Category: alipyper likes to bake


The VERY FIRST THING I bought in London was a lemon blueberry cupcake and a rhubarb almond cake topped with meringue from the Nottinghill Ottolenghi. No joke. I wouldn’t joke about such things.

My rapture at these desserts was in NO WAY influenced by the fact that I haven’t eaten any sugar (nothing – no honey, agave, cane sugar, artificial sugar or any other processed sugar!) for the last six months. Well, okay, maybe it was influenced a little. When I started not eating sugar, I reserved the right to have special treats if I was in a foreign country. You know, to make myself feel like it wasn’t a forever thing. At the time I had no travel plans. Lucky me that I’m unexpectedly in London!

Portobello Road Market in Nottinghill on a Saturday afternoon.

Since I’m a complete sugar addict, I will be promptly resuming no sugar when I return to the States. But, oh! Ottolenghi was truly a sublime way to break my fast! I’ll have to check out their cookbooks when I get back and see if I can in some way recreate my treat for my family.

Not only am I a sugar addict, but I’m a toy snob too. I can’t control myself from passing by a good toy shop! Honeyjam was not a disappointment. You can see the shop from Portobello Road and it was like a magnet, pulling me in. I did manage to walk out of the darling store without anything but it was very, very hard!

I only had an hour to sprint down the market road while ballet class was in session. I saw a few shops selling Scottish woolens, but alas, no Wallace plaid was to be found. Lots of stalls selling British china, silverware, antiques, a few crocheted linens, and brik-a-brak. I’m sure that there was a lot that I didn’t see, but it definitely was posh tourist central. No great deals to be found by me.

Except for the glorious Ottolenghi. Worth every pence.

banoffee pie

I had no idea such a thing as Banoffee Pie existed before coming to London. A digestive biscuit crust is topped with a toffee custard, which is then topped with fresh bananas and a thick layer of whipped cream. A drizzle of melted chocolate or chocolate shavings on top completes the decadent dessert. Why did I not know that this dream of bananas and toffee existed before??

When I get home, I think that I’ll try this or this recipe. Yum!

Learning to Smock, a Bake Sale, and Granny Squares

I signed up for the Smocking Class at Harmony and I’m over the moon to finally learn how to embroider smocking!! I’ve wanted to learn since {G} was a baby and for one reason or another I never have. Thank you Harmony!! And I also learned how to embroider bullion roses. Bonus. My lines are a little wonky, but I’m thrilled with how it’s turning out. Just need to sew the smocked panel into a skirt and I’ll be done!

I promptly put Sabrina‘s cute new logo that she painted for me to good use! {K}’s soccer team was having a fundraiser so I made a little tag and put them on my famous Peanut Butter Cookies with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, and my mom’s Gingersnaps to help raise a little bit of money. Super happy with the logo!!

I’m teaching another class at Harmony on Saturday November 3rd from noon to 2 pm. Do you want to learn how to crochet Granny Squares?? I’ll discuss how to quickly change colors, weaving in ends as you crochet, different methods of circular crochet and joining the blocks together as you go! The 2 hour class will be jam packed with tips and tricks that you can apply to all your crochet projects. Come join us for a great class to elevate your basic crochet skills to the next level. Only $20!

Benefit Bake/Yard Sale

New York Style Cheesecake, Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, Gingersnaps, Coconut Cake, & Peanut Butter Cookies with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Our friends, the Truax Family, are having a huge benefit bake and yard sale tomorrow, Saturday September 29th starting at 8:00 am at 11742 Current Creek Drive, South Jordan, UT 84095 with all proceeds going toward their adoption of three sibling orphans from the Ukraine.

Come Support Our
Benefit Yard/Bake Sale!
We’re raising money to help three
orphans from Ukraine leave their
life in an orphanage behind and
experience life with a family in the US.
They need your help!
All proceeds from the yard/bake sale
go toward adoption funds.
Join us Saturday morning 
(September 29, 2012)
beginning at 8:00 am.
11742 Current Creek Drive,
South Jordan, UT 84095
I will be bringing a yummy 10″ New York Style Cheesecake, a 9″ double layer Coconut Cake, Gingersnaps, Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, and Peanut Butter Cookies with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. 
A dear friend gave me a large bag of gorgeous apples and said, “Use these for the fundraiser!” So, I’m also bringing a Mile High Apple Pie! 
I’ve been making this yummy, yummy pie for 20 years! Picture circa 1995 – excuse the burnt edges 🙁
If you can’t make it to the Bake/Yard Sale tomorrow, I will take orders for a short period of time and deliver in Northern Utah! With all proceeds going towards the Truax Adoption Adventure.

Hiking with Birthday Cake

Park City, UT overlook from Millcreek Canyon, Salt Lake City, UT
Turning 40 has been somewhat of a traumatic transition, so I made myself TWO birthday cakes. On the morning of my birthday I ate a piece of Martha Stewart’s One Bowl Chocolate Cake for breakfast, packed a piece of chocolate cake to eat for lunch on my hike, and ate another piece before the Mr. and I went out for Indian food for a dinner celebration. 
Did you know that Martha and I share the same birthday? Well. We do.

Eating chocolate cake on your birthday, on a hike, doesn’t count for calories. Right?

Mountain meadow – Millcreek Canyon

The boys and I met my sister and her kids in Salt Lake City and we hiked up Millcreek Canyon to the Park City Overlook – which was so gorgeous! Being in the upper mountain meadow, breathing fresh mountain air, was tremendously cathartic and with every gentle breeze I felt the anxiety and fears of getting older and entering a new chapter in my life float away. It was a very clearing and calming experience. I LOVED being in the mountains on my birthday.

