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How to Style: Embracing the Velvet Vibes

One of the biggest trends to be seen in home decor this Autumn is velvet. As home lovers, we are all loving the return of this luxurious material and it’s clear why. Versatile and stylish, velvet can create an air of sophistication and decadence, or can add a warming, homely feel to any room in your home.

And whether it’s adding more to your collection or introducing it to your home for the first time, we are here to help you fully embrace this fabulous Autumn trend.

Styling velvet with your current decor

Mixing up your decor doesn’t have to mean completely revamping your style. The same goes for adding in velvet. You’d be surprised how easily velvet could fit in with your existing decor.

Start small

If you’re unsure of whether it will work, try gradually introducing velvet items into your home a little bit at a time. Start with cushions on the sofa or a small ottoman in your bedroom, to add a touch of velvet and extra storage like @glitter_gee.

Natural materials

Its soft feel and plush texture make velvet ideal for adding to rooms where you have hard and natural materials such as marble, wood or ceramics. Particularly where you have wooden flooring or leather furniture, velvet can bring a more warming and cosy feel to add contrast and depth to your room.

@simonenorm (left) and @tosiaupcyclinghomelondon have both done a great job of adding softness to the natural wood surfaces

High gloss furniture

Although velvet itself has a luscious sheen finish, it works really well with high gloss pieces. Velvet is much more muted and offers a great contrast when paired with glossy, highly reflective furniture such as glass topped tables.

@carmie121 has really made our Ferne velvet chairs a feature in their high gloss kitchen

Velvet on velvet, right or wrong?

There is no right or wrong when it comes to home decor. Your home should reflect you, your personality and your style.

You may love the lavish, opulent feel that comes with velvet and you may opt for large velvet pieces such as bedsteads and sofas and then top them with velvet cushions and accessories. However, be careful. Lots and lots of any one texture can take depth and variety out of a room. Mixing textures will bring more life to your home.

For example, mix velvet with super smooth or hard materials, furs or other contrasting textures to really make your velvet pieces pop.

@ahouseahome_interiors (left) and @lindy_at_home (right) have perfectly combined a mix of textures through tassels, faux fur and sheepskin to get contrast and depth.

Top Tip

The key to getting that perfect balance of elegance and high end feel with a homely, comforting finish is with statement pieces. Too much velvet can over power your room and be too “samey”.

Some of our favourites

Classic and timeless:

The perfect accent pieces:

Make a statement:

Be bold and different:

Art Deco touch:

Shop the look and find what works for you:

 

The New Joe Wicks Cookware Collection

We are excited to announce the launch of Joe Wicks’ new cookware collection, including one fantastic product that is new and exclusive to Dunelm.

Developed with Joe Wicks himself, this new cookware collection offers lots of tools to get you more involved in cooking and get more enjoyment from your time in the kitchen.

Meet Joe Wicks 

Also known as ‘The Body Coach’, Joe Wicks is passionate about healthy eating and exercise. His impressive knowledge of the two, combined with an infectious enthusiasm; quickly gained him a huge following online and helped him become a best-selling author. He is the only author to ever have 3 number 1 non-fiction books within the same year!

As a social media star and the man behind Lean in 15 and The 90 Day Plan, Joe Wicks’ message is ‘’to inspire, revolutionize and improve the nation’s lifestyle through healthy eating and exercise’’. With this in mind, he is now making it even easier to cook quick, healthy meals and ‘Prep like a Boss’ with his new cookware range. Filled with simple, fun and practical kitchenware, the range is suitable for absolutely everyone, whether you’re a first time cook or you have years of experience.  

Exclusive to Dunelm: Multi-pan with steamer

Brand new and exclusive to Dunelm, this 2 in 1 multi-pan with steamer is getting everyone excited!

A versatile kitchen must have that is also stackable for easy storage, it includes an aluminum steamer that is designed to fit neatly on top of the largest pan, and can be used to steam vegetables, fish or potatoes. Made from quality heavy gauge aluminum to conduct heat quickly and efficiently, the pans also have a non-stick coating for excellent food release with little or no oil, and easier cleaning.

Not just great to cook with, the pans look stylish too, with matte effect exteriors and colourful, rubberized handles that give a pop of colour while providing a comfortable slip-free grip.

