Father’s Day Desserts

Apricot Peach Pie

Father’s Day is a holiday that doesn’t seem to be tied to any specific food. A nice BBQ, perhaps? But the lack of a traditional meal is kind of nice because it means you can make exactly what your dad loves. To help, I’ve put together this guide of Father’s Day desserts for every kind of dad or father figure. From brunch to ice cream to cakes, I have a recipe that fits every kind of sweet tooth.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cakettes

A Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Cake on a white plate with a gold fork

Sometimes a baking fail is just the inspiration I need to try something new. I originally baked my Devil’s Food Cake from Zoë Bakes Cakes in cupcake liners that promised to be sturdy enough not to need a muffin pan to support them. Well, I put them to the test and it was a complete fail! The liquid batter poured out of the sunken liners after about 5 minutes and I knew I was going to have a mess on my hands. One of the best lessons I learned in culinary school was not to panic. If things aren’t going as planned, pivot. That’s exactly what I did and ended up with these Chocolate Peanut Butter Cakettes (larger than a cupcake, but still an individual-sized mini cake). Since I had to rescue the cake from the liners and the pan (see my Instagram story for the visual), I ended up with lots of scraps of cake. Instead of just snacking on the scraps (which is how I typically roll), I used them in the Chocolate American Buttercream (also from my book, Zoë Bakes Cakes), which gave the center of these little cakes even more flavor. I added peanut butter and chopped peanuts to add a crunch and flavor that I knew would be a big hit (these were destined for my neighbor’s house and it is her favorite combo). No one looking at this post would assume it started out as a kitchen disaster. Stay flexible and give yourself permission to experiment and you will come up with something fabulous and delicious, even if it starts out a bit wonky. In my book I have a chapter called the “Cake Academy” for people looking for some of the hows and whys of cake baking. It is a fun bit of food science and technique that can give all bakers a little more confidence to play with their cakes. 

“François is really just a hippie at heart who wants to spread the love through cake.” Jenny Rosenstrach from her review of  Zoë Bakes Cakes in the New York Times! I will not lie, it is a total jump-up-and-dance thrill to read her generous words about the book. She captured all that I felt about writing this book in her review and I am so grateful.

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Desserts For A Crowd

Banana Pudding | ZoeBakes by Zoë François

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.

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Vegan Mango Mousse

Vegan Mango Mousse | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

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

Strawberry Passion Fruit Sheet Cake Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François
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! 
 
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Blueberry Galette

Blueberry Galette Recipe | Zoe Bakes by Zoë François

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