Happiness Is Baking: Favorite Desserts from the Queen of Cake by Maida Heatter

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • East 62nd Street lemon cake

    • Cati on July 03, 2019

      This recipe is just double quantities of the previous recipe (The Best Damn Lemon Cake) with the exception that it leaves out the small addition of ground almonds.

  • Buttermilk spice cake

    • jenmacgregor18 on September 29, 2019

      Excellent instructions, as always. I think this is almost identical to what my grandma used to make for our birthdays when I was young. I took it to a potluck & had several comments of my mom or grandma used to make something just like this. The cake itself is not too sweet, tender & spicy and the brown sugar icing is just perfect with it. My Grandma called it caramel icing...and I think this same icing might also be called Penuche.

    • mamacrumbcake on October 14, 2020

      The flavor was good, but the texture wasn’t. Frosting was tasty—wish it was thicker and spreadable so we could have more frosting in every bite.

  • Chocolate whoppers

    • jenmacgregor18 on July 31, 2021

      Rich, chewy, crunchy and delicious. Great chocolate flavor, loaded with chocolate chips, and nuts. These have become our favorite chocolate cookie so far. They are appropriately named. Besides Joe Froggers, these are probably the biggest cookies I've made. Based on the size, D asked "Are these from Costco?" But they are absolutely perfect as is.

  • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings's chocolate cookies

    • jenmacgregor18 on November 21, 2019

      I picked this to make on a Wed. night, because it said "quick" in the header and I had all the ingredients. I would go entirely by timer for the baking- 14 minutes...because I didn't really see any "spring back" when I touched them. They looked too soft in the oven; but set up upon cooling. A bit chewy and crisp. These are good; but I prefer the buttery background of a choc chip.

  • Pecan squares Americana

    • jenmacgregor18 on June 12, 2020

      I give a second thumbs up on these. I've made these to rave reviews too. Every time I make them, there are no extras to take home. People gather round to divvy up the leftovers. The sugar custard is not too sweet. It's just enough filling to hold the pecans together. Delicious! My only change is that I usually sub cane syrup for the corn syrup.

    • taste24 on June 11, 2020

      Fantastic pecan squares. My filling bubbled over a bit in the oven but that may have been due to my pan not being tall enough. The lemon zest in the batter is a unique but nice touch. Everyone went crazy over these!

  • Florida lemon squares

    • darcie_b on October 28, 2020

      I was confused by the recipe specifying unsweetened condensed milk. I think adding lemon juice to regular condensed milk would curdle it, so I used sweetened condensed milk. My family liked the bars, so even if this is wrong, it was wrong in the right way.

    • mamacrumbcake on March 17, 2021

      Although plain looking, these lemon squares a quite tasty. They are nothing like a traditional lemon square, which is lemon curd over a short crust. In contrast these have a creamy lemon filling sandwiched between a brown sugar oat crumble. The filling is very thin and almost disappears after baking; this is a thin cookie, not more than ½“ in total for all three layers. The crumble gives a nice crunch to these bars and the brown sugar goes well with the lemon filling. I think I added an extra tablespoon of lemon juice to the filling because it was not lemony enough for me. I also used a tiny bit of lemon paste ( ?-¼ teaspoon) to amplify the lemon flavor. Much easier than traditional lemon squares.

  • Joan's pumpkin loaf

    • mharriman on October 31, 2019

      I used a dark loaf pan and should have reduced the oven temperature by 25 degrees. Because I didn’t, the outer crust turned dark and hard before the inside was finished baking. The inside turned out a bit on the dry side but was tasty and looks beautiful - with the larger sized cut up dates and walnut pieces. I’ll definitely repeat this recipe but make the needed adjustments with my oven temp.

  • Blueberry crumb cake

    • mamacrumbcake on August 14, 2020

      The best part of this cake is the crumb topping! I wouldn’t hesitate swapping it for the crumb topping of any other coffee cake. The cake itself, not including blueberries, is soft but not very sweet and I think it would take well to other fruits. I like this cake, but my preference would be for one slightly sweeter and richer.

    • Lepa on June 28, 2019

      This cake is so luscious! I saw it posted on Smitten Kitchen and followed her suggestion of adding more blueberries- around 460 grams. The cinnamon and lemon go so well with the blueberry here.

