The kitchen was filled with all the usual baking supplies: large plastic containers of flour and sugar, herbs, spices, spoons, rollers and whiskers. On the large baker’s rack next to the industrial-sized steel oven were freshly baked loaves of zucchini bread with banana.
The 15 shiny, tin pie pans that sat on the circular table off in the corner, suggested the creation of more mouth-watering treats. Judy Dautcher, in her flowery baker’s apron, stood over the pans, filling them with a sugary sweet brown glaze. She was preparing to make a fresh batch of cinnamon buns.
This might sound like a quiet, southern country home, and in essence it felt that way too, but Dautcher has been baking her famous desserts from her Warminster home for the past several decades.
Through her round eye glasses and thick dirty blonde hair, Dautcher explains that a good pie starts with good ingredients. “All the pies are made with fresh fruit” she said, “None of that frozen stuff.”
Dautcher started her culinary endeavors at the age of 12, baking for her father and uncle. They owned Dautcher family farm, which she lived on, and sold its produce at a farmer’s market located on the property. The market is now called Uncle Joe Dautcher’s Farm Market located on the corner of Ivyland and Mearns Road.
Several customers heard about Dautcher’s pies and before long, she started receiving request after request.
From that point on, Dautcher’s main objective has been two things: keeping things homemade and expanding her business.
After moving out of her parent’s farm house, Dautcher bought a home on Ivyland Road where she’s converted her kitchen into a full out bakery, receiving all the proper township approvals to do so.
“Getting a bakery started is like getting a badge in Girl Scouts” Dautcher said, “They tell you what you need to do to get it, and so that’s what you do.”
Sound easy? Well it isn’t. Dautcher has made dozens of phone calls, meetings, formal requests, and sifted through miles of legal red tape and fees, that she paid for out of her own pocket.
“I had to pay $240 for a guy from the health department to look at a set of plans and then $525 to show a gas pipe in the picture” Dautcher said.
Her business is mostly funded by Dautcher’s other hobby: collecting, restoring, and selling antiques. If it’s old, then she has it.
Despite all the obstacles, Dautcher is committed to expanding her business and reaching more customers than ever before.
263 Marketplace located on York Road in Warminster is home to dozens of local vendors with more than 100 booths on site. It’s also the new home of Uncle Joe Dautcher’s Farm Market. There, Dautcher has the professional quality kitchen that she’s always dreamed of as well as an elegant dining area and store front.
263 Market Place also showcases loads of community events including a motorcycle and car show, Chris Coste and Clay Condrey of the Philadelphia Phillies, and a 30-man barber shop choir appearing in May.
Not that Dautcher needs any of that to attract her customers. Her fame is acquired by word of mouth. Still don’t believe her baking can be that good? Well, her son-in-law Brian Schaffer serves as the unofficial taste tester and he can tell you that “they’re amazing! Her blueberry crumb and apple pies are the best.”
With his mouth starting to water, Schaffer said that Dautcher’s cinnamon buns are better than any around. “They’re very light” he said, “You could eat a whole tray and still go run around and not be sick.”
If that testimonial doesn’t due the trick for you, then be sure to stop by her bakery at 263 Marketplace on Friday, Saturday or Sunday and have a taste for yourself.
Still a bit hesitant? Well luckily Dauchter understands that some people are either too busy or just too stubborn, so she’s willing to share one of her family recipes for an upside-down fruit cake. And be assured, that all of the recipes that Dautcher uses are either handed down through the family, or from local cooks in the area. She doesn’t even consider looking online for a recipe as an option.
Back in Dautcher’s small kitchen on Ivyland Road, the cinnamon buns were finally finished after five hours of mixing, rising, rolling, cutting, and baking.
Their smell was intoxicating.
Dauchter’s Upside-down Fruit Cake
What you’ll need:
A well-greased 10-inch cast iron skillet
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 pound of fresh fruit (2 cups of pears, 2 cups of peaches, and 1 cup of apricots)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup corn meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon peal
1/2 cup milk
Now, what to do with it:
- Mix the brown sugar and butter together. Use 4 tablespoons of it to layer the bottom of the skillet. This will serve as the icing.
- Everything that’s left, mix together and then place in the pan.
- Cook at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes.