There’s no doubt that summer is the perfect time to pick up new hobbies. For me recently, that’s meant cooking and baking at the slightest twinge of boredom. But where I’m from in Florida, it can be difficult to find a recipe that will hold up to the intense heat and humidity. As a result, I’ve expanded my repertoire of summer baking recipes to include fresh, seasonal ingredients that are best enjoyed during the hotter months.
Featured image by Suruchi Avasthi.
25 Summer Baking Recipes to Beat the Heat
I’m a bit of a summer standout—I love spending my days in the kitchen this time of year. Of course, I know that many others would rather be sipping a refreshing cocktail or lounging poolside. Luckily, if you fall into the latter group, know this: many of these recipes require little to no baking. And for the dishes that do, trust that they’re well worth the effort.
If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth while making the most of the warm weather, these summer baking recipes are exactly what you need.
Muffins and Cupcakes
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Why We Love It: If you’re as equally obsessed with carrot cake as I am, carrot cake cupcakes might just become one of your go-to baking projects throughout the week. Containing oat milk and unsweetened applesauce, this cupcake batter is a healthier take that won’t cause any sluggishness from sugar.
Hero Ingredient: Coconut sugar keeps these cupcakes sweet without going overboard.
Citrus Olive Oil Muffins
Why We Love It: I doubt you’ve seen a summer dessert more stunning than these citrus olive oil muffins. These bite-sized snacks bring the perfect amount of sweetness and tanginess.
Hero Ingredient: Lemon juice AND orange juice are essential for curating the perfect citrusy muffin.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Pumpkin Muffins
Why We Love It: These pumpkin muffins have had my heart for months. They’re easy and full of the warm, fall flavors that I tend to crave on breezy late-summer nights. A grab-and-go snack or a healthy dessert, these muffins are a must-have.
Hero Ingredient: How cute are these rolled oats as a topping?
Blueberry Power Muffins
Why We Love It: These blueberry power muffins pack a punch with healthy ingredients. You’ll be sure to wake up on the right foot with apple cider vinegar and ground ginger.
Hero Ingredient: Almond or hazelnut flour is a great pantry staple to have when you’re feeling baking-inspired.
Olive Oil Orange Blossom Muffins
Why We Love It: I can’t get enough of olive oil muffins—they’re super simple and don’t contain near as much sugar as the double chocolate muffins I grew up with. (Certainly not the worst thing in the world, but let’s just say these hit the literal sweet spot.)
Hero Ingredient: Orange slices are an aesthetically pleasing topping to press into these muffins.
Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Berry Muffins
Why We Love It: I’m drawn to anything anti-inflammatory in regard to food. These muffins are a great way to pack plenty of berries, turmeric, and other good-for-you ingredients into a breakfast or snack.
Hero Ingredient: If you aren’t familiar with the benefits of turmeric, be sure to read up on this fascinating spice.
Vegan Banana Muffins
Why We Love It: Banana bread in one bite! These vegan banana muffins are one of my favorite snacks to have throughout the day. Filled with healthy ingredients that won’t cause a sugar crash, you’ll find me making these religiously at the beginning of the week.
Hero Ingredient: Fresh banana is a must-have!
Easy Olive Oil Cake
Why We Love It: Once I realized how moist and delectable olive oil cakes could be, I was changed forever. This cake is naturally sweetened with honey and Greek yogurt and topped with candied oranges.
Hero Ingredient: The orange glaze couldn’t be simpler: just powdered sugar and orange juice! Two ingredients for the win.
Berries and Cream Layer Cake
Why We Love It: When a large-scale summer gathering is in order, a cake is the simplest answer. This berries and cream cake isn’t too heavy and doesn’t contain the plethora of artificial flavors found in your grocery store cake.
Hero Ingredient: I think strawberries are the best fruit flavor to incorporate into desserts (apologies to all the other fruits out there).
Blueberry Almond Coffee Cake
Why We Love It: Coffee cake is a top-tier snack or dessert. This recipe keeps your sweet treat light and fresh. What says summer more than fresh blueberries in your breakfast?
Hero Ingredient: Blueberries’ fresh, fruity flavor pairs so well with the nuttiness of almonds.
Orange Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Why We Love It: A perfect transition from spring to summer, this carrot cake is a dessert balanced in flavor and texture. Cream cheese frosting is rich, yet not overly sweet, making this cake a great option for when the heat gets to be a bit too much.
Hero Ingredient: Orange zest and orange extract are the ultimate duo.
