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed

1¼ cups powdered sugar

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 (21-ounce) cans cherry pie filling

3 tablespoons finely chopped pecans (for garnish)


Prepare the Crust: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, chopped pecans, and sugar. Add melted butter and mix until well combined. Press this mixture into a 9×13 baking dish and bake for 8 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
Make the Filling: In a large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, continuing to beat until creamy. Fold in one container of whipped topping.
Assemble the Layers: Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the cooled crust. Top with cherry pie filling. Spread the remaining whipped topping over the cherry layer.
Garnish and Chill: Sprinkle the top with finely chopped pecans. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to set.
Serve: Cut into squares and serve chilled.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Chill Time:: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes

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