Orange Scented Sponge Cake

Orange Scented Sponge Cake Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

I made this fresh orange scented sponge cake from my The Fannie Farmer Baking Book. It is a classic and really nothing about it needs changing. It is light and the orange gives the cake a fresh flavor that isn’t overly sweet. I combined it with a dacquoise, strawberry whipped cream and homemade jam to make a birthday torte for my stepmother. Even though there is no butter or oil in the cake I find it moist enough that I didn’t use a simple syrup soak. But you certainly could add it for flavor. Read More

Strawberry Whipped Cream, almost a Fool

Fresh Strawberries | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

These strawberries were so gorgeous that I just had to have them. They were the inspiration for a summer torte I made for my stepmother’s birthday. First I made a strawberry fool of sorts, but unlike a traditional fool I used pectin to stabilize it. I needed the strawberry whipped cream to hold up when used as the layers of the cake, but I didn’t want to use gelatin. I’ve been playing with pectin ever since my brother and his girlfriend became vegans. Plus, it is just fun to play with new ingredients in ways I hadn’t before. Read More

Lime-Lavender Granita with Fresh Figs

Lime-Lavender Granita with Fresh Figs | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

I’m finally home from all of my traveling. I’ve never been so happy to be in my kitchen, despite the 94° forecast and no air conditioner. Something frozen, tart and a little floral is exactly what I need to get through this day. I just went to the market and bought a flat of fresh, dripping-with-juices-ripe figs. The sweetness of their nectar will balance perfectly with the lime-lavender granita. Read More

Lavender Simple Syrup

Lavender | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

This gorgeous lavender* (salvia) plant is from Stephen Durfee’s garden in Napa, CA. It inspired my to make a lavender simple syrup on a hot day and drizzle it on a honey cake with blueberries.

The following recipe can be made with rosemary, lemon thyme, star anise, cinnamon sticks, organic edible rose petals or any other aromatic that you want to flavor your syrup with. I love to have these flavored syrups around to sweeten tea, use as a drizzle over sponge cake, flavor cocktails, granitas, sorbets and lemonade. Read More

Perfect Pie Dough 101 — Lattice Pie Crust

Pie dough laying in a pie plate

With very few ingredients you can make one of America’s most beloved desserts, the pie. We start with the crust, the frame which holds the filling, in this case, white peach and raspberry. It should be tender and flaky, buttery and a lovely compliment to whatever you have put inside. I am forever hunting for what I consider the perfect pie crust. There are as many recipes as there are households. Every family seems to have their own prized recipe. If you are having a tough time recreating your grandmother’s crust, it may not be the fault of the recipe, but the technique you are using. Try following my instructions on how to make this dough, with a lattice pie crust. I got the recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s latest tome Baking: From My Home to Yours.

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