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we're now all cake in a jar...

Looking ahead into 2017 we've made the decision to focus entirely on CakeLove in a jar. It's been a long time coming as this year has been very focused on the jars and the momentum is behind us with them. We're very excited and glad that CakeLove in a jar has been well received. We couldn't have done it without your feedback! 

Effectively immediately, we're no longer taking orders for layer cakes. 

As we retire the line of layer cakes, I want to thank all of our customers, fans and friends who have supported us since the beginning of CakeLove who have purchased layer cakes and cupcakes (and a lot of other baked goods). 

If you're ambitious enough  and want to recreate some of our layer cakes, find recipes in any of my cookbooks, especially CakeLove, how to bake cakes from scratch.  There you can find the cake, buttercream and filling recipes that we used at the storefront bakeries.

Best wishes for the holidays and New Year - Warren


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Happy Pi(e) Day


Happy Pi(e) Day

In case you haven't noticed from my past blog entries, I'm a "YUGE" pie fan. I may be known for my cakes, but I have an equally outsized yen for pies. And there's no better excuse to indulge in my craving than some random date whose numerical representation happens to coincide with a mathematical constant that is a homonym for "pie."

For this Pi Day, I'm sharing my favorite pie crust recipe from my cookbook, Pie Love. It is a vanilla pie crust that uses real vanilla beans. To get the seeds out of the vanilla bean, flatten the bean with the side of a paring knife. Slice it open lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the back of the knife. You can then reserve the pod to flavor milk, sugar, or - my favorite - brandy. 

Vanilla Bean Pie Crust

From Pie Love (2013)

1/2 vanilla bean
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp superfine granulated sugar
3/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) very cold, unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
5-6 tbsp ice water
1 egg (for egg wash)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean and combine with the flours, sugar, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor.
  3. Mix dry ingredients for 30 seconds.
  4. Stop the processor and add the butter all at once.
  5. Pulse in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs; pulse in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together and rides on top of the S blade.
  6. Turn the dough out onto lightly floured parchment; remove one third of it and wrap it in plastic film to keep it from drying out. If you're not making a double-crust pie, hold it in the fridge or freezer for another use.
  7. Form the remaining dough into a disk, place a second piece of parchment on top, and roll it into a large round approximately 12 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick.
  8. Gently fit the dough into a 9- to 10-inch pie pen, fold the excess to form the edge, and crimp. Chill the crust for 15 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, if you are making a double-crust pie, roll out the reserved dough between two sheets of parchment to a round approximately 10 inches across. Set it aside, keeping it between the parchment sheets to prevent it from drying out.
  9. Brush the bottom crust edges with egg wash.
  10. Dock the crust and weight it with a circle of parchment paper cut to size and a disposable pie pan resting gently above the crust to prevent it from puffing up while toasting. If your pie filling will be baked, blind bake the crust for 10 minutes. If you'll be using the crust for a custard pie where baking isn't required, blind bake for 12 to 15 minutes, checking often after 10 minutes.
  11. Set the blind-baked crust aside to cool while you prepare the filling of your choice. Top the pie as desired and bake as directed in your recipe.


We'll miss you, U Street!


We'll miss you, U Street!

Please note that you'll still be able to order your favorite CakeLove cakes after January 1, 2016.  The cakes will be available to for delivery or pick-up from our new warehouse location in Alexandria, VA.  

After 13 wonderful years, the day has come for us to say goodbye to U Street.  Yes, we're closing CakeLove's first shop: a tiny little storefront on a strip of DC that for decades epitomized the devastation resulting from the 1968 riots but has since blossomed into a vibrant neighborhood reminiscent of its glorious past as DC's Black Broadway. While I'm sad to leave the many friends and neighbors of this wonderful community, I'm very excited for this change.  Over the last few years, I have been working to transition CakeLove from a string of brick-and-mortar stores to a new business focused on portable, ready-to-eat premium desserts.  The closing of our flagship location marks the completion of this transition and the launch of a new CakeLove.

To celebrate our 13+ years on U Street, we're throwing a party at the shop this Saturday, December 19, from noon to 3 PM.  If you're in DC, we welcome you stop by and say hello (and goodbye!).  Here is the official press release about the new CakeLove and the party.  We'll miss you, U Street!


