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One bowl baking

I just had a baby and it seems like we have tons of visitors at 3/4pm. I like to have tea/coffee at that time and something baked (banana bread, coffee cake, etc.). I need help finding easy 1 bowl breads/cakes. By 1 bowl I mean I will only dirty 1 bowl. So many baked goods require you to mix wet/ dry separately or have a stand mixer. I'm looking for easy easy baked goods recipes. Any suggestions?

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  1. I try to bake one-bowl whenever possible. I melt butter or virgin coconut oil, cool slightly, then whisk in room-temperature eggs and any other liquid ingredients, plus sugars. Then I dump in the flour and put other powdered dry ingredients atop it, tossing them in with a fork before mixing the whole thing together with a wooden spoon. This works fine for quickbreads, brownies, muffins, and the like. I like crisp cookies, not cakey ones, so melting the shortening works for that style.

    Other than for cookies, I would encourage you to bake in muffin or mini-muffin tins. It's quicker. If you do not already have spring-release ice cream scoops, they make filling the wells neater (no drips) and assure uniform portioning.

    1. Some recipes for 'crazy cake' call for mixing the dry ingredients, making 3 wells in the mix, and pouring vinegar in one, vanilla in another, oil in the third, and finally adding the water and mixing.

      With conventional quick bread (muffin) recipes, the main reason for using two bowls is to mix the eggs well with the other liquid. Two bowls are make it easier to combine semisolid ingredients like pumpkin puree and shortening. But in a pinch you could just dump the eggs, milk, and oil directly on to the dry ingredients, and mix a little more vigorously.

      I listed oil because that would entail less cleanup than melting butter.

      Frankly I thinking using two large mixing bowls is less effort. Mixing will be so much easier, and more than make up for the extra work of washing the 2nd bowl.

      1 Reply
      1. re: paulj

        I melt butter in the microwave in the same bowl I'm using for everything. I lay the wrapper from the butter atop the stick as it melts on low power, so it contains any butter that spatters.

      2. Baker's One Bowl Brownies. Doesn't get much easier.


        But while it is very nice of you, with a new baby I would not worry about serving food to your guests!

        5 Replies
        1. re: valerie

          I agree - they should be bringing the traditional food gifts to you.

          1. re: valerie

            I know. I know. It's so funny. People bring gifts for baby but no food. Maybe it's a NYC thing?! Oh the other night I had girlfriends over and they did bring much needed wine and we ordered in.

            1. re: NYCTX2001

              Must be something in the NYC air. I was in the same boat!

              I made coffee cakes. (Make a triple recipe of the crumble). Use the same bowl for the batter. Freeze the extra portions of crumble - that way you only have to make the batter next time.

              Brownies. Chocolate chip cookies. Smitten kitchen buttermilk cake. Nutella/banana turnovers. Apple crisp.

              1. re: NYCTX2001

                There are some great options from freshdirect.com if you are not ambitious/too exhausted/can't deal. Their blondies and brownies were a pleasant surprise!

              2. re: valerie

                This brownie recipe does not include baking powder or soda. That's the main dry ingredient that you want to mix uniformly with the flour (as opposed to the liquids). Without that, simply adding the flour to the wet works. Self-rising flour could also be used this way. Sugar (when not creamed with the butter) can be added directly to the wet, as can salt. Spices like cinnamon are better mixed with the dry.

                Melting butter and chocolate in the microwave with a large glass bowl works. But it won't with a steel bowl. Steel, though can be used over boiling water (double boiler style), or possibly an induction burner.

              3. Buy Rhodes frozen bake & serve dinner rolls. Take a dozen out of the bag. Keep the rest frozen for next time. Roll each ball in melted butter, then a mix of cinnamon and sugar. Place in a greased funnel pan, put in a warm place to rise and then bake. Rinse out the dish and use it to make a drizzle of powered sugar, water and a dash of vanilla and drizzle over the rolls. Instant pull-apart cinnamon rolls, with almost no work.

                1. I think most quick bread and cake recipes can be made in one bowl so long as you don't have to whip eggs to a certain peak or melt chocolate. I generally limit my baking to one bowl and measuring cup. Although I use a lot of spoons...

                  1. I agree with Paulj that a lot of two-bowl recipes are not really that labor intensive, and I've got "one bowl" recipes that involve more work.

                    For example, the last 1 bowl recipe that I made was a honey cake, where the dry ingredients are first mixed in the bowl, and the wet ones added into a well. However, the honey cake involves a lot of ingredients -- a few tbs of this, 1/4 cup of that, etc. This honey cake took longer to make and resulted in more dirty dishes overall (wet & dry measuring cups, spoons) than my favorite, easy-to-make cake recipe, which is a French yoghurt cake involving 2 bowls, linked here: ttp://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/19/the-bakers-apprentice-french-yogurt-cake.

