Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday's Treat: Blackberry Buttermilk Cake

Since Caroline and I both love food, I thought it would only be appropriate to share some of our favorite recipes. Maybe this will be every Thursday.... maybe only once a month... who knows? Not me.

Up first is my tried and true summer staple. I'm pretty sure I made this at least 5 times last summer.

 

Blackberry Buttermilk Cake






Blackberry, Buttermilk, cake, Thursday's treat, dessert, sweets, cake
I stole this photo from my friend Anna L.
    

My recipe has been modified from this Bon Appetit recipe.
Ingredients:

  •  1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan and parchment
  • 2 1/3 cups cake flour plus more for pan
  • 10 ounces fresh blackberries and/or raspberries (plus more for decor)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons orange juice (pulp is okay), plus more for icing option
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)

    Equipment:
    Spring form pan (if available), parchment paper, oven (duh), Ziploc baggie (icing option)

    Steps:
    1. Make sure the oven rack is in middle of oven and preheat to 350°.
    2. Butter pan (or use a PAM vegetable oil spray); line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Butter parchment. Dust with flour; tap out excess. This butter+flour step is very important or your cake will look awful and the top will be ruined. 
    3. Arrange berries in a single layer in bottom of pan; sprinkle evenly with 1/4 cup sugar.
    4. Sift 2 1/3 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl; set aside.
    5. Using an electric mixer (or your really strong arms), beat 3/4 cup butter and remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar in a large bowl at medium-high speed, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
    6. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    7. Beat in vanilla and zest.
    8. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until incorporated.
    9. Pour batter over berries in pan; smooth top. 
    10. Bake until cake is golden brown and cake bounces back when pressed gently with fingertip, about 1 hour 25 minutes for a 9" pan and about 1 hour for a 10" pan.
    11. Let cool in pan set on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of the pan to loosen.
    12. Remove pan sides. Invert cake onto rack and remove pan bottom; peel off parchment.
    13. Dust top generously with powdered sugar* and extra berries and let cool completely.
  • *Do this just before serving or it will dissolve into the cake and no one will see how pretty it is- because that's what really matters, after all.

      
    The topping method I prefer: Icing option
    Instead of dusting the cake with powder sugar you can give it a quick icing instead!

    1. Mix 1 tablespoons of orange juice with 1/4 cup of powder sugar in a Ziploc bag.
    2. Use your hands to mix the juice and sugar to form icing into a smooth consistency (watch out for lumps!)
    3. Add more sugar or orange juice as needed to get the consistency you desire. Chill icing.
    4. Right before serving cake arrange extra berries on top and snip corner of icing bag. Drizzle icing on cake in a cross hatch pattern. 

    Super cheat option if you're super lazy (or in a hurry!):
    Swap out the dry ingredients for this boxed cake mix (make sure it is the butter recipe!). Bake for 50 minutes.

    
    
    
    Blackberry, Buttermilk, cake, Thursday's treat, dessert, sweets, cake
    Icing option- my favorite!
      

    I'm really looking forward to making this again in the summer! And I want to try it with other berries.

    
    
    
    Blackberry, Buttermilk, cake, Thursday's treat, dessert, sweets, cake
    This photo was also stolen from Anna L.
      
    ~Charlotte

    Monday, March 25, 2013

    Everyday Luxe

    This is going to be a series (maybe?) of objects you need everyday... or every other day... but not the classic just bought it at a box store version. I'm talking holy-crap that is as much as my rent versions.

    To start it off: Rain Boots.

    
    Hunter rain boots, Hunter wellies, rain boots, classic rain boots
    Tour Hunter Boots, $135 at Nordstrom
    

    Why rain boots? Because I love rain boots. And I grew up in Seattle where they were a necessity, and then at Smith where they were a status symbol of sorts.

    At Smith the rich/bitchy/cool/stylish girls all rocked a version of the timeless Hunter Wellies.


    
    Hunter rain boots, Hunter wellies, rain boots, classic rain boots
    Original High Gloss Hunter Boots, $135 at Nordstrom
    


    While nearly everyone else rocked some cheap target version like so:


    I will disown you as a friend if you wear these around me. Target cheetah boots, $15 on clearance (for a reason)



    I bought a pair of Hunter's when I was at Smith, but I found the fit uncomfortable. While the boots fit my small foot (size 5.5 - 6) it was suffocating my calves. I couldn't easily remove the boot due to a suction mechanism. I literally had to have my neighbor come over to help pull them off. Needless to say they were quickly returned to Nordstrom for an exchange. And due to some weird return error I never got the exchange but a straight refund. I took that as a sign that Hunter boots were not for me.

    But even the pricey, Hunter wellies can't stand up to the ones I'm drooling over.

    Readers, meet Le Chameau's Chasseur.

    
    Le Chameau rain boots, Le Chameau wellies, rain boots, classic rain boots
    Le Chameau Chasseur boots, $490 at Orvis.
    

    For a measly $490 you could be rocking the same rain boots as the queen and Kate Middleton.



