Zoë Bakes Cakes: Everything You Need to Know to Make Your Favorite Layers, Bundts, Loaves, and More by Zoë François

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Pumpkin-mocha swirl bundt cake

    • Astrid5555 on November 22, 2021

      The only thing to complain about is that the coffee flavor is too subtle for my taste, apart from that, an excellent cake!

    • bwhip on November 16, 2021

      Excellent cake. Lovely, moist texture, and the flavor combination is a winner. We really enjoyed, and we’ll definitely come back to this one.

    • anya_sf on February 03, 2022

      The cake was really good, but the batter was too thin for the layers to remain distinct. I didn't think the changes I made would make such a difference, but apparently they did. I made 1/2 recipe in a 6 cup bundt pan; baking time was 53 min. I used whole milk instead of evaporated, and the pumpkin had been previously frozen, so it was slightly curdled.

  • Peach muffin cake

    • Astrid5555 on October 01, 2022

      Used nectarines instead of peaches. Would have liked more fruit, otherwise delicious!

  • Marble pound cake

    • Astrid5555 on July 06, 2021

      A quick and easy, delicious tasting marble pound cake recipe. Will go into my regular baking rotation!

    • Hawaii on January 03, 2023

      My family and I give this cake 9 stars. Taste is good and it's an easy cake to make. It's tasty, but nothing spectacular. I'll make it again if someone in the family asks for it. Recipe notes: - Use a smaller than standard-size ice cream scoop, it's not much batter at all. - Baked for about 10 minutes longer than called for in the book and it could have used about 5 more minutes for more of a crust. - The chocolate portion of the cake was very chocolatey and a different texture than the vanilla part. Maybe next time reduce cocoa powder by 1/2 tablespoon?

  • Lemon-curd pound cake

    • Astrid5555 on April 17, 2023

      Perfectly lemony pound cake, ideal for using up this leftover lemon curd lingering in the fridge.

    • kkmatti on December 07, 2022

      possibly the best tasting lemon pound cake I've ever made. I am cooking at 5200ft of altitude and I did have a lot of problems with this cake collapsing at my altitude even with typical altitude adjustments. I'll need to adjust the pan size and the amount of batter more next time.

  • Banana bread with swirls of Nutella

    • Astrid5555 on January 30, 2022

      Made half a recipe for only one banana bread. No complaints from the teenage crowd I made this for, so must have been a good one.

    • trudys_person on November 02, 2021

      (page 70) A pretty good banana bread ... I found it slightly less sweet than some recipes, and the Nutella was a nice touch, but it could use more swirled through the middle of the batter. I might just add lots of Nutella to my favourite banana bread recipe next time. It did rise nice and high in the 8" x 4" loaf pans specified in the recipe. (I like the Nutella Banana Bread from the Baked Bree blog better: https://bakedbree.com/nutella-swirl-banana-bread)

    • stef on August 26, 2021

      This recipe was a disappointment. Baked in 9x5 does not give high loaves and nutella didn't add much taste

    • et12 on July 04, 2021

      This one looked good but I was hoping it would taste better. Was really excited by the idea of swirls of Nutella within the banana bread but the nutella just got incorporated into the sponge to create streaks of chocolate sponge as opposed to gooey streaks of Nutella. The banana bread itself was decent but not my favourite. I think next time I’ll try adding more Nutella and swirl it into my regular banana bread recipe, or maybe just spread it on top!

  • Chocolate ganache bundt cake

    • Astrid5555 on March 21, 2021

      This cake is the perfect chocolate cake for chocolate lovers. Easy and quite quick to make. Made only a quarter of the ganache recipe since I did not have enough chocolate left, was also quite ok.

    • Julied on December 31, 2023

      This is a great Bundt cake; I added a couple of teaspoons of peppermint flavoring to both the batter and the ganache then sprinkled with crushed peppermint candies and it turned out wonderful. Perfect for a holiday dessert!

    • et12 on May 02, 2021

      Very Chocolatey and delicious! I accidentally forgot to incorporate the last third of the flour/cocoa mixture into the batter before putting it into the oven but it still came out great, although probably a bit more like a brownie then the author intended.

