Sunday, October 30, 2011

COLOUR LOVE - Turquoise & Yellow - Part 2

Here I go again.  It's become apparent that I cannot stay away from these colours.  Yes, they still keep me awake at night (just when the baby has been sleeping well too!) which means it is officially a full-blown colour obsession.  There's something about the calming cool of turquoise and the happy 'instant cheer' of yellow that go so well together.  It is indeed a cheerful combination.  I like cheerful.  Mixed cleverly with whites, greys and neutrals these colours sing - a gentle lullaby or a vibrant summer party mix.  Cool and happy.  Break out of the winter doldrums I say!
Source: via Christall on Pinterest
Source: via Christall on Pinterest

Source: via Christall on Pinterest
Source: via Christall on Pinterest

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chocolate Cake & Ruffles - What a girl wants

Poor little neglected blog, it's been a while!  Facebook has been going into overdrive and poor little blogger's not getting any action.  Well, it's about time I posted the recipe for that delish and super easy ruffle cake I made a while back for the special morning tea I hosted for my sister.

Well, I'm no pro, and pro cake decorators out there that are reading this, please don't look too closely!  But these ruffles are mighty easy to achieve if you have the right nozzle and the right consistency of butter cream icing.  So, the cake!  THE EASIEST and yummiest chocolate cake in the world (that I have come across so far).  My 4 year old has been making it since he was 2.5!  And here he is, demonstrating how super easy it is to make - only 5 minutes prep.  Recipe from Annabel Langbein's "The Free Range Cook".....


Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celcius
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Makes one large or two small cakes

3 cups self-raising flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda, sifted
200g butter, softened or melted (I melt mine)
1 cup milk or unsweetened yoghurt
3 large eggs
1 cup boiling hot coffee

Chuck the above ingredients into a large bowl and mix with a spoon.  Seriously.  Put AWAY your egg beater. Here's Enosh demonstrating how it's done - that's ma boy!

Mix it so it's all nice and chocolatey and smooth, and don't forget to lick the bowl when you're done pouring it into the cake tins ;-)

For this cake I used two medium sized cake tins, bottom lined with baking paper.  Easy peasy.
Bake at 160 degrees celcius for one hour or until cake springs back when pressed.
The other great thing about this cake is that it rises beautifully and doesn't end up with a 'dome' top - so it's perfect for layering up!

BUTTERCREAM ICING - the way I do it

400grams softened butter (yes I said 400grams)
1 kg icing sugar
Vanilla extract
A few tablespoons hot water
Few drops of food colouring/gel/powder

This cake with all the ruffles definitely requires this much icing!  You may have your own buttercream version, but this is what I make and it pipes well, holds its form - as long as you get the consistency right.

Cream the butter using electric egg beater or cake mixer, slowly add icing sugar and keep on creaming, adding hot water only a tablespoon at a time just to help with the blending, and not too much as to make the mixture runny.  Just keep beating and beating until it's a smooth creamy mixture.  Test it by putting some through a piping bag, make a shape and wait a while to see if it holds its form.

I made three batches of colour - pale green, pale yellow, and PALER yellow.
Join the two cakes together by gluing them with some icing.  Then cover the whole cake with the buttercream icing using a spatula/knife.  This is the crumb layer, just to cover the cake and provide a good surface to pipe the ruffles onto, and needn't be flash.

To pipe the ruffles, well I'll leave that to someone who's actually recorded how to do it - very easy and the ruffles are very forgiving.  And by joes you will need all of that icing!  So, take a look at this video:

There!  Now you're all ready to make something spectacular looking but super dooper easy for your next celebration or tea party :-)

Christall xx

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

An OBSESSION with Yellow & Turquoise (and pops of orange)

v. ob·sessedob·sess·ingob·sess·es
To have the mind excessively preoccupied with a single emotion or topic

You know when you've been looking at something for so long that when you go to bed and close your eyes it's all you can see under your eyelids?  That used to happen to me when I would spend my late nights playing online word games (geek I know but had to beat those high scores!).  Now when I close my eyes at night I get flashes of: yellow door. teal wall. yellow stripes. teal stripes. yellow flowers. teal shelves. rugs. curtains. yellow. teal. turquoise. yellow. white. grey. sofa. wallpaper. teal. turquoise. shot of orange. stripes. teal. PLEASE CAN I GO TO SLEEP ALREADY?!
That's when I know I've become obsessed with something.  No matter how hard I try to think about other things (chocolate, babies, the colour red) I cannot get rid of it.
Anyway, I hope my home and current big project 'My kind of home' starts to come together with hints of this style and colour soon! Enjoy x

Source: via Christall on Pinterest

Source: None via Christall on Pinterest

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lemon Lime Sorbet - A Little Celebration

My sister had her second baby girl few days ago, just a few days short of my mum's birthday.  So I thought I would throw a wee celebratory morning tea, since I think my sister is the bravest and most awesome sister in the world, and both her and my mum deserved a little treat!  (Yes, baby Arlea is only three days old, but her and her incredible mother were sitting in our lounge as if a two week labour followed by giving birth to a gorgeous baby was a walk in the park!).  So this is a 'Happy Birthday Mum, Welcome to the world baby Arlea, Well done sister' morning tea.  Here's how I put it together....  

