Fancy no-bake cake and shrimp canapes are perfect to serve for special parties

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If you're hosting a bridal shower, a graduation or engagement party this spring and summer, you'll want the food to be served to be super special.

And although many hosts will rely on a caterer to provide the goodies, here are two magnificent recipes to make and serve.

If you're hosting a bridal shower, a graduation or engagement party this spring and summer, you'll want the food to be served to be super special.

And although many hosts will rely on a caterer to provide the goodies, here are two magnificent recipes to make and serve.

Strawberry Margarita Cake

The cake looks impressive and there is no baking involved. If you can locate the harder-to-find large-size dessert shell, use it.

15 ml (1 tbsp.) unflavoured gelatin (7 g envelope)

1 can (250 ml) frozen concentrated margarita mixer, thawed and undiluted

500 ml (2 cups) sliced locally grown strawberries

1 pkg of 6 cake dessert shells (142 g/5 oz)

30 to 45 ml (2 to 3 tbsp) orange-flavoured liqueur, rum, tequila or orange juice

250 ml (1 cup) whipping cream

45 ml (3 tbsp.) granulated sugar

5 ml (1 tsp.) vanilla

Topping

500 ml (2 cups) sliced strawberries

In a very small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over 50 ml (1/4 cup) cold water; let stand for 2 minutes. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until dissolved, about 1 minute. Let cool.

Meanwhile, puree undiluted margarita mixer with strawberries until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Stir in gelatin mixture. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until starting to thicken. Start checking at 30 minutes; it should not be so thick that you can't fold in whipped cream.

Trim rim from shells to make flat cakes, reserving rims. Place shells in 20- to 23-cm springform pan, filling holes with rim bits. Press to make even layer. Brush with orange liqueur.

In a bowl, whip cream with sugar and vanilla until peaks form when beaters are lifted. Stir one-third into thickened strawberry mixture. Fold in remaining whipped cream. Pour onto cake; tap pan on counter to remove any air bubbles. Refrigerate for at least four hours but preferably overnight.

Serve cake topped with berries.

Makes 10 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 210 calories, 2 g protein, 10 g fat, 27 g carbohydrates, 1.5 g fibre.

Wine match: Moscati D'Asti.

Recipe source: Foodland Ontario

Salsa Shrimp Melts

This recipe can be double or tripled depending on the number of guests. They will be a treat at any event.

125 g (4 oz) frozen cooked salad or cocktail shrimp, thawed

50 ml (1/4 cup) salsa

16 to 20 crackers or baked tortilla chips

125 ml (1/2 cup) shredded Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 200 C (400 F).

Drain shrimp, pat dry and cut into small pieces. In a bowl, combine shrimp and salsa. Spoon evenly on top of crackers. Place on baking sheet. Sprinkle cheese evenly over shrimp mixture.

Bake in oven or toaster oven for about 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Makes 16 to 20 pieces.

Wine match: Barbera D'Alba.

Recipe source: Dairy Farmers of Canada

Geographic location: Canada

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