Guinness Chocolate Cake with White Knight Frosting

         

This Guinness Chocolate Cake with White Knight Frosting was inspired by my recent trip to Ireland. I have had epically good fortune this past year which brought me to Ireland twice. Earlier this year, I spent a week seeing Ireland with my friends at Bake from Scratch magazine, Tourism Ireland and Williams Sonoma. With each trip I have fallen deeper in love with that country. I know you will love it too and so I want to share an opportunity to win a trip to Ireland. Tourism Ireland* is giving one lucky winner the chance to design a customized trip to Ireland for 2 people. You can see some of the great places I’ve seen like Powerscourt House and Gardens, Kylemore Abbey, Kinsale, Cork City and so much more (check out my Ireland 2020 Instagram highlights to see some of these magical places. For IRELAND SWEEPSTAKES Enter Here! Winner will be drawn in November. Ireland is beyond beautiful with the rolling hills of green grass and clover that fall off into the ocean and that’s just a description of the pastures where the dairy cows graze.

The dairy in Ireland and all the products made with it were among the biggest surprises for me. I come from a dairy rich state and yet, I have never experienced cream, butter and even simple milk like I had in Ireland. I kept asking the bakers I met during my trip what they’d topped cakes with, just to find out that it was nothing more than whipping cream. That whipping cream was so luxurious I assumed it was made with creme fraiche or something to boost the velvety texture it had. Turns out feeding cows nothing more than green Irish grasses produces cream that needs nothing more than aeration to achieve magic. 

(just some of the chocolates I brought home from Ireland)

Another pleasant surprise was the universal love of chocolate I found across Ireland. Just about every stop, including at the petrol station, turned into an opportunity to eat chocolate. Maybe these two discoveries are not unrelated, the chocolate + the rich cream are bound to be dynamic. Even brands of chocolate I’ve had in the States, that have never elicited anything more than mild pleasure were so superior in Ireland. Then there were the local, bespoke chocolate makers who were creating truly brilliant and exciting boxes of chocolates.

This is Sister Genevieve from Kylemore Abbey who creates some of the finest chocolates I’ve ever had. I even got a chance to step into her chocolate making shop and try my hand at creating her famous and adorable chocolate sheep. You can see more pictures and videos of the chocolates and chocolate makers I met in my Instagram Stories (including my moment in Sister Genevieve’s workshop).

During our trip through Ireland, we stopped at as many bakeries as we could fit into a day. The full list of not-to-be-missed bakeries will appear in an upcoming issue of Bake From Scratch Magazine. One of our stops was at the Pepperpot Cafe in Dublin, which I was lucky enough to visit on both of my trips through Ireland. They served us a lovely chocolate stout cake with a super-rich, but simple whipped cream topping. I was instantly smitten and knew I’d come home to make a version of my own. Later that evening we arrived at Castlemartyr Resort, again a place I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at twice (and I hope to go back again and again!) 

In the beautiful lounge at Castlemartyr we were served a White Knight cocktail (think of the Irish version of a White Russian), which had layers of whiskey and a tall pour of perfect Irish heavy cream. It tasted like it was meant to be frosting and was the final inspiration for this cake. Read More

Apple Pie with Lacy Whole Wheat Lattice Crust

Lacy Apple Pie with Whole Wheat Lattice Crust \ ZoeBakes photo by Zoë Francois

I made this Apple Pie with Lacy Whole Wheat Lattice Crust to celebrate the milestone of having 200k amazing followers on Instagram. It’s not just any pie, but a lacy lattice pie. It looks super fancy, but really it’s simple to make with the right tools. As a THANK YOU to everyone who has made Instagram such a remarkably fun and inspirational place to spend my time (Yes, I’m talking to you!), I teamed up with Emile Henry and JK Adams to do a Lacy Pie tool GIVEAWAY.

Lacy Apple Pie with Whole Wheat Lattice Crust \ ZoeBakes photo by Zoë Francois

You can win the GRAND PRIZE PACKAGE of the tools I used to make this Apple Pie with Lacy Whole Wheat Lattice Crust: 

  1. A JK Adams Ultimate Pastry Board to make rolling your dough even easier (from JK Adams)
  2. A Stenciled Rolling Pin to make the dough lacy and extra festive (Mood Wood from JK Adams)
  3. An Emile Henry Pie Dish which is as beautiful as it is functional (from Emile Henry)
  4. A Vermont Marble Pie Server, so getting it to the plate is just as spectacular (from JK Adams)

PLUS: I will also be picking FIVE additional WINNERS who will get Emile Henry Pie Dish

You need to enter on my @zoebakes Instagram account since this is a celebration of my time there. If you are not already on Instagram, I highly encourage you to join us there, since I share videos and my favorite pastry inspiration on that platform. 

