Best baking recipes

Question for the group! Recently, I’ve gotten really into baking, and I’m dying to ask: which recipes you swear by? The amazing (and easy) recipe that Anton and I make on repeat is…

Smitten Kitchen’s Strawberry cake. We tried it on Anton’s fifth birthday last year and have made it a dozen times since.

Smitten Kitchen Strawberry Cake

Smitten Kitchen Strawberry Cake

Smitten Kitchen Strawberry Cake

Smitten Kitchen Strawberry Cake

Smitten Kitchen Strawberry Cake

Smitten Kitchen Strawberry Cake

“There’s a pound of hulled and halved strawberries in a cake that can barely handle it. The strawberries take over,” says Deb from Smitten Kitchen. “The batter buckles around the receding berries, which dimple like a country quilt. The edges of the cake become faintly crisp. And your apartment will smell like a strawberry patch.” Here’s her recipe…

Smitten Kitchen’s Strawberry cake
Makes 8 to 10 servings
Adapted, only slightly, from Martha Stewart

You’ll need:
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pie plate
1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (200 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup (118 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 pound (450 grams) strawberries, hulled and halved

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 10-inch pie pan or a 9- or 10-inch springform or cake pan. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth.

Pour into prepared pie plate. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer (though I had to overlap a few to get them all in). Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.

Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes. (Gooey strawberries on the tester are a given.) Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into wedges. Serve with lightly whipped cream.

Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, loosely covered, but good luck with that.

Toby and Joanna baking cake at home

Anton making Simple Cake's chocolatey chocolate cake

The other big bonus of baking is that kids are often up for helping out. Who will dare turn down the possibility of cake or cookies or brownies? And running the beater and licking spoons and tasting batter? We’ve had the nicest time cooking off the cuff. (The bottom photo is chocolate cake with cream cheese icing from Simple Cake. Not that beautiful, but very delicious!!!!)

What else would you recommend? I’d LOVE to hear. We like these brown butter rice krispie treats and four-ingredient apple crisp, too. Also, lol at Anton’s face in this bottom photo.

P.S. A boxed brownie taste test, and 9 cookbooks that earn their keep.

(Top illustration by Alessandra Olanow. Cake photos and adapted recipe by Smitten Kitchen, republished with permission.)