 

Ovenware

We all enjoy a sweet treat now and then, so Joe’s ovenware range includes a 6-cup breakfast muffin tin, a loaf tin, an oven tray, and tray bake tins to cover all your baking needs.

To help your bakes go smoothly, the baking surfaces are coated with Aerolift non-stick technology which uses a unique honeycomb surface, cleverly designed to provide quicker heating, easy release and a golden-baked finish. It’s all too easy for a baking tray to slip out of your hands when you’re gripping with an oven mitt, so for easy and safe carrying to and from the oven, our Joe Wicks baking trays feature extra-wide handles.

 

 

Utensils & Chopping Boards 

Joe’s utensil range includes a solid spoon, solid turner, slotted spoon, pasta fork and whisks, all of which are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning after use. So far, so normal, right? Wrong! These utensils have a clear notched design so they can be rested on the side of your pans during cooking, helping to keep your worktop clean and drip free. It’s a small but smart feature you’ll wonder how you managed before. Designed with non-scratch nylon heads, these sturdy tools are also gentle enough to use with non-stick items.

The collection also includes a chopping board that can adapt to all your preparation needs, featuring a silicone tray for quick and easy separation of food and waste, to cleaning up quick and easy.

Our exclusive Joe Wicks collection is available both online and in store now.

Make Your Own Jams and Preserves

Whether it is the humble jam sandwich or a traditional cream tea, having the right jam is key.

And what better way to serve up the classics than with some fresh, homemade preserves?

We’ve put all our tips and tricks in one handy place to tell you everything you need to know to kick start your jam and preserve making season.

The equipment

Our Kilner collection is perfect for supplying you with everything you need:

The recipe

If it’s your first time making jam, it seems only right that you begin with the classic – strawberries.

Our simple strawberry jam recipe is perfect to help you keep the flavours of the summer lasting long after the season is over.

Sterilising and sealing your jars

A key part of the process is sterilising and sealing your jars to ensure their contents stays as fresh as possible.

Follow these straightforward Kilner instructions to help you get it right.

Experiment with flavours

If strawberries aren’t your thing, try something else.

You could try combining different berries, mixing up citrus flavours or using your own homemade or local produce.

Just get creative and test out what fruits work well together. You never know, you might discover a new family favourite.

Top Tips:

Whatever flavours you go for, it’s useful to remember the following:

  • You need equal amounts of fruit and sugar.
  • 1kg of fruit with 1kg of sugar makes roughly 4 jars of jam.
  • Add lemon juice – this will help prevent the growth of bacteria and help your preserves set.

The Ultimate Kids’ Entertainment Guide

With the long summer break finally on the horizon, we have brought together our ultimate list of top tips and fun activities to keep the kids entertained throughout the 6 weeks of holiday.

Have fun in the sun

This summer we’re keeping our fingers crossed for plenty of hot, sunny weather so we can enjoy the outside with friends and family. Invest in our outdoor games for endless enjoyment, and you’ll be able to sit back and relax while the kids make their own fun.

A great way to get the whole family together is with a picnic.

 

 

And when it’s not so sunny

But if the weather isn’t on your side, why not have an indoor picnic, or build a cosy hideout with our tepee tutorial.

Craft activities and baking are another great way to keep the youngsters entertained; try these tasty cookies, enjoy a refreshing and healthy ice lolly or create fun and fluffy pom pom garlands.

It’s a whole 42 days to entertain your little ones so you’re likely to need a tonne of ideas. Try something new every day with our 42 tips.

 

And ALWAYS keep your cool

Battling with little ones to get them to sleep is hard enough in the summer with the evenings staying lighter for longer, and in the heat, it is made ten times worse. Blackout curtains, low tog bedding and plenty of water are key! Follow our top tips for keeping and sleeping cool to keep your little ones fully relaxed and rested.

6 Ace Ways to Enjoy British Strawberries during Wimbledon

At this time of year, Wimbledon hits our screens and one thing us Brits just can’t get enough of is strawberries. Juicy and delicious, British strawberries are ideal for bringing to any summer party or Wimbledon gathering. These top tips are here to give you some great inspiration to really make the most of this year’s strawberry season.

Go Classic

Strawberries and cream truly is a British summer staple and Wimbledon just wouldn’t be the same without it.

Cool it down

Bringing a similar approach to a classic, strawberries and ice cream is a great alternative to keep you cool and your tummy satisfied.

