It’s finally summer, which means it’s time to reacquaint yourself with the simple pleasures of warm-weather baking. This includes fresh, juicy fruits to play with, recipes that require firing up the grill, and some new picnic must-haves. So put on your apron, grab your mixing bowl, and let’s dive into some fun summer bakes.
1) Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes
This hand-held version of classic strawberry cheesecake is so adorable that you’ll want to whip up a batch for any and every occasion. The secret to these cupcakes’ incredible flavor is fresh strawberries that have been cooked down to concentrate their sweetness. The cream cheese filling — which is used to both fill and frost the cupcakes — is also a standout. And if you want to take the cuteness factor up a notch, try adding natural red food coloring to make the cupcakes even more vibrant.
Get the recipe: Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes
Shop the recipe: Natural Food Colors Set
2) Emancipation Breakfast Cake
This summer breakfast cake is filled with sweet fresh blueberries and tangy bursts of lemon zest and features a buttery streusel topping. You can use fresh or frozen blueberries, and I even like to add some Organic Dried Blueberry Powder to the batter for an extra boost of blueberry flavor (without adding any additional liquid). Created by chef Adrian Lipscombe in honor of Juneteenth, it’s the perfect treat to honor this important holiday later in the month.
Get the recipe: Emancipation Breakfast Cake
3) Grilled Calzones
Are you ready to elevate your grilling game? Look no further than grilled calzones. When you grill bread, it gets a fantastic char and crispness that you just can’t replicate in an oven. (And if you’re already a fan of grilled calzones, you must try this Grilled Pizza, too — it’s the perfect companion dish.) If you want to add a “wow” factor, make sure to use the optional garlic basting oil included in the recipe. Did I mention that this recipe is perfect for a Father’s Day cookout? It’s a great way to show the grill master in your life some appreciation with cheese and carbs.
Get the recipe: Grilled Calzones
4) Hamburger Potato Buns
I’ve been searching for the ideal burger bun, and this recipe satisfies all the criteria. The addition of potato flour gives these buns a soft texture, while the all-purpose flour provides the necessary support to handle a variety of toppings — perfect for classic beef burgers, veggie burgers, and even more hefty burgers. Plus, they’re simple enough to whip up during a lazy summer Saturday. (Make sure to check out the gluten-free version as well!)
Get the recipe: Hamburger Potato Buns
Shop the recipe: Potato Flour
5) Raspberry-Lime Rickey Bars
If you’re a fan of the sweet, tangy, and incredibly refreshing lime rickey cocktail, then you’ll love these bars. This recipe takes inspiration from the beloved drink, featuring a rich and buttery shortbread crust beneath a tart and sweet lime curd. While there are three toppings to choose from, I highly recommend using the gorgeous Berry Mirror Glaze.
Get the recipe: Raspberry-Lime Rickey Bars
6) Toasted Coconut and Lime Scones
Looking for a tropical escape? Indulge in the flavors of a relaxing island getaway with some soft, tender scones. Toasted coconut provides a subtle nutty sweetness, while zingy lime delivers a hint of citrusy flavor. Per a helpful customer tip, I added some extra lime zest and a splash of lime oil from this set to intensify the citrusy taste.
Get the recipe: Toasted Coconut and Lime Scones
7) Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
With so many exceptional coffee cakes to choose from in the Recipe of the Year 2023 collection, this one truly stands out to me because it’s the first coffee cake I’ve had without cinnamon! This version boasts a stunning ruby filling made with fresh raspberries, topped with a layer of luscious sweetened cream cheese. The coffee cake can be garnished to your liking, but I recommend a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar blitzed with freeze-dried raspberries for a striking finishing touch.
Get the recipe: Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
8) Lemon Blueberry Cake
I can never decide between lemon or blueberry desserts in the summer (lemon squares and blueberry pie are both my favorite). This recipe is the perfect marriage of my favorite flavors. It features a balanced combination of sweet and tangy, with homemade blueberry jam sandwiched between layers of tender lemony cake. A lemon soak and lemon frosting streaked with additional blueberries enhances this classic flavor profile to the max. If you’re short on time, Blake Hill Blueberry Pie Filling can be used as a 1:1 volume replacement for the blueberry filling.