    • Jviney on July 16, 2021

      This was excellent, a truly deep chocolate flavour. We loved it. I don’t think I used a full cup of ganache and it was still rich with good coverage. Probably my favourite chocolate bundt recipe so far.

    • ChefLeen on August 10, 2023

      I used a 12 cup Bundt pan as the recipe instructed but it was clear it needed a 10 cup. You only need 1/3 of the ganache recipe. Careful with the bake time. I baked mine at 45 min but could have pulled out at 40. I use an oven thermometer to make sure the temp is as exact as I can make it.

    • TBipp on January 16, 2023

      I really wanted to try this but needed cupcakes so that’s what I did. Made 21 and baked 19 minutes at 350. I should have pulled at 18 minutes. Frosted with a half recipe of a chocolate Ermine frosting which was plenty with 6 oz butter. Next time I’ll probably go with Cooks Illustrated food processor milk chocolate frosting which has hot cream and white corn syrup.

  • Plum cake

    • Astrid5555 on August 02, 2021

      We found this to be a really delicious plum cake. It is probably also the quickest one I have ever made since it comes toegther in no time in the food processor. Substituted vanilla sugar in the topping for the cinnamon because hubby is not a big fan. Will definitely make again.

    • Lepa on July 24, 2021

      I didn't love this. BUT my oven is acting up and it was burnt a bit so I think it's not fair to judge this recipe from today's attempt. I will probably try again but I am pretty loyal to a recipe in Food 52 that includes ricotta and lemon and I think those flavors might complement plums better than almond and cinnamon.

    • anya_sf on September 30, 2021

      Batter was easy to make in the processor. For me the hardest part was lining a round pan with rectangular parchment. The recipe calls for quartered plums, but the photo shows them cut into eighths, which is what I did. I baked it for the stated time, but maybe should have taken it out a few minutes early. Not too sweet, the cake made a nice afternoon or breakfast treat.

    • Caustin on September 27, 2022

      Made this with the second half of a basket of plums that I bought for the famous Marian Burros NYT Cooking Plum Torte recipe. I'm not sure which recipe I prefer. The almond and ww flour are nice in this one but the bottom came out a bit tough and cleaning the food processor is a faff - I'd rather just use a mixing bowl. The book calls for 4 plums quartered but the photo in the book shows either more plums or 4 cut in eighths. I did about 10 small purple plums cut in halves because I wanted to use up what I had. The cake held up to that volume of fruit.

  • Victory (Victoria) sponge cake

    • Astrid5555 on May 31, 2021

      Spring in a cake, beautiful looking and delicious tasting. A keeper!

    • bwhip on July 16, 2021

      Made a version of this tonight, using fresh peaches. Turned out beautifully! I used self-rising flour as called for, and the texture was perfect - nice and light, but sturdy enough to hold the weight at the same time. Flavor was really lovely. I made quick jam using a variation of the recipe from the same cookbook. We’ll make this again for sure.

    • Kinhawaii on June 01, 2021

      Not wanting a big cake for a few people, I did half a recipe & cooked one layer. I cooked it too long because it was dry on the edges. I put the jam, then strawberry cream mixture- which was mostly creme fraiche & not heavy cream because I was trying to use it up- then topped it with strawberries. It did taste lovely, although now I realize I should have sliced it in half & put the filling in between. I love the way Astrid5555’s cake looks!

  • Brown butter Genoise

    • Astrid5555 on May 02, 2021

      Love the brown butter taste, comes out perfect!

  • Anna’s hazelnut-brown butter cake

    • Astrid5555 on September 23, 2021

      This one is a delicious, quick to make little cake. Made this because I had an abundance of figs from my mom’s garden, but could be topped with any fruit available, got rave reviews!

  • Angel food cake

    • Astrid5555 on April 07, 2021

      I just made this cake because I had 12 leftover egg whites from previous baking projects and I did not expect much in terms of flavor. To my big surprise adding raspberries to an angel food cake is genius. This makes an otherwise unassuming cake pop with little flavor bursts and looks really pretty when you cut into the cake. Don‘t skimp on the raspberry whipped cream either, excellent also on its own!