Grown up refreshments

Holding a Wimbledon party? Strawberries are ideal for popping in a glass of cold Prosecco or for adding the finishing touches to a glass of Pimms.

The Afternoon Tea

Whether you do it the Devonshire way or the Cornish way, scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam just wouldn’t be complete without some fresh strawberries on the side. You could even try serving up your own homemade strawberry jam.

Re-hydration with a fruity twist

Watching the professionals running about during Wimbledon is thirsty work! But drinking plain water all summer can be boring. Try adding cut up strawberries to your water for a more interesting and subtly sweet flavour. You could also mix in other fruits too such as lemon, lime or orange for a really refreshing finish.

Strawberry Cupcakes

Filled with strawberry pieces and finished with thick frosting topped with a fresh strawberry, our summer cupcake recipe is perfect for adding extra treats to your afternoon tea and great for using up any leftover strawberries.

Everything you need to serve your strawberries in style > 

Homemade Tomato Chutney by Kilner®

Add a deliciously fresh, homemade touch to your summer BBQ with this tomato chutney recipe from Kilner.

Great for adding to your homemade burgers, this chutney is a perfect healthy and sophisticated alternative to ketchup.

Ingredients:

  • 500g of cherry tomatoes (small, ripe and peeled)
  • 500g preserving sugar
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • Peel of 1 lemon

Method

Prepare your jars

Your jars need to be sterilised and warm before you fill them. We recommend the water bath method:

  1. Before you start, check your jars thoroughly for any damage such as cracks, breaks or chips. If any of your jars are damaged in any way, do not use them.
  2. Remove the lids or rubber seals from your jars and put them to one side.
  3. Place your jars into a large pan and fill the pan with cold water until the jars are fully covered.
  4. Bring the pan of water to the boil and keep at the maximum temperature for 10 minutes.
  5. Take off the heat and cover the pan to keep your jars warm until you are ready to fill them.
  6. Place he jar lids or rubber seals in a separate small pan and fill with water until they are covered.
  7. Again, bring the pan to the boil for 10 minutes before taking off the heat and covering with a lid.

Top Tip: Once your chutney is ready, protect your hands by using jar tongs or strong rubber gloves to remove the jars from the water.

Make the chutney

  1. To remove the skin from your cherry tomatoes, place the tomatoes in a pan of boiling water for around 25-30 seconds. Remove carefully with a slotted spoon then begin peeling the skin off the tomatoes. Place your peeled tomatoes in a pan.
  2. Crush the tomatoes with a potato masher then add the preserving sugar, cinnamon stick and lemon peel.
  3. Bring to the boil and simmer for 6 minutes. Use a potato masher to keep breaking up the tomatoes.
  4. Remove the lemon peel and cinnamon stick with a slotted spoon or tongs, then continue to mash the tomato mixture until the tomatoes are thick and gooey.
  5. Return to simmer for 6 minutes.
  6. Stir your chutney well before pouring it into the warm sterilised jars. Make sure to leave about 1cm space between the lid and seal.

Top Tips:

  • Prevent mess by using a funnel and ladle to fill your jars.
  • Once each jar is filled, use a non-metallic spatula to remove any air bubbles by running it around the inside of the jar (between the chutney and the jar).
  • For best results you need to close your jars whilst the contents are still hot, this will help to form an air tight seal to help your chutney last longer.

Store in a cool dark place for up to 12 months. Once opened, refrigerate and consume within one month.

Visit our Kilner collection to buy everything you need:

Light Bite Menu Inspired By Summer

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As keen foodies and aspiring cooks we’re excited for the annual return of The Good Food Show in Birmingham’s NEC. Taking place between 14th – 17th June 2018 it’s the biggest summer food festival to hit the Midlands and is always packed full of Pimms, picnics, seasonal produce and ideas for al fresco entertaining. The festival also welcomes the UK’s top chefs to cook recipes live on the numerous stages across the show, which always gets our inspiration flowing.

If you can’t make it to The Good Food Show don’t worry. We have some mouthwatering light bites recipes inspired by the show and the lovely weather, that you can easily make at home.

Follow our fresh summer recipes and create your own light bites 3 course meal, perfect for sharing with family and friends.