DC’s CakeLove Expands with New Online Store in Response to Demand for CakeLove in a Jar

Bakery Shutters U Street Location to Focus on New Line of Business

WASHINGTON, DC — CakeLove, a DC-based cake bakery founded in 2002, is launching a new online store this month in response to significantly increased demand for its premium grab-and-go dessert, CakeLove in a Jar. To facilitate CakeLove’s growth and expansion, the company is shuttering its long-time U Street location.

To mark the start of this great new chapter, CakeLove is hosting a party on Saturday, Dec. 19, from noon to 3 p.m. to celebrate its 13+ years at 1506 U Street NW with neighbors, friends, fans and supporters. 

The launch party will include a cake-cutting ceremony to mark the official launch of a new CakeLove, free giveaways of CakeLove's new product, CakeLove in a Jar, and a raffle of several autographed cookbooks by CakeLove's founder, Warren Brown. 

"The closing of CakeLove's flagship location marks a new beginning for us," says Brown, who left a career in law to start his own business 15 years ago. "For several years, CakeLove has been transitioning away from its brick-and-mortar stores and developing a new line of grab-and-go premium desserts. Our goal is to expand beyond the greater DC metro area and into more supermarkets and specialty grocery stores across the nation."

CakeLove in a Jar is already available in a number of grocers on the east coast, including Whole Foods across the mid-Atlantic, Mrs. Green's, Kings Market and Balducci's in the New York metro area, numerous independent grocers in the NYC tri-state area, plus specialty grocers like Glen's Garden Market and Union Kitchen Grocery here in DC. It is also available through its online store at www.cakelove.com, in select Springhill Suites, and on Norwegian Airline flights.

Customers in the DC region will continue to be able to order CakeLove's signature layer cakes through www.cakelove.com. Those cakes will be available for delivery or pick-up from the U Street location before December 31, 2015.  After the New Year, cakes will be available for delivery or pick-up from CakeLove’s new warehouse space at 4940 B Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria VA 22304, with additional pick-up points around the DC metro area to be determined. 

The hours of the U Street shop for the last week of December are:

Dec 24, 2015: 8:30 AM to 3 PM
Dec 25-28, 2015: closed
Dec 29-30, 2015: 8:30 AM to 5 PM
Dec 31, 2015: 8:30 AM to 3 PM

For more information, contact: 
Warren Brown
Founder, Cakelove

The gorgeous drawing of CakeLove's U Street store is by Mary Belcher, who gave it to me as a gift in 2002. You can check out more of her awesome watercolors at www.marybelcher.com


Ten Tips on Making the Perfect Pie Crust


Ten Tips on Making the Perfect Pie Crust

Just when I thought I could have a little bit of time to recover from all the eating I did at my in-laws last week, I woke up this morning to learn that it's NATIONAL PIE DAY.  I can't possibly let this joyous occasion slip by without paying my respects, so I guess my little "diet" will just have to go on hold, at least for another day.  My wife has been asking me for an apple crumble, but she'll just have to wait for National Crumble Day or something because today is all about P-I-E.

To celebrate, here are my top ten tips for making the perfect pie crust.  I'll be honest: I wasn't always a pie guy.  In fact, even after I opened CakeLove, I was pretty intimidated by the process of making pies from scratch.  But once I resolved to face my fears head-on and started practicing in the kitchen, I learned that pies are actually quite doable and even fun to make.  So here are some of my lessons learned (for more tips and recipes, check out my cookbook Pie Love).