    • Lepa on December 29, 2021

      I made this because I had leftover egg whites after making pasta. It was my first time making angel food cake and we liked it! I missed the lemon zest, which I think would have been nice. I ran out of raspberries so didn't make the whipped cream (and we are eating this for breakfast) but after reading these reviews intend to make it next time!

    • anya_sf on October 24, 2021

      Excellent instructions which still worked with regular granulated sugar. The raspberries were a great counterpoint to the sweet cake and amazingly did not sink. Next time I'll add a few more. We initially enjoyed the cake plain, but then tried it with the raspberry whipped cream, which took it to the next level. With tart berries, I would sweeten the cream a little more next time - I hesitated this time since angel food is so sweet.

  • Pavlova

    • Astrid5555 on July 06, 2021

      Stunning to look at summer dessert! Made this as a birthday cake for my older son, it was gone within the hour and got rave reviews.

    • EmilyR on March 28, 2021

      recipe here : https://www.tastecooking.com/recipes/pavlova-2/

  • Pavlova roulade

    • Astrid5555 on May 03, 2021

      This is a showstopper of a dessert, but actually quite quick to make and can even be done ahead and assembled when needed. Made an oven-roasted strawberry-rhubarb compote as a filling and topping for the perfect spring experience. If you haven‘t made a Pavlova roulade before check out Zoe’s instagram account for a video on how to bake it.

  • Raspberry charlotte royale

    • Astrid5555 on April 02, 2021

      This is an impressive looking showstopper, but quite quick and easy to make. Made this cake for a small pre-Easter lockdown outdoor gathering and it got rave reviews.

  • Hummingbird cake

    • trudys_person on July 24, 2022

      Wonderful moist flavourful cake! Followed recipe exactly and it came out beautifully. Basically a dump cake recipe, so it's nice and easy to make and quick to get into the oven. Delicious with the cream cheese frosting!

  • Cream cheese frosting

    • trudys_person on July 24, 2022

      Made for the hummingbird cake. Was a little bit soft to hold its shape well, and needed to be refrigerated. Made lots for a three-layer cake.

  • Beehive cake

    • darcie_b on July 21, 2021

      This is a wonderful banana cake, at least on par with Rose Levy Beranbaum's excellent recipe. The layer baked in the bowl ended up a little gummy in the center, so be sure not to under bake it. The honey buttercream benefits from an assertive honey, but if you use the optional espresso powder a mild honey works well too.

  • Best-ever chocolate-zucchini bundt cake

    • okmosa on October 10, 2021

      There is nothing especially special about this cake that it is zucchini. The chocolate flavor is very deep and rich but I think as good or better cake can be made without the strings of zucchini.

    • Jviney on February 26, 2022

      I wouldn’t say the zucchini is noteworthy for this cake, but it was light, moist, and delicious. I used sour cream and baked it in my pine forest bundt pan for a dear friend’s birthday. Everyone loved it.

  • Rhubarb upside-down cake

    • EmilyR on March 28, 2021

      recipe here : https://www.tastecooking.com/recipes/rhubarb-upside-down-cake/

    • tarae1204 on May 26, 2021

      Loved the unexpected inclusion of creme de cassis in both the fruit and cake layers. The cake turned out well with a velvety crumb and tart rhubarb layer, all fragrant with the cassis liqueur.

  • White cake

    • EmilyR on July 29, 2022

      The never ending quest of finding the best from scratch white cake brought me here. The almond extract reminds me a bit of angel food cake. I like this, but I don't know if it's "the one".

    • leilx on August 18, 2021

      excellent cake and quite simple to make.

  • Chocolate-peanut butter cake

    • EmilyR on March 28, 2021

      recipe here : https://www.tastecooking.com/recipes/chocolate-peanut-butter-cup-cake/

  • Olive oil-chiffon cake

    • EmilyR on March 28, 2021

      recipe here : https://www.tastecooking.com/recipes/olive-oil-chiffon-cake/

  • Ermine frosting

    • EmilyR on July 29, 2022

      I am a fan of ermine frosting and this was equal parts different and not. I went with the vanilla bean + almond extract variation. I was generous with vanilla, because it's not super possible to overdo it, however it takes away the bright white look - as does the almond extract. Regardless, I'm going for flavor over aesthetics. So I used Kerry Gold butter and it was salted, which honestly I like. It's kind of a seasalt vibe instead of cloyingly sweet. It pairs well with the white cake, though refrigerating it would be necessary (I like chilled cake anyway...)