You will need:

  • Griddle pan
  • Chopping knives
  • Small bowls
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Wooden spoon
  • Tongs
  • Large salad bowl
  • Viners salad servers
  • Baking tray
  • Mason Cash mixing bowl
  • Fork
  • Rolling pin
  • Greaseproof Paper
  • Mason Cash Baker’s Authority Quiche Dish
  • Frying pan
  • Four Kilner jars (depending on how many you’re feeding)
  • Kilner Drink’s dispenser
  • Ice cubes

View our outdoor dining collection online now.

Starter With Viners – Grilled Halloumi & Nectarine Salad

Perfect for a warm summer’s afternoon, this salad brings together the fresh crunch of salad leaves and peppers with fruity nectarine and salty halloumi.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 225g halloumi
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch salt & pepper
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 bag mixed salad
  • 1 nectarine
  • 1 red pepper
  • 150g asparagus

Method

  1. Place a griddle pan on a high heat.
  2. Cut the asparagus tips in half and cut the halloumi into 0.5cm slices.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the oil with the salt and pepper. Drop the asparagus tips in to the bowl and toss until the asparagus is evenly coated.
  4. Add the asparagus and the halloumi to the griddle pan, turning regularly, until the asparagus has softened and the halloumi turns golden (approximately 2-3 minutes)
  5. With a vegetable peeler, peel the courgette into long strips and place into the small bowl with your oil dressing. Stir to coat and then add the strips to the griddle pan. Griddle marks should appear in approximately 30-60 seconds.
  6. Remove the halloumi, asparagus and courgette strips from the griddle pan.
  7. Slice the red pepper into strips. Remove the stone from your nectarine then slice this too. Add both to a large bowl with your mixed salad leaves.
  8. Add the halloumi, asparagus and courgette to your salad bowl and toss all the ingredients together.

Top Top: Place your salad in the centre of the table with a pair of Viners Studio Salad Servers so your guests can help themselves.

Main Course With Mason Cash – Tomato, Spinach & Mozzarella Quiche

Perfect for serving hot or cold, quiche comes in many varieties and flavours and is particularly great as finger food at parties or picnics. Add as many fillings as you like to suit your taste buds!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  •  5 eggs
  • ½ pint whole milk
  • 60ml double cream
  • ¼ teaspoon basil
  • 45g baby spinach
  • 10 inch pastry base
  • 100g chopped mozzarella
  • 2 large tomatoes

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
  2. Prepare the tomatoes by slicing into ¼ inch thick slices and arrange onto a baking tray. Dress with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the basil on top. Put the tray in the oven and leave them to roast for around 10-12 minutes.
  3. In a mixing bowl beat the cream, eggs, milk, salt and pepper for 2 minutes until the eggs are light and fluffy.
  4. Roll out your pastry and line it in a greased oven proof dish, trimming off the excess pastry edges.
  5. Blind bake the pastry by lining the case with a greaseproof sheet and filling with baking beans. Bake for 15-20 minutes until browned.
  6. Lower the heat of the oven to 190°C/375°F. Lightly coat a frying pan with olive oil and add the spinach, stirring regularly until wilted.
  7. Remove the spinach from the pan and arrange within the pastry case along with the prepared tomatoes and the chopped mozzarella.
  8. Pour in the beaten eggs mixture and fill to the top without letting it spill over the edges. Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes until firm and browned.
  9. Let the quiche cool and rest, then serve with a light salad.

New Potato Salad

Fill out your salads or main dishes with a hearty potato salad. Filling but still light, and perfect to serve cold, it is a great accompanying dish for your light summer bites.

Ingredients

  • 500g charlotte potatoes
  • 3 spring onions
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dressing

  • ¼ tsp mustard powder
  • 150g fat free natural yogurt
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh chives

Method

  1. Put the potatoes in a saucepan of lightly salted water over a high heat. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain and cool under cold running water, then drain again. Cut into bite-sized chunks.
  2. Meanwhile, put all the dressing ingredients and 1 tablespoon of water into a jam jar. Screw the lid on tightly and shake to mix well.

Put the potatoes in a serving dish and pour over the dressing. Add the spring onions, season to taste and mix well to serve.

Summer Salad Top Tips 

  • Experiment with fruits: Be adventurous and add a handful of berries or a diced apple to completely transform an otherwise ordinary bowl of leafy greens into something you can’t wait to dig into!
  • Pair your fruit filled salad with toasted nuts: This brings an interesting savoury flavour and also adds an extra crunch to make your salad more exciting for your taste buds.
  • Pour over a little lemon juice or pineapple juice: Transform basic leafy greens into an exciting bowl of flavour with a squeeze of citrus. The acid from the lemon will also keep your salad from wilting so it lasts that little bit longer!
  • Make sure to season well: Salt and pepper are great as a basic seasoning, but a few sprigs of mixed fresh herbs such as basil, flat-leaf parsley or mint can also completely change the taste of your salad!

