Incorporating layers of vanilla wafers, pudding and bananas, this dish somehow became one of the favored desserts of Tennessee – it’s even the state dessert! The town of Centerville hosts an annual banana pudding festival, and we’d love to see what kinds of rides are there. The reason this became such an iconic dessert is for a couple of reasons – trading turned once-exotic foods like bananas into much more common fare in the South.
A big turn came in the 1920s, when Vanilla wafers came into common use, making it even easier to make a dish that once featured sponge cake. Nabisco created the “Nilla Wafer” product, which also had the recipe for the classic treat on the box, and the popularity of the banana pudding was off and running.
South Carolina – Coconut Cake
Believe it or not, coconut cake has been a big part of the Southern diet for more than a hundred years. The three main sections to this dessert are a coconut cake, a generous layer of coconut frosting, and plenty of coconut flakes, so...we hope you like coconut. There’s nothing too tough about making this classic example of Southern spring cuisine.
But it can be a hit at the right time of the year, such as the warmer months. There’s no reason why you can’t serve it during the fall or winter, but coconut just has such a wonderful summery feel that it can be strange to serve it if it isn’t warm out. Maybe that’s why it’s so popular in the South – it’s always warm there.
South Dakota – Kuchen
We have German immigrants to thank for bringing kuchen (which more or less translates to cake from German) to the states, and a whole lot of those immigrants settled in South Dakota. Kuchen takes a light, buttery pastry crust that also features almond extract and fills it with a mixture of custard and cream filling, sometimes adding things like fruit or nuts to the mix.
They can also be topped with the same things, so there are a good number of options for people who want some taste of the European old world. As long as you have all the pieces assembled, it should only take you about an hour to put together this excellent treat. A traditional topping brings even more flavor with brown sugar, cloves, and cinnamon.
Texas – Pecan Pie
Pecan pie is such a beloved treat in Texas that they made it the official state pie. Not only is this treat a relatively easy one to make, but it’s delicious, too. Plus, nuts are kind of healthy, aren’t they? A little bit. There is one obvious reason that this pie has flourished in that Southern state.
It's because about twenty percent of all the pecans in the United States are grown in Texas. A pie crust, a whole lot of chopped pecans, some corn syrup, and a couple of other things let you throw this easy treat together in just a few minutes. If you want to give the taste an extra pop, you can add a little bit of rum for an adult version of this pie.
Utah – Jell-O
The heavily Mormon population of this state loves Jell-O so much that it was named the state’s official snack back in 2001. One theory as to why it’s such a hit in Utah is that the Mormons of the state had nothing left to “rebel” with after abstaining from alcohol, coffee, and tea, so they turned to gelatin.
This likely isn’t true, as Jell-O has always been seen as an acceptable option for people of all ages. Top it with a little bit of whipped cream for a dessert that’s even better, or try “Mormon Jell-O,” which incorporates lime Jell-O, crushed pineapple, cottage cheese, evaporated milk, and chopped nuts. Another reason for its popularity in Utah is its relative low cost. Big families mean big grocery store budgets.