  1. Use a standing mixer or food processor: Mixing pie dough by hand is a pain in the you-know-what, so use a standing mixer.  Trust me, once you use one, you'll realize how much easier it is to bake from scratch and you'll never look back.
  2. Size of butter chunks matter: A 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice will incorporate faster and much better than a tablespoon size or larger hunk of butter, so cut the butter smaller.
  3. Don't sift the flour:  I sift flour for cakes, but not for pies.  A pie crust should be dense, and the processor will break the flour up enough for that. Stir to blend the flour, sugar, spices, and salt in a bowl or blend them with the steel blade in a processor or flat paddle in a mixer.
  4. Add the butter all at once: Dropping the butter in a little bit at a time allows for some of it to work too far into the flour.
  5. Don't fully blend in the butter: Keep some large chunks in the dough because these will create pockets of crunch and crispiness during baking.
  6. Slowly drizzle ice water in a thin, steady stream into the work bowl while pulsing the processor or turning the mixer off and on: Get the water in the dough quickly, but without rushing.  Try to keep to the specified amounts, adding 1 extra tablespoon if you're using a mixer.  The water takes time to expand into he flour's starch, transforming the crumbly-looking meal into dough.
  7. Handle the dough as little as possible when rolling it out: You want to avoid unnecessary development of the gluten and warming of the butter with your hands.
  8. Always roll directly away from your body, then rotate the dough: Small turns between each roll help ensure a uniform spread of the dough.
  9. When rolling out the dough into a disk, eliminate cracks on the disk's edge before each roll: This will help reduce the chances you'll end up with a jagged edge. 
  10. Last but not least, don't be discouraged: When it comes to baking, practice really does make perfect.  Trust me, I've made some real duds over the years.  

Happy baking!


Tis the Season for PIE


Tis the Season for PIE

I love this time of year.  I love all the cooking, eating, and spending time with family.  This Thanksgiving, my wife, our girls, and I will be traveling to Rhode Island to visit my in-laws.  For those of you who don't know, my in-laws are Chinese, and Thanksgiving at their place is always a hoot because it's very non-traditional and, well, Chinese.  As in, they spend the day making dumplings and sticky rice instead of turkey and stuffing.  And no one watches football, because all they have is Chinese satellite TV.  

Now I'm totally cool with no turkey and no stuffing, and I'm fine with no football, too.  But one thing I insist on with my in-laws is letting me make pie, because seriously, what's Thanksgiving without PIE??  So that will be our Thanksgiving meal: dumplings, sticky rice, Chinese spare ribs, and PIE.  

For this Thanksgiving, I'll make a roasted sweet potato pie. My recipe is a lighter version for the classic, taking its flavor and richness more from the roasted potatoes than from brown sugar and evaporated milk.  Roast the sweet potatoes beforehand, and pair this with your favorite pie crust.  If you need a pie crust recipe, check out my video on how to make a perfect crust on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cakelovedc.

Roasted Sweet Potato Pie

Adapted from Pie Love (2013)

2 cups roasted sweet potato puree (recipe at bottom
4 oz. or ~1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar
4 oz. or ~1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
4 tbps unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 pie crusts, unbaked 

  1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine all the ingredients except the eggs and crusts and pulse to combine.  Lightly beat the eggs, add them to the food processor, and pulse to combine.
  3. Pour the pie filling into blind-baked pie crusts.  Do not use egg wash.
  4. Bake the pies for 45-50 minutes.  The filling will puff, and that's OK.  You'll know they're done when a skewer poked into the center comes out clean.  If the pies begin to brown too quickly, place a baking sheet on the upper oven rack to shield the pies from the heat.
  5. Let the pies cool before serving.

Roasted Sweet Potato Puree (make this ahead of time)

20 oz. sweet potatoes

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and position a rack in the bottom position.
  2. Wash the sweet potatoes well, but don't peel them.  Place the scrubbed, whole sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Roast them on the bottom oven rack until they are soft all the way through when poked with a bamboo skewer, approximately 1 hour, 15 minutes.  Their juices may begin to weep and burn a bit before they're done.
  3. Let the sweet potatoes cool, then peel them and place them in the bowl of a food processor and puree them until they're smooth -- this will take at least two minutes -- before measuring them out for the recipe.  Any extra puree will keep in the fridge for up to three days.


A Cake for Dad


A Cake for Dad

On this Veteran's Day, I'd like to remember my father, who served in the U.S. Army as a major in the early 1970s. We lived in San Antonio, Texas, and I was born at Fort Sam Houston.  He passed away four years ago, and the world lost an incredibly compassionate man who served his country proudly.  

To commemorate his legacy, and to celebrate and honor vets everywhere, I share this recipe for a Texas Sheet Cake: Texas because it was where my father was stationed, and a sheet cake because it's a crowd-pleaser.  Be sure to roast the pecans for both the icing and the nut topping while the cake is baking so that you can assemble everything at the end.

Texas Sheet Cake

from United Cakes in America (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2010)

Yield: one 12-inch round cake or a 9x13 inch sheet cake

Dry ingredients

16 ounces (~2 cups) superfine granulated sugar
8 ounces (~1.5 cups) all-purpose flour
2 ounces (~1/2 cup) cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt

Wet ingredients

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp brandy
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Pecan Icing

5 ounces (~1.25 cups) raw pecans
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
16 ounces (~4 cups) confectioners' sugar
1 ounce (~1/4 cup) cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Sugared Pecans

10 ounces (~2.5 cups) pecans
2 tbsp honey
4 ounces (~1/2 cup) superfine granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 335 degrees Fahrenheit and place the rack in the middle position.  Grease a 12x2-inch round pan or a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  2. Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Combine the wet ingredients in a second bowl and whisk lightly to combine.
  4. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir well for about 20 seconds.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the top of the cake bounces back slightly when gently pressed.

For the icing:

  1. Roast the pecans on a baking sheet for 4-5 minutes while the cake is baking.  Remove the nuts from the oven, cool to room temperature, and chop.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Begin beating on low speed and then increase to high.
  3. Slowly add the milk and vanilla and beat well.  Stop the mixer and fold in the roasted pecans by hand.  Set aside.

For the sugared pecans:

  1. Combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a rubber spatula.
  2. Roast the sugared pecans on a baking sheet, while the cake is baking, until crisped and fragrant, approximately 10 minutes.  Remove the nuts from the oven and cool on a heat-resistant surface before using.
  3. Cool the cake completely before spreading the icing onto the top using a flexible spatula.  Add the sugared pecans across the top, pressing them slightly into the icing.


Happy National Chocolate Day!

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Happy National Chocolate Day!

It's National Chocolate Day! To celebrate the awesomeness that is chocolate, here's the recipe for the chocolate pound cake that appears on the cover of my first cookbook, CakeLove: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch.  Try warming slices of this cake lightly buttered on a frying pan... absolutely heavenly.

Chocolate Pound Cake

from CakeLove: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch

Dry Ingredients:

10 oz. (or ~2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour

2 oz. (or ~1/2 cup + 2 tsp) unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tbsp turbinado sugar

1 tsp potato starch

1/4 tsp vanilla powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

Liquid Ingredients:

4 oz. (or ~1/2 cup) sour cream

3/4 cup whole milk

2 tbsp brandy

1 tsp vanilla extract


8 oz (or 2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature

24 oz. (or ~3 cups) extra-fine granulated sugar

4 large eggs

3 large yolks


1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees.  Set the rack in the middle of the oven.

2. Set out the ingredients and mixing bowls, a standing mixer, and one 12-cup Bundt pan.

DRY: Sift the four directly into a bowl on a scale for accurate measuring.  Measure the other dry ingredients into a separate mixing bowl, add the flour, and whisk for 10 seconds to blend.  Set aside.

LIQUID: Meaure the liquid ingredients into a separate bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

CREAMING: Measure the butter and sugar in separate bowls and set aside.  Crack the eggs and yolk into separate bowls and set aside.

3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on the lowest speed for 2 to 3 minutes.

4. With the mixer still on the lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time followed by the yolks, fully incorporating after each addition.  Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl.

5. Add the dry ingredient mixture alternately with the liquid mixture in 3 to 5 additions each, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Move swiftly through this step to avoid overworking the batter.  Don't wait for the dry or liquid mixtures to be fully incorporated before adding the next.  This step should take a total of about 60 seconds.

6. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl all the way down.  Don't miss the clumps of ingredients hiding on the bottom of the bowl.  Mix on medium speed for 15 to 20 seconds to develop the batter's structure.

7. Prepare the pans.  For a bundt cake, spray the pan well with a nonstick spray.

8. Fill the pan about three-quarters full by depositing the batter with the rubber spatula in small clumps around the prepared pan instead of by pouring it into one spot.  Level the batter with the rubber spatula..  Bake for 50-55 minutes.

9.  Once the top of the cake doesn't jiggle in the center, test for doneness by inserting a bamboo skewer in the center of the cake.  When the skewer shows just a touch of crumbs or comes out clean, and the color is an even medium brown, the cake is done.  Remove the pan from the oven and cool for 5 - 10 minutes.  Remove the cake by inverting the pan onto a flat surface.  Allow to cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before serving.

CakeLove cookbook

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Guest blog post: Epcot Food and Wine Festival


Guest blog post: Epcot Food and Wine Festival

That's the real trouble with the world. Too many people grow up.
Walt Disney

Warren, our two girls, and I just returned from a long weekend in DisneyWorld, where Warren was a guest chef at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.  Our girls are five- and three-years-old, so of course we tagged along.  They could never pass up on a chance to meet Elsa and Anna, or any other Disney princess for that matter.

If you've never been to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, I'd highly recommend it.  The entire World Showcase is abuzz with people, wine, and food from all over the world.  It's the only place I can think of where you can sample cuisine from Canada to Morocco to Europe to the Far East and all the way to Australia, all within the span of a few hours (and a few drinks!).  

The highlight of the weekend is the Party of the Senses, a two-and-a-half hour foodie dream come true.  Imagine walking into a grand hall with tables upon tables of meats, cheeses, chocolates, wine, liquor, and desserts, all prepared by renowned chefs from Disney and around the country.  Then, halfway through stuffing your face with a second helping of Tuscan short ribs that literally melts in your mouth and is paired with a golden polenta (thank you, Lincoln Ristorante in NYC!), you pause to enjoy a mind-blowing performance by Cirque du Soleil. You then move onto the desserts, of which there are plenty, and continue to stuff your face until your tummy surrenders to a bliss it has only dreamed of.

That's the Party of the Senses.

For the Party, Warren made these snickerdoodle cake truffles that were absolutely divine.  Served with a dollop of icing and a swirl of homemade caramel, they warmed one's soul as a good dessert should.  I know I may seem biased, but if you know me, then you know that I'm not that into cakes (yes, you heard me correctly; I'm much more of a chocolate person) and I seldom eat cake (even ones made by my husband).  But THESE!! I went back for seconds, and thirds.  Paired with a coffee liquor, I was in heaven.

The other highlight of the weekend, surprisingly, was the Frozen sing-along.  Now I know what you're thinking.  BLECH!  Trust me, I was thinking the same thing (I have two little girls, remember?), but what could I do?  My girls were screaming for Elsa and Anna, and we were in DisneyWorld after all, so like the good parents that we try to be, Warren and I took the girls to what amounted to a big karaoke bar dressed up as a large theater in the middle of Hollywood Studios.  My sister-in-law and mother-in-law, neither of whom had seen Frozen, tagged along (the poor things, I thought to myself, they have no idea what they're in for).

We sat near the front of the theater.  My three-year-old kept turning to me and asked repeatedly, "When is it starting?"  I told her to be patient and looked back to see people filing into the theater, including many parents that I'm sure were thinking the same thing I was, "please, make this short."

The curtain soon opened and in walked Anna, looking for her sister Elsa.  Two random characters -- storytellers, we're told -- were tasked with rehashing the entire Frozen story in less than 30 minutes.  They talked super-fast, made some jokes, and at certain points in their storytelling, paused so that audience members could watch the big screen and sing-along -- karaoke-style -- to all of the classic Frozen songs.  

My kids, who are not known to be shy, gave it their all.  They belted out the words, sang out of tune, even raised an invisible ice castle when the moment called for it. Instead of watching the stage, I just stared at my kids, and watched as a certain magic spell took hold.  When Elsa finally appeared near the end of the show, my three-year-old was so visibly elated and in awe that I had tears in my eyes from seeing the sheer delight on her face.  

And this, I realized, is what makes Disney so magical.  Sure, kids get to see princesses, but it also lets grown-ups remember what it was like when we imagined and believed.

- Pam Brown (a.k.a. Mrs. CakeLove)

Main stage at Party of the Senses at #epcotfoodandwine

Main stage at Party of the Senses at #epcotfoodandwine

The Brown girls playing in the sand near the Boardwalk by Epcot Center.

The Brown girls playing in the sand near the Boardwalk by Epcot Center.


Featured Baker Series: Becky from PA


Featured Baker Series: Becky from PA

One of my personal missions in life is to get people back into the kitchen.  Baking from scratch is so important to me that I made "Cakes from Scratch" the tagline for CakeLove when I started the company over a decade ago.  To me, the kitchen embodies family, home, love... all of those things are reflected in what we feed ourselves, our parents, our children, our loved ones.