Dessert With Kilner – Eton Mess

Eton Mess is a traditional English dessert consisting of strawberries (or raspberries in this case), broken meringue and whipped double cream. This one is perfect for nervous meringue makers – because the meringues are broken up, it doesn’t matter if they weep, crack or collapse! A fabulous, effortless and summer flavour filled dessert that looks amazing as a large centre piece, or smaller individual portions.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 3 meringue nests
  • 6oz raspberries
  • 300ml crème fraiche or whipped double cream

Feel free to add any other berries you love to make for an even fruitier dessert.

Method

  1. Divide the crème fraiche or whipped cream evenly among four mason jars.
  2. Top with a layer of raspberries.
  3. Break up the meringues and crumble over the top.
  4. Close the lids and secure the clips. Chill in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Top Tip: Add small tags or labels and tie on with a ribbon for a unique finishing touch.

Drinks With Kilner – Orange Kick Punch

Perfect to keep you hydrated whilst entertaining your guests and basking in the glorious sunshine, this orange kick punch is a fabulous summer drink to make you feel as if you are at a festival! A lovely fresh alternative to heavy beer or wine, this punch is filled with flavour so you won’t feel like you’re missing out.

Ingredients (for 5 litres)

  • 2 litres orange juice
  • 2 litres ginger ale
  • 300g oranges
  • 1 pineapple (peeled and chopped into chunks)
  • 1kg bag of ice cubes

Ingredients (for 8 litres)

  • 5 litres orange juice
  • 5 litres ginger ale
  • 600g oranges
  • 2 pineapples (peeled and chopped into chunks)
  • 1kg bag of ice cubes

Method

  1. Slice the oranges, peel and chop the pineapple into chunks, and add to a punch bowl or drinks dispenser.
  2. Pour in the orange juice and ginger ale and stir.
  3. Add ice until your bowl or dispenser is full.
  4. Display out of direct sunlight, and enjoy at your leisure.

Top Tip: Make this recipe alcoholic by substituting the ginger ale for alcoholic ginger beer

If you have been lucky enough to bag yourselves tickets to The Good Food Show we hope you have a wonderful time and eat lots of delicious food made by the experts. Or if instead you are spending time with family and friends in the garden, going on a picnic or simply taking it easy in front of the TV, we hope you have a relaxing time and enjoy trying our light bite recipes.

View our outdoor dining collection online now >

Introducing the Exclusive Dunelm MissPrint Collaboration

Dunelm is excited to announce the launch of their exclusive partnership with independent design company MissPrint.

The new collaboration will bring a range of beautiful and unique patterned fabrics and PVC to Dunelm stores and online at Dunelm.com.

Shop the Collection >

Who are MissPrint?

Founded in 2005 by mother and daughter team, Yvonne and Rebecca Drury, MissPrint creates fun, colourful graphic designs inspired by nature with a hint of Scandinavian influence. Now joined by Yvonne’s husband Lee and daughter Sophie, MissPrint is truly a family business.

MissPrint developed organically after printing patterns and illustrations onto silk and making lamp shades. In the early days, this was often done on the dining room table! Every pattern created, started its life as a page in a sketch book hand drawn by Rebecca, making the whole range unique.

Commenting on the partnership, Yvonne Drury, co-founder of MissPrint, said: “We’re thrilled to collaborate with Dunelm on a collection of contemporary and Scandinavian-style fabrics, featuring the most iconic designs all in the signature MissPrint ‘handwriting’ and fresh colour palette.”

The Dunelm Collection

The new and exclusive collabration between MissPrint and Dunelm comprises of seven designs showcasing MissPrint’s unique interpretation of nature, Scandinavian style and Mid-Century influences to create fun, contemporary and colourful styles.

Available by the metre for reserve and collect, the range includes 10 cotton and 5 PVC fabrics offering all the material you will need for your home craft and sewing projects. In addition to our 15 ‘by the metre’ designs, our bespoke in store Made To Measure service includes five extra fabrics to give you even more choice in creating exclusive, custom made contemporary curtains, cushions and roman blinds.

