The morning is the best time for bakers to flex with tart raspberry coffee cake, brown butter banana bread, and cinnamon-apricot Bostock.
“Why should you bake breakfast?” I came to this question after cracking the spine of an exciting new book, Life Is What You Bake It, from Vallery Lomas—former Great American Baking Show contestant; Washington, DC, lawyer; USC Trojan; and steward of the website Foodie In New York. But by the end of dog-earing the book’s opening chapter, the question was rephrased: Why shouldn’t you bake breakfast? “It’s fun baking, but it’s baking that has a very specific purpose,” Lomas tells me. “You actually get a meal out of it, and you don’t really get that with most other baking.”
Even making pancakes, like the cornmeal-based recipe in the book, can be a form of baking—and a great way to use leftover cornbread batter. A more relaxed approach might be baking a coffee cake and calling it a day. In the book, Lomas uses tart raspberries (a perfect baking fruit for year-round hosting) and nutty almond-flour streusel for a cake that can stand on its own with a cup of coffee and a Sunday crossword. A jammy blackberry oatmeal cake can be cut into pieces to grab on the way out the door on busy weekday mornings.
This is the type of baking I live for: not fussy, relatively fast, and without much shaping or molding or whipping meringue required. And for one morning, it turns your home into a New England (or Napa or Northern Michigan) bed-and-breakfast, in a way a bowl of Cracklin’ Oat Bran has never quite been able to pull off. Here are a few favorites from Vallery’s cookbook, and from the pages of TASTE. — Matt Rodbard
Photo: Linda Xiao