Keep baking all summer long with these summer baking tips and favorite summer desserts!
The hot summer months are not my favorite time to bake. Keeping your home cool can be tough enough without your oven adding to the heat. Add in heat-sensitive ingredients and humidity, and you can have less than stellar baking results. However, summer also brings wonderful seasonal ingredients like berries and stone fruits that shouldn’t be missed.
Summer Baking Tips
These are my tips for making the best of summer baking along with some favorite desserts for the season. Let’s battle the heat of summer together and still have homemade dessert to enjoy!
1. Use your oven in the morning or evening
We all know that your oven can heat up your kitchen quickly. That’s why I prefer to bake early in the morning or in the evening when the outside temperature is lower. Sure, you’ll still be adding heat, but doing so at a time when it’s a little cooler will make things a bit easier on you and your air conditioner.
2. Choose recipes with shorter baking times
In keeping with minimizing the heat from your oven, look for summer baking recipes that don’t require a lot of oven time. A simple cake or a pan of mini cupcakes will bake much more quickly than a Bundt cake or even a pan of brownies. If you’re a cookie baker, try baking a pan at a time to avoid having the oven on for all the time it takes to bake dozens of cookies. You can refrigerate the dough between batches or even freeze the dough to bake when your cookie cravings strike.
3. Refrigerate cookie doughs and pie crusts
Speaking of cookie dough, keep in mind that a warmer kitchen will also make your cookie doughs warmer. If the butter in the dough begins to melt, you could end up with flat, tough cookies. You can try scooping and baking your cookies quickly. But if you refrigerate the dough before baking and between batches, you’ll avoid a lot of issues.
This applies to pie crusts, too. It’s not unusual on a warm day to end up with a too warm, too soft pie crust once it’s rolled, placed in the pan, and the edges fluted. When that happens, just put the pie pan in your refrigerator for a bit to let it cool and rest. Honestly, I usually do this year-round, but I often leave it longer in the summer. The freezer works, too!
4. Keep an eye on softening butter
With a warmer kitchen, butter will soften faster. The warmer it is, the faster butter will soften. If you’re using a recipe that contains softened butter, remember to check for softness sooner than normal to ensure that the butter doesn’t get too soft and affect the texture of your baked goods. Read How to Soften Butter for more details.
5. Don’t forget about humidity
An especially humid day can definitely affect your summer baking. If you’re baking something with a lot of liquid in it, then it may take longer to bake than usual. Just keep an eye on whatever you’re baking, and follow the recipe’s instructions and your best judgment to check for doneness.
6. Enjoy fresh summer fruits
The one thing I really love about summertime is the availability of fresh berries and stone fruits. I always try to bake with them as much as possible. There are so many simple ways to bake with the season’s fruits. An easy fruit crisp or cobbler is always a welcome treat on a summer day. They’re also wonderful garnishes for many desserts, like cheesecake and pound cake.
7. Refrigerate frosted desserts
Frostings and heat generally don’t mix well. If you’ve made a cake or a batch of cupcakes that are frosted, try keeping them in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve them. Then you can bring them to room temperature before serving. Of course, refrigerating these kinds of desserts isn’t a bad idea year-round, especially if the dessert won’t be eaten within a day or two.
SO many strawberries in this Strawberry Sheet Cake!
8. Make no-bake recipes
If you still can’t muster the motivation to turn on your oven, then there are so many no-bake desserts to enjoy. Skipping the oven time can still yield amazing desserts that are perfect for the season with their cool, creamy flavors and textures. From ice cream to cheesecakes and a whole lot more, you’ll find plenty of ways to satisfy your sweet cravings.
9. Let your favorite bakery do some of the work
If you’re lucky enough to have a great local bakery, take advantage of it! A simple pound cake can be turned into something special with just some fresh fruit and sweetened whipped cream. Brownies can be dressed up in a big way with a scoop of ice cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce, and a sprinkling of nuts. Your grocery store can help, too, with shortcut ingredients like puff pastry.
Don’t take a vacation from baking this summer! I hope you’ll be inspired to keep making homemade treats all through these warmer months. If you need some sweet inspiration, be sure to see some of my favorite summer recipes.