Fiona Lambert, Dunelm’s Product Direct said: “At Dunelm, we love collaborating with independent designers as it enables us to offer our customers a wider choice of high quality, stylish products at Dunelm’s great value prices. MissPrint create beautiful, distinctive designs and I am very excited to be launching their range in store and online.”

The Fabrics

Commenting on the inspiration behind the collection, Rebecca Drury, co-founder of MissPrint, said: “The new collection brings together our classic and much-loved designs; it’s a true celebration of MissPrint. The environment, wild flowers and plants form the main inspiration behind the collection. We’ve interpreted nature in an array of different forms.”

This can be seen through every design within the collection.

Little Trees

Patterned with intricate, whimsical illustrations of small line-drawn trees, this pattern evolved from simple pen studies in a sketchbook. Within each pattern repeat, each tree is unique creating natural texture.

Fern

The Fern design features delicately illustrated Maidenhair fern foliage with each leaf decorated with fine line work and dots.

Saplings

Drawn into a seamlessly repeating pattern, this design features small new grown leaves on a two tone palette that perfectly complements the simplicity of the illustration.

Dandelion Mobile

Stylised abstract illustrations of dandelion plants held together with thin linear lines, delicately hang like a mobile.

Allsorts

A fun design that features abstract organic shapes in MissPrint’s distinct illustration style celebrating nature’s shapes and textures.

Ditto

An energetic and dynamic pattern using repeating triangles, Ditto takes its inspiration from modernist styles using clean lines and simple shapes.

Denver

Inspired by the high plains and grasslands of the mountain states, this climbing plant pattern is available exclusively through our bespoke Made to Measure curtains, blinds and accessories service.

The MissPrint fo Dunelm Collection is available in store and online now. Reserve and collect at Dunelm.com or visit your nearest store to see them for yourself.

The Royal Wedding Cake by Tala

With the wedding season in full swing, the excitement is beginning to mount around the upcoming Royal Wedding. Whilst we wait with our breath bated for the reveal of the dress, the flowers and what will surely be magnificent decorations, one thing that has already been announced is the cake. Rumoured to be flavoured with organic lemon and elderflower and decorated with delicious buttercream and fresh flowers, the Royal Wedding cake could be the start of this year’s Spring Summer wedding trend.

Follow these simple steps to create your own stunning cake fit for a princess and ideal for a centre piece at a summer gathering or a Royal Wedding party!

Equipment

  • One Table top mixer or a mixing bowl and an electric whisk/wooden spoon
  • Tala cooks’ measure
  • Teaspoon measure
  • Ladle
  • Silicone headed spatula
  • Cooling rack
  • 4 inch Tala cake tin
  • 6 inch Tala cake tin
  • 8 inch Tala cake tin
  • Greaseproof paper cut into circles: 3 x 4 inch diameter, 4 x 6 inch diameter, 4 x 8 inch diameter, 1 x 10 inch
  • Round foil covered cake cards: 1 x 4 inch diameter, 1 x 6 inch diameter, 1 x 8 inch diameter
  • Cake tester
  • Turntable
  • 10x wooden cake dowels
  • Secateurs
  • Mini palette knife
  • Flat-edge cake scraper
  • Cake stand
  • Sharp scissors
  • Plastic drinking straws

Visit our website to view our whole baking collection.

Ingredients

For the cake:

Create one batch:

  • 15 free-range eggs
  • 780g caster sugar
  • 780g margarine
  • 780g self-raising flour
  • Zest of 1 lemon

or

Create three batches of the following mixture:

  • 5 free-range eggs
  • 260g caster sugar
  • 260g margarine
  • 260g self-raising flour
  • Zest of 1/3 of a lemon

For the syrup:

  • 150g sugar
  • 150ml water
  • Elderflower cordial to taste

For the buttercream:

  • 1.125kg butter
  • 1.5 kg icing sugar
  • 2tsp vanilla paste (with seeds) or vanilla essence

Method

Each tier of this cake has three layers, which calls for quite a lot of cake mixture. You can choose whether to make one large batch and divide it up between the 3 tins in 3 bake batches or create three smaller, more manageable batches – each batch comprising one layer of each tier.

It’s easiest to use a counter-top mixer, but if you don’t have one, a large mixing bowl and an electric whisk or wooden spoon will get the job done and burn off a few calories at the same time!