    • sofull on November 16, 2020

      One of the best blueberry cakes hands down. Perfection

  • Macadamia and milk chocolate biscotti

    • mamacrumbcake on July 13, 2020

      This is a very nice biscotti—a lot of chocolate and macadamia nuts held together with a little bit of dough. I was a bit skeptical because of the milk chocolate, but it really is very tasty. This is the crunchiest biscotti I’ve ever made, but because it crumbles readily when you bite into it, there is no fear of cracking teeth. Instead of blanching, toasting, and grinding the almonds, I used the same measure (1.5 oz) of almond flour, which I toasted for 5 minutes till it became golden and fragrant. It eliminated a lot of work. With this modification, this recipe is fairly quick and easy for biscotti. Maida’s suggestion to first use a serrated knife to cut through the crust of the biscotti is genius—it prevented the biscotti from crumbling.

  • Mexican wedding cakes

    • Charlotte_vandenberg on September 15, 2019

      Delicious. Made 22 cookies of 15 ml each. Probably making them a little smaller next time.

  • Sour-cream black-fudge loaf cake

    • bwhip on March 04, 2020

      Disappointment. Flavor was good, dark and bittersweet, with the coffee also a strong contributor. Baking time called for in the recipe was way too long - one hour and five minutes. Because most loaf cakes I bake are more in the 45 minute range, I decided to check it then, and it was already quite done. Batter is very stiff, and the cake wound up dry and crumbly. The frosting also sets up very firm. I'm not sure even less baking time would make this as appealing as many other cakes we make.

  • Oatmeal molasses cookies

    • Mtetpon on May 06, 2019

      My first batch was very dark. I dropped oven temperature down to 350 and 10 minutes. My oven may run a little hot but check cookies early.

  • Peanut butter pillows

    • Jviney on May 23, 2019

      Yummy cookies, not as sweet as I expected. The peanut butter layer in the middle makes these not subtle- they’re really good.

    • sofull on November 16, 2020

      I wasn't wowed by it. Didn't love the look of it but it was a yummy cookie.

  • The best damn lemon cake

    • taste24 on June 11, 2020

      While a bit labor intensive (grinding the almonds, sifting the flour, zesting and juicing lemons, etc), the extra effort is worth it. This little loaf cake is dense, moist, and so flavorful. Make sure you follow her instructions precisely!

  • Brownies

    • sofull on November 16, 2020

      A solid brownie recipe.

  • Coconut layer cake

    • sofull on November 16, 2020

      I toasted the coconut flakes. It was good but the flavor tasted better after a few hours/next day. A little sweet. Would try to find a less sweet jam.

  • Positively-the-absolutely-best-chocolate chip cookies

    • sofull on November 16, 2020

      I wasn't that amazed by first taste but it got more incredible as the days went by. I haven't made it with nuts yet but it's fantastic.

  • Colorado cowboy cookies

    • sofull on November 16, 2020

      A major fave. Comes out perfect every time and a favorite amongst all who eat them. I love them. A great oatmeal cookie.

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Reviews about this book

  • Food52

    ...instructions guide us effortlessly through all manner of cakes, pies, tarts, and cookies; while the recipes themselves are for classic American desserts,

    Full review
  • ISBN 10 0316420573
  • ISBN 13 9780316420570
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Apr 16 2019
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 256
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Little, Brown and Company

Publishers Text

"Happiness is baking cookies. Happiness is giving them away. And serving them, and eating them, talking about them, reading and writing about them, thinking about them, and sharing them with you."

Maida Heatter is one of the most iconic and fondly-remembered cookbook authors of all time. Her recipes, each a modern classic, are must-haves in every home baker's bag of tricks: her cookies, cakes, muffins, tarts, pies, and sweets of all kinds range from extravagantly special to the comforting and everyday. Her brown-sugary Budapest Coffee Cake, her minty Palm Beach Brownies, her sophisticated East 62nd Street Lemon Cake, and many other desserts have inspired legions of devotees.

Happiness is Baking reproduces Maida's best-loved recipes in a fully illustrated new edition with a foreword by Dorie Greenspan. Developed for foolproof baking by experienced cooks and novices alice, these recipes bear Maida's trademark warmth, no-nonsense style, and her promise that they will work every time.

Happiness is Baking is the perfect gift for anyone who loves baking--or who knows the happiness that comes from a delicious dessert.

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