Jessie Sheehan, self-proclaimed queen of easy-peasy baking, chats with Amy and David about her new cookbook, Snackable Bakes, icebox cakes, the healing power of baking, and, um, sexy desserts.

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Jessie Sheehan on “Snackable Bakes”

On this week’s episode of the Talking with My Mouth Full podcast, we chat with the queen of easy home baking, Jessie Sheehan, whose latest book, Snackable Bakes, serves up 100 recipes for baking deliciously, regularly, and with little fuss. 

Snackable Bakes Cookbook

What exactly is a snackable bake?

“A snackable bake is an easy-peasy recipe,” Jessie says. “The recipe will be found on one page of a cookbook, with a very short ingredient list, with a very short list of instructions that are simple and easy to follow…You do not need anything but a bowl, a whisk, and a spatula.”

But like many home cooks, Jessie didn’t start out making easy, everyday recipes. When she first began working in a professional bakery, this former lawyer wanted to prove that she could make the most elaborate desserts. “Certainly when I started out, I was more interested in project bakes,” she says. “But… it might have been a lack of maturity or confidence in the sense that I don’t think I necessarily loved them; I just didn’t understand that that wasn’t the only way to do things.”

A baking dish filled with spicy hot fudge pudding cake and a spoon scooping out a portion.
: Nico Schinco

Now, her strawberry icebox cake and spicy hot fudge pudding cake prove she can create wow-able, accessible sweets. “Over time I realized, ‘Oh, you can have a really delicious cake and you don’t have to make all of those different steps and maybe that’s okay?’” Jessie says. “Particularly if you’re making them for your seven-year-old and your nine-year-old. Like why was I killing myself for all those birthday cakes?”

A scoop of Jessie Sheehan's easy strawberry icebox cake on a white plate with sliced strawberries and a glass baking dish with the rest of the cake beside it.
: Jessie Sheehan

Everyone loves icebox cakes

Jessie and David took a deep dive into their shared love of icebox cakes (“Funnily enough,” she said, “as we speak, I’m working on an icebox cake story for Southern Living magazine and I have a lime coconut… a peanut butter chocolate… and I have this kind of crazy tiramisu berry situation in my refrigerator.”) We’re jealous.

A bakery counter filled with croissants and cookies
: Kim V.

The healing power of baking

Jessie also shared the deeper role that baking has played in her life: Specifically, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 41 and working at a Brooklyn bakery called, fittingly, Baked. “When I had to walk into work and say I’d been diagnosed with breast cancer and I would be undergoing chemo and radiation and all of these things, needless to say [my younger colleagues] could not relate. But because of that, they weren’t scared. I don’t think I realized it at the time… but being at the bakery improved my recovery. It was distracting and nice to go in there and just make whoopie pies.”

Cubes of homemade marshmallows on a white surface with a chef's knife lying beside.
: David Leite

The bakery was also the site of Jessie’s most embarrassing cooking disaster. “When I worked at Baked, I wasn’t in charge of making the marshmallows, but I was in charge of dusting them with confectioner’s sugar,” she says. “This huge sheet pan of marshmallows, not even cut. Dust one side, flip, dust the other. I dusted it with cake flour. I grabbed the wrong white powder.”

Ah, now, don’t we all feel better about our own kitchen gaffs?

Check out this and other episodes of Talking with My Mouth Full on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

About Amy Traverso

Amy Traverso is the senior food editor at Yankee magazine and co-host of the television series “Weekends with Yankee,” as well as our podcast Talking with My Mouth Full. Previously, she was food editor at Boston magazine and an associate food editor at Sunset magazine. Her work has also been published in The Boston Globe, Saveur, and Travel & Leisure, and she has appeared on “The Martha Stewart Show,” “Throwdown with Bobby Flay,” and Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares.” Amy is the author of The Apple Lover’s Cookbook, which was a finalist for the Julia Child Award for best first-time author and won an IACP Cookbook Award. Traverso lives in the Boston area and is a graduate of Smith College.

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  1. Thanks for this story! I am enjoying Ms Sheehan’s book and I have many recipes marked to try. I just baked the Black Bottom Cupcakes this weekend and they are fantastic!