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C (302°F, Gas Mark 2).
  2. Set out the cake tins and line each with a greaseproof paper circle.
  3. Cream the sugar and margarine thoroughly then add eggs and lemon zest, mixing until it is as smooth as possible (don’t worry if it seems slightly lumpy at this stage).
  4. Sift in the flour and fold in to the mixture until smooth and well combined.
  5. Divide the mixture between the tins, trying to ensure that the mixture reaches roughly the same height in each tin.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the tins and bake for a further 20 minutes.
  7. After this, check the cakes every 5 minutes until they are risen and spring back in the centre when pressed. You could also use a cake tester to check if they’re fully baked. Simply insert into the middle of your cake and if it’s clean when removed, your cake is done.
  8. Remove your cakes from the oven and allow to cool on a baking rack.
  9. Once cooled, peel off the greaseproof paper circles.
  10. If necessary, level the tops of the cakes so each sponge has an even height. (The Tala cake measure should be set to, or close to, level 7).

Making the sugar syrup

  1. Half fill the cooks’ measure with sugar (150g if you are using scales) and empty into a saucepan.
  2. Fill the cooks’ measure with water to the same level (150ml if you are using a measuring jug) and place in the pan with the sugar.
  3. Heat gently until the sugar crystals dissolve, but keep an eye on it to avoid boiling.
  4. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
  5. When cool, add elderflower cordial to taste.
  6. Ladle over the cut surface of each cake. Try to make sure the whole surface of each cake is covered.

For the buttercream

  1. While the cakes are cooling, soften the butter in the microwave (or keep in a warm place) until very soft
  2. Cream with the icing sugar and vanilla in a counter-top mixer or in a large mixing bowl until smooth and pale
  3. Cover and keep in a warm place until needed

Constructing each tier

This process is best done upside down so that each cake has a nice flat top. When the cakes have been chilled and are firm, they will be flipped right side up.

Start this process with the three largest cakes (to form the bottom tier) and then repeat for each of the other sizes.

  1. Place a greaseproof paper circle, larger than the cake you are about to work with, on a flat surface such as a cake board or the removable base of a cake tin – if you are working on the top tier, use a 6-inch diameter paper circle and so on.
  2. Using a mini palette knife, spread buttercream in a circle just larger than the top of the cake onto the greaseproof circle and place one of the trimmed cakes on top.
  3. Spread the top of this layer with buttercream and place another cake on top. Repeat until all three layers are stacked on top of each other.
  4. Finish this tier by ‘gluing’ a silver cake card on top with a scraping of buttercream.
  5. Use a mini palette knife to neaten any excess buttercream that may be spilling out the sides by scraping it upwards onto the cake (this will be very difficult to do when the icing is solid).
  6. Chill until firm (about an hour).
  7. Repeat this process for all tiers.
  8. Place each cake on a cake turntable and use a mini palette knife to spread buttercream on to the sides of the cake. Use a cake scraper to smooth the icing.
  9. Chill again.
  10. Repeat this covering twice so that the sponge cake is barely visible and the buttercream ‘walls’ have become quite thick.
  11. Return the cakes to the fridge until firm.
  12. Once chilled, flip the cakes the right way around, peel off the greaseproof paper circles and place them back on to the cake board/tin base before sitting the cake back on top. This time the cakes will be the right way around; with the cake card on the bottom and the iced top facing upwards. The paper will stop the cake sticking to the base.
  13. Use the palette knife to apply a generous load of buttercream to the sides of the cake.
  14. Then use the cake scraper to scrape and drag the icing into lots of vertical crags and crannies and return the cakes to the fridge.

Building the cake

This is where your masterpiece is born and all you hard work will show!

To make sure the cake is supported and sturdy, the middle and bottom tiers will need to be dowelled at this stage. You will need four dowels in the top tier and 6 in the bottom tier. If your dowels are too long for the height of your cake, cut them down with clean garden secateurs.

