Chocolate Pretzel Cake (Matt Lien Photography) | ZoeBakes 10

It’s really not that unusual for someone to leave a panicked comment saying they have offered to make the cake for their best friend’s wedding. I salute them and hope their BFF knows exactly what a loving gesture it is. My friend Molly asked me to help her come up with a dessert for her best friend’s big day. Molly is a gifted writer, a brilliant adventurer and has the wit and wisdom to keep Andrew Zimmern in line on their shared podcast, Go Fork Yourself, but she is NOT a baker. So, this request was done in a tone of slight trepidation. Besides working with Andrew she also has a blog called Hey Eleanor, where she chronicles overcoming of her greatest fears. She’s jumped out of a plane, bungeed off a bridge, she did stand up comedy (that’s what my nightmares are made of), quit her job and got married (her husband is awesome, so not much risk there). We’d always talked about baking together for her blog, but why not up the ante by trying to create something extra special for her friend’s most important day. No pressure there. We settled on a rather ambitious menu of individual chocolate pretzel crunch cakes and a rose scented pavlova with lemon curd and berries. She did an absolutely fantastic job, as she does with everything.

Chocolate Pretzel Cake (Matt Lien Photography) | ZoeBakes 09

Our journey in the kitchen was captured by Matt Lien. I spotted his photos on Facebook after he shot Sameh Wadi’s cookbook, The New Mediterranean Table. I immediately contacted Matt to gush over his gorgeous work and figure out a way to work together on something, anything.  That was just weeks ago and he was game to come over and play in the kitchen with Molly and me. These images perfectly capture how much fun we had and how easily Molly conquered her fear of baking. (Matt had to leave before we were finished, so the pictures of the final desserts are mine, which will be painfully obvious.)

Chocolate Pretzel Cake | ZoeBakes (photo Matt Lien) 01

Chocolate Pretzel Cakes

pavlova | ZoeBakes 01

Pavlova

Follow her adventure and maybe you’ll offer to make your friend’s wedding desserts, or a birthday cake.

[click to continue…]

Print Friendly

{ 11 comments }

Chocolate Marble Cake

by zoe on February 17, 2015 · 12 comments  |  Print Email this to a friend

marble cake | ZoeBakes 04

My 15-year-old is not one to spend time cooking, so when he does I watch with delight. Turns out he’s been paying attention. He moved with confidence and ease as he made this cake, so there is hope he’ll leave home someday with at least a few skills in the kitchen. Truth be told, on this occasion I’d asked him to bake me a cake, because he owed me one. That, by the way, is a euphemism for the fact that he’d done something I wasn’t entirely thrilled with. He invited his friend over to help and they set out to bake me a cake with all the intensity and focus of real pastry chefs. It was awesome and tasty!

Henri and Sophie | ZoeBakes 02

Henri and Sophie wanted to make a marble cake, so I helped them find a recipe they could do without a lot of input from me. [click to continue…]

Print Friendly

{ 12 comments }

Key Lime Pie

by zoe on February 2, 2015 · 6 comments  |  Print Email this to a friend

Key Lime Pie | ZoeBakes 01

I had to bake this pie twice before I could get these few shots. Not because I was fighting with the winter light, lack there of, or because I just couldn’t work out the recipe, which happens. No, this was because I couldn’t keep my sons from eating it before I had a chance to photograph it. They know the drill…NEVER eat anything before mom takes pictures. They’ve grown up with this and consider it totally normal, even though it’s clearly not. But, this pie inspired a mutiny of the François kitchen etiquette. They said they couldn’t help themselves because Key Lime Pie is their favorite. The first pie came and went without a single picture. The second one I got these few, but when I realized the picture of the slice was out of focus and went to take another picture, the pie was gone. This time my kids had friends over to help them eat it, in case you think they ate two pies in as many days, by themselves. Do I bake a third pie just for another photo? Maybe. Actually, I think I’ll get the boys to make it this time.

I hope you enjoy it as much as they did! [click to continue…]

Print Friendly

{ 6 comments }

Craftsy | Breadin5 titleCard

I am super excited to announce my new Craftsy bread baking video class. We’ve made a video of the most popular breads from our books with lots of tips and techniques for getting a professional loaf every time you bake with very little time or effort! It is the perfect companion to all of our books. In the video I’ll use a single dough to create the various breads, but the techniques are useful for all the doughs from any of our books.

Craftsy Bread Class | Breadin5 01

To see some pictures from my video shoot in Denver and to get 50% off the Craftsy video, visit my bread site Breadin5.com!

Print Friendly
 

{ 1 comment }

Gluten-Free Maple Oatmeal Cookies

December 9, 2014

One of the most interesting things about writing a book on gluten-free breads, was learning about what grains are gluten-free and which are not. Oats are considered by many to be on the fence. It would seem that it would be a hard, fast line, but there is actually some gray area when it comes […]

Print Friendly
Read the full article →

Paleo Stuffed Apples

December 3, 2014

This is the perfect dessert for the week after Thanksgiving. I’ve personally vowed not to eat pie this week, although leftovers don’t seem to count. I doubt I’m alone in feeling like I may have overdone it a bit last week and my body is craving lighter fare. This feeling doesn’t hit me often; I often […]

Print Friendly
Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for The Salty Tart Pie Party

The Salty Tart Pie Party

November 17, 2014

My friend and rock star pastry chef, Michelle Gayer (The Salty Tart), is hosting pie pop-ups in Minneapolis for the whole month of November. To get one (or 3) of her pies, you need to show up at Hola Arepa on Monday afternoons from 3-7pm. Those are the official hours, but she’s been selling out […]

Print Friendly
Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Honey Whiskey Apple Cake

Honey Whiskey Apple Cake

September 24, 2014

I think the title says everything necessary to make you want to bake this simply gorgeous cake. I really can’t take any credit for this beauty, I snatched the recipe from my friend Jamie over at Life’s a Feast for tonight’s Rosh Hashana celebration. I just added some apples, because I never show up to Rosh […]

Print Friendly
Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Spice Cake from Silvana’s Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Kitchen

Spice Cake from Silvana’s Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Kitchen

September 8, 2014

This gorgeous cake is from Silvana Nardone’s most recent cookbook, Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen. She has created incredible recipes for those who are sensitive to wheat and dairy, using her own gluten-free AP flour mix and a simple recipe for homemade almond milk.  Of course, I headed straight to the dessert section and was seduced […]

Print Friendly
Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Trix Cake and a Movie Night Giveaway

Trix Cake and a Movie Night Giveaway

July 7, 2014

We really have David Chang and Christina Tosi of the Momokuku restaurant group in NYC to thank for elevating breakfast cereal from a mere bowl of milk to high-end desserts. They’ve been serving cereal milk (you know the flavored milk at the end of a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios) as panna cotta and soft […]

Print Friendly
Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for 4th of July Cakes

4th of July Cakes

July 2, 2014

I just created this simple cake for the Cooking Channel blog, Devour. It has layers of white cake, brown butter icing and fresh berries. Check out the recipe. Here are some more of my favorite 4th of July desserts. 

Print Friendly
Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Blueberry Cake

Blueberry Cake

June 24, 2014

Sometimes the best ideas come from happy accidents. I had set out to make blueberry sauce for the boys’ pancakes, instead this purple, berry-stuffed cake materialized. I’d been testing a recipe for the perfect white cake, which I am always on the hunt for. (I think, in my humble opinion, I have the world’s best […]

Print Friendly
Read the full article →