Simple Cake: All You Need to Keep Your Friends and Family in Cake by Odette Williams. Unlike the other baking books, Ms. Williams doesn’t offer recipes for labor-intensive, intricate pastries. Instead, as promised by the title, every cake recipe in the book is about as simple as can be; some don’t even need an electric mixer.
But they are also some of the best cakes I’ve made. Her milk-and-honey layer cake has replaced an old Rose Levy Beranbaum recipe as my birthday go-to, topped with a mascarpone frosting that takes under a minute to stir together. If you were to garnish it with a dusting of matcha powder, it’d be as eye-catching as any elaborate confection — no pastry bag necessary.