From Memorial Day to the Fourth of July to Labor Day, summer is all about weekend gatherings with friends and family. A good meal should always accompany a get-together, which means you’ll need some tasty desserts for a crowd. I put together a list of some of my favorite cookies, cupcakes, and bars that are sure to please everyone at your party.
I made the delicious Mango Pudding and Passion Fruit Caramel recipes from Hetty McKinnon’s newest book, To Asia, With Love! I layered them together and wanted a little something light and airy on top, like meringue or whipped cream, but her recipes are vegan, so I needed it to be plant-based. I have always read about whipping aquafaba into a frothy topping for desserts, but had never tried it myself, until now. What’s aquafaba, you ask? Well, I know this is going to sound odd to anyone who isn’t familiar with vegan baking, but it is made with the water from a can of garbanzo beans. Yep, you drain off the water from chickpeas and it whips into a frothy topping that looks just like whipped egg whites. I promise you, sweetened and folded into pureed mango, you will never know its origins are so humble. I fooled my husband and his reaction was “this is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted! That’s a high bar too!” Then I told him what it was and he couldn’t take back what he’d said! Hahahahaha Read More
Strawberry Passion Fruit Sheet Cake! A sheet cake may be the simplest of cakes, but done right, it can be perfectly elegant. A special occasion doesn’t always require a piping bag (although that’s really fun too)! This classic, white cake is made Mother’s Day worthy with a big messy pile of perfect strawberries resting on passion fruit buttercream. It is super easy to put together but looks like sunshine and happiness, so no one will care that you didn’t have to work that hard. It will make the perfect dessert to bring to a party or just make you happy as you stand at the counter with a fork (which I can attest to because that’s exactly what happened right after these photos were taken). I baked the white cake from Zoë Bakes Cakes in a 9×13″ pan (instead of the layers I make in the book), covered it with my Swiss Meringue Buttercream that I mixed with fresh passion fruit (you can go with any flavor you love), and then tossed the fresh strawberries with lime zest, a touch of sugar and mint. Sometimes slathering together delicious, but simple flavors are all it takes to create something gorgeous.
Recipes found in Zoë Bakes Cakes, which is a wonderful Mother’s Day Gift IMHO, along with some flowers and maybe a blowtorch!
Blueberry Galette! This is really a rustic blueberry pie, made without a tin and given a more romantic name. It’s simple, delicious, easy and contains little more than plump, sweet-tart blueberries.
A galette need not be complicated, you can use fresh and/or frozen blueberries (which I always have in my freezer) with just a touch of sweetener (you decide how sweet you like it). The galette goes together fast with my perfect pie dough that holds in the berries. The blueberries have a deep purple color when they are baked, which is just the natural drama I like in a dessert.
This blueberry galette is beautiful enough to serve at a party with a scoop of ice cream. But, don’t forget, blueberries have vitamin C, fiber and are heart-healthy, so this is also the best breakfast pastry ever! The pie dough makes two disks, so you can freeze one for later or make two galettes and double the filling. My boys were home when I made this and they ate the first one in a sitting, so I quickly made a second.
You can watch me make the galette in my instagram highlight video. This recipe is also posted on the Blueberries website, along with many other blueberry recipes for you to gather inspiration from. Read More
How do you choose the perfect Mother’s Day dessert? You need to know what mom loves, of course, but I think you also need something beautiful and sophisticated. For me, something with meringue is perfect, but every mom loves something a little different. I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite Mother’s Day desserts, which hit all kinds of flavor profiles with the beauty and sophistication moms deserve in recipes that are pretty simple to make.
And if your mom loves to bake, cakes in particular, you could always give her the gift of baking together with my new book, Zoë Bakes Cakes, where I dive deep on everything cake—loaves, layers, bundts, and everything that goes with them.
Want a copy of Zoë Bakes Cakes? I’ve teamed up with some of my favorite brands to create a delicious Zoë Bakes Cakes Sweepstakes! Five people will win a signed copy of my book, plus all the supplies and ingredients to make one of my favorite cakes—Best-Ever Chocolate-Zucchini Bundt Cake.