Memorial Day Desserts

Kick off your summer with some tasty Memorial Day desserts. These recipes will please a crowd and are great for the summer season.

Strawberry Passion Fruit Sheet Cake | Memorial Day Desserts

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer here in Minnesota. I think that’s true almost everywhere, but after the long, cold winter and often erratic spring, it’s especially so in The North. Like every changing season, there’s no better way to enjoy all the time has to offer than with tasty, seasonal desserts. For Memorial Day, I’ve put together a list of treats that include crowd pleasers for big weekend get-togethers, and a whole bunch of fruits. It’s nearly summer now, which means it’s time to enjoy as much fruit as possible the next few months.

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Peanut Butter Desserts

Chocolate Cake on a Cake Stand with Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting | Peanut Butter Desserts
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

There are a few classic dessert flavors, but perhaps none more so than peanut butter. Its rich, creamy texture and unmistakable taste always transport me right back to childhood. I’ve put together a list of my favorite peanut butter desserts to bring you back to that happy place too, and you’ll find a bunch of different styles of peanut butter cookie in here, which is an all-time classic and one of my favorites. And no list would be complete without several treats that include everyone’s favorite combo: chocolate and peanut butter.

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Lemon Desserts

Lemon Curd Cheesecake Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François
Lemon Curd Cheesecake

Tart, bright, delicious, versatile — you can describe lemons in so many ways. If you search my recipes, you’ll often find lemon as the star or in a supporting role. It’s a favorite ingredient for its ability to stand out and deliver wonderful flavor, but also it’s subtleness in brightening up desserts that need just a little tart kick. If you are looking for perfect lemon desserts for a party, or just to satisfy a citrus craving, these recipes will deliver on big, bold lemon flavor.

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Rhubarb Desserts

A bunch of rhubarb | ZoeBakes by Zoë François

One of the first signs of summer in Minnesota is rhubarb season. Most of our produce isn’t ready until later in the summer, but those big, leafy rhubarb plants are often ready to harvest by May. I love rhubarb because it adds a great texture and sour flavor to baked goods. You need a lot of sweet fruit (like strawberries) and sugar to balance out the natural bitterness, but when you get the right combination of sour and sweet, the result is truly marvelous.

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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.

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Vegan Desserts

Vegan Mango Pudding | ZoeBakes by Zoë François
Vegan Mango Mousse: A vegan dessert I didn’t tell my family was vegan. They had no idea!

I will start out by saying that I am not a vegan and therefore I have not experimented much with vegan desserts or substitutions. I do have friends who avoid dairy and/or gluten and/or eggs, so I have dabbled a little bit with vegan swaps, but I am by no means an expert. So, for this post, I asked a friend for a few suggestions as to what vegan blogs she’s had success making baked goods from and what she knows about baking vegan desserts.

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