Monday, March 19, 2012

The Fleur Wrap and Marmalade Tea Cake

I have to admit that fancy occasions are always a little awkward for me because I don't enjoy getting dressed up and never know what to wear.  Luckily for me I've discovered that wearing a fancy wrap is an easy way to be warm and comfortable and yet appear suitably festive.  And for warmth and wow there is nothing that compares to a mohair lace shawl and, for that type of shawl, I love Heirloom Knitting designs.

The shawl I am wearing is The Fleur Wrap from Heirloom Knitting and the dress was chosen for me by Steve.  That's right, Steve.  He will look through the dress racks to pick just the right one.  And he will periodically announce that we need to have a night on the town.  Really?  Must we??  I do resist an evening out.  I'm a homebody and prefer relaxing at home in a pair of jeans with a glass of wine.  But society and relationships require some conformity and how can I resist when he chooses the dress and makes all the arrangements.  And, truthfully, I always enjoy an evening out.

I also think this shawl is versatile enough to be worn in a less dressy way.   I just haven't figured out how yet.

Particulars:  The Fleur Wrap by Heirloom Knitting (designed by Sharon Miller); 3 skeins Colinette Parisienne; US 8 circular needles.  This was an enjoyable knit and I'm very happy with the finished wrap.   My only modification was to substitute Colinette's Parisienne for Rowan's Kidsilk Haze.  Other Sharon Miller designs that I've Knit are the Birch Shawl; Dove Shawl; and the Cora Shawl (a Shetland hap shawl).

Marmalade Tea Cake ~

To be considered a tea cake I think the cake needs to have more substance than the typical American fluffy white cake that I associate with a birthday cake.  Almost a European cake style.  I love this Marmalade cake because it has the heavier texture while still being lighter than, say, a fruitcake.  This cake is a favorite of mine and a staple with my afternoon tea.  It is wonderful served with a black tea (I prefer Taylors of Harrogate's Yorkshire Gold) and I hope you enjoy it.

Marmalade Tea Cake (recipe adapted from The Baking Book):

3/4 Cup unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons extra fine white sugar
3 extra large eggs
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, scant (i.e. scant = 2 and 3/8ths teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt, scant
7 tablespoons Seville orange marmalade, gently warmed (check to see that Seville oranges were used on the label.  Regular oranges make too sweet a marmalade for this cake).  I use a marmalade made by James Keiller & Son's, Dundee, sold by Trader Joe's.
2 tablespoons whole milk.

1 Cup confectioner sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons whole milk

1.  Butter and flour (or use parchment paper to line) an 8 inch round cake pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
3.  Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.  Gently fold flour mixture into the butter mixture using a wooden spoon.  When thoroughly combined add half the warmed marmalade (approximately 3 1/2 tablespoons) and add both tablespoons of milk to the batter and fold to combine.
4.  Pour batter into cake pan and level with a knife.  Bake cake approximately 45-50 minutes or until a cake tester comes away clean.
5.  Turn cake out onto a wire rack and while still warm brush with the remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons warm marmalade.  I like to place a sheet of wax paper beneath the cake to catch any marmalade that drips off.  Allow to cool completely.
6.  Prepare icing by whisking the confectioners sugar with the milk.  I like to pour this mixture into a small plastic bag (i.e. a sandwich baggie) and cut away a small corner of the bag to drizzle the icing over the cake.  Allow  icing to set, about 1 hour.

This cake would be delightful enjoyed in the afternoon at a tea party wearing, say, a lovely shawl.

Until next time, be well and love well and enjoy the occasions in life that take you out of your normal routine whether that is seeing a live show, enjoying a fancy dinner out, or listening to jazz music in a club.  You might find that you enjoy it more than you expect.


gMarie said...

Wow! You look fabulous. Can I borrow Steve to pick out a dress? We are going to see Mamma Mia on Saturday night. And the shawl - stunning. I believe that's a cake I could actually make. g

Tracy said...

WOW...look at you, Claudia! LOVE the dress--tres sexy! And I love the Steve chose it for you! Let him choose... Let him set up the evenings out. ;o) He's a good sport. And very good with color too, it seems. For that green color for the dress and the shawl is exquisite! The shawl is an heirloom...what a fabulous pattern and shape. I hope you'll find more occasions for using this. And thank you for the cake recipe--yum! If I eat that though, I won't be able to fit into that dress. ;o) Happy Spring, my friend ((HUGS))

Monika said...

