A zend framework is a simplified open-source for PHP5 that is designed to outdo the difficult work of coding by allowing to concentrate on the important details. It easier to maintain and you can use your code since it is packaged with MVC design, which is high modular. On the other hand, cakePHP is a free mature open source PHP which is a development for PHP. It works on the basis of a powerful architecture which resembles MVC. This framework has a compact community of users and an active developer contingent. Therefore, if you are contemplating to hire cakePHP programmer or zend developer, whichever way, you need to know some distinctive differences the two bear.
However, the two frameworks have differences in the way the work. ZF has 80% component room that is used by developers for their functionality. The rest 20% is for the business needs and it can be altered with the availability of the flexible architecture. Unlike the ZF, cakePHP can use both the MVC and ORM designs through cakephp on IRC community instead of configuration and does not require the developers to do a lot of coding.
The two frameworks can suit your requirements although, ZF is suitable for those in need of good control over the design of the application and built in support involving popular web services. CakePHP on the other hand, is a better selection for developers who are introducing themselves to MVC and who require more sophisticated conventions. It is also worth noting that, cakePHP is poor in documentation and may cost you much as a developer. Unlike cakePHP, zend framework has a guaranteed documentation. In regard to this, cakePHP disqualifies itself from being the best choice to use MVC. CakePHP provides a good HTML but zend framework is does not have HTML and have limited helper classes.
In addition, zend framework requires more work start template and ran it up unlike the cakePHP which is simple to use in templating. Again, zend has a good support for localization unlike the cakePHP. It is also very critical to understand that zend only use conventions when using MVC capabilities which are very flexible but cakePHP has strict conventions.