Gorgeous pics? Check. OTT desserts? Check. Serious know-how? Check. Love, Cake is a baking blog that ticks pretty much all our boxes. The baking mastermind behind it all, Samantha Seneviratne, also resides in NYC, where some of the best desserts are being dished up right now, which gives it even more sweet street cred. Add to that the blogger is a recipe developer and stylist for top American food mags, including Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, and her first cookbook, The New Sugar & Spice: Recipes for Bolder Baking, came out late last year, and well, need we say more? Experience not withstanding, it’s the recipes dreamt up by Sam, whose parents hail from Sri Lanka, a land of sugar and beguiling spices (she grew up in Connecticut), that do all the talking. Think a blend of nostalgia, produce and creativity, from vanilla custard, granola and raspberry ice blocks, and meyer lemon shortbread, to orange and cardamom churros, as just a few examples.
Here, she’s handpicked her favourite handheld desserts – macaroon-topped gooey chocolate chip bars, mocha-glazed doughnuts, homemade caramel Twix and cream puffs with a crunchy creme brulee topping – perfect for picnics, cocktail parties or just polishing off in one-to-two bites (and trust us, you will). If you’re not near an oven and ready to start baking, you can get an instant sweet fix through her addictive Instagram feed @samanthaseneviratne.
“I’ve known that I wanted to be a baker since I was a tiny kid. I spent hours in the bathtub narrating the process of making blancmange out of bubbles just the way I had seen it done on television. I imagined the colours of my crayons as fruit tarts: blueberry blue, raspberry red and banana cream yellow, for example. And I experimented with creme caramel long before I knew not to try and taste the hot caramel. It took me a little while to make my culinary career a reality, but now I’m lucky enough to spend my days contemplating cookies and kneading dough.
“Cooking is a necessity of life. But baking is all about pleasure.”
“While the act of baking gives me immense pleasure, it’s the other side of the equation that feels magical. Cooking is a necessity of life. But baking is all about pleasure. And while you can certainly cook a meal for one, baking is all about sharing. One person shouldn’t eat a whole pie. (I’ve tried.) Dessert is a gift. To the baker and to her friends. And that makes me happy beyond measure.
“The recipes here all pack and travel well. They’re desserts that you can bring to a party. Your friends can eat them with one hand and keep a drink in the other, while you chat, laugh and enjoy your time together. These are desserts meant for sharing. They’re desserts that mean love.”
I started my blog to… Find my voice. Blogging helps me flex my muscles with both words and sugar!
The must-cook recipe on my website is…Chocolate chunk banana oat cookies. They’re super-simple and delicious, and come together with everyday ingredients.
I can’t wait to go back to… China to eat. That trip included the most magical noodles of my life. All were out of this world, but I was especially in love with these hand-pulled noodles I ate in Beijing. They were served with an egg and tomato sauce, which was new to me and out of this world.
My current food obsession is… Kouign amann. I’ve tasted some wonderful versions at various bakeries, such as Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York and I’m trying to perfect my own recipe. It’s a tough one!
Nugget of cooking wisdom… Get in the habit of using a ruler when you bake, as using one helps keeps things consistent. For example, a 2.5 cm round of cookie dough will cook for less time than a 3 cm round of cookie dough. It's good to know what you've got before it goes in the oven. It's also a good idea to measure your baking pans before you start a recipe.
I learnt to cook by… Experimenting with cookbooks when I was young, going to culinary school at the International Culinary Center in New York, and working in magazine test kitchens. And I’m still learning!
When I go back to my home town… Avon, Connecticut, there is a fabulous Thai restaurant near my parent’s place that’s better than all the Thai restaurants in my neighbourhood in NYC. We always head straight there right when I get into town.
Baking is… The way I show my love.
Friends always ask me to make… Dessert. Obviously! And I’m always happy to comply.
The one thing I can’t cook is… Couscous! It always comes out clumpy.
I always have… Chocolate, sugar and flour in my pantry; butter and milk in my fridge; and nuts and coconut in my freezer. I can’t always make dinner, but I can always make cookies.
My favourite biscuit to dunk in a cup of tea is… A super-spicy, super-crunchy ginger snap. (You can find the recipe in my cookbook, The New Sugar & Spice.)
My most sauce-splattered cookbook is… In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley. It’s a brilliant book.
The most difficult food to shoot/style and make look tasty is… Ice-cream. Oh boy. Shooting and styling ice-cream gives me heartburn.
Beyond my own blog, some of my favourites reads are… I love The Faux Martha for her beautiful and honest stories about food and family. Brooklyn Supper makes food I want to eat! Always. And Two Red Bowls has some of the prettiest images around (read our interview with the blog's creator here). There are so many more! I could go on forever.
Top picks from Love, Cake
Blog Appétit Editor Yasmin Newman
Blog Appétit is our curated list of go-to food blogs we love, with a focus on high-quality photography, trusted recipes, strong editorial themes and a unique voice and personality. View previous Blog Appétit entries.