  • Pineapple upside-down cake

    • Charlotte_vandenberg on March 26, 2022

      Made this in a 26 cm tin, 40 minutes was perfect. Added cherries as you can see in the picture. Didn’t come out of the tin perfect, but the taste made up for that.

    • Lepa on April 01, 2021

      This is really delicious cake. Definitely use the baking sheet under the cake pan, as there was a mess. The pineapple stuck to the pan when I turned it out but I just stuck it onto the cake and it was fine.

    • fultre on May 30, 2023

      First recipe from her book, I appreciated the Cake Academy information. This has a lovely flavor and texture. Couldn’t fit a whole can of pineapple rings, despite cutting and putting them in mosaic style. Much of the topping bubbled up the sides, perhaps because I put too much pineapple? Although in Baker’s Notes she says to overlap the rings in order to use entire can. Will use a 9” pan instead of 8” next time as my pans don’t have 3” sides. I used a baking sheet under, as well as baking stone per her Baker’s Notes, and didn’t have trouble with cake cooking through. Done in 40-45 minutes.

    • et12 on August 05, 2021

      This didn’t work for me. The cake itself was delicious but took forever to bake through. The bottom was beginning to burn but the centre of the cake was still liquid. Will try again with a lower oven temperature and longer cooking time.

  • Cranberry-Grand Marnier upside-down cake

    • Charlotte_vandenberg on December 28, 2022

      Beautiful cake. Easy to make and looks spectacular, tastes light and not too sweet.

    • j.va on May 01, 2021

      Really spectacular cake, with a remarkable fluffy texture. Don't think about skipping or shortening the 5 minute creaming of the butter and the sugar...I am convinced it makes a difference. I used a mix of frozen and fresh cranberries for mine. I made mine with Diamond Crystal Kosher salt, and might add a touch more to my next bake. Gorgeous ruby red fruit top...served with orange whipped cream.

  • Blueberry muffin cake

    • Charlotte_vandenberg on July 01, 2023

      This cake was easy to make and very delicious to eat. I used 250 g frozen blueberries, that was fine. The suggested whipped cream is a nice addition to the sweetness, I put only little sugar in the cream.

    • lou_weez on March 28, 2021

      This was delicious!!! I put in more fruit than the recipe stated (I think about 400g) so my fruit to cake ratio was a bit out, but we still loved it. The crumble topping was amazing and added crunch and sweetness.

  • Black Forest cake

    • Charlotte_vandenberg on July 01, 2021

      Fantastic. I used chocolate devil’s food cake, which is very moist and delicious. This was a perfect birthday cake.

  • Apple cake with honey-bourbon glaze

    • lou_weez on May 22, 2022

      Delicious!! Easy enough to make too. I used rum instead of bourbon.

    • fultre on December 11, 2023

      Fabulous cake with a lovely flavor. The combo of apples, a bit of whole wheat flour, bourbon and cinnamon is outstanding. It is very apple-forward, which I really appreciate. Used Cosmic Crisp apples as I was gifted a box of that variety, and they were great. We cut into it while still hot, and I think the texture is nice, tender crumb packed full of apple bits. I imagine the flavors will improve as it sits, if it lasts!

    • Jviney on November 13, 2023

      I made this for Friendsgiving, and at first I thought it was kind of a heavy cake but people really liked it. I didn’t have walnuts on hand so left them out, but I think they would add texture.

  • Boston cream pie

    • bwhip on April 19, 2021

      This was pretty perfect in every way. Cake was delicious, and nicely firm to support weight of layers. Pastry cream (lightened a bit with some whipped cream) was delicious and also just the right thickness. Ganache was also just right. Cake recipe makes three layers, so I froze one for later use. I scaled ganache recipe, since it makes three cups and I only needed one to top the cake.

