Photo: Lavender Vanilla Bean Cupcakes by Red Velvet NYC.
There’s plenty of reasons why you’d want to bake a homemade dessert: to do something special for Mother’s Day. To impress dinner guests. To sweeten your “Netflix and chill” routine. Baking kits are ideal for those who don’t want to waste time searching the internet for recipes, be burdened by shopping for unfamiliar ingredients, or can’t seem to break out of their chocolate chip cookie baking rut. These three companies offer delectable dessert kits, each with their own twist.
Red Velvet NYC
Don’t be fooled by this company’s name; Red Velvet NYC delivers nationwide. Choose from cake kits like the namesake red velvet, carrot with cream cheese frosting and walnuts, or the coconut with toasted flakes. Cupcakes come in sophisticated flavors like lavender vanilla bean, green tea matcha, and Nutella with roasted hazelnuts. Or get fancy with cheesecake minis, tiramisu, or crème caramel. Recipes are marked by levels: easy, moderate, or advanced. Gluten-free options are also available. Gift sets include accessories for special celebrations and tools so that you won’t have to make a last-minute run to the store. Buy à la carte ($24 – $36 each) or subscribe for two new baking challenges per month ($49).
Cake in a Crate
“Healthy baking” might sound like an oxymoron, but if you’re the kind of person who needs to indulge your sweet tooth daily, it’s a necessity. Ditto for those on restrictive diets or who suffer from a food allergy. Dessert kit maker Cake in a Crate boasts ingredient lists as virtuous as they can get: every item is gluten-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, vegan, and kosher. Why didn’t someone think of this sooner? Specialty products are expensive and don’t always produce the flavor or texture that you bargained for; with these dessert kits, your investment is minimal ($20 – $38 each), allowing you to sample all sorts of tried-and-true recipes created by “tastebakers” (i.e. food bloggers like Molly Yeh of My Name is Yeh, Sarah Fennel of Broma Bakery, and Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest). Its partners are family-run businesses and artisans devoted to sustainable and healthy practices. With treats that harken back to what mom would make, but better (grain-free chocolate chunk cookies, double fudge brownie pie, salty date caramel scotcheroos), you’ll be reluctant to share.
Gold Leaf Gourmet
If your baking skills are beyond the basic level of cookies, bars, and cakes, Gold Leaf Gourmet will catapult you into the realm of a pastry chef with extravagant desserts like golden chocolate mousse cornets, mocha mascarpone cannolis, and raspberry almond Napoleons. Never made a dessert worthy of a five-star restaurant before? No worries. The company’s website has how-to videos to guide you through the process of constructing the dainty yet daring sweets. The kits for these edible works of art are slightly more expensive than those of competitors ($30 – $40), but they’ll be worth it for the compliments received. Reserve this baking kit for your most critical dining companion.