Honey Cake with Honey Buttercream

Honey Cake with Honey Buttercream and Sunflowers

We’ve seen the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine and I’ve decided to do a class in an effort to raise money. Please join me for a LIVE baking demonstration of this Ukrainian Honey Cake with Buttercream Sunflowers. Proceeds from this event will benefit World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization dedicated to feeding people in the wake of humanitarian, climate, and community crises. They are on the ground feeding the refugees in Ukraine right now.

Update: We raised over $33,000 for World Central Kitchen! If you missed the class, you still have an opportunity to purchase the recording or donate. Here’s where to do it.

Read More

Birthday Desserts

Sprinkle cake on a cake stand from Zoë François's cookbook, Zoë Bakes Cakes, one of many perfect birthday desserts!
Sprinkle Cake from my book Zoë Bakes Cakes!

Happy Birthday! If you’re reading this you’re on the hunt for birthday desserts, which means it’s somebody’s birthday. I love choosing birthday treats because you can make anything that the birthday celebrant loves. Sure, you’ll find a bunch of cake recipes below, since it’s the faithful symbol of birthdays, but you don’t have to stick to cakes. You’ll also find some bars and brownies on my list, which are great for parties and offer fun ways to play with flavors. If you are looking for cakes, check out my book, Zoë Bakes Cakes for a comprehensive guide, or find a few of my favorite cake recipes below.

Read More

FAQ: Cake Baking & Decorating 101

Devil's food cake with peanut butter buttercream filling being coated in Swiss meringue buttercream
Devil’s Food Cake with Peanut Butter Buttercream Filling

Thank you to everyone who sent me baking questions on Instagram! I received hundreds of questions, so I decided to compile them into a few blog posts to cover the various topics. In addition to this cake baking 101, you’ll find a post with FAQs about baking homemade bread, FAQs about meringue, vegan desserts, pie and pie crust, and baking equipment.

Read More

Rustic Almond Coffee Cake with Cranberries

Cranberry Almond Coffee Cake

This is a cake from Zoë Bakes Cakes and in the book, I baked it with grapes; juicy, sweet, but slightly tart, table grapes. It’s curious why grapes are rarely used in baking, unless dried into raisins. They are juicy and have such a wide range of sweetness and flavor, depending on the variety. They’re also a perfect match for almond paste, an ingredient with which I’m more than just a bit smitten; there are so many ways to play with the slightly creamy, earthy flavor. Together with the olive oil, the combination makes a gorgeous cake that’s just as suited for a holiday table as it is for a Tuesday-morning coffee cake. The moist cake is also one that lasts for days, so if you need a cake you can bake ahead for your holiday morning, this is the one!

Read More

Meringue Cake with Roasted Pears

Meringue Cake with Roasted Pears

I started the Zoë Bakes blog in 2007 as a way to stay connected to pastry while I was raising my boys and working on the Breadin5 bread books. I quickly found my community of online peers and Aran Goyoaga and her blog, Cannelle et Vanille, was at the center of it. Her recipes and photography stood out and became the bar the rest of us tried to reach. All these years later I am still striving to create the beauty she seems to produce with such immense grace and ease as if pastry is an innate talent. She grew up in a baking family and so, perhaps she was born with a touch of magic in her hand.

Read More

Pumpkin Cake with Balsamic Cinnamon Meringue and Bittersweet Ganache

A slice of pumpkin cake with cinnamon meringue and layers of bittersweet ganache

This is a cake I recently baked at the Cherry Bombe Cooks & Books event in Brooklyn. All of the recipes are from Zoë Bakes Cakes, but I rearranged them into this sassy layer cake with a toasted meringue top. The pumpkin bundt cake from the book, can be baked as rounds, then separated by chocolate ganache and topped with the Swiss Meringue Topping. I decided for the sake of fall flavors and wanting to temper the sweetness of the meringue, I added an aged balsamic vinegar and ground cinnamon to the whipped peaks, before spiking it onto the cake and setting it ablaze with a blow torch. The recipes and directions to recreate the cake are below.

The cake layers were baked the day before, wrapped, and refrigerated. The chocolate ganache was also made ahead and just set at room temperature so it would be easy to spread. The day of the event I made the meringue and assembled the cake in front of an in-person crowd, while talking (it had been a while since I’d seen humans, so I had a lot to say) and got the cake finished in about 20 minutes. All of this is to say, that if you work ahead, a cake like this doesn’t take long to create. It absolutely can be made in one go, but you can decide how it best fits your schedule.

Read More