The inspiration for the 'theme' (I think every little do needs one!) was this set of mismatched vintage crockery I've been admiring in my studio for the past week.  Three unique pieces, but I just can't separate them!  Love the combination of mint/lime, gold, cream and a hint of yellow, AND the floral detailing.  Super pretty.  Time taken to choose the theme: 30 seconds.

Being the start of spring there are lots of new blooms, blossoms and wild flowers everywhere.  Bunch them loosely in vintage bottles and jars, or place single stems in bottles.  Our lemon tree is laden with lemons at the moment, so they joined the party too.  Time taken to pick and bunch these together: 10 minutes.

Start to style and accessorise the table.  I got out my huge stash of vintage linen and tablecloths and selected a variety of cloths, napkins and runners that complemented the theme.  Pale whites and creams, with floral detailing and touches of lemon and lime.  Overlaying them made for the perfect base to 'build' the morning tea table - layers of lace and linen draping and hanging and peeking through.  And because I couldn't choose just ONE cloth, I got to use them all.  Beautiful!  Time taken: 10 minutes.

Add the accessories.  Vintage forks and spoons in little Agee jars, a pile of vintage napkins (in the appropriate colours), the teapot for the day and tea cups to match.

I needed something to make the setting 'pop' gently.  Since we love a bit of vintage (total understatement!) and this was also a celebration of a young child out came my stash of vintage story books.  Here's my 'bunting' made from five pages of 'little golden books', wooden pegs and twine.  Easy peasy!  And so effective and cute.  Simply pinned up on the wall above the table.  The colours in the story book bunting and the teeny bursts of colour in the linen and flowers bring this table to life.  Time taken: 7 minutes.

I decide a little height is needed for the centre bunch of flowers, especially as the cake and cupcakes will be on elevated cake stands.  Out come a pile of vintage books and voila....height!

Time to add the food....mmmmmmm.  Egg and ham club sandwiches made by my Nana (the are THE best in the world, the softest, freshest bread with REAL butter of course), Chocolate ruffle cake, and lemon cupcakes.

Lemon cupcakes were super easy to make.  I believe it is the easiest cupcake recipe ever.  But you'll have to wait for tomorrow's blog to find out!  Because all of this was very spur of the moment, the only cupcake cases I had in my cupboard were either blue or pink.  "That won't do!" I exclaimed!  So yes, I baked them in the blue cupcake cases, but then I made the little surrounds out guessed it, vintage story books.  I used the same buttercream icing on both the cake and the cupcakes (easy and delish recipe in tomorrow's blog!), but I couldn't find my large star tipped nozzle so had to make do with this other nozzle - they turned out okay, would've preferred the icing to be a bit more immaculate like with the star nozzle, but never mind - delicious all the same!

Ahhhh the chocolate ruffle honestly is quite easy to achieve, and the 'ruffles' are very forgiving, you can make 'mistakes' and it doesn't really matter.  Of course you can use any cake you like - vanilla, banana, marble, whatever tickles your fancy, BUT this recipe I use for chocolate cake is NEVER FAIL, only 5 minutes prep, NO beating or creaming butter and sugar or even sifting required!  Rises perfectly and tastes AMAZING.  Even my four year old makes it.  But you have to wait until tomorrow's blog to get the recipe. As for the ruffles, they are achieved using a special icing tip, and delicious buttercream icing.  And you need a bucket load of icing for this effect.  For this cake and the cupcakes, I used 400 grams of butter and about one kilo of icing sugar!  Definitely not weight watchers material.  All on tomorrow's blog of course!

The finished product.  All ready to enjoy.  See that cute little teeny patchwork quilt hanging over the chair?  I got to choose it when my baby boy was in the neonatal unit, made by some lovely quilters in Palmerston North.  Isn't it adorable!  And a lovely morning enjoyed by the ladies in our family, and a few men who needed a sweet fix. 

Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog for all of the recipes!

PS - Glass dome cover, cake stands, vintage bottles, twine and more available in our store ;-)

Hope you've been inspired.  See you tomorrow!

Christall x

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