Raspberry Meringue Cream Cake

raspberry-cake

I can’t remember the first time I heard of the idea of baking meringue on top of a cake layer, but I do remember that it sounded amazing. I think I bookmarked a recipe and then promptly forgot about it. And although I already have an amazing recipe for Peach Cloud Cake that involves cake, meringue, fruit, and cream (and is incredible, you must try it!), peaches are not in season yet, which meant I had to find a different recipe to bring along to a barbecue this weekend.

Enter King Arthur Flour’s Berry Blitz Torte. Or as I (more descriptively) call it, Raspberry Meringue Cream Cake. It looked really incredible, and I couldn’t wait to try it– since I was taking it to feed a crowd, I doubled the recipe to make a 9×13″ cake. I admit, instead of making the pastry cream from scratch I used my own shortcut (which is actually the same one recommended by the website) and used instant pudding made with light cream instead of milk– it makes for a rich, creamy filling with none of the egg-tempering or tedious stirring over a stovetop.

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My Fair Lady Ballgown, Part IX: HAIR!

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(Yes, I realize it’s been ages since I posted about this outfit, but I needed to get photos back to complete these posts! Forgive me?)

That’s right, today we’re talking about HAIR. Not just “hair,” but HAIR. Seriously, it’s deserving of all caps in this context. After all, you didn’t think I’d go to an event decked out in this gloriously glittery gown without correspondingly fabulous hair, did you? Of course not– you know me better than that!

So yes, Audrey Hepburn had some seriously gigantic hair in the Embassy Ball scenes– obviously not Edwardian in style, but hey, filmmakers in the in the sixties loved the gargantuan updos, so who am I to quibble when it comes to making the ensemble recognizable? Let’s take a closer look at it, shall we?

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Green Striped 1920s Dress, Part I: Design and Fabric

1920s green sketch

So last year I attended a Roaring 20s Lawn Party in this One-Hour Dress made of antique white embroidered fabric. However, as much as I liked the dress in theory, I have to admit it was not the most flattering of frocks– too straight, no movement, and the embellishment just kind of faded into the background. With the event coming up again this year, I decided to give the 1920s another shot! I searched for some appropriate fabric for inspiration, going through several design iterations based on various options…

1920s options

But I finally decided on this one, which I designed after seeing some sheer cotton striped batiste in a pale green. The fabric just looked so fresh and springy that I had to have it!

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Unlike my previous 1920s dresses, this one has a waist seam, which will allow me to play with the skirt a bit more. The front and back panels of the skirt are flat, but the sides will be cut out of quarter-circles for a bit more fullness and movement.

You can also see that I’ve sketched in some floral decorations at the hip and shoulder– I haven’t yet decided whether those will be pre-made embroidered ribbon appliques (I ordered some on Etsy but they may not arrive in time), or flowers that I’ll make from hand-dyed ribbon. I’ll decide once the dress is made and I can get a better idea of what scale of embellishment would look better.

The main fabric is so sheer that it definitely needs another layer, so never fear, I also ordered a yard of plain pale green voile to make a slip to wear underneath.

I’m not dead! Just resting…

Hey, everyone! I know it’s been a while since my last post, but I promise it’s not because I’m dead or anything– it’s just that I’m waiting for photos to come back of the My Fair Lady embassy ballgown, and until they do I feel bad starting another series of posts about the new dress I’m working on. The photographer says they should be processed shortly, so until then I’m just going to work on stuff without posting so I’ll have a whole bunch of new posts later!

Sorry about this, and I’ll post something new soon!

Regency Rosebud Ballgown (Revamp)

regency-rosebud

So remember last year when I was sewing my blue Regency dress, and I said that I already had a Regency ballgown that I’d intended to use for that dance event? Here’s the story: Back when I was in college, I was shopping at JC Penney’s when I came across these beautiful shower curtains that I immediately knew would make a perfect Regency gown. That’s right. Shower curtains = Regency gown. Sounds weird, but hear me out– they were made of ivory netting, embroidered all over with variegated pink roses and green vines, and they were so pretty and antique-y that I knew they’d work.

Of course, back then I didn’t have much experience sewing dresses from scratch, much less dealing with fiddly materials like embroidered net, so I found a seamstress online (Etsy was not a thing back then) and commissioned her to make me a gown based on a sketch I sent along with my fabrics. It turned out nicely, and I spent the next several weeks snipping out embroidered roses from the remaining fabric scraps and applique-ing them onto the gown with hand-embroidered vines to make it more embellished. The finished product was really beautiful. It always reminded me of Anne Shirley’s dress from Anne of the Island:

She had a particularly pretty gown on. Originally it had been only a simple little slip of cream silk with a chiffon overdress. But Phil had insisted on taking it home with her in the Christmas holidays and embroidering tiny rosebuds all over the chiffon. Phil’s fingers were deft, and the result was a dress which was the envy of every Redmond girl. Even Allie Boone, whose frocks came from Paris, was wont to look with longing eyes on that rosebud concoction as Anne trailed up the main staircase at Redmond in it.

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Carrot Cake with Candied Carrot Curls

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This past Easter I was pondering what to bake– trying to decide between hot cross buns and cream-filled chocolate eggs– when I realized that I had a big bag of carrots languishing in the crisper drawer, leftovers from a delicious batch of bolognese sauce. I immediately discarded all other options in favor of carrot cake– a cake that I love, but rarely make for some reason. And I knew just the recipe– another Smitten Kitchen post that I’d bookmarked a while ago but never gotten around to trying, carrot cake with graham crackers.

That’s right, there are pulverized graham crackers in the batter, taking the place of some of the flour. Honestly, though, with all of the spices in the mix I couldn’t really taste the graham flavor, so I’m not sure how successful that element was in this case. But the rest of it was a very nice cake (a little heavy on the frosting, but some people like it that way), and since the top was looking a little plain once I assembled it, I made a batch of candied carrot curls to decorate!

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Black Pepper Sour Cream Rolls

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I was walking down the street around lunch time the other day and passed by a bakery/cafe– suddenly I was hit by the wonderful, buttery, unmistakable aroma of freshly-baked croissants. I had just eaten lunch so was able to resist buying one to devour right then and there, but the memory stayed with me and I was moved instead to bake something to satisfy the craving at dinner that night.

I decided to go with some soft, buttery dinner rolls– there was no time for croissants, but there were enough similarities between the overall flavor profiles (butter, yeast, golden outer crust) to make them a decent substitution. And when I found a recipe that promised to have pillowy rolls ready with zero kneading and minimal rising, I knew I had to try it. The added interest of black pepper just sealed the deal.

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