Peach Rye Cake

Peach Rye Cake before baking | Photo by Zoë François | ZoeBakes

“Morning, sunshine!” That’s what this Peach Rye Cake says to me and what a joyous way to start the day. Sure, it’s cake and can be served with ice cream as a dessert too, but the rye and honey evoke more of a morning muffin vibe, so I am suggesting this with a dollop of yogurt to start your day. When King Arthur Baking Company invited me to celebrate their official name change from King Arthur Flour with a recipe, I immediately thought of Vermont (King Arthur Baking Company’s home) and my childhood memories there. I grew up on communes in Plainfield and Glover, Vermont. Food on a commune is a constant dance, since there are so many mouths to feed. The smell of honey, baking bread and granola are some of my very first food memories. Sunshine streaming in the windows and the smell of sweetness in the kitchen  are the things I recall and what I wanted to recreate with this cake. A sun burst of peaches in a honey-sweet rye cake batter, that’s a perfect celebration. The fact that King Arthur Baking Company has changed their name to highlight all that they do for and with the baking community, beyond producing some of the very best flour, just seems natural and right. They represent the best of the baking community and are a constant go to for tested recipes, trusted resources, and the highest quality baking products. I am honored to have worked with them throughout my baking career and overjoyed to be a part of this special moment.

And…scroll to the bottom to see the Zoë cookie King Arthur Baking Company created for me. It is hilarious and delicious. Recipes below!

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Buttercream Rose Cake

Today is my best friend’s birthday and nothing short of a Buttercream Rose Cake will do. This is also the perfect cake for Easter, which is just around the corner. Creating the buttercream roses and other flowers requires a bit of special equipment and some practice, but this is just the kind of activity that relaxes me and I hope you agree. I’ll walk you through building the cake that will be the canvas for your floral top and then show you how to create the buttercream and roses. 

I have some tutorials on my Instagram page, but you can find even more information on my youtube channel (links for each step below). Read More

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

Top Nine ZoeBakes Desserts 2019

Poached Pear Tart | ZoëBakes photo by Zoë François

Instagram has spoken and these are the Top Nine ZoeBakes Desserts 2019, as determined by your 1 million likes. Thank you so much for following and I look forward to baking with you in 2020! 

These are in no particular order of popularity. Find the list and recipes below: Read More

Roasted Squash Brown Butter Cake (Gluten-Free)

Roasted Squash Brown Butter Cake (Gluten-Free) | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

This beautiful Roasted Squash Brown Butter Cake just happens to be gluten-free, as is everything in Aran Goyoaga’s new book Cannelle et Vanille. If you don’t happen to follow a gluten-free diet, this book is still for you, in fact, you’ll not even notice the wheat is missing from any of Aran’s recipes, they are purely delicious and gorgeous. Her work needs no introduction, she has been blogging and inspiring us all for over a decade. This book is a culmination of that journey as a chef, food photographer, mom and pastry chef who switched to working with foods that made her feel healthier and in turn happier. 

This gorgeous cake comes from the pages of her book and I added a cranberry relish that has fresh strawberries and pink peppercorns, a lovely compliment to the roasted squash brown butter cake. 

Roasted Squash Brown Butter Cake (Gluten-Free) | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François  Read More

Cherry Blossom Cake

Cherry Blossom Cake | zoebakes photo by Zoë François 

The magic trick of cake decorating was revealed to me 16 years ago when I attended a week long class at the Wilton School of Cake Decorating and Confectionery Art outside of Chicago. Anyone who loves cake and piping icing knows the Wilton name and reaches for their products to get the job done. I was beyond thrilled and honored when they asked me to try out their new line of products, Texturra Performance Bakeware and Versa-Tools, and create a signature dessert using them. This Cherry Blossom Cake came to me instantly, because I wanted to utilize the piping skills I learned from their classes all those years ago. I had just been on a trip to NYC and the cherry trees were in full bloom with their sweet, delicate blossoms. The inside of the cake is a spiral of sponge cake, which I baked in the new Texturra Performance baking sheet. Since they claim it is truly non-stick, I tested it by skipping the parchment paper. This is not something I would usually do, since parchment is the insurance policy, I rely on to make sure my cakes don’t glue themselves to the pan. The Wilton promise was spot on, the cake released from the unlined Texturra pan with ease, rendering the extra parchment unnecessary. For avid bakers, you know how exciting this is. 

I filled the sponge cake with a simple whipped cream and cherry sauce. This is where the new multi-functional Versa-Tools came in handy. I used them to make the filling, spread it, roll the cake and even decorate the sides. They are flexible, useful and multipurpose, which is everything you want in a kitchen tool. 

For the flowers I piped a simple cherry blossom with lemon royal icing and stuck them to the buttercream covered cake. There are a few steps to this Cherry Blossom Cake, but it is such a fun project and the results are stunning. 

You can watch me make this cake start to finish in my Instagram video and the recipe below.

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