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ISO: The Little Pie Shoppe 'Rum Cake" Recipe

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This is only for those with LONG memories, but I thought I would give it a go. There was an excellent bakery on the west side of Yonge Street, near St. Clements, about 6 blocks north of Eglinton, for 50 years. It closed in the early 90's after selling second-rate baked goods under the same name for about 3 years before that.

The original Little Pie Shoppe had marvelous stuff including this very simple but excellent rum cake with a buttercream frosting and a single cherry as decoration on top. It was my family's birthday special for many, many years and I would love to bake it for my husband.

Anybody have any idea about this?

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  1. Yummy. I used to love the Little Pie Shoppe when I was a kid. My mother would take me there for a Sally Brown (these wonderful maple muffins and to this day the only way would ever eat rasins). I don't have the recipe you're looking for but if anyone reading this thread also knows how to make one of their Beehive Cakes I'd be forever thankful. A beehive cake was a wonderfully light cake with layers of whipped cream and slivered almonds.

    2 Replies
    1. re: beehw0w

      If you read my reply under Abbeshay's comment, I explain my family connection with the bakery. I'd love to share the recipe if I'm able to find it when I'm home over the holidays. It always makes me happy to see rave reviews about my grandparents' fantastic business so many years later. I just stumbled upon this today, and couldn't resist joining chowhound just to comment.

      1. re: Stuart92

        You have the makings of a self-publish cook book IMO judging by the number of people who have such fond memories of the place.

    2. Well...I don't have any of the recipes, but I do seem to recall that the woman who runs The Little Party Shoppe in the same location is the daughter of the husband and wife who owned the Little Pie Shoppe. Gotta bet if you went in there and asked, she might be able to help. My dad swore by her Raisin pie, used to make a special trip there just for that!

      2 Replies
      1. re: The Goddess

        Where would that be? My recollection is that they moved somewhat north and across the street for a while, and then closed.

        1. re: embee

          Yonge Street, west side, just north of the intersection of of Briar Hill and Lululemon. They closed the Little pie shop, opened the LIttle Party Shop down the street, and about 2 years ago they expanded into the shop beside 'em.

      2. Can't help with the recipe but I'm just now remembering the Little Pie Shoppe's orange twister doughnuts - mmm & yummy!

        1. Thank you all for the ideas and memories...I am off to the Little Party Shoppe next time I have the time to spare to check out the owner's parentage!

          2 Replies
          1. re: LJS

            Definitely her. I think her sister used to do the elaborate wedding cakes. OP, thanks for the flashbacks! I still remember the cookies, and the world's best burger and dog buns.

            1. re: Snarf

              They moved to Laurance & Yonge after the little party shop kick them out, but they closed a year after that

          2. I used to work there as a young girl and believe me, I haven't seen anything that comes near to the lost art style of baking that The Little Pie Shoppe was famous for. Sure, nowadays we have an almost unlimited choice of options when we have a craving for a croissant ( I live in the Bayview/Mt. Pleasant region so think Rahier, Celestine, Jules Patissiere etc.). My family still pines for a decent chelsea bun or chop suey loaf, little butter tarts and so on. I particularly enjoyed an oddly shaped loaf of bread called a Dutch Brown Loaf that looked a little like an anvil but was deliciously 100% whole wheat and I've had nothing like it anywhere else. Sadly, after the husband passed away, the business traded hands and wound up at last in the hands of a massive South African woman who took credit for the success of the bakery, cheapened the quality of the items, was rude to both staff and customers, and, eventually wound up driving a 40 year old business into the ground. Shameful. My only hope is posts like these that might inspire a few budding artisans to delve into old bakeshop recipes and consider starting up a business from the heart. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the original owners of this establishment, very hard working individuals.

            To the original poster: I remember the cake but only by it's looks, and I don't know where you would find anything like it.
            To the poster looking for a "beehive cake" : I loved this cake with the custard, whipping cream and caramel topping and I found a similar sounding recipe for it in an old gourmet magazine called a "beesting cake". Try searching for it on the epicurious website because I think it is the same cake because the cake base was a yeasted dough and that's what they used at the Pie Shoppe.

            12 Replies
            1. re: Abbeshay

              Abbeshay: I am so glad you posted! You probably served me, my husband, sister and my mom, my aunts, cousins and maybe my Nana...maybe yours is even the hand that passed a sugar cookie into my little girl's.

              Yes, the baking was absolutely superb. In addition to the Rum Cake, I remember these wonderful little 'petit fours', small cakes with delicately tinted icing, tiny flowers and a hint of marzipan, a Turtle Cake (I think that was what it was called) and the most amazing oatmeal shortbreads.

              I sympathize with you: I still bake from scratch and have taught my daughter and several of her friends. I had no idea it was a dying art until I saw simple cupcakes for sale in New York City retro-style bakery at $5 EACH!!!

              Dufflet is much celebrated here in Toronto, but I find them hit and miss. Cobs has a few nice things, but no cookies. The Hot Oven Bakery in Cloverdale Mall in Etobicoke remains good, but is 'geographically undesireable' to me here in The Annex. You are right, it is a great shame that the techniques and recipes of the Pie Shoppe folks are lost to us.

              1. re: LJS

                Can't help with much of this BUT if you're looking for petit fours, Patachou does a great job. Taste is fantastic and beautifully decorated.

                1. re: LJS

                  Hi there!

                  I joined chowhound just to reply to this thread. I am the grandson of Barbara and Vern Kuerble, the former owners of The Little Pie Shoppe when it was truly THE Little Pie Shoppe, and the son of one of the co-owners of The Little Party Shoppe which someone else mentioned here as well. It makes me so happy to hear how much you enjoyed their baking! The staff was a tight knit family and many of the former Little Pie Shoppe employees were at my grandmother's 90th birthday party earlier this year. It made it a very special place. Unfortunately my grandfather passed away in 2001.

                  I still bake with my grandfather's recipes, most commonly shortbreads at christmas. He and my grandmother taught me well and I was lucky enough to visit my grandparents nearly daily throughout my life.

                  My grandparents were very loving people and knew how to put their heart into their work. It most certainly showed through in the final product, and unfortunately it was out of their hands before I was old enough to remember too much of the experiences inside the back where the magic happened.

                  I do have access to the recipe book and am going home from university for the holidays soon. If you bare with me for a few weeks I may be able to get that recipe you're looking for.

                  It brings back great memories and reminds me what a legacy they left when we hear people saying how much they enjoyed that bakery some 20 years later. Quality products and management are uncommon these days.

                  1. re: Stuart92

                    Thanks so much for this post! So lovely!
                    I also loved Little Pie Shop, and not a Thanksgiving goes by that I don't mention the pumpkin pie. :-)

                    1. re: picholine

                      What a delight to read this thread that was dormant for so long. I love to bake and I'm looking forward to any recipes this descendent of the Little Pie Shoppe owners can provide.

                    2. re: Stuart92

                      Stuart, I'll go one better than 20 years and say that I still fantasize about the meat pies that I used to get nearly 40 years ago as a little girl while at St. Clements school.

                      In the winter we could order them in the morning and the older girls or prefects would go and pick them up. We would practically dance with anticipation at the treat of having a hot, flaky little pie in our own box tied with twine that spooled from the ceiling.

                      I also remember fern tarts, and all of the cookies in the case. I have a video of my mother in the 90's opening a box of the petit fours I had given her and just falling all over the box in delight.

                      I found this thread after googling the store name since a friend on my FB page mentioned that she had ordered her wedding cake from your grandparents' store years ago. Another friend chimed in that you were able to duplicate her parents' wedding cake for their 50th wedding anniversary - she brought in the old topper and apparently the same baker made the cake as the original! They both wanted to know if you were still in business since they had moved from the city.

                      If you were to do an ebook of recipes I would gladly pay for it. I bet there are others who remember the store who would love to hear more about it - so many good memories (and great smells!) came from that corner. Thank you so much for responding to this thread and happy belated birthday to your grandmother! Liz of Briar Hill Ave.

