Joy Wilson gained fame thanks to her eponymous baking blog, Joy the Baker, and even today, she stays on-brand: On any given day, you will find her toting a bag of cookies and a pound of butter in her purse. The three-time cookbook author also runs an event space called The Bakehouse in New Orleans, where she tests recipes and holds monthly in-person and virtual baking workshops for students from around the country.
It’s quite an evolution for a woman raised on health food. (Her parents fed her seitan nuggets instead of the chicken nuggets she craved.) At school, she noticed that her friends were packing Oreos—cookies from a bag!—and she decided to try to create delicious treats using the bits of unsweetened chocolate and the like she found around the house. She launched her site in 2008, using a borrowed internet connection from a neighbor, dialed down her expenses by moving in with three roommates, and got to work. Thirteen years later, it’s fair to say Joy is a nationally renowned talent.
We couldn’t be more thrilled to feature Joy’s brand-new baking collection. As Joy says, “I wanted to put together a collection that takes some of the fuss out of home baking without sacrificing quality ingredients, taste, and fun!” Since it features chocolate sheet cake with Neapolitan frosting, vanilla sheet cake with praline glaze, and even a fabulous breakfast set, mission accomplished, Joy. Here’s a bit more about what makes these mixes sing, in her own words:
What was your inspiration behind the collection?
This collection is like baking… light. We’re still creaming butter and whipping together luscious cake batters, just without the measuring cups or kitchen scales. With this collection, I want you to take all the credit for the creativity and fun of cake baking with fewer dishes and fewer “hmmm, did I do this right?” moments. We’ve made cakes and breakfast treats that are festive enough to celebrate special moments but easy enough to simply celebrate the everyday. It’s a little party in the kitchen, always!
How did you decide on the flavors you included?
I love classic flavors with a simple and unexpected twist – that’s the energy I brought to this collection.
Neapolitan is one of my most nostalgic flavors. My aunt always had a gallon of Neapolitan ice cream in the freezer and I would always sneak a spoonful of each flavor when no one was in the kitchen. Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry on top of a chocolate sheet cake is my little slice of heaven.
Name a better duo than peanut butter and chocolate – not possible, but the addition of espresso really takes it up a notch.
Pralines are king in New Orleans and even more delicious when poured over a tender vanilla cake. I love to bring major dessert vibes to my morning breakfast so I turned classic carrot cake flavors and the hearty comfort of oatmeal cookies into pancake blends just to kick our weekend breakfast up a notch.
What’s the secret to a great cake?
There is no secret. All you need is a sweet tooth, butter, sugar, and flour.
Any extra-special tips on serving your pancakes or decorating your cakes?
I love to serve my pancakes one of two ways. If I want my pancakes a little sweeter, a drizzle of warmed maple syrup can’t be beat. If I’m not in the mood for an overly sweet pancake, a smear of crème fraîche and fresh sliced strawberries make a perfect complement.
For a little extra celebration on cakes, sprinkles and chocolate shavings go a long way. Fresh berries or edible flowers are sweet. And you can always go completely over the top and write your favorite Drake lyrics on your cake!
What the best lesson you’ve learned about baking since starting your blog in 2008?
I’m always learning lessons in the kitchen. When it comes to baking, temperature really is key. If a recipe indicated something needs to be cold or at room temperature there really is good reason. Baking is a science and all of the parts have to come together just so. But even if a recipe leaves me with question marks as I’m working through it, I’ve learned to see my baking all the way through. Don’t throw out a batter. Bake it! I often surprise myself or in the very least learn a lesson about what doesn’t work.