Summer may be quickly coming to a close, but you can still bring the beach back home with Beach House Baking: An Endless Summer of Delicious Desserts by Lei Shishak. Here you will find Lei’s favorite recipes from her bakery, Sugar Blossom Bake Shop, in San Clemente, California. Highlights include Daybreak Muffins, Tropical Tea, S’mores Cupcakes, Jamaican Rum Cupcakes with Spiced Whipped Cream Frosting, Peach Green Tea Frozen Pops, Berry Burst Pie, Caramel Apple Skillet Cake, and Almond Squares.
Lei Shishak grew up in rural Pennsylvania. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, she moved to California and fell in love with the beach. She opened her own bakery, Sugar Blossom Bake Shop, in 2010. She has been featured in People, Riviera Magazine, Sunset magazine, Coast, the Los Angeles Daily News, Fine Living, and more. Lei is also the author of Beach House Brunch and Farm to Table Desserts.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Skyhorse Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
Chapters are divided based on type of treat: Morning Treats; Beachy Beverages; Cupcakes; Happy Hour Cupcakes; Cookies and Brownies; Hand-Crafted Ice Cream Sandwiches; Frozen Pops; Pies, Crisps, a Cobbler, and a Cheesecake; Classics; and Bonus Recipes. Each chapter begins with a list of the recipes it contains for easy reference.
Lei begins with a guide to basic baking tools like pans and decorating supplies to help ease you in. Otherwise, the main focus of the book is on the treats. The recipes are marked with symbols to indicate if they are heart-healthy, good for picnics, vegan, gluten-free, quick, or a favorite.
The photography is provided by Chau Vuong. Every recipe is accompanied by a full-page photo, generally of the finished dish. Measurements are provided in US Customary. Each dish has a headnote with background information, inspiration, tips, and serving size.
This book is a great pick for those looking for a variety of summer-inspired treats. Recipes range from incredibly easy desserts with minimal ingredients to others that require a little assembly. Most of the recipes are on the sweet side, but there are a couple of savory options like the Aged Cheddar, Bacon, and Scallion Biscuits. Ingredients can generally be found in the average American grocery store.
Lei offers an assortment of ice cream sandwich options. I stuck to her classic version, but you will also find others named after favorite beach locations like Waimea Bay (Red Velvet), La Jolla (Chocolate Peanut Butter), and Del Mar (Dulce de Leche).
To assemble the ice cream sandwich, chocolate cake-like batter is spread into a thin sheet and baked just until cooked through. The sheet is broken in half and used to sandwich vanilla ice cream. Beating the ice cream with a stand mixer first creates a soft-serve consistency that is perfect for spreading across the cookie. After assembly, the slab is placed into the freezer until solid and sliced into sandwiches.
It took a little practice to be able to spread the batter in a thin, even layer. Having a mini off-set spatula (which I have somewhere, but haven’t been able to find since we moved a couple of months ago) definitely helps. The recipe calls for a 13×18 pan which I also don’t have, so I divided the batter and spread it over two 9×13 baking sheets. It also calls for slicing the assembled slab into 8 sandwiches. I cut them even smaller to make 16, which was easier for Evan and Claire to manage.
I also made The Best Hot Cocoa, Mango Yogurt Swirl Frozen Pops, Mini Tiramisu Icebox Cakes, and Strawberry Daiquiri Cupcakes.
The Best Hot Cocoa is one of the many delicious drink options. This one comes together easily and was a huge hit with Claire. Chocolate and heavy cream are combined to create a ganache before mixing with the milk and serving hot with marshmallows or whipped cream.
Lei’s Mango Yogurt Swirl Frozen Pops were inspired by the Mango Lassi with layers of sweetened mango puree and yogurt. I made these pops for July 4th and they were perfect as an easy dessert that can be assembled ahead of time. I used these fish popsicle molds that I found at Chef & Shower store in Easton, Maryland. I love the smaller size of these molds for smaller hands and the *slightly* less amount of mess afterwards.
The Mini Tiramisu Icebox Cakes have a bit of tiramisu flavor with the addition of an espresso syrup drizzled over Nilla Wafers. The wafers are layered with a homemade chocolate pudding.
The very last recipe in the book is for Strawberry Daiquiri Cupcakes. These cupcakes have a roasted strawberry, rum, and lime cake base. I love the use of a whipped cream topping in lieu of traditional buttercream as a nod to the cocktail it is modeled after.
Classic Ice Cream Sandwiches
Excerpt from Beach House Baking
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2-2 quarts store-bought vanilla ice cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13×18 inch rimmed baking sheet and line the bottom with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving a 2 inch overhang on the two shorter sides.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg. Add the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Mix until incorporated, about 1 minute more. Make sure to scrape the bowl to ensure ingredients are fully combined.
Using a mini offset spatula, spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Make sure to smooth the top. Bake for 8 minutes (start checking after 6-7 minutes). Remove from oven and let cool completely in the refrigerator.
After the cake has completely cooled, gently remove it from the pan and invert it onto a cutting board. Remove the parchment, cut the cake in half, and place one of the halves on a large piece of foil.
Remove the ice cream from the freezer and transfer to a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Start at low speed and continue mixing until it reaches the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. Using a mini offset spatula, spread the ice cream over the cake half that is on the foil. Slide the other cake half off the cutting board and onto the ice cream. Press down gently. Wrap the foil up and around the assembled dessert. Place in the freezer at least 3 hours or overnight.
When ice cream is fully set, remove the dessert from the freezer and trim the edges if necessary. Cut the rectangle into 8 equal pieces. Individually wrap each ice cream sandwich with parchment paper, wax paper, or aluminum foil and tape to seal. Store the sandwiches in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a week.