                    Note that I always make the yoghurt cake with the ground almonds, which does involve pulling out & dirtying the food processor. The alternative of just increasing the flour would be faster and use less dishes (but may not taste as good). Also, I serve it plain, without any glaze or other topping.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: masha

                      Good point. I guess the other variable is the number of ingredients.

                    2. Hi
                      This cakes is yummy and all you need to do is dump and go. You can vary it by changing up the flavor of the yogurt.


                      I also have a muffin mix recipe-I make up a huge batch-with powdered buttermilk and the dry ingredients and then just add fruit, water, eggs and oil. totally easy peesy...and a great pantry item. Let me know if you want the recipe.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: margib

                        Yes please! Love the idea if powdered buttermilk.

                        1. re: NYCTX2001

                          Here is a link-
                          I use
                          1 1/3 cup mix
                          1/4 cup oil
                          1/2 cup water
                          1 egg
                          1 cup fruit
                          and find that it makes about 8 muffins. Sometimes I sprinkle a little extra sugar on top. I also use silicon baking cups-makes prep and clean up that much easier.

                      2. I only EVER use one bowl to bake. You just can't make things that involve whipping eggwhites and folding them in... I don't even own a stand mixer or food processor. A lot of recipes just use it for convenience and you can make them just fine in a big bowl. If I have to melt chocolate for the recipe (brownies) I put it in the microwave at the beginning with the butter and sugar. And modern flour does not need to be sifted so you don't need to worry about messing up a second bowl and a sieve for that. Start with the fat and sugar, then add the eggs and spices/flavourings, then add the flour and liquid alternately, and lastly stir in any fruit or chocolate chips etc.

                        1. http://www.montessoriworksblog.com/20...

                          this cake is dead easy and you can vary it with different flavored yogurts.

                          also very good:


                          10 Replies
                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            The French recipe, which is indeed a classic and yes, it really is the first thing many French kids learn to make from scratch, is even easier than that:

                            1 tub yogurt.
                            1 tub oil
                            2 tubs sugar
                            3 tubs flour (see what I did there? 1-2-3)

                            2 eggs (because US yogurt is 8 oz; French is 4)
                            1 tsp baking powder.

                            That's it. Nothing more. You *can* add vanilla and salt....but you don't need to.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              baked goods without vanilla and salt taste utterly flat to me.

                              not all state-side yogurts are 8 oz anymore. many like yoplait and fage are only 6.

                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                don't knock it 'til you've tried it. Lots of European baking has no vanilla.

                                Most are 8 oz. YMMV. The beauty of the recipe is that it doesn't make a big difference what size the yogurt is...only mentioned it because French yogurt comes in small containers...which means that making it with an American-sized tub will leave you short on leavening.

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  Presumably you need an additional clean dry tub for measuring the sugar and flour, so they don't stick.

                                  1. re: almond tree

                                    Nope. that's the beauty of it. You use the yogurt tub. It's not hard to scrape out enough that stickage is a non-issue

                                    No washing -- it goes right into the garbage or recycle.

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      Wow. That does make it nice and simple. What size pan do you use to bake it in?

                                      1. re: almond tree

                                        a 4-ounce cup of yogurt will make one 9-inch layer, or one 8x8 square.

                                        6-8 ounces will be two layers, or a thin-ish 9x13

                                  2. re: sunshine842

                                    i buy the big tubs so need a measuring cup for this cake anyway. :)

                                2. re: sunshine842

                                  The proportions in the Dorie Greenspan version, which I referred to upthread, are slightly different, and include a few more ingredients -- vanilla, lemon zest and ground almonds in lieu of some of the flour. It's therefore a bit more labor intensive and calls for 2 bowls, but still super easy, as I mentioned.

                                  It appears that, for some reason, although I inserted the link to the NYT article with the recipe, it failed to hyperlink, so I'll repost here, hopefully with a functional hyperlink:

                                  1. re: masha

                                    but the one I posted is the one that French kids learn, becaue un, deux, trois -- c'est fin et facile.

                              2. Go for the "crazy cake," below. Also called "wacky cake." Google it, and pick any of the recipes, but go ahead and mix it in a bowl instead of the cake pan. Sub decaf coffee for the water.

                                Rich, dense, very chocolate cake that cuts well and keeps well.

