Peach Rye Cake

“Morning, sunshine!” That’s what this Peach Rye Cake says to me and what a joyous way to start the day. Sure, it’s cake and can be served with ice cream as a dessert too, but the rye and honey evoke more of a morning muffin vibe, so I am suggesting this with a dollop of yogurt to start your day. When King Arthur Baking Company invited me to celebrate their official name change from King Arthur Flour with a recipe, I immediately thought of Vermont (King Arthur Baking Company’s home) and my childhood memories there. I grew up on communes in Plainfield and Glover, Vermont. Food on a commune is a constant dance, since there are so many mouths to feed. The smell of honey, baking bread and granola are some of my very first food memories. Sunshine streaming in the windows and the smell of sweetness in the kitchen  are the things I recall and what I wanted to recreate with this cake. A sun burst of peaches in a honey-sweet rye cake batter, that’s a perfect celebration. The fact that King Arthur Baking Company has changed their name to highlight all that they do for and with the baking community, beyond producing some of the very best flour, just seems natural and right. They represent the best of the baking community and are a constant go to for tested recipes, trusted resources, and the highest quality baking products. I am honored to have worked with them throughout my baking career and overjoyed to be a part of this special moment.

And…scroll to the bottom to see the Zoë cookie King Arthur Baking Company created for me. It is hilarious and delicious. Recipes below!

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S’more Ice Box Cake

S'more Ice Box Cake

When it is hot and muggy, but you want a dessert to impress this S’more Ice Box Cake is the exact answer.  All the things one loves about the classic summer camping dessert without the fire (okay, just a bit of blowtorching, but that’s too fun to resist).  Graham crackers layered with caramel cream, covered in chocolate ganache, with a sprinkle of peanuts (needed the crunch and salty bits) and then topped off with toasted meringue. No baking!  Read More

4th of July Baked Alaska

4th of July Baked Alaska

It’s 90°F in the shade and I just can’t bring myself to fire up the oven today. So, the only reasonable thing to do is make a 4th of July Baked Alaska with homemade ice cream and top it with flaming meringue. If you don’t want to make your own ice cream, then just get your favorite store bought brand and layer them up in a loaf pan. I used strawberry, coconut and blueberry ice creams to create the red, white and blue stripes. Okay, they’re pink, cream and purple, but the intention was right and I say close enough.

4th of July Baked Alaska

You can go as crazy or quiet with your meringue, but lighting it on fire with kirschwasser (cherry flavored booze) shouldn’t really be optional. If you don’t want the booze, just use your blow torch and you’ll have the same effect without the alcohol. 

Happy 4th of July! Read More

Lemon, Ricotta & Thyme Cakes

Lemon Ricotta Cakes with Thyme Recipe | ZoeBakes

I think this Lemon, Ricotta & Thyme Cakes from Benjamina Ebuehi’s book The New Way to Cake is the ultimate summer dessert. My herbs are just starting to come up in the garden and there is nothing more beautiful and fragrant than fresh herbs. I have lemon thyme in my garden and I strolled into my neighbor’s herb garden to help myself to some of her thyme. The combination is perfect in these lemony, rich cakes. If you don’t have thyme, you can try sage or rosemary (maybe use a touch less, since they are a much stronger flavor). 

You may be familiar with Benjamina from GBBO, but I know her from her sleek and stylish Instagram account (@bakedbyBenji). I fell in love with the book the second I saw the exquisite cake on the cover and she has an elegance to her everyday cakes that speak to me. She combines familiar and comforting cakes with just a hint of something new and exciting. I love this book!

Lemon Ricotta Cakes with Thyme Recipe | ZoeBakes

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Buttercream Rose Cake

Today is my best friend’s birthday and nothing short of a Buttercream Rose Cake will do. This is also the perfect cake for Easter, which is just around the corner. Creating the buttercream roses and other flowers requires a bit of special equipment and some practice, but this is just the kind of activity that relaxes me and I hope you agree. I’ll walk you through building the cake that will be the canvas for your floral top and then show you how to create the buttercream and roses. 

I have some tutorials on my Instagram page, but you can find even more information on my youtube channel (links for each step below). Read More

Chocolate Beet Cake with Ganache

Chocolate Beet Cake with Ganache | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

There are two camps when it comes to beets and each is fiercely committed to their opinions. One side loves the sweet, jewel-toned, earthiness of the root vegetable and usually order them at every opportunity. That’s the camp I’m in. I LOVE beets. Then there are the folks that don’t. This Chocolate Beet Cake with Ganache by Susan Spungen from her gorgeous new book, Open Kitchen: Inspired Food for Casual Gatherings, will bring the two camps together in perfect agreement. It is so delicious and despite my selfish desire to have the beet flavor shine through, it is so subtle, it just leaves a super-rich and moist cake that everyone, no matter their feelings about beets, will love. Plus, it is so gorgeous, how could you refuse to try it?  Once you do, you’ll go in for seconds. 

The art of tempering chocolate (this is when melted chocolate sets at room temperature and stays shiny) seems like a next-level task, but Susan brings it into the home kitchen with great ease. Like anything you are trying for the first time, it takes a bit of getting used to it. I will walk you through it in my Instagram video and Susan’s directions are terrific, so give it a try and see how satisfying and beautiful the curls are. You’ll end up using this technique for so many desserts. The finishing touch on the Chocolate Beet Cake with Ganache is a dusting of beet powder. When I was flipping through Susan’s book this cake jumped off the page because of the velvety red finish of beet powder. It is actually quite easy to find too (see link and recommendations below).

Chocolate Beet Cake with Ganache | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

For those of you who are not familiar with Susan Spungen by name, you are certainly familiar with her work. She was the editor of Martha Stewart Living, she is the go-to food stylist for Hollywood, having created all the incredible food in Julie & Julia, Eat Pray Love and many others. Open Table is a beautiful book about casually entertaining, but with incredible style. I’m such a fan of her and her lovely book. Susan generously gave me permission to share the recipe with you, which you’ll find below. I also made the cake in a video which you’ll find on my Instagram accountRead More