That dress is AWESOME! You looks wonderful in it, and the wrap is just the icing on the cake! Steve has good taste. :o)
The cake sounds lovely. Too bad I'm not eating cake etc any more.

SissySees said...

Breath-taking! I love that wrap and your green dress. Beautiful...

Marmalade reminds me of my maternal grandmother. I might have to make that cake very soon in her memory.

Jules said...

You look fabulous! Tell Steve he can pick out dresses for me any time! I'm also a homebody. Once I make plans to go out, I would much rather be home, but then I usually end up having a good time. The shawl is so pretty and really adds something to the whole outfit, if that's possible since you look so great already. And the cake! Wonderful post all around.

Renee said...

Steve has the very best taste in dresses and in particular women!

Such a beautiful knit and green looks so good on you, Claudia. Everytime you post a new shawl I think it's the nicest you've ever knit and my favourite - yet again it is and you have. :-)

Rachel said...

Wow -- you may be more comfortable in a pair of jeans but you certainly pull this look off very well! The shawl is beautiful by itself but paired with this ensemble, it is downright stunning. Well done!

Allie said...

STUNNING, Claudia! Love the shawl and the dress, Steve has good taste. Thanks for the recipe!!

Hilary said...

Claudia, I don't often use the acronym "OMG", but seriously...OMG, how fabulous do you look?! That dress is STUNNING and your gorgeous wrap is just perfect with it! And I love how the wrap adds something so "you" -- it's beautiful, of course, but also adds a unique element, something no one else will be wearing. I'd want to go out every night if I could wear that ensemble!

Andi said...

Oh Claudia...of course Steve is going to want to take you out..look at you! :)
That shawl is just beautiful. Perfect way to dress up an outfit.
Thank you for the recipe, it looks delish!

missyinedmonds said...

Claudia, you are stunning in the dress and shawl. Steve has great taste :D
Where did you end up going for your night out on the town if you don't mind sharing.


You are absolutely stunning in that wrap!!!

Kristen Rettig said...

Wow, you look beautiful. I love that dress on you, Steve has great taste. The color of the shawl and dress is stunning. The shawl is gorgeous, I hope you were able to throw it in the evening's conversation that you MADE it!

Lap Dog Knits said... very pretty.
you look amazing.
Thanks for sharing the cake recipe...I'll make it for my Steve:-)

Anonymous said...

Funnily enough, I did just listen to jazz in a club. But not while wearing a dress picked out by my husband. (Although he'd probably be quite capable.) In fact, we practically wore jeans ): Steve sounds like the ultimate romantic. More men should be that way. The dress, the shawl and the marmalade cake -- what a great, sparkling post, Claudia.


Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

Thank you all for your very sweet and supportive comments. As I've gotten older it's harder to be "enthusiastic" about having my picture taken. But I do think the modeled pictures best show how a knit garment fits and can be worn so I like to do that. It's also nice to hear many of you enjoy going out and, Chloe, I'm not at all surprised to hear that a jazz club is your cup of tea :)

Ally Jay said...

You are so beautiful and the shawl just looks stunning. I love the colour

Amanda said...

Stunning - you, the dress, and the shawl! There's no way I could trust Dave to choose a dress for me. Well done Steve!

Lindsey said...

I came across MrPuffy blog and you Claudia by clicking on the Crashing Waves projects on ravelry.

I already had Seville Orange Marmalade in my pantry from the Farmers' Market here in Adelaide, Australia.

So now I am eating the most wonderful cake, warm from the oven, with a cuppa. This cake's crispy edges are so divine in the way that only butter can achieve.

Recipe mods: Mixed in my Thermomix, used Gluten Free White Wings brand flour (and a bit of xantham gum, Bundt pan, Fan-forced oven temp 160 C.

see photo of my cake and rooibos tea cup on my ravelry project page for tgv shawl, "LindseyAdelaideOZ"

betty said...

You look lovely in your dress and shawl!

I think you're the only woman I know who has a husband who can select clothing for her. That's pretty darn impressive.