Embrace summer baking with 10 seasonal recipes

Gin and Tonic Cake. Photo: Moriah Van Vleet
Gin and Tonic Cake. Photo: Moriah Van Vleet

Turning on the oven might not be the first thing you think of after a long, sunny Memorial Day weekend. But the Bay Area’s weather can be so unpredictable that summer is as good a time as any to spend Saturday afternoon whipping up tasty seasonal cakes and cookies. If you need some inspiration, look no further than these ten beautiful (and tasty) desserts from contributor Moriah Van Vleet of the blog Butter Sugar Flowers.

Cakes

Aperol spritz cupcakes. Photo: Moriah VanVleet
Aperol spritz cupcakes. Photo: Moriah VanVleet

Aperol Spritz Cupcakes These cupcakes offer a tender, airy, citrus-speckled crumb for lovely texture and flavor in each bite. Delightfully well-balanced, the whisper of mild, warming prosecco hits its stride beneath the lively layer of tart Aperol glaze. Sweet, sour, and scrumptious!

Buttermilk Hibiscus Cake With a burst of distinctive hibiscus flavor, this tender, fragrant cake offers vibrant deliciousness in every bite. A beauty to both the tastebuds and the eyes, this celebration of hibiscus is a reminder of the sweet satisfaction flowers can bring — whether eaten, sipped, or simply beheld.

Cinnamon Peach Sandwich Cakes. Photo: Moriah Van Vleet
Cinnamon Peach Sandwich Cakes. Photo: Moriah Van Vleet

Cinnamon Peach Sandwich Cakes Delicate and decadent at once, cinnamon peach sandwich cookies are soft, spicy and succulent: the best of a cake and a cookie at once. Full of lively flavor, these tender treats taste like a fancy dessert in a relaxed format: fruity little cakes to eat with your hands.


Double Plum Torte This torte celebrates both dried and fresh plums enrobed in a fragrant maple-vanilla batter. The tangy plum slices offer a burst of juicy flavor and vibrant color, while the dense, prune-rich cake is incredibly moist and naturally sweet.

Firelit Cake. Photo: Moriah Van Vleet
Firelit Cake. Photo: Moriah Van Vleet

Firelit Cake Studded with spiked, plumped raisins, citrus zest and flecks of almond, this dark and fragrant cake is full of boozey brown sugar and warm coffee essence. Savor a slice with a cup of coffee — or perhaps even a glass of its own namesake liqueur.

Gin and Tonic Cake With an undeniable echo of the cocktail behind it, the gin and tonic cake offers herbal undertones and citrusy traces of juniper in a moist and fulfilling format. The sweet, boozy glaze envelops a tender crumb, giving each bite both crispness and a kick. Refreshment, sweetness, and good spirits — what more do you really need?

Lemonade Cake. Photo: Moriah Van Vleet
Lemonade Cake. Photo: Moriah Van Vleet

Lemonade Cake  Sure: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But why stop there? Once you have the lemonade, make a dessert to share! With its hint of sour lemon and its toothsome texture, each bite of this tender lemonade cake offers a burst of summer in a delightfully delicious form.

Cookies

Hibiscus Pistachio Meringues. Photo: Moriah Van Vleet
Hibiscus Pistachio Meringues. Photo: Moriah Van Vleet

Hibiscus Pistachio Meringues Feather-light between your fingertips, these cookies are tart, refreshing and melt in your mouth with harmonious hints of citrus, salt, and nutty warmth. A nod to the flower that inspired them, these five-petaled treats offer an echo of hibiscus’ beauty and tang.


Rosehip Graham Crackers When homemade honey grahams meet the unexpected but delectable flavor of rosehips, delicious things happen. The rosehips bring a perfect bit of earthiness that’s almost herbal-tasting, along with a faint whisper of tartness reminiscent of fresh sourdough bread. Enjoy a bowl of them on their own, alongside coffee or tea, or any way you’ve eaten graham crackers — pie or cheesecake crust, anyone?

Sazerac cookies. Photo: Moriah VanVleet
Sazerac cookies. Photo: Moriah VanVleet

Sazerac Cookies Herbal and citrusy, sazerac cookies have proven to be a welcome treat by drinkers and non-drinkers alike. They celebrate the spirits behind them, just as they usher in a spirit of celebration. Cheers!

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