To celebrate the home kitchen, I'm kicking off a series of profiles called #bakefromscratch, to highlight individuals that are doing amazing things in their home kitchen.  The first profile in this series is my friend Becky, who lives in PA.  Becky and my wife used to work together, and I got to taste some of her incredible creations at company events.  She has been baking from scratch since she was about 10 years old and now bakes frequently with the help of her boys, who are 5 and 3 years old.  Her pies are to die for.

WB: How did you get into baking?

Becky: When I was little, my mom baked Toll House chocolate chip cookies and I helped her.  She also made these incredible lemon bars from a Southern Living recipe, which I still use to this day.  

Tell me about your biggest baking disaster.

I had a cookbook that featured a beautiful, domed chocolate cake. I tried making it but it burned, sank, never rose, and got stuck to the pan.  It was a total disaster and I think I even cried given the amount of time I wasted on it.  That was before I discovered your cookbooks -- haven't burnt a cake since!

Ha! That's very kind; thank you.  What about baking tips?  Any particularly useful tip that you'd like to share with home bakers?

It's actually from you: you say in one of your cookbooks that, if you don't have a sifter, you can sift dry ingredients using a whisk.  I do that all the time now, because I don't have a sifter and don't really care to get one.

Is there a recipe you want to share with the CakeLove community?

I love the cinnamon butter crust recipe in Pie Love; it's my go-to pie crust recipe now. I like combining it with berry filling recipe, which I like because it works and doesn't require any funky ingredients.  The end result is a pie that tastes great and is not too sweet.

Send me a photo! I love your lattice work... it's WAY better than mine.  

Cinnamon Butter Pie Crust

from Pie Love

10 oz (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour

3 tbsp superfine granulated sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp sea salt

10 tbsp (1 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into small pieces

5-6 tbsp ice water

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease a 9- to 10-inch pie pan with butter and lightly sprinkle with sugar.
  2. Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt to the work bowl of a food processor and mix for at least 30 seconds.
  3. Stop the processor and add the butter all at once.
  4. Pulse in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs; pulse in the water, 1 tbsp at a time, until the dough forms into a ball and rides on top of the S blade.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured piece of parchment.  Set aside one third of the dough. If you're not making a double-crust pie, wrap it in plastic film and freeze or refrigerate it for another use.
  6. Form the remaining dough into a disk, place a second piece of parchment on top, and roll it into a large round about 12 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. 
  7. Gently lift the rolled dough into the pie pan, fold the excess underneath, crimp the edge, and chill the crust for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, if you are making a double-crust pie, roll out the reserved dough between two sheets of parchment to a round approximately 10 inches across.  Set it aside, keeping it between the parchment sheets to prevent it from drying out.
  8. Dock the bottom crust and cover it with a circle of parchment paper cut to size and a disposable pie pan resting gently above the crust to prevent it from puffing up while toasting.  If your pie filling will be baked, blind bake the crust for 5 to 7 minutes.  If you'll be using the crust for a custard pie where baking isn't required, blind bake it for 12 to 15 minutes - checking often after 10 minutes.
  9. Set the blind-baked crust aside to cool while you prepare the filling of your choice.  Top it as desired and bake it as directed in your recipe.


Check out the expert lattice top on this pie!

Check out the expert lattice top on this pie!

If you or someone you know is a home baker, please tell us more using the form to the right.  If we like what we hear, we'll contact you for the next #bakefromscratch profile.

Name *
Name of person who should be highlighted in this series
Please tell us one or two sentences about the person who you think should be featured in #bakefromscratch series


Celebrating White Chocolate with Waffles


Celebrating White Chocolate with Waffles

My wife is a happy woman this morning because it's National White Chocolate Day.  To celebrate, I'm pulling a recipe from CakeLove in the Morning for White Chocolate Waffles.  it's important to warm all of the ingredients so the white chocolate won't stiffen and clump up.  If you're like me and prefer real chocolate, bittersweet chocolate pieces work just as well.  