My sister Sarah and I on the hike.

A few days later for our monthly Sunday family dinner, I made a super yummy lemony lemon cake. I was so pleased with how it tasted and I’m now obsessing over lemony desserts! I adjusted this lemon buttermilk cupcake recipe and baked it into two 9″ cake rounds. I then filled the inside layer with fresh lemon curd mixed with sweetened whipped cream and covered the cake with a yummy cream cheese lemon frosting. OH MY GOODNESS! It was yummy. Like super yummy. Like, wake up and eat lemon cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner when it’s not your birthday anymore, yummy.

Please proceed with caution because you might end up eating this whole cake by yourself.

Lemony Lemon Cake Recipe
Preheat oven to 350°F. Makes approximately 7 cups of batter
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Butter two 9”x2” round cake pans. Put parchment circles in pans, butter parchment, then flour pans, tapping out excess flour. Set aside.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Combine buttermilk, vanilla, lemon juice, zest, and lemon extract. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream butter. Slowly add sugar 1/4 cup at a time and beat until the butter/sugar mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating each egg until incorporated before adding the next. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients, mixing on low and frequently scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure the batter is nice and smooth with no lumps, without over mixing. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes before removing cakes to cool completely on wire racks. Double wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours, or up to one week.

When you’re ready to frost the cake, remove layers from freezer. Place bottom layer on cake plate. Pipe a thick bead of Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting around edge. Fill the inside with Light Lemon Curd Filling. Carefully place second cake layer on top and cool 1/2 hour in refrigerator.

Remove cake from fridge. Crumb coat the two cake layers with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting. Return cake to refrigerator for 15 minutes. 

Finish frosting the cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting. Serve completely chilled.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes about 4 cups
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp finely shredded lemon zest
5 1/2 to 6 1/4 cups powdered sugar
Beat cream cheese and butter in medium bowl until smooth. Add lemon juice and zest and two cups of powdered sugar. Continue adding powdered sugar until you reach a spreading consistency.  Frost tops and sides of two 8-inch or 9-inch cake layers.
Light Lemon Curd Filling
Makes about 2 cups
1 cup lemon curd (good quality store brand or home made)
1 cup prepared sweetened whipped cream
Carefully fold lemon curd into whipped cream. Use immediately.

Here’s a link to an easy to print recipe:
Lemony Lemon Cake Recipe

Want to know what to do with the left over Light Lemon Curd Filling? Go here for the easiest and best dessert EVER!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Combining all my favorite flavors, these dense, rich cookies pack a chocolatey peanut butter punch!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup natural peanut butter
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups instant rolled oats
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Cream butter, sugars and peanut butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing in well. Stir in oats and chocolate chips. Dough will be quite stiff.

Using a medium large scoop, drop cookie dough onto parchment lined baking sheet. With the bottom of a glass, press down each cookie. Bake 14 to 16 minutes, or until set. Cookies will be slightly moist in the center. Do not overbake! Cool for a minute, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy with a tall glass of milk!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

New York Style Cheesecake

{G} requested a New York style cheesecake for her birthday cake at the end of December and so did the Mr. for his birthday last week. It’s definitely a favorite at our house!

Over the years I’ve adapted the recipe a little here and a little there. I’ve lowered the cooking temperature and increased the cooking time, added more cream cheese, and discovered a little trick that has helped prevent cracks in the top of my cake while it cools down.

New York Cheesecake
adapted from the Ultimate Philly Cheesecake recipe book

You want to bake your cheesecake in a “moist” oven. I’ve never had a steam setting for my oven, so I always place a 13×9 inch casserole baking pan half filled with hot water on the bottom rack of the oven as soon as I turn it on to preheat. Leave the pan of water in the oven until the cheesecake is cooked.
Allow your cream cheese and eggs to come to room temperature before mixing. And don’t over beat your batter!

Preheat oven to 325º F. Place pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven.

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp melted butter

5 (8 oz) pkgs Philidelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream

For the crust: Empty one package of graham crackers in a food processor and process until you have fine crumbs. Mix the 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter and press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ springform pan lined with a parchment paper circle. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 300º F.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing at low speed after each addition, just until blended. Fold in sour cream and pour over baked crust.

Set timer and bake cheesecake for 1 hour 30 minutes. Don’t open the oven door while your cheesecake is baking! Keep checking the cake every 5 to 10 minutes for the next 30 minutes. 

As soon as the center dot of your cheesecake is about the size of a silver dollar and almost set (the edges will be puffy and might be slightly brown at this point), turn off the oven and immediately invert a metal bowl over your cheesecake IN THE OVEN.

Then shut the door of the oven and allow the cheesecake to fully cool down and come to room temperature covered by the inverted bowl while remaining in the oven. When the cheesecake is cool, remove from oven  and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight, keeping the cake in the springform pan.

When you’re ready to eat the cake, carefully run a knife or metal spatula around the rim of the pan to loosen cake and remove the springform sides and serve the cheesecake topped with pie filling or fresh fruit and fruit glaze.

This recipe also works well in a 10″ springform pan. Your cheesecake will be shorter and will need less time in the oven to bake. Enjoy!

New York Cheesecake Recipe

Dutch Oven Peasant Bread

For {I}’s Medieval Feast I made 8 loaves of the amazingly simple New York Times No Knead Dutch Oven Bread. I scoured the house for pots with form fitting lids and used both ovens to crank out four loaves at a time between two ovens. It worked like a charm! {I} loves this bread and had been talking it up to his classmates, so the slices of bread went pretty quickly. Crusty exterior with a chewy center, it’s just like European peasant bread. So yummy and unbelievably easy to make!

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