16 Easy Baking Recipes for the ‘Non-Bakers’ Among Us

Like many, at the start of this sheltering-in-place experience, I had grand ambitions for my weekday cooking and baking. I’d lovingly nurture my sourdough starter each morning; mise all the ingredients for an exquisite salad or tartine for lunch; stop …

Like many, at the start of this sheltering-in-place experience, I had grand ambitions for my weekday cooking and baking. I'd lovingly nurture my sourdough starter each morning; mise all the ingredients for an exquisite salad or tartine for lunch; stop work in the evening and craft a stick-to-my-ribs dinner, accompanied by NPR and a glass of Sangiovese; while dinner cooked, I'd stir up a cake batter or cookie dough to bake and enjoy, still warm, while curling up with The Sopranos.

Two weeks days in, reality looked much different. My sourdough starter soon released "hooch" and, later, grew a concerning film of mold. Lunch was usually a piece of cheese toast and a fried egg, prepared at the tail end of my 12 p.m. meeting when "my internet went funny" and I "had to" turn my video off. Dinners went from complicated to pasta to takeout pretty rapidly.

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This One-Bowl Chocolatey Sponge Cake Looks Like It Came From a Bakery

On your mark, get set, bake! Food52 contributor and Great British Bake-Off contestant, Chetna Makan, is here to give us the lowdown on the kind of food she makes at home: simple, Indian-inspired weeknight wonders, showstopping sweets, and so much more….

On your mark, get set, bake! Food52 contributor and Great British Bake-Off contestant, Chetna Makan, is here to give us the lowdown on the kind of food she makes at home: simple, Indian-inspired weeknight wonders, showstopping sweets, and so much more.


When I was little, my mother would make our birthday cakes at home each year. They were nothing fancy: Just a single-tiered affair with no icing or anything remotely close to decorations. She took a couple of baking classes when I was very young, and there she picked up recipes like vanilla sponge, pineapple cake, and eggless date cake; these are the ones she made for us all the time. Despite their simplicity, those treats tasted amazing and gave me great joy.

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The Spicy, Crunchy Snack I’m Making for Diwali This Year

On your mark, get set, bake! Food52 contributor and Great British Baking Show contestant, Chetna Makan, is here to give us the lowdown on the kind of food she makes at home: simple, Indian-inspired weeknight wonders, showstopping sweets, and so much mo…

On your mark, get set, bake! Food52 contributor and Great British Baking Show contestant, Chetna Makan, is here to give us the lowdown on the kind of food she makes at home: simple, Indian-inspired weeknight wonders, showstopping sweets, and so much more.


Diwali is one of the biggest holidays in India, celebrated in mid-autumn. It's the festival of lights, signifying the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and many a diya ("tealight," in Hindi) and sparkler are lit to commemorate. It is also a rare occasion when everyone in the family stops work and gets together to celebrate. Of course, in India, Diwali is a national holiday, and schools and work are off for the day. While this is sadly not the case in the U.K., where I live, we try our best to fit in as much of the festival on a workday as we can!

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