    Le Chameau rain boots, Le Chameau wellies, rain boots, classic rain boots, Kate Middleton

     I'm not kidding, she basically lives in them.

    Le Chameau rain boots, Le Chameau wellies, rain boots, classic rain boots, Kate Middleton

     So does Prince Harry.

    Le Chameau rain boots, Le Chameau wellies, rain boots, classic rain boots, Kate Middleton


    Why nearly $500 for a pair of boots? Because they work, and they are made to last. I've read reviews about people having them for nearly 10 years. My rain boots barely make it past 1 or 2 years before they crack right around the toes and flood my feet.

    The Chasseur boots is leather lined, so your feet don't get that sweaty clammy feeling (awesome), and they've been made the same way (by hand) since 1927 (if it's not broken, don't fix it), and it takes 9 months of intense training to become a Le Chameau boot maker (basically they are experts).

    Each pair is handmade by a single boot maker from start to finish from natural rubber. They slip on and off easily (no suction problems, here!) due to their full length gusseted zipper aka you never have to wrangle your skinny jeans inside a pair of rain boots again!


    If the royal family, living in the rainy UK, can teach us anything- it's what rain boots to buy. These people can afford the finest the world has to offer and they choose Le Chameau.

    Where to buy? The site I trust most with a purchase like this is going to be Orvis. You can find the boots here.

    Love, Charlotte

    Photos of products sourced from links. Photos of Prince Harry/Kate Middleton stolen from the interwebs.

    PS of course in all the photos I grabbed, Kate is wearing the Vierzon version found here.

    Friday, March 22, 2013

    Wizard of Awe-some

    The other day I was poking around one of my favorite style sites, Refinery29, and came across this slideshow:

    "Cult Parisian label American Retro has joined forces with Russian designer Alexander Terekhov to create a capsule collection inspired by…the yellow brick road. Well, Disney’s Oz: The Great And The Powerful, to be more precise."

     
    While I guess I see how it ties into the new Oz movie (whichIreallywanttoseeifyouarereadingthisGrant) mostly I was just struck by how much I wanted the clothes (as per usual).


    Get it? It's kinda like Dorothy's gingham dress. A very modernized version of the blue and white icon.


    Kaleidoscope of colors much? Kinda like the Over The Rainbow color overkill of Munchkin Land.



    Seriously, I want this skirt.


    Not quite sure about this one... I'm guessing it's Dorothy's trip back to Kansas where life just isn't as colorful (but still pretty)?

    You can see the slidehow for yourself here: American Retro Capsule


    All images are obviously from above mentioned slide show.


    Love, Charlotte

    PS- How perfect is the model, Miroslava Duma?!?!?!?

    Update: I saw the movie and it was fantatic (thanks, Grant!). You know when you are going to love a movie just by the title ssequence? That was Oz the Great and Powerful.

    Wednesday, March 20, 2013

    Brooks Brothers x Kiel James Patrick

    Spring has sprung, and it is in the shape of this amazing new collaboration between one of my favorite stylemakers, Kiel James Patrick, and the ever-classic Brooks Brothers.

    The joint products went on sale today through Brooks Brothers online.

    Pieces I want to add to my shopping cart:

    Lanyard Hitch Cord Bracelet

    Mini BB#1 Stripe Wrap Bracelet

    Mini BB#1 Vickers Bow Bracelet


    You'll notice price differences between the Brooks Brothers site and the KJP one.

    The Lanyard Hitch Card Bracelet is $48 on BB, but only $40 on KJP. The cord colors are slightly different, and the anchor is embossed with Brooks Brothers, which may justify the +$8 in my opinion.

    The big win is the Vickers Bow Bracelets, which are $48 on BB, and $58 on KJP.

    I also noted that shipping from BB is going to be around $11, whereas it is free on KJP.

    In the end, I think my favorite piece is the Stripe Wrap Blacelet, as it is exclusive to the BB collab.

    Plus, I can totally rock any of these styles on a hike... 'cause that's important in Denver and all...

    ~Charlotte

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    Exciting News

    As I start this new blogging adventure I wanted to add a partner in crime style.

    And thus I have asked my roommate, THE Caroline Brown, to help contribute to this here new blog.

    The title is fitting for us both, as we both moved out West to Denver from our recent headquarters.

    While I am a native Seattlelite, the last 6 years I sepnt living in classic New England, absorbing all things WASP, trad, and Ivy League.

    Caroline, a midwest lady, has bounced from Michigan to Indiana (with a brief stint in California) to Denver.

    This will be our attempt to be stylish (and rep the prep) in a town filled with people permanently in hiking boots. No really- everyone wears them - even with business suits.

    Mostly it will be us having fun and making fun of fashion victims.

    Expect more snark, better photos, and more regular posts.

    Love,

    Charlotte

    Friday, March 15, 2013

    Prep Goes West

    Since I've moved to Denver I've been trying to stay my preppy self, while also blending into my new environment.

    Essentially this blog will be me trying to reconcile being preppy and rugged in the mountains.


    And no one will read it, she wrote.