Fast, faster, fastest: From mixing bowl to table in under 35 minutes

What’s the biggest thing that stops you from baking?

Lack of inspiration?

I doubt it. For most of us, the usual mantra is “So many recipes, so little time…”

AH-HA! “So little time.” Between work, keeping the family on schedule, meal prep, and exercise (critical for those of us who love to bake and EAT), there’s barely a spare moment Monday through Friday.

Even weekends seem to disappear in a cloud of laundry, kids’ sports, and errands.

What’s a dedicated baker to do?

When the baking urge hits, and you really, really don’t have even an hour to spare – bake FAST.

Here’s how.

Some treats, by virtue of their size and shape, just naturally lend themselves to a quick turnaround in the oven (or on the stovetop).

Pancakes and waffles, for instance. But WHOLE WHEAT waffles – won’t the kids object? Trust me, no one will ever know these light, golden, buttery waffles are made with whole wheat flour – they’re that good.


100% Whole Wheat Waffles

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥   122 reader raves
under 35 minutes

Speed tip: Melt the butter in the microwave, then add the milk, and microwave until the mixture is just lukewarm. The hot butter will help warm the milk, and the cold milk will cool the butter enough that it doesn’t adversely affect the egg.

For step-by-step photos and more tips, see the blog.

Scones are another treat that lend themselves to speed baking. Mix; shape; bake quickly in a hot oven. Here’s one of our readers’ favorite scone recipes.


Bacon-Cheddar-Chive Scones

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  89 reader raves
under 35 minutes

Speed tip #1: Instead of a knife and cutting board, use a pair of standard scissors to snip chives and chop cooked bacon. Use bagged shredded cheddar cheese, instead of dicing a solid block.

Speed tip #2: Make scones ahead of time up to the point of baking. Freeze unbaked scones on a cookie sheet, then wrap in plastic. When you want a fresh, hot scone (or 2, or 4, or 8), pop frozen scones into a preheated oven. Heaven will be yours in under 30 minutes.

Speed tip #3: Substitute self-rising flour for the flour, salt, and baking powder in the recipe.

For step-by-step photos and more tips, see the blog.

Since we’re in the breakfast groove here, don’t forget muffins. Many are simple stir-together batters, and most bake no longer than 20 to 25 minutes.

Also, muffins are a great way to “sneak” whole wheat flour into your family’s diet. Check out these banana chocolate chip muffins – they’re 50% whole wheat, 100% delicious.


Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  68 reader raves
under 35 minutes

Speed tip #1: Don’t bother pre-mashing the bananas. Once you’ve beaten the butter with the sugar, just add the bananas, cut in chunks, and beat at high speed for about 30 seconds; they’ll mash themselves.

Speed tip #2: For fast and easy transfer of batter to muffin pan – and 12 perfectly shaped/sized muffins – use a muffin scoop.

For step-by-step photos and more tips, see the blog.

Why do biscuits scare people? There’s nothing easier (or faster) than flaky, tender biscuits, hot from the oven.


Easy Self-Rising Biscuits

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  20 reader raves
under 25 minutes

Speed tip #1: Make the dough in a food processor. Place the flour in the processor; grate in the cold (or preferably frozen butter) using a large grating disc; then switch to the regular blade, and pour in the cream or buttermilk with the motor running, stopping just as soon as the dough comes together.

Speed tip #2: Easiest biscuits ever: Combine self-rising flour with enough heavy cream to make a soft dough. Use a muffin scoop to plop dough balls onto a baking sheet. Bake in a 425°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes.

Speed tip #3: Like scones, biscuits can be prepared and shaped ahead, then frozen, ready to bake at a moment’s notice.

For step-by-step photos and more tips, see the blog.

Doughnuts – fast and easy? You bet; when they’re baked, not deep-fried, doughnuts are literally a piece of cake. These Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts were a huge hit for us last fall.


Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  78 reader raves
under 35 minutes

Speed tip #1: You can’t make baked doughnuts without a doughnut pan. And you’ll make them twice as fast if you spring for two doughnut pans.

Speed tip #2: Three quick scoops with a tablespoon cookie scoop is all you need to fill each well in the doughnut pan with the exact right amount of batter.

For step-by-step photos and more tips, see the blog.

Cookies seldom bake longer than 10 or 12 minutes. Grab a simple recipe, stir the ingredients together, and Bob’s your uncle – cookies for that baseball potluck tonight, the one your son forgot to tell you about. These soft molasses cookies can be in and out of the oven in just 8 minutes, depending on what pan you use.


Cape Cod Soft Molasses Cookies

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  23 reader raves
under 35 minutes

Speed tip #1: For fastest cookie baking, use a dark gray (but not black) cookie sheet, without any liner (parchment, silicone, etc.)

Speed tip #2: The speedy cookie baker’s best friend is the cookie scoop: teaspoon for 1 3/4″-2″ kid-sized cookies; tablespoon for 2 1/2″-3″ cookies; jumbo for big (palm-sized), bake-sale cookies.

