Pumpkin Cake – For Halloween or Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Cake decorated like a pumpkin | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Pumpkin season is here, which is the only reason I can send this short summer off with a smile. It is nature’s way of creating balance. We give up the sunny days, and get bright orange pumpkins to cheer us up. Much like zucchini, there is an endless bounty to be made from these winter gourds. Here is a spiced pumpkin cake that is absolutely delicious and needs no adornments to be appreciated. But, decorate it like a pumpkin and it becomes a centerpiece for any fall holiday table. The recipe makes two pumpkin cakes, so you can have one for home and bring one to a party.

Pumpkin Cake decorated like a pumpkin | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François Read More

Halloween Mummy Cakes

Halloween Mummy Cakes | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Every year at this time, I try to find some new ghoulish and creepy way to terrify my sweet young boys (in a motherly-love kind of way). Nothing like a coffin shaped cake, with a mummy laying on top to make them squeamish and thrilled to go at it with a fork. The vanilla cake, raspberry filling and chocolate ganache on a bed of oreo crumbs, may be spine tingling enough for kids on Halloween, but tasty enough for the parents as well. Read More

Working with Rolled Fondant (3-Part Video Series)

rolled fondant

It is smooth and sophisticated, but there is a mystique about working with rolled fondant that keeps too many people from using it. Fondant reminds me of Play-Doh, you can create everything from an intricate wedding cake to a birthday cake in the shape of a Tonka truck. Your imagination and few helpful hints will open up a new world of cake decorating options. I chose this simple winter motif to get us started. First, we have to choose our color and tint the fondant, next we’ll cover the cake in the perfectly smooth fondant and to finish we’ll add simple snowflakes.

I’ve broken the videos into 3 parts: coloring the fondant, covering the cake and decorating. Enjoy and happy holiday baking!

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How-to Video: Piping Icing on a Cupcake 101 (Ovaltine Cupcake with Nutella Buttercream)

I was amazed recently to find Ovaltine on the shelves at the grocery store. I hadn’t had or thought about it in about 35 years. There are certain memories of childhood that hold space in the brain in a sensory way, and Ovaltine is one of them. I can’t remember an actual occasion of drinking it, but I do remember the excitement and malty flavor from way back. When I drink it now I recall our black and white television, big cars with no seat belts, sans-a-belt slacks and the Brady Bunch. These were simple days, so it seemed to a 7 year old, and Ovaltine was one of the glimmering bonuses that life had to offer. Keep in mind that my household was without Twinkies or Soda, so when Ovaltine hit the threshold it was an occasion, a glorious one at that. It was like drinking a malted milk ball and I was in heaven.

In order to make the cupcakes look as gorgeous as they taste, you’ll want to decorate them like a pro. I’ve put together a video on how to pipe on a perfect base of icing. It can be the foundation for other decorations or leave it alone and it is a classic finish. I will share some tips on how to use the pastry bag and the key to piping anything from stars to roses.

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How to Write on a Cake

How to Write on a Cake | Photo by Zoë François

For many happy occasions you’ll want to write a special sentiment on a cake. The problem is not what to say, but how to make it both legible and gorgeous. Everyone has had a good chuckle over the cakes on Cake Wrecks, but we want to avoid having our efforts resemble those mishaps. With a few tricks of the trade and a bit of practice anyone can learn how to write on a cake like a pro. In my previous how-to videos we have built the foundation for this cake and are now ready to put on the finishing touches

Part 1: Cut and Fill a Cake Like a Pro!

Part 2: Crumb Coat Your Cake

Part 3: Smoothly Cover your Cake with Icing

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How to Buttercream a Cake

Smoothing buttercream on a layer cake.

In the first two cake decorating videos I demonstrated how to cut, fill and crumb coat your cake. Now we are ready to put on the final coat of icing. I chose a very simple vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream to cover the cake. It is elegant, smooth and has a wonderfully rich flavor, but isn’t overly sweet. It can be left pure vanilla or you can easily add flavors to compliment your cake. This buttercream is wonderful for piping roses or doing basket weave as well. Before we get into the finishing touches we want to create a smooth surface, which will act as a canvas. If your cake is straight and smooth it will be stunning without any flourishes at all, but it will also show off your decorating prowess if you want to add some flowers or writing.

Also see my other How-to Cake Decorating Videos:

Part 1: Cut and Fill a Cake Like a Pro!

Part 2: Crumb Coat Your Cake

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