No Knead, No Problem! My go-to bread for lazy days

No-Knead Bread

No-Knead Bread

This bread is literally the easiest bread out there.  No snazzy yeast, no finicky sourdough starter, just some baking soda, baking powder, and buttermilk to get this dense and delicious loaf ready for your plate!

Easy No-Knead Bread

Makes 1 loaf

2 cups all-purpose flour
2–2 ½ cups spelt or whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ¾–2 ¼ cups buttermilk, plus a little for brushing
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons runny honey
¼ cup pumpkin seeds

Preheat your oven to 425F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat or spelt flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.  Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in 1 ¾ cups of the buttermilk followed by the melted butter and honey.  Using a wooden spoon, stir until all of the liquid has been evenly mixed in.  If needed, feel free to add some of the remaining buttermilk to make the dough come together.

Once the dough is too stiff to stir with the spoon, lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out onto it.  Gently knead the dough to form it into a rough loaf but be careful not to overwork it.

Transfer the dough to the parchment lined baking sheet and, using a large knife, score an ‘X’ across the top making sure to cut about halfway down.  Use a pastry brush to paint a thin layer of buttermilk all over the top of the loaf and scatter the top with pumpkin seeds.

Bake the bread in your preheated oven for 25 minutes then reduce the heat on your oven to 350F and continue to bake for an additional 20–25 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when you rap on the top with your knuckles.

Transfer your loaf to a wire rack and allow it to cool.

Puppies and Kitties and Cupcakes! Oh my!

Classic Chocolate Cupcakes

Classic Chocolate Cupcakes

If you had of asked me a month ago if there was a way to make cupcakes even sweeter and more perfectly wonderful than they already are, I would have scoffed, shaken my head, and said attempted to utter the word “naaaahhh” through a giant mouthful of fluffy cake and rich, silky buttercream.

But boy, oh boy, was I ever wrong!  This year, I am so honoured to have been asked by the Ontario SPCA to be their champion for National Cupcake Day™!  Now in its sixth year, the nation-wide annual campaign runs throughout January and February, culminating on Monday, February 26 – the sweetest day of the year! 

In 2017, animal lovers across Canada raised over $600,000 in support of their local animal welfare societies and, this year, I’m hoping to help them surpass that number and add to the outstanding $2.45 million raised to date!

To get involved and “bake a difference,” visit to register to host a Cupcake Day Party on a date that’s convenient for you.  Plan your National Cupcake Day™ Party for home, work, school or anywhere you think people would enjoy eating cupcakes (so, literally anywhere!).

Invite your guests to donate through to help raise critically-needed funds for animals that are abused, abandoned, neglected or no longer wanted.  Proceeds from National Cupcake Day™ help the Ontario SPCA support our furry friends, big and small, who have been abused, abandoned, or are in need of help.

If you're in need of a little cupcake-y inspiration, give these little babies a try!  They are super chocolatey, rich, crazy simple, and oh-so perfect for any and all cupcake and kitty/puppy lovers!

Classic Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 24 large cupcakes (or 36 regular)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups good quality cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon espresso powder
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 350F and line two or three 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Give it a bit of a stir to combine and set aside.

Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the sugar and oil together for 1 minute.  Add the eggs in one at time, beating well after each addition and continuing to beat for 2 minutes or until the mixture looks a little lighter in colour.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the vanilla extract and espresso powder.  Add that to the buttermilk and set aside.

When the oil and sugar mixture is nicely creamed, add approximately a third of the dry ingredients and beat together until almost combined.  Add in half of the buttermilk mixture and, again, beat just until almost combined.  Continue with this wet/dry method, ending with the last third of the dry ingredients.  Be careful not to over mix after the last addition!  Over mixing will lead to peaked and potentially cracked cupcakes!

Scoop about ¼ cup of batter into each little cupcake liner and bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cupcakes comes out clean, about 20–25 minutes.  While cooling, whip up a batch of chocolate buttercream and get ready to decorate to your heart's content!


Chocolate Buttercream

1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup good quality cocoa powder
5 cups icing sugar
½–¾ cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon espresso powder
½­­–1 teaspoon kosher salt

Beat together the butter and cocoa powder and gradually add in the icing sugar.  The mixture will be a little crumbly but that’s where the whipping cream comes in!  With the mixer running, slowly stream in the whipping cream, starting with ½ cup then increasing to ¾ cup if necessary.

In a small bowl, combine the vanilla extract with the espresso powder and add it to the buttercream mixture.  Beat in the salt and use immediately.

Carrot Cake aka The only cake I want for my birthday

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Confession: I am not all that big on cake.

Don’t get me wrong, I love baking and decorating all sorts of cake-ish confections and the celebration and excitement that goes hand-in-hand with bringing a cake to the table is unlike anything else.  That childlike joy that lights up the faces of true cake lovers like my sister-in-law Jenna is probably one of the best things to see on an adult human’s face but digging into a big slice of double chocolate, super fudgy, oh-so sweet cake is not something I crave.  I am and forever will be a savoury over sweet lady. 

Now, please excuse me while I immediately contradict what I’ve said above by introducing you to my good friend Carrot Cake.   I love carrot cake for its sneaky ability to feel just a wee bit savoury while still satisfying the cake-lovers in the crowd.  This carrot cake is so wonderfully moist and can easily be baked up into two lovely loaves (bake for 45-50 minutes) or 24 muffins (bake for 20-25 minutes).

If you are a fan of raisins in your baked goods, feel free to toss a handful into the mix.  I am of the opinion that grapes are grapes, raisins are raisins, and raisins should never try to become grapes again like they tend to do when reconstituted in baked goods.

Carrot Cake

Makes 2 – 9” round cakes

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup vegetable oil
2 oranges, zested
2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
¼ - ½ tsp grated nutmeg, to taste
¼ - ½ tsp ground clove, to taste
3 cups coarsely grated carrot, about 5-6 medium carrots
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
½ cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
Cream cheese frosting, recipe follows
Optional garnishes: candied pecans or walnuts, candied orange slices

Preheat your oven to 350F and prepare two 9” round pans by lightly greasing and lining the bottom of each with a round of parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugars with a whisk until slightly light and fluffy.  While whisking, slowly pour in the oil and continue to whisk until fully incorporated.  Stir in the vanilla and orange zest and set aside.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.  Add this dry mixture to the wet and, using a wooden spoon or spatula, fold the mixture together until just combined.  Add the carrots, nuts, and pineapple and stir just until everything comes together.

Divide the batter between the two pans and bake for 40 – 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 20 minutes then carefully turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Once cool, frost your lovely little cakes with some cream cheese frosting and garnish to your heart's content! 


Cream Cheese Frosting

2 – 8oz packages brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 - 6 cups powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon

Using either a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  Begin adding the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time mixing on low in between each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Keep adding icing sugar until your cream cheese frosting is a spreadable consistency and finish by beating in the salt, vanilla, and cinnamon.