For step-by-step photos and more tips, see the blog.

Cake – fast? Don’t you have to cream the butter, beat in the eggs, whip, whip, whip…? Not when you’re making cake pan cake – a.k.a. Wacky Cake, a.k.a. 1-2-3 Cake.

This easy, stir-everything-together-in-the-pan dessert bakes for 30 minutes; but honestly, you can throw it together in less than 5 minutes, then spend that oven time catching up on other kitchen chores. Or sipping coffee and checking Facebook – your choice!


King Arthur Flour’s Original Cake Pan Cake

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  101 reader raves
√ under 35 minutes

Speed tip #1: Make sure your oven is preheated and up to temperature before you start. This cake goes together very quickly; you don’t want to be standing around with a pan of cake batter, waiting for the oven to heat.

Speed tip #2: Fastest icing ever: 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips heated with 1/2 cup half & half. Stir to melt chips; spoon over cake.

For step-by-step photos and more tips, see the blog.

Where there’s cake, there’s ice cream, right? Or there should be. If you have an ice cream maker, à la mode can be just 30 minutes away.

Many ice cream recipes start with a simple mixture of heavy cream, sugar, and the add-ins of your choice. Mocha Madness Ice Cream, chocolate/coffee ice cream studded with bits of chocolate cookie, is one of our favorites.


Mocha Madness Ice Cream

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  44 reader raves
under 35 minutes

Speed tip #1: Instead of using a stand mixer or whisk, pour the cream and any other ingredients into a quart Mason jar. Screw the lid on tightly, and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds.

Speed tip #2: Nothing derails the ice cream experience like forgetting to put the canister in the freezer the day before. If you’ve got the freezer space, it helps to have two canisters: one to use, one to keep in the freezer. That way, one or the other is bound to be frozen and ready to go when you are.

For step-by-step photos and more tips, see the blog.

Hope you get a chance to try some of these speed-tested recipes. And please – comment below to share your favorite baking and cooking speed tips!

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. SallyBR

    I tried to comment several times doing the login, but it simply did not work, so I’m commenting as a “guest”

    This is a serious round up of goodies, not sure even where to start, but the cake is calling my name, very interesting recipe with the one pan concept. I am cake challenged, but this seems like something even “I” could do

    thanks for yet another great post!

    Thank you so much for enjoying it!-Jon

  2. waikikirie

    Had the same problem Sally BR had by trying to leave a comment by signing in. “It” woundn’t let me. Any-who….
    I can vouch for the Bacon-Cheddar-Chive scones. As a matter-of-fact, I will be pulling them out of the freezer to serve tomorrow morning when my BFF comes over for breakfast. Can’t wait to give some of the others a try. Think the Banana Chocolate Chip muffins will be next.

    You can leave a recipe or blog comment without signing in – the only time you need a sign in to post is on the community section of the website. You and your BFF will be VERY pleased with the BCC scones – they’re a keeper (and we bet your BFF is as well!). Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  3. AnneMarie

    What is the goodie at the top of the post, the one with the chocolate icing. I don’t see a link to THAT recipe!

    That is actually our Chocolate Cake Pan Cake, second to last link.-Jon

  4. Julia

    Great roundup of recipes. The chocolate cake rocks; I will be making one tomorrow for a dinner for a teacher. And the banana chocolate chip muffins… Seriously, my kids live on those. They are year-round swimmers and they come out of the pool HUNGRY. Those muffins (or the breakfast cookies) and milk are their post-practice snack 4 times a week. I wish our local store (Publix in Atlanta) carried the self rising flour!

    I am sure if you start asking they may start to carry it!-Jon

  5. Tonia

    Aaah! Wacky Cake — one of MY all time favorites!! Also makes great cupcakes, either regular or jumbo size frosted with anything from basic “American” buttercream frosting to whipped white chocolate ganache to being filled with marshmallow cream and topped with chocolate ganache or swapping out the water for OJ and frosting with chocolate orange buttercream! Mmmm. . .I need to make some Wacky Cake!!!

    After that description, I think -I- need some wacky cake!-Jon

  6. AnneMarie

    AH, the square cut threw me!

    I love that cake. You know what it reminds me of? Those little cupcakes we got as kids with the little white doodle on the top. When my cake comes out of the oven, I toss a handful of mini chocolate chips on the top. The radiant heat from the cake melts them and I spread them and let them cool as the cake cools. DELICIOUS!

    One of the best tricks my mother ever taught was that “quick” icing method. In a pinch, just top with chunks of chocolate and let the magic happen: spread with a spatula and dive in! Kim@KAF

  7. Fran

    Made this cake today and DH really liked it. I used a non-stick 9″ cake pan and it released from the pan perfectly! Love a quick little cake like this. Just enough for him to get his chocolate fix!

    Oh those chocolate fixes are always calling my name! 🙂 Happy to hear you found a good one here! Kim@KAF


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