White Chocolate Waffles

from CakeLove in the Morning

4 eggs

6 tbsp superfine sugar

1 1/4 cups half-and-half

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 to 4 oz white chocolate, melted in a double broiler or metal bowl placed over a saucepan of steaming water

7 oz. (roughly 1 1/2 cups) unbleached cake flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1. Start the waffle iron and preheat the oven to 200 degrees F to keep the finished waffles warm.

2. Run warm water over the eggs for 20 seconds, then separate them.  In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks, then sprinkle in 4 tablespoons of the sugar with the mixer on high speed.  Carefully move the meringue to a separate bowl and set aside.

3. Using the same bowl and whisk, mix the yolks and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar on high speed for 30 seconds.  Reduce the speed to medium and add the half-and-half and vanilla.

4. Scrape the melted white chocolate into the mixer and whip to incorporate.

5. Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt to combine. Fold the flour mixture into the yolk base, then gently fold in the meringue.

6. Spray the waffle iron with plenty of nonstick spray.  Ladle 1/4 cup batter onto each square of the iron.

7. Cook following the waffle iron's directions. Serve immediately or hold on a heat-resistant plate in the warmed oven.  


Making breakfast with mindy


Making breakfast with mindy

I had so much fun making a breakfast lasagna on the Today Show this morning.  Not only did I get to show off one of my favorite brunch creations of all time, but I got to do it MINDY KALING!!  She may not be a pro in the kitchen, but it was great having her (and Dylan Dreyer) by my side.

This breakfast lasagna recipe is a slight variation of the one that I have in my brunch cookbook, CakeLove in the Morning.  It makes a very impressive presentation and can feed up to 12 people (or six if all of your guests eat like me).  Feel free to experiment with different types of meats, veggies, and cheeses, although I'd recommend sticking to the recipe as is the first time you make it.  It's a winner.

In case you didn't catch me making a breakfast lasagna with Mindy on the Today Show this morning, you can find it here.  

Breakfast Lasagna

adapted from CakeLove in the Morning

Yield: serves 8-12


2 oz. unsalted butter

1/4 tsp salt                       

2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour            

3 cups whole milk, warmed (for thicker sauce, use 2.5 cups)

3 tbsp olive oil                    

2 lbs mushrooms (crimini, button, shitake) or zucchini (if zucchini, discard the seeded core)

1 yellow onion                    

1 lb. applewood smoked bacon            

1/4 tsp sea salt                    

9 eggs 

3 tbsp butter or olive oil 

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated

2 cups gouda  cheese, freshly grated

9 pieces of lasagna noodles (no boil type)      

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Pinch of paprika

1. Prepare the béchamel sauce: melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Stir in the salt and flour and cook until it reaches a light blonde color. 

2. Slowly whisk in the milk and continue stirring until it lightly simmers. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and set aside.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat the bottom of a 9” x 13” casserole dish with butter, then sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper. (check dish size)

4. In a deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Thinly slice the onion and ’shrooms and sauté together until they’re cooked down to about half the volume, approximately 5 minutes. Alternatively if you’re using zucchini, cut sides off to leave a 1” core intact and discard the core. Dice the zucchini into ¼ pieces and sauté with the onions. 

5. Cook the bacon in the microwave until crispy. Set aside to cool and crumble. 

6. Crack 6 of the eggs into a bowl and whisk to scramble. Melt the butter in a large non-stick pan and add the eggs. Cook, scrambled, only about half-way -- leave them loose. 

7. Using a ladle, spread a thin coating of the béchamel sauce on the bottom of the prepared pan and cover with three lasagna noodles. 

8. Spread more sauce on top of the noodles, then layer half the mushrooms and onions, followed by one half of the gouda.  

9. Add another layer of 3 lasagna noodles, then spread with the partially cooked scrambled eggs, bacon, one half of the cheddar cheese, and more of the sauce. 

10. Add the final layer of 3 lasagna noodles. Cover with the remaining sauce, mushrooms and onions and the remaining cheeses. Sprinkle salt, pepper and paprika to taste across the top. 

11. Create three tablespoon-sized wells in the top layer, then crack and drop an egg into each one. 

12. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the sides bubble and the top is lightly browned. Loosely cover with aluminum foil if the top is cooking too fast. 

13. Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes before slicing into squares to serve.