                      1. re: Stuart92


                        My first memories of the Little Pie Shoppe were the sugar cookies that I would receive as my mother placed her weekly order. When birthdays came around we only ordered our cakes from the shoppe. Later I would request my favorite two items which were the Boston bar, it was a cookie bar of gingerbread, raisin and nuts and the twisted orange doughnut that had a beautiful light glaze. I have been searching for the recipe for them but have been unsuccessful. The Little Pie Shoppe was a tradition in our family and I have never come across any other bakery that I would consider a contender for quality and taste .If you could help me with the recipes for these two items I would be very grateful.
                        You might consider putting out a cook book of recipes which I would be more than happy to pay for and I'm sure others would be as well.


                        1. re: Stuart92

                          Hi Stuart92,

                          I have just come across this posting of yours in my search for the Little Pie Shoppe Vanilla Birthday Cake Recipe. My husband is turning 40 in 2 weeks and he has been asking me to make him this cake for his 40th birthday for almost a decade! Do you think you could find the recipe for me? I would be willing to pay for it or perhaps make a donation to a charity in your grandparents' honour as payment. I also think you should heavily consider publishing the cookbook and have ideas of who you could speak to - but of course that is another story! Let me know if you are willing to share the recipe. Very much looking forward to hearing from you!

                          1. re: emilyanneburn

                            I would definitely buy a Little Pie Shoppe recipe book. You could start by selling them at the Little Party Shoppe! I hope you consider it - many people would be thrilled.

                            1. re: emilyanneburn

                              We just wanted to make a note that we don't allow people to sell things on Chowhound. We know you made that suggestion in good faith and to demonstrate how much you'd appreciate the recipe, though, so we do hope that Stuart92 might be willing to share the recipe with the community.

                            2. re: Stuart92

                              Stuart92 - I think I became a little faint when I read that you have your grandparents recipe book!

                              My friend worked at the Little Pie Shoppe as a cake decorator. I remember Vern and Barb vividly.

                              My absolute fav. treat was their Lemon Butter Tarts. I still dream about that filling and the awesome "crust" that developed. If you could share that recipe I would be so grateful.

                              I also remember your mom and her sister. I couldn't agree with you more that it was a tight knit family. wonderful people with a wonderful attitude about how a bake shop should be run... truly a great Toronto icon that is missed by many.

                              1. re: Stuart92

                                Stuart, Any chance of getting that birthday cake and icing recipe? I have been dreaming about it for almost 30 years and have never been able to find anything to match it.

                                You should feel very proud of your grandparents. To think of the simple joy and comfort they brought to so many lives over the years. I sincerely hope they had some inkling of the positive impact they had.

                          2. I just came on line to see if I could find a recipe for The Little Pie Shoppe's unbelievably delicious, white (not vanilla) birthday cake. We never had a birthday in our house without a Little Pie Shoppe white birthday cake. It was utterly simple and magical, and no one, anywhere, can replicate it. It's my brother's 61st birthday next month and there is nothing he would like better than a LPS Bday cake. Stuart, if you could come up with a recipe that was even close, I would be over the moon. Please consider publishing a book of your grandparents recipes. I'd buy 100 and help you sell it to everyone I grew up with !!!
                            Does anyone remember the little chick and frog petite fours they had at Easter (fondant I think filled with fluffy pink icing). I was dreaming about them the other night over Easter. And the Choco-orange cake? OMG! I used to look so forward to going there on Saturdays - usually with my father- and waiting in line for Barbara or Gertrude (right?) to call our number and give us a cookie while they filled our order. Chelsea Buns, hot cross buns, sugar cookies with jam in the middle, raisin molasses cookies, petite fours. Arghhh! And yes- all tied with that string that was rigged across the ceiling! Such great memories. Stuart- please come to our rescue!!

                            1. My favourite was once a year in September they made a delicious Plum Cake.
                              I also used to get a butterscotch,nut roll,loved them.