Rhubarb Meringue Cake
Why We Love It: As mentioned, rhubarb is somewhat of an under-the-radar dessert ingredient. Incorporating this fruit into the main dish is one thing, but it brings the perfect brightness to any sweet treat.
Hero Ingredient: Rhubarb takes all the credit for the color and flavor of this cake.
Healthier Honey Cake
Why We Love It: The words “healthy” and “cake” don’t always go hand-in-hand, but in this dessert, they prove any skeptic wrong.
Hero Ingredient: Whether you choose pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon, this honey cake packs plenty of warm flavors.
Ombré Citrus Upside Down Cake
Why We Love It: If I was looking for a party-pleasing dessert, this cake would be one of my top picks. A variety of different citrus flavors make up this warm-toned cake and add to the bright and tangy flavor.
Hero Ingredient: If you haven’t had a Cara Cara orange yet, let this cake be the reason you try them. They hit the sweet, sour, and citrusy balance of flavors just right.
Gluten-Free Lemon Bars
Why We Love It: Even in its off-season, lemon is one of the best fruits to implement in baking, cooking, and everything in between. Lemon bars bring a summery, zesty flavor to any crowd. This pool party-approved dessert is one you won’t want to miss out on.
Hero Ingredient: Lemon is everything.
No-Bake Lemon Cardamom Slices
Why We Love It: Another flavorful (and easily servable) summer dessert is these no-bake lemon slices with a warm touch of cardamom. White chocolate holds these bars together and keeps them light in color and fresh in flavor.
Hero Ingredient: If you haven’t added cardamom to your spice cabinet, now’s your chance.
Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake
Why We Love It: What’s better than strawberry shortcake? Gluten-free strawberry shortcake! This recipe isn’t nearly as dense as the traditional dish but still brings all of the sweet, balanced flavors that strawberry shortcake is known for.
Hero Ingredient: Almond slices add the perfect bit of crunch.
Lemon Ricotta Poundcake
Why We Love It: Poundcake is a highly underrated summer dessert. It’s such a versatile treat that can be paired with a variety of different fruits and sweet flavors. The lack of icing makes it a perfect dish for hotter weather.
Hero Ingredient: Candied lemon slices? Count me in.
Why We Love It: Cobbler is known for being a widely-loved summer dessert. This cobbler uses fresh (or frozen!) blackberries to pair with creamy vanilla ice cream.
Hero Ingredient: Ice cream as a topping makes all the difference with a good cobbler.
Bumbleberry Galettes with Cornmeal Crust
Why We Love It: Fresh fruit galettes are my most recent summer obsession. They’re super simple, rolling a pastry-like dough into a bowl-type tart to encase anything from fresh fruit to savory ingredients.
Hero Ingredient: If you haven’t started incorporating rhubarb into your desserts, I highly recommend it.
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Why We Love It: Ah, banana bread. A summer baking staple in my household growing up. We’d have many a heated competition to see who could bake the best banana bread. In the end, sweet toppings and fillings proved victorious, and the rule holds here. Chocolate chips take this dish to the next level.
Hero Ingredient: I’m always a fan of chocolate chips in my dishes, but particularly this banana bread.
Banana Walnut Bread with Espresso Mascarpone
Why We Love It: Just when I thought banana bread couldn’t get any better—enter espresso mascarpone. A local favorite at one of our go-to NYC coffee shops, Two Hands. It’s a must-visit for this banana bread alone.
Hero Ingredient: I’m a big coffee gal, and any dessert that pairs perfectly with a cuppa is a hard yes for me.
Fig and Lemon Crostata
Why We Love It: Crostatas are arguably one of the most summery desserts of the entire season. Rich and tart fig flavors meet the tanginess of lemon for this crowd-approved dessert.
Hero Ingredient: How could you deny stunning figs like these?
Pluot Galette with Crème Fraiche
Why We Love It: Ever since Camilla Marcus showed us her pluot galette, I’ve been in awe of its simplicity and unique flavor. Ripe pluots are a necessity for this dessert, topped with light and sweet crème fraiche.
Hero Ingredient: After I tried this recipe, I vowed to make sunflower seed butter a new pantry staple—asap.
Why We Love It: As the die-hard coffee lover I am, I’m drawn to any form of tiramisu. The raspberry is perfect for summer, and the coffee liqueur is guaranteed to make it feel like you’ve had a late-night espresso without losing any sleep.
Hero Ingredient: Top with bittersweet chocolate shavings for flavor and texture.