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. I also believe in baking easy at the holidays and this recipe is PERFECT! If your oven is occupied by your holiday roast and potatoes, you can bake this SWIRL BREAD IN THE SLOW COOKER – NO OVEN!Read More
Last week my youngest son turned 18. It hit me that he’s a man and about to head out into the world to make his mark. I am so excited for him and looking forward to watching him and his brother become their own men, but it’s a touch bittersweet to watch them take off into the world. This birthday will be marked by several cakes and desserts, as we do around here. For his actual birthday, I was traveling and left him a flan, a long time favorite birthday request. The next day, when I returned from my trip I was met by the latest Bake From Scratch cookbook and immediately flipped to the Birthday Cake chapter. Sometimes we just want the classics, and there is nothing better than a really good white cake with vanilla buttercream. It’s probably the most popular cake combination, for good reason. I am perhaps the last baker on the internet to make a Funfetti Birthday Cake, but this occasion called for a bit of celebratory color!! I simply added sprinkles to the Bake From Scratch White Cake.
In the spirit of my son’s birthday, I have partnered with Brian Hart Hoffman and the excellent folks at Hoffman Publishing to Give Away a Copy of the Bake from Scratch (Vol 3): Artisan Recipes for the Home Baker cookbook, just leave a comment below about your perfect birthday cake. You can DOUBLE YOUR CHANCES TO WIN, by heading to my instagram page and signing up there too! Oh, and I have a few holiday cookie recipes in this cookbook, so I hope you’ll bake those as well!
People ask me where I find inspiration and the truth is, EVERYWHERE! The decorations for this funfetti birthday cake were inspired by a Netflix special and a place card. I was watching a documentary about the fashion designer, Alexander McQueen, and I told my husband his dresses would make incredible cakes, especially a dress covered in feathers that already looked like a cake. The place cards from my friends at The Punctilious Mr. P’s Place Card Company arrived and they were pictures of gorgeous birds that looked like cake toppers. It wasn’t inspiration as much as fate! The feathers are easy to make with white chocolate, which you can watch me make in my instagram video. Funfetti Birthday Cake recipe and chance to win the book are below! Read More
The Apple Tarte Tatin is a quintessentially French dessert. There are really two styles of French pastry, the super fussy, Marie Antoinette-style creations that are almost too beautiful to eat and look nearly impossible to create, and then the country-side, rustic sweets that are more delicious than beautiful.
I’d say this falls into the second category, but I think it is stunningly beautiful with its rich caramel apples and flaky pastry peeking out from under them. Rustic yes, but no less gorgeous than a Croquembouche or Paris-Brest, in my mind.
I’ve often said this is my comfort food, the one dessert I almost always choose on a menu (I rarely pick just one) and I start nearly every trip to NYC with a slice from Buvette in the West Village.
The key to success is having the proper apples. You want them to keep their shape while cooking in the caramel, so they absorb the bittersweet sugar and don’t just turn to mush. I’ve had good success with Pink Lady, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, and/or Granny Smith. Stay away from apples like McIntosh, Golden Delicious, and Fuji which break down and make sauce.
Traditionally the crust is a layer of Puff Pastry draped over the caramelized apples and baked upside-down, then inverted to reveal the deep caramel colored apples. The transformation is dramatic and delicious. You can make puff pastry or use a high-quality store-bought version. You can also use Pie dough or even sheets of Phyllo. The crust is the canvas that holds the apples, so you can get creative with whatever you have on hand. Below I give the instructions for all of the crust options.Read More
Cardamom is the quintessential flavor of the holidays in Scandinavian countries. I hadn’t used it much before moving to Minnesota, where Swedish and Norwegian baking is part of the fabric of this community’s tradition. It is also the perfect spice for pears. When I put the pears into the batter of this pear-cardamom cake they want to slump into the cake and bake under the surface. I discovered that by checking the pears after 20 minutes of baking to make sure they’re upright in the pan, they stand straight when they come out of the oven. I must say I’m pretty pleased with the results. Updated recipe from my book, Zoe Bakes Cakes, below.Read More
The first cheesecake I recall eating was from Junior’s in Brooklyn. I’d go there with my grandparents and my aunts, Sylvia and Rose, when I was little. There was always a ton of food and loud conversation, but the only thing I remember clearly is the cheesecake. It was tall and smothered in impossibly red strawberries.
The last time I ate cheesecake at Junior’s was the day I bought my wedding dress at Kleinfeld’s Bridal shop, when it was still in Brooklyn and long before there was a reality TV show about it. All the women in my family piled into the fitting room and the very bossy attendant said, “I have the dress for you!” and left. She came back with a dress, I put it on and everyone started to cry. I did try on a few more, since we’d intended to make a whole day of it, but she nailed it on the first try. We left that fitting room and went to Junior’s for lunch. The cheesecake was not as great as I had remembered from when I was a kid, but it was exactly what the day called for, tradition.Read More