Almond Dacquoise Cake with Lemon Curd, Cream and Berries

Dacquoise | ZoeBakes (3 of 3)-2

The dacquoise is a delicate cake layer that is sadly under used by home bakers. It is a cousin to a pavlova, but has the richness of nuts. It is made of French meringue that has nuts (almond meal and coarsely crushed roasted almonds) folded into it and baked in a thin layer. The dacquoise is crisp and used to add a sweet, nuttiness to your cake layers or can be used all on its own. I’ve piled the layers high with whipped cream, lemon curd, mixed berries and topped the whole thing with shards of white chocolate painted with edible luster dust. Without the chocolate it is really a very simple dessert, but if you are going to a party its nice to fancy it up a bit.
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Apple Honey Cake with Vanilla Rooibos Glaze (A Dunn Brothers Coffee Giveaway)

Apple Honey Cake | ZoeBakes (6 of 18)

Today is the first day of fall and the official start to baking season, my favorite time of the year. Along with the cooler weather comes apples, pumpkin and all the warm spices that fit them so well. This apple cake is made with honey, vanilla, cinnamon and is topped with a Rooibos tea glaze. All of these flavors were inspired by Vanilla Moon Cider, one of the new fall drinks at Dunn Brothers Coffee here in Mpls.

I have a long history with this coffee shop. So, when Dunn Brothers invited me to collaborate on a post, it was a natural fit. When I lived in Linden Hills it was the first coffee shop in the village and became a daily stop with my little boys. Dunn Brothers brilliantly set up a play area, so we tired moms could sip a cup of Sumatra, while our little ones entertained themselves within view. I even met some of my best friends in that play area. Later, when the boys were older and in school, I wrote my first book sitting at Dunn Brothers and drinking lots (and lots) more coffee. One of the baristas became a babysitter and another a trusted reader, when I needed a first pair of eyes on the book. They say it takes a village to raise children and the folks at Dunn were my eyes and ears as my kids got older. I’d walk in to the shop and was typically greeted with something like, “Your boys were just here, they’re headed over to Great Harvest (for a free slice of bread) and then to the lake.” Good to know! The people that worked there were my village. I moved from Linden Hills and was thrilled to find that Dunn Brothers had opened in a space near my new house. Not only did they serve coffee, but this location has wine and beer. Now my husband and I stop in the evenings, with our two dogs and sit at Dunn Brothers to watch our new neighborhood go by.

Dunn Brothers Coffee and all the wonderful people who work there are celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year. I made this cake to help them celebrate and to highlight one of my personal favorite, non-coffee drinks, the Vanilla Moon Cider. *They are also offering a giveaway of Dunn Brother Coffee goodies and a $50 gift card. See the bottom of the post for details on how to win and the recipe for the cake.

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Special Chocolate Orange Cake

Orange Chocolate Cake | ZoeBakes (1 of 1)-3

One of my dreams is to travel to Chinon, France and stay at the Hotel Diderot, where the proprietor makes homemade marmalade. It’s owner is one of my favorite food bloggers, Jamie Schler, who is an amazing baker, cook and the writer I want to be. Basically, she has crafted my ideal life. I first “met” her online while we were baking from each other’s websites. Her recipes always work, they are always delicious and they always have a story that make eating them all the more enjoyable. This cake is from her new cookbook, Orange Appeal and is no different. It’s outrageously chocolatey with a hint of orange, which just gives it a depth and balance of flavor. It also comes with a delightful story. This recipe was passed to Jamie by her father, who worked at NASA. Let me unpack that last sentence for you. Her dad bakes cakes, which is the sweetest, coolest thing for a dad to do and pretty unusual for a man of his generation. My father, who has many, many talents, has never baked a cake in all of my days. I’m not sure he’d even make it through a box of Duncan Hines? And, her dad worked as an engineer at NASA, how cool is that? It pretty much makes him a rock star in my mind. His original recipe, which you can find on Jamie’s blog, was equally chocolatey, but used coffee to add the essential acidity to the recipe. Jamie has swapped the coffee with orange zest and juice. Both versions are brilliant!

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Nutella Swirled Banana Bread

nutellabananabread zb 15

The first time I tried nutella was in France, on my honeymoon. I thought French kids were the luckiest people on earth. There was no way my mom would have given me a chocolate hazelnut spread on anything. (For the record it was the 1960s, she was a hippy and didn’t allow any sugar at all. Hence my full on sugar rebellion and career as a pastry chef.)  French kids get nutella for breakfast, on their bread at lunch or as a late night snack. They all seemed healthy enough, so I think the French moms are on to something. My honeymoon was 23 years ago and in the meantime we Americans have had a hazelnut spread revolution of our own. Now you can find it on the shelves of costco and seven-eleven. My house is never without a jar.

I’ve spread nutella on just about everything, but one of my favorites is freshly baked banana bread. In an “aha! moment” I decided to swirl the nutella right into the batter and bake them together. I’m not claiming to have discovered this combo, but I believe this may be the tastiest pairing ever there was. I now always make two loaves, otherwise it disappears too quickly. One we eat while it is still warm and a bit gooey, the other sits for breakfast the next day. It is magnificent and super simple to make. (more…)

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Ultimate Carrot Cake – revisited and even better!

My Ultimate Carrot Cake first made an appearance on ZoëBakes in 2008, and it has remained one of my most popular posts. I have made it many, many times since then and tweaked the recipe, as I am apt to do, every time I make it. After all the experiments, this is the recipe I have come to like the best. The changes are subtle, because the original was pretty spot on, but this version wins. Try them both and let me know which you like best.

I am gearing up to go on book tour with Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day. You can find my travel schedule on the events page and I would be thrilled to meet you if I am coming to your area. The tour schedule is coming together in bits and pieces, so check back if I don’t have all the details for your city written in yet. Hope to see you! (more…)

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Coconut Cream Cake with Toasted Meringue Frosting

coconut-cake-zoe-bakes-photos-by-liz-banfield8-of-20

I first posted this Coconut Cake recipe 6 years ago and have made it several times since. It is always a crowd pleaser, partly because of the meringue topping, all done up like curls that remind me of Phyllis Diller and because it is just delicious. Decadent pastry cream full of coconut layered between coconut cake. It just seems to have the right balance of whimsy and sophistication. Liz Banfield is a photographer I have long admired on Instagram and she came over to capture the making and baking of the cake. I have the honor of using Liz’s gorgeous photos for this post. I first became familiar with her work when I did a wedding cake she photographed for Martha Stewart. Her work is stunning and she is a delight.  (more…)

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