                                Don't work too hard. Get some sleep. Get someone to visit the bakery for you. I think your friends should be bringing YOU cakes and (Lactation) Cookies.

                                1. QUICK SPICE CAKE

                                  Beat well:
                                  2 eggs
                                  Beat in:
                                  1 c brown sugar
                                  Measure in a measuring cup with volume of 2 1/2 c or more:
                                  2 c flour (can be whole wheat or spelt)
                                  Stir gently into the flour:
                                  1 ½ - 2 tsp ground cinnamon according to your taste
                                  ½ - 1 tsp ground ginger
                                  ½ - 1 tsp ground cloves (optional)
                                  ½ tsp salt
                                  2 tsp baking powder
                                  Add the flour mixture to the eggs. Add:
                                  1 c sour milk, yogurt or fruit juice
                                  Beat well.
                                  Stir in gently:
                                  ½ vegetable oil
                                  Pour into greased 9 x 13" pan or 2 round cake pans.
                                  Bake 25 - 30 min at 350 F.
                                  Freezes well.

                                  1. I rely on Trader Joe's mixes for most of my casual baking. They are almost always one bowl and one pan. Favorites are banana bread, vanilla cake, cornbread and gingerbread. They are easily doctored with extra vanilla or almond extract, a mashed banana, nuts, raisins, spices.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Berheenia

                                      YES! I love their mixes. I feel like I'm cheating but honestly they are so good.

                                      1. Ghiardelli brownie mix is a one bowl affair and they are delicious. I have a one bowl banana bread will post for you tonight as recipe is at home.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Ruthie789

                                          One bowl banana bread
                                          3-4 medium very ripe bananas (3/4 cup in all)
                                          1/2 cup of sugar
                                          1 egg slightly beaten
                                          1/3 cup of vegetable oil
                                          1 1/2 cup of white flour
                                          1 teaspoon of baking powder
                                          1 teaspoon of baking soda
                                          1 teaspoon of salt
                                          1 tablespoon of cold water
                                          Mash the bananas add the sugar and the egg and the oil, mix well. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the wet ingredients and at the end add the tablespoon of cold water. Put in a greased and buttered loaf pan and bake in a 350 oven for about 45 minutes. You can also add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips or blueberries and a hint I got from the Smitten Kitchen add some crystalized ginger as an option. It is essentially a 1 bowl loaf excluding the standard measuring spoons and cups. Wishing your little family all the best and as well hope some of those relatives and visitors bring you food for your convenience. We should all think to help out a new Mom, it can be overwhelming and every little bit helps.

                                          1. re: Ruthie789

                                            I meant a greased and floured loaf pan and you could add parchment paper.

                                        2. Just wondering - if you just had the bebe' - why are these
                                          "visitors ' not bringing _you_ something scrumptious??
                                          no manners? sheesh. You are generous enough to be conscious, dressed (probably) and providing the coffee/tea.
                                          I'd ask them to bring something tasty to share, cause you are feeding the baby (1 way or another). Or get the DH, DMIL, DM to drop a big hint like a brick on a toe. I've never shown up to visit new moma/daddy/bebe and expected them to do snap - I remember how things were.

                                          4 Replies
                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              i was wondering this too! i never go empty-handed anywhere, never mind to visit a pregnant lady!

                                            2. re: kariin

                                              What kinds of foods would be appropriate though? I.e. soups (maybe even an attempt at foreign soups like pho), casseroles, lasagna, etc. If you're bringing food, should you make sure to double/triple the recipe so that the new parents have something to cook immediately during the day/week or is it not important to ensure that (the amount of servings); also are drinks (like good tea) appropriate gifts for the occasion or is more standard to bring food instead?

                                              Meanwhile, I found a 2 bowl recipe of mexican sweet corn cake:

                                              This coconut macaroon recipe tastes alright, and is a 1 bowl recipe:

                                              1. re: kariin

                                                I totally agree! Snuggle with your new baby, serve your guests something to drink, and forget about baking unless it's for yourself! No one will give it a second thought.

                                              2. Best Recipe thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies start w/ melted butter and I do it in one bowl, as with Martha Stewart's brown butter toffee bars. Hershey's black magic cake, also. Both choc chip cookies and cake can be put together before oven is done preheating. If you really want to impress, mix up dough from artisan bread in five minutes and keep it in the refrigerator. Cut off a piece, let come to room temp and bake. I can post links to any of these if you can't find them.

