Baking with Chocolate

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cakettes on a wire cooling rack, drenched in chocolate ganache
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cakettes

Chocolate is romantic, dramatic, purported to have healing properties, and is absolutely delicious. The wonderful flavor is representative of devotion and love. Chocolate can come in so many forms that even those who don’t consider themselves chocolate fanatics almost always find a chocolate treat to love. Below you will find a primer on all things chocolate, so you can learn all the tips and tricks for baking with chocolate. When I set out to write Zoë Bakes Cakes the very first cake I put in its pages was my Devil’s food recipe, which is deep, dark, and full of cocoa. You’ll find cakes, pies, tarts, and many other chocolate desserts in this post.

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Pumpkin Desserts

Pumpkin Pie with Toasted Marshmallows on top
Erin McDowell’s Pumpkin Pie from The Book On Pie with Homemade Toasted Marshmallows!

Are you like me and feel that every season is starting to creep into the last? What I mean is that every holiday season, official or unofficial, seems to be starting earlier and earlier. We’ve all seen those Christmas decorations showing up before Halloween, right? I don’t think this is a bad thing, especially when it comes to seasonal dessert flavors. A good example is pumpkin desserts. It’s a distinct flavor and one that is so distinctly tied to fall that its seasonality will always be at least somewhat baked in, but who doesn’t want to let pumpkin creep into more of their life? With that in mind, whether it’s early September or late February, here are some of my favorite pumpkin desserts to enjoy.

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Holiday Gift Guide for Bakers

Host Zoe Francois prepares her tube pan to make her pear cardamom cake, as seen on Zoe Bakes, season 1.

The holiday season is upon us! It should come as no surprise that in my house this is a time of year for desserts and baked treats (as if there is a time of year that isn’t). It’s also a time for gathering with friends and family and sharing some of your favorite meals and baked goods. 

I always feel like the best gifts are ones that share experiences with others, and food is one of the best ways to share. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of my essential tools for baking—to add to your wish list or to gift to the bakers in your life. If you ever wonder what I use in my own kitchen, head on over to my Amazon shop to find absolutely everything.

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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!

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Crisps, Cobblers and Crumbles + Pumpkin-Apple Caramel Hot Dish

Almond apple crisp in a large pot

If you’re looking forward to fall and winter parties — from the fun and informal to big holiday gatherings — this post is for you. There are all kinds of desserts you can make for your get-togethers, but some of the best feature fruit, sugar and topped with something delicious. For informal occasions, a nice, quick crisp will do the trick. The more fancy dinner parties may call for your very best pie, but this post will help you make the dessert decision with an overview of crisps, crumbles and cobblers. Plus the similarities and differences between each. (And a little bonus pie content.)

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