Get the recipe: Lemon Blueberry Cake
Shop the recipe: Blake Hill Blueberry Pie Filling
9) Brownie Cookies
No need to choose between a fudgy brownie or a chewy chocolate chip cookie — this recipe combines both into one delectable treat. Made with melted butter for a quick and easy preparation, these handheld goodies are baked in a muffin pan so they’re round like a cookie and thick like a brownie. Easy to make, they’re perfect for any occasion — picnics, parties, road trips, or impromptu gatherings.
Get the recipe: Brownie Cookies
10) Chocolate Magic Cookie Bars
Whether you call them seven-layer bars, dream bars, or Hello Dolly bars, this modern twist on a classic includes a hint of cocoa powder and chocolate chips for a chocolatey twist. The addition of a sweetened condensed milk layer (with chocolate) results in a delectable, gooey chocolate “glue” that serves as the foundation for all your mix-ins: I like to throw in these chocolate wafers and this fruit blend I keep on hand for granola and breads.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Magic Cookie Bars
11) Ultimate Brown Butter Rice Krispies Treats
If you have fond memories of Rice Krispies treats from your childhood, you definitely don’t want to overlook this sophisticated, adult-friendly adaptation. This grown-up version features the richness of brown butter, the depth of toasted milk powder, and a generous infusion of vanilla and salt for a truly elevated experience. With a prep time of just 14 minutes, this is an easy dessert to whip up at the last minute. I suggest substituting plain rice cereal with Kellogg’s Cocoa Krispies cereal for a chocolatey twist.
Get the recipe: Ultimate Brown Butter Rice Krispies Treats
Shop the recipe: Dried Whole Milk
12) Rye Blueberry Bars
As someone who loves baking with rye, I'm always on the lookout for opportunities to experiment with this nutritious and sustainable grain. With the incorporation of rye flour, these delightful blueberry bars offer a unique earthy flavor that complements the jammy taste of fresh blueberries. The same dough is used for both the crust and topping, making these bars quick and easy to assemble. And bonus: The rye flour not only enhances the overall depth of flavor but also adds tenderness thanks to its lower gluten content.
Get the recipe: Rye Blueberry Bars
Shop the recipe: Organic Medium Rye Flour
13) Earl Grey Scones with Jam Centers
Infused with the subtle citrusy notes of bergamot, these light and delicate Earl Grey scones evoke the quintessential British tea for which they’re named. While orange marmalade naturally pairs well with the filling, I adore Blake Hill’s Raspberry Hibiscus Jam for a touch of summer flavor.
Get the recipe: Earl Grey Scones with Jam Centers
14) South Shore Bar Pizza
South Shore bar pizza is a Massachusetts icon, found in pubs, taverns, and cafés along the state’s South Shore. It boasts a crisp crust, straightforward toppings, and delightfully carbonized edges that can be achieved, to my surprise, without a cast iron pan. Be sure to plan for this pie, as the dough requires a long chilling time in the refrigerator before it’s ready to top and bake.
Get the recipe: South Shore Bar Pizza
15) Banana Pancakes
I have a deep affection for banana pancakes, not only for their rich banana flavor but also because they keep me full and energized all day, making them ideal for busy summer weekends. This recipe produces pancakes with fluffy interiors, crispy edges, and a pronounced banana taste. To really jazz them up, swap your go-to maple syrup with this Sparkling Maple Syrup for a dazzling finish.
Get the recipe: Banana Pancakes
16) Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich Bars
Savor the simplicity of classic ice cream sandwiches to transport you back to childhood. This nostalgic recipe features creamy, no-churn vanilla ice cream nestled between two soft cookies. Although it requires some waiting time, the end result is truly worth it. Dip in some colorful sprinkles for an extra splash of fun.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich Bars
For more summer baking, check out our classic summer desserts recipe collection.
Cover photo (Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes) by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne.