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Weeknight Baking

Recipes to Fit Your Schedule

About The Book

Michelle Lopez—the wildly popular and critically acclaimed blogger behind Hummingbird High—teaches busy people how to make cookies, pies, cakes, and other treats, without spending hours in the kitchen.

If anyone knows how to balance a baking obsession with a demanding schedule, it’s Michelle Lopez. Over the past several years that she’s been running her blog Hummingbird High, Lopez has kept a crucial aspect of her life hidden from her readers: she has a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. But she’s figured out how to have her cake and eat it too.

In Weeknight Baking, Lopez shares recipes for drool-worthy confections, along with charming stories and time-saving tips and tricks. From everyday favorites like “Almost No Mess Shortbread” and “Better-Than-Supernatural Fudge Brownies” to showstoppers like “a Modern Red Velvet Cake” and “Peanut Butter Pretzel Pie” (it’s vegan!), she reveals the secrets to baking on a schedule.

With rigorously tested recipes, productivity hacks, and gorgeous photographs, this book is destined to become a busy baker’s go-to. Finally, dessert can be a part of every everyday meal!

Excerpt

Weeknight Baking
Loaf cakes are the perfect weeknight baking project. They come together with just 20 minutes of Work Time and are so moist and flavorful on their own that no frosting is required. Many loaf cakes keep well at room temperature. They taste even better the day after they’re baked, with flavors that deepen the longer they sit.

Despite all these great weeknight baking qualities, I didn’t always love baking loaf cakes. Although I’ve always found loaf cake batter a breeze to mix together, it was a completely different ball game once I placed it in the oven. Most loaf cake recipes tend to bake unevenly—the edges will brown far quicker than the center, leaving the baker to choose between a cake with a slightly burnt bottom and sides versus one with perfect edges but an underbaked center.

It became my mission to solve this issue. I made many different loaf cake recipes to showcase on Hummingbird High, experimenting with oven temperatures and altering Bake Times, all with no luck. One day, I failed to follow my own advice on prepping ingredients (see page 44) and found myself missing a half stick of butter for a pound cake recipe. Instead of running to the store, I decided to reduce the rest of the ingredients in the recipe to match the amount of butter I had on hand. Doing so would make a smaller loaf, sure, but one that would be enough to satisfy my craving. When I pulled it out of the oven, I was surprised to find that I’d baked the perfect loaf: moist and flavorful in the center, and more important, with no burnt bottom or edges.

I realized then that the loaf cake recipes I’d previously tried produced more batter than what was actually needed for a reasonable size loaf. That excess batter was causing the bottoms and edges of my loaf cakes to burn, since all that batter took too long to bake in one pan. I decided to apply this theory to some of my favorite loaf cake recipes, reducing the ingredient quantities to make less batter. It worked! All came out perfectly, with no overdone edges in sight.

Along the way, I also discovered that the right cake pan is crucial in delivering a perfectly baked loaf cake. Enamelware, glass, and ceramic pans don’t perform as well as more traditional bakeware like professional, insulated metal cake pans. These are pans made from two layers of metal with a layer of air sandwiched in between them. The layer of air acts as an insulator, preventing the bottom and edges of your loaf cake from burning.

Alas, I know that professional cake pans are a luxury. So there are ways to hack it at home without having to buy a new set. You can place your loaf pan on a sheet pan when baking; the extra layer of metal helps insulate the bottom of the loaf cake. Even better, if you’ve purchased your loaf pan as a stackable set of two, you can double them up to re-create a “professional” insulated pan. Cool, right?

After I figured out these tricks, my loaf cakes came out perfect each time. Loaf cakes quickly became one of my favorite weeknight baking projects—and I hope they’ll become one of yours, too.

About The Author

Michelle Lopez is the baker, blogger, and photographer behind Hummingbird High, which has twice been a finalist for Saveur’s “Best Baking Blog.” Outside the blogosphere, she has worked in finance and tech. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon. Weeknight Baking is her first book.

Why We Love It

“Recipes for desserts that you can tackle Monday through Thursday. It’s for busy moms who have to make two dozen cookies for their kids’ bake sale. It’s for young professionals who promised to make a cake for a friend’s birthday. It’s for anyone who craves something sweet, and doesn’t have time to waste. She’s going to teach you how to manage your time, and resources. Because that’s exactly what she’s had to do for the last several years: create mouthwatering desserts at night, after a long day at work.” —Emily G., Editor, on Weeknight Baking

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 29, 2019)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501189876

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Raves and Reviews

These are the recipes all home bakers want and need in their arsenal--plus tons of creative, inspiring variations—and Michelle breaks them all down into easy-to-execute parts. Weeknight Baking will turn any home baker, no matter their skill level, into a baking ninja.”—CLAIRE SAFFITZ, host and contributing editor at Bon Appétit

“Michelle is not only an amazingly creative cake maker and pie artist but she’s also an efficiency queen! With this book, everything from a freshly baked cookie to a freaking from-scratch wedding cake is within reach, no matter how crazy your schedule is.”—MOLLY YEH, award-winning author of Molly on the Range and Food Network Host

“Michelle is an incredibly smart baker, and it shows on every page of this book: in each delicious recipe, the detailed but achievable techniques, and her beautiful garnish and decor ideas. She has done all the legwork to make truly accessible recipes that taste (and look!) like you slaved over them all day.”—ERIN MCDOWELL, author of The Fearless Baker and frequent contributor to The New York Times Food Section and Food52

“Baking has a bit of a reputation for being the domain of ultra-meticulous chefs who might spend hours on end perfecting their confections, but Lopez shows readers how it can be pretty simple and even fun — like the icing on the cake of a productive day.”—NBC News

“If you're looking for a how-to on balancing a love of baking with a busy schedule, Michelle Lopez is the right fit...In her cookbook, Lopez delivers delicious confections alongside cute stories and time-saving tips and tricks.”—Business Insider

"The recipes are on the mark, and this volume of fun and accessible recipes will help beginning bakers work more efficiently."—Publishers Weekly

“In Weeknight Baking, Lopez shares time-saving secrets, suggested staples, substitutions, and tested strategies for turning out decadent treats. Featuring more than 80 recipes (including some that are gluten-free, vegan or both) for cookies, cakes, brownies, pies, muffins, and more, Lopez’s approach is easy to follow. For more time-intensive recipes—white wedding cake, anymore?—Lopez uses her analytic business skills to split the steps into 30-minute-or-less increments over several days for “a damn good dessert any night of the week you want one.’”—Shelf Awareness

“A book that solves baking for busy people…it will truly change your (baking) life.”—Eat This, Not That!

“Baking becomes a weekday habit.” –Northern Virginia Magazine

“Useful…some of these recipes are easy peasy (classic pound cake), others are more complex (vegan and gluten-free peanut butter pretzel pie). But all of them—cookies, cakes, pies, tarts, brownies, and more—can be fit into a busy schedule.”—AARP

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