Recipe follows: Read More

Blood-Orange Creamsicle Semifreddo

Blood-Orange Creamsicle Semifreddo | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

This Blood Orange Creamsicle Semifreddo was inspired by one of my first pastry mentors, Claudia Flemming. Her book, The Last Course, was a collection of desserts she created for the venerable restaurant, Gramercy Tavern, in New York. It is an understatement to say her book was a steady guide to me when I was a pastry chef, fresh out of culinary school and trying to find my voice as a chef. She was combining flavors in ways that no one else was doing at the time. She used herbs in desserts and she had an exquisite balance of sweetness, sour, bitter, and salty. Her palate was informed by the savory side of the kitchen and it made all of her desserts profoundly more interesting and exciting to me. My copy of her book was written in, dog eared and splattered with cake batter, the truest sign of respect to a cookbook and its author. That seminal book went out of print for a while, but there was a cult following that just never let it be forgotten. So, when her publisher decided to celebrate it with another printing, I was thrilled. Other than the cover there are no changes to the book and it didn’t need any, that’s how good it was and is. The desserts still hold up nearly a decade later and I was just as excited by the Frozen Orange-Blossom Honey Mousse today as I was the first time I made it in 2001. I topped it with Blood Orange Sorbet to create my idea of the perfect creamsicle and then topped it with a Rosemary and Orange Meringue. I think Claudia would approve of the combination.

Book GIVEAWAY: The folks at Random House have generously offered to give a lucky winner a copy of The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern, so check out my @zoebakes Instagram page to enter the contest. You will also find my Instagram video tutorial on how to make this dessert.

Find the recipe below…

Blood-Orange Creamsicle Semifreddo | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François Read More

Blueberry Cobbler

Blueberry Cobbler | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

When my son was heading back to college after winter break I asked him what he’d like for his last homemade dessert before our long drive. He opened up Pastry Love by Joanne Change and pointed to her cobbler. The perfect choice. Perhaps nothing says comfort food as well and succinctly as a blueberry cobbler.  Bubbling sweet fruit covered with tender, flaky biscuits is exactly the image I hope he recalls of being home for the holidays. Joanne is a phenomenal pastry chef and owns, Flour, one of my all-time favorite bakeries in Boston, so I knew her recipe would satisfy this lofty request from my son. It did not disappoint and I have a feeling this will be an often requested treat in my house. Her book is filled with so many fantastic recipes from this quintessential comfort food to more refined pastries. A pastry book for every home!

Blueberry Cobbler | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

You can watch me make the biscuits and assemble the blueberry cobbler in my Instagram video and Joanne generously gave me permission to share the recipe with you below: Read More

Raspberry Swirl Bread from Do-It-All Dough

Raspberry Swirl Bread from Do-It-All Dough | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

As you know from all of my Breadin5 books, I am a BIG fan of a Do-It-All Dough. A dough that can go from sweet to savory, depending on your mood. I may want to make a deep-dish pizza after work or bake cinnamon rolls on the weekend all from the same dough recipe. In order to pull that off, you want a dough that is rich and tender enough to satisfy as a sweet treat, but strong enough to hold up as a perfect sandwich loaf for school lunches. When Bake from Scratch Magazine and Bob’s Red Mill asked me to create a loaf with their super versatile and delicious Do-It-All dough for this month’s Better Baking Academy, I knew I wanted to create a showstopper, but simple enough to pull off on any Tuesday evening. I grabbed from the Scandinavian influence that is so prevalent in Minnesota, where I call home and added orange zest and cardamom to the dough as I was mixing it. It adds such a wonderfully warm aroma to the dough, which we need in the January cold. Then I swirled the dough with raspberry preserves and twisted the dough into a beautiful and tasty loaf.  You can see me create this loaf in my Instagram video and the recipe is below.

You can find much more information about this month’s Better Baking Academy class on Do-It-All Dough and sign up for the entire series of baking classes hosted by Bake From Scratch Magazine and Bob’s Red Mill (The Academy is FREE). You’ll find new lessons each month on essential baking skills with step-by-step photos and great tips from a wide range of baking professionals. If you’re looking to step up your baking game, you don’t want to miss the Better Baking Academy. Click here to sign up!

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Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

I love Key Lime Pie and seek it out whenever I can. I’m always slightly disappointed when a restaurant doesn’t have one on the menu. I’ve had good versions and less good versions, but the contrast of creaminess and tartness (as close to sour as I can get) is so satisfying to me that I forgive even the poor versions. I try to push that balance to the edge, by adding as much freshly squeezed key lime juice to a super creamy base and THEN top the whole thing with a layer of key lime curd and a pile of whipped cream. 

This week I finished and sent in my very first solo book manuscript. Despite having written 7 books on bread with my co-author, Jeff, this was a monumental moment for me. I had it in my mind that the first thing, non-book related, that I would bake was going to be a Key Lime Pie. Here it is and it’s the perfect, albeit humble, way to celebrate this milestone of a new adventure in my career. No matter the occasion, this is a terrific pie. Read More