Nearly every cookbook has one crowning jewel of a recipe. One big, beautiful must-try. In the case of Baked Occasions, this is that recipe. Three layers of densely spongy "very vanilla" cake are enveloped in layers of bright white frosting and coated with rainbow sprinkles. Cutting into the cake reveals more sprinkles, folded into the cake batter. The effect is childlike and utterly charming, with the innocent sweetness of vanilla providing the perfect backdrop.
'Bake the Book' on Serious Eats
Brownies are hard to mess up, but the truly great ones combine a generous helping of chocolate with a dense, satisfying bite. These brownies from Baked Occasions have both, with a sweetly spiced pumpkin cheesecake swirl that makes them even more satisfying, and seasonally appropriate.
To say that Matt and Renato, authors of Baked Occasions are fans of bourbon would be an understatement. They've made pies, cakes, and ice creams featuring the boozy, woodsy liquor. These Derby cookies were crafted in honor of the Kentucky Derby, bite-sized and perfect for a party. Even if you're not celebrating Derby Day, these cookies are delicious with or without an oversized hat.
Crafted for the late, great Julia Child, this salty-sweet soufflé from Baked Occasions celebrates the life of a woman who found her calling at fifty, and who taught her audience the secrets of French cooking in the comfort of their own kitchens. Make this to celebrate a great woman in your life, or anyone who has achieved lofty heights and sweet success (much like a caramel soufflé).
Sure, most shortbread seems the same on the surface. But break one of these babies apart and you'll see glassy hunks of burnt sugar, and a speckling that comes from finely ground espresso. To further the freshly-roasted flavor, this recipe from Ovenly calls for two tablespoons of cold-brew coffee as well.
Beginning with a base of ground hazelnuts, these cookies get an extra dose of sweetness from a tablespoon of dark maple syrup, as well as a generous roll in maple sugar. It's an Ovenly version of a similar Italian biscotto, where pistachios are ground and bound with egg whites, sugar and lemon zest. In a clever move, the lemon zest is traded for orange, which fits much better with maple's almost malty flavor.
Square and blonde and sweet all over, this Ovenly recipe is made with a combination of dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, and a heap of honey. Chunks of raw pecans keep them from being cloyingly sweet, and a teaspoon of salt makes all the flavors pop.
How can one humble galette be sweet and flaky, and salty and sour? By combining poached quince and fresh goat cheese, that's how. Slices of the fruit are simmered in sugar and vanilla and arranged over a tart mix of chevre and crème fraîche.
The dense, nutty flavor of this cake from Zoe Nathan's Huckleberry reminds me of the skin of a Bosc pear: tan and textured, but ultimately yielding to something sweet. And it's no coincidence that this cake boasts three pears' worth of fruit. They're used to separate a layer of oat and almond flour crumble, and a wheat germ and rye flour-flavored cake. It's just as homey and welcoming as you'd expect.
A name so nice, they said it twice. In this recipe from the new Huckleberry cookbook, author Zoe Nathan layers melted and chopped dark chocolate over a foundation of cocoa powder and strong coffee to make a dark, densely delicious teatime cake. Of course, teatime can be extended to mean anytime, which is lucky for you.
The combination of baked fruit, vanilla, and brown sugar found in this recipe from Huckleberry is absolutely intoxicating. And it's truly simple to put together—chances are, the ingredients are already in your pantry. An oat and wheat flour crumble is cut with a generous amount of butter and brown sugar, and sprinkled over cored, halved apples of your choosing. They end up soft and fragrant, with plenty of crumb to cover.
We've been watching the comments, and it seems a fair number of you wanted a gluten-free version of a donut, or a beignet. A beignet is traditionally made with choux pastry and then deep-fried. These jelly-filled donuts are made with choux pastry and then deep-fried. The difference? No gluten.
A dense, fudgy brownie seems easy enough to make without flour; after all, isn't there flourless chocolate cake? The Everyday Art of Gluten-Free answers that question with marbled cheesecake brownies that are still plenty dense, but with a cake-like quality that supports the weight of a pound of cream cheese, thanks to author Karen Morgan's Cookie Jar Blend.
Ah, the glorious chocolate chip cookie. Crispy, chewy, salt-dusted, or just sweet—no matter the variation, it's an American stand-by. But until recently, a gluten-free version of the classic was not common. The Everyday Art of Gluten-Free beautifully mimics that tender yet crisp chocolate-chip balance, without relying on standard flour.
When you can't have gluten, finding palatable substitutions to your favorite foods can be a real hassle. Luckily, we have Karen Morgan's The Everyday Art of Gluten-Free to help you through that quest. Take this thickly-frosted, fruit-stuffed pop tart as a shining example of what can be done with a little starch manipulation.
Until now, tiramisu has always felt like a wintertime dessert. Witness this Seriously Delish creation, which uses whipped coconut milk and coconut rum to add a undeniably tropical note to a normally coffee-heavy dessert. It's just as rich and inviting as the original.
This cake uses whole wheat pastry flour and the zest of four lemons in its base, along with hearty glugs of extra-virgin olive oil. The top is all slices of caramelized Meyer lemon, and the whole shebang is baked up in a cast iron skillet, which gives it a bit of a crust, and a lot of rustic appeal.
Indulge in a little no-bake bliss with this cheesecake from Seriously Delish. Greek yogurt is mixed in alongside cream cheese, with a little sweetened condensed milk for, well, sweetness. It's tart, creamy, but not too dense; just the kind of cake you can enjoy more than once in a while. The simple base allows for all kinds of toppings, an assortment of which are suggested. Feel free to eat it plain or switch it up entirely.
A "tray bake" sounds like a peculiar thing, but it merely references a sweet dish baked in a rectangular container, cut into pieces—we're talking everything from brownies to fruit bars to sheet cakes. This iteration from The Ginger & White Cookbook may look to be a standard orange sponge, but that's far from the case: Ground almonds and egg form the base of the cake, with a flavorful orange purée folded into the mix.
Light layers of sponge cake sandwich bright, citrusy lemon curd in this cake from The Ginger & White Cookbook. The cakes bake up quickly and cleanly in springform pans, while the curd comes together on the stove. It's simple, but doesn't look that way, which is sure to impress a teatime guest.