    • Jviney on May 22, 2021

      I made this using her yellow cake recipe and loved that those layers naturally settled flat as they cooled. Next time I think I would try assembling the cake without adding the whipped cream to the pastry cream, as my pastry cream had been pretty firm without it, but oozed out from between the layers pretty significantly.

  • Chocolate devil’s food cake

    • anya_sf on December 19, 2021

      Easy to make. My 8" layers took 40 min to bake, at which point the tester still came out with some (dry-looking) crumbs, but the cakes were pulling away from the sides, so I figured they were done. Perhaps I didn't tap the pans firmly enough to remove air bubbles, but the cakes domed a lot in the center and had several large air pockets, although the frosting hid that. Lacking enough chocolate for the chocolate frosting, I made the chocolate buttercream, which was not a good choice as it was too sweet for this already sweet cake. Overall, the cake was moist and fairly chocolatey, but I prefer Ina Garten's Beatty's chocolate cake.

  • Grandma Ellen’s Trinidad rum cake

    • anya_sf on January 20, 2024

      I made 1/2 recipe in a 6" pan; baking time was 55 min. Didn't cover with marzipan. Tasted the day of baking, the rum was so strong, I couldn't eat a bite. I kept sampling throughout the week and thought the cake reached its peak 5 days later. However, it's still too boozy for my taste. I'd consider making this again with maybe half the rum.

  • Chocolate buttercream

    • anya_sf on December 19, 2021

      Easy to make, but very sweet, with mild chocolate flavor.

  • Rustic grape and almond paste cake

    • Kinhawaii on September 14, 2021

      Nice, moist cake. Unfortunately my grape topping was swallowed up by the rising cake & only some almonds remained on top. Most of the grapes folded in- & I think almond paste- sunk to the bottom. I wonder if it would be beneficial, like Ottolenghi’s blueberry lemon loaf, to add the topping halfway on? The tender cake tastes mostly of almonds with a hint of orange. Mine was done at 65 minutes.

    • cassyarm on November 24, 2022

      Beautiful cake, my grapes sunk to the bottom. The pairing of orange and almond was lovely in a very delicate cake. The crust was nice. I think apples could be substituted and either coating the fruit in flour or adding halfway through baking may help suspend the fruit

  • Yellow cake

    • et12 on July 18, 2021

      Really enjoyed this cake. Made the sponge two days before assembling and serving (keeping them in airtight containers). I used the same raspberry buttercream suggested in the recipe and it tasted amazingly.

  • Berry buttercream

    • et12 on July 18, 2021

      This is an excellent buttercream recipe with the proportion of ingredients being just right. Makes a lot of buttercream, enough to cover a three-layer 9” round cake. The colour of the frosting is subtle and nice with the raspberry seeds in there.

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Reviews about this book

  • Eat Your Books

    A true masterpiece of epic cake proportions.

    Full review
  • ISBN 10 1984857363
  • ISBN 13 9781984857361
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Mar 16 2021
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 272
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Ten Speed Press

Publishers Text

The expert baker and bestselling author behind Zoë Bakes explores her favorite dessert--cakes!--with more than 100 recipes to create flavorful and beautiful layers, loafs, bundts, and more.

Cake is the ultimate symbol of celebration, used to mark birthdays, weddings, or even just a Tuesday night. Yet too many people use chemical-laden mixes even though a cake is so easy to make from scratch and infinitely more fun to share. In Zoë Bakes Cakes, bestselling author Zoë François demystifies the craft of cakes with more than 100 easy-to-use recipes, showing how to get gorgeous confections on the table to mark any occasion, big or small.

In the opening chapter, Zoë explores the techniques and tricks of cake baking, using step-by-step photos to break down baking fundamentals like creaming butter and sugar and whipping egg whites, making it easy to follow along. In the following chapters she gives simple, straightforward recipes for loaf cakes, layers, fillings, frostings, and more--including treats like Apple Cake with Honey-Bourbon Glaze, Lemon Curd Pound Cake, Coconut Candy Bar Cake, and Chocolate Devil's Food Cake. There's even a tutorial on how to make a wedding cake from scratch, complete with constructing the layers.

With Zoë's encouragement, as well as her lighthearted approach, delicious homemade cake is within reach for any celebration imaginable.

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