                                                1. Now that it's almost autumn in NYC, why not think about hot apple cider or really good hot chocolate to serve instead of coffee and a baked good? Will satisfy the mid-to-late-afternoon sweet tooth, and easy to keep for last-minute guests. I know I'd be happy if someone served me hot chocolate :)

                                                  1. I often make a quick cake (single layer) cake from SmittenKitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/0... It's a lovely little cake; weights are given, so you can weigh out your dry ingreds. and dump on paper while you're preparing the other ingreds. If you don't have buttermilk, you'll need a meauring cup so you can do the sour milk thing; but it's quick, really tasty, and you can vary the fruit. Definitely a keeper.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: skippy2

                                                      I've bookmarked this recipe and it does look both delicious and easy. But, it's only a "1-bowl" cake if you substitute wax paper for a bowl to collect the dry ingredients, and ignore the instructions to whisk the dry ingredients together. In reality, this recipe is a very close cousin to the yoghurt cake recipes discussed above, some of which are 1 bowl and some call for separately measuring out & whisking the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

                                                      And, btw, if you don't have buttermilk, but do have yoghurt just dilute the yoghurt with milk in a 3:1 ratio -- i.e., for 1 cup of buttermilk, substitute 3/4 c of yoghurt, diluted with 1/4 cup of milk.

                                                    2. I don't understand why people respond with comments about why this posting person doesn't like two-step baking, or chiding visitors about not bringing baked gifts for a new mother. Get OVER yourselves. Maybe this new mother likes nurturing others by baking for them. Maybe baking calms her down. Why not simply answer her question? Which is what I am doing right now.
                                                      The Bon Appetit French Yogurt Cake recipe has become my go-to one bowl cake recipe. It's amazingly adaptable! Add citrus zest and freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice, or add a few tablespoons of instant coffee concentrate diluted with cold coffee. Reserve 1/4 of the batter, mix in some Valrhona cocoa powder and two tablespoons of white corn syrup, then swirl this into the white batter to make a marble cake. Make the vanilla version, but throw in some chocolate chunks, or some slivered candied oranges, or tiny slivers of crystallized ginger. Almond flavor, slivered almonds and demerara sugar on top. Spread the cake batter in a square pan, cover with sliced purple plums, squeeze a lemon half over it, dust with sugar mixed with cardamom and cinnamon, then bake. Or do the same thing with apples, only instead of the cardamom, use some allspice and nutmeg. This cake freezes well and has the potential to last for a week, which it never does; when I bring one into the office, it's gone within an hour. I keep the recipe on my IPad so I am never without it, and when I am visiting friends who want me to bake something for them, I make this. It's never failed me. Give it a try!

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: sparky401

                                                        How about giving the actual recipe, or a link to it, rather than just your ideas for modifying it?

                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                          there are numerous links to french yogurt cake already in this thread. i posted one myself.

                                                        2. re: sparky401

                                                          I think it is admirable that she wants to entertain. Hopefully, she is not being imposed upon, as it is overwhelming to be a new Mom, and it would be considerate of her visitors to help her.

                                                        3. Since you are measuring out ingredients in a measuring cup you may want to invest in a large one. For most cakes, quick breads etc. the volume of wet ingredients isn't too much and a larger measuring cup can accommodate the liquid ingredients.

                                                          Another idea is to make up several batches of your dry mixture to have on hand then just measure out the liquid ingredients when your guests visit.

                                                          Lastly, in high school home ec. we made dump cake. There are literally hundred of recipes for it on the web. I was not a fan of the margarine, but the Pioneer Woman has a good version of it:

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                            2nd the idea of measuring up several batches of dry ingredients. Like your own baking mix!

                                                          2. I've been making this super easy coffee cake lately. You do have two mixtures but they could definitely be done in the same bowl.

                                                            1 1/2 c. flour
                                                            1/2 tsp.salt
                                                            1/2 c. sugar
                                                            2 tsp. baking powder
                                                            3/4 c. milk
                                                            1 egg
                                                            1 tsp. vanilla
                                                            1/4 c. butter, melted

                                                            Cinnamon Swirl/topping:
                                                            1/2 c. butter (one stick), softened
                                                            1/2 c. brown sugar
                                                            3 Tbsp. flour
                                                            2 Tbsp. cinnamon

                                                            Mix all the cake together except for the butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter and scrape the mixture into a greased 9"x7" pan and spread it pretty flat. For the topping, mix all the ingredients together with forks, spoons or a spatula until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl really well with a knife. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm if you can.

                                                            I was thinking of mixing up a few batches of dry ingredients and keeping them in baggies with directions on what to add at baking time to speed up those last minute cake needs.

                                                            1. I recently bought the cookbook, One Bowl Baking. I think it is exactly what you are looking for!