  1. Remove the two bigger cakes from the fridge and, taking each cake in turn, sink one dowel into the cake until it hits the flat surface at the bottom.
  2. Mark the point where the dowel emerges from the cake and cut each dowel to the exact same length.
  3. Sink all dowels into the cake and return to the fridge until you’re ready to assemble it.
  4. Remove the largest cake from the fridge and place it on the cake stand being careful to remove the cake tin base and greaseproof paper circle (the cake cards remain in place for stability and to make cutting slices easier.
  5. Carefully lift the medium size cake off its greaseproof circle and place it onto the larger cake as centrally as possible. If the cake is cold enough, you can quickly do this with your hands. If not, use a large palette knife or cake lifter.
  6. Finish by removing the base and greaseproof paper from the smaller cake and gently place it on the top.
  7. If you have plenty of vertical fridge space, you might want to return the cake to the fridge at this stage.

Decorating the cake

The pièce de résistance. You’ve made it this far and your cake looks delicious. Now all you need are the finishing floral touches to make it stand out as a truly stunning creation. How you choose to decorate your masterpiece is entirely up to you, but here’s our recommendations for inspiration.

  1. Avoid sticking plant stems directly into the cake with our little straw trick. All that is needed is a pair of sharp scissors and some drinking straws. (You could buy ready-made flower picks if you prefer).
  2. Cut several short lengths of drinking straw, making sure that each has a pointed end and a flat end.
  3. Use uncut straws to tunnel out sections of cake wherever you would like a flower to fit: simply push the straw into the cake and remove it, so that a small cylinder of cake is pulled out in the straw, leaving a hole for the flower pick.
  4. Sink the picks into the holes you have made on alternating sides at the base of each tier so that you can place the stems of the flowers inside. We recommend placing them as you go as you may need to use several in the same spot and you don’t end up with unnecessary holes in the cake.
  5. Take each flower and snip off its head, leaving at least 2cm of stem. Lay them out in groups so that you can easily see what flowers you have to work with.
  6. Starting at the very top of the cake, use flower picks to arrange the biggest flowers all over the cake.
  7. Then add smaller or medium flowers next to them.
  8. Finally soften and fill out the arrangement with filler flowers and foliage.
  9. Check the final arrangement and view from the sides to make sure there aren’t any gaps.
  10. Keep the cake looking fresh until serving by displaying out of direct sunlight if possible.

Top Tips:

  1. You do not need to line the tins other than with a circle of greaseproof paper in the base of each tin. You can buy these pre-cut or cut them yourself if you prefer.
  2. Elderflower is quite a soft, subtle flavour so bear in mind that you may need to add quite a lot of cordial to ensure that the taste comes through.
  3. Keep your buttercream as soft as you can – easy in warm weather, but if it’s a cold day, you may need to loosen it by heating gently in the microwave on ‘low’ for 5 seconds at a time.
  4. Keep you flowers in a vase of water until the last moment so they stay fresh and bloomed.
  5. Choosing your flowers:
  • Ask a florist for flowers that are appropriate to your theme and colours, and which are non-toxic. If you prefer, your greengrocer may be able to source edible flowers and herbs.
  • You will need large, statement flowers (we’ve chosen light pink roses), smaller flowers (ranunculus and white roses), filler flowers (spray roses, astrantia and wax flowers) and some greenery (any leaves or fronds that are food-safe and attractive). Ask your florist to recommend flowers that won’t wilt quickly.

National Recycling week: Do Your Bit

We all know the importance of recycling and we all want to do our bit to help the environment. So, with National Recycling Week just around the corner (from Monday 12th November for those who don’t know), we’re here to help you make small changes in and around your home to make recycling easier, and to help you do your bit to protect our environment.

Recycling and Waste Separation

There is a wealth of products now dedicated to making recycling and waste separation easy and hassle-free.

Bins designed with dual compartments for separating your recyclables from your normal waste are ideal. They make recycling simple and are designed to reduce cluttering and to maximise your space.

It’s also a great idea to keep a separate bin in each room for recycling. Earlier this year, WRAP launched a campaign to increase the amount of recycling we do in the bathroom.It’s good to know, many of our bathroom products can be easily recycled! However, they tend to get thrown in a bin with other rubbish.

WRAP offer many easy solutions for this:

  • Store bathroom recyclables in a cupboard or drawer until you have enough to take it to the main recycling bin
  • Re-purpose a basket or box that you place on a shelf or next to your regular bin
  • Hang a bag on the back of a door or on the door handle
  • Buy a separate recycling bin

You could also try the Joseph Joseph Split Bathroom Bin to save space.

For the Energy Conscious

It’s not just recycling that is good for our environment. There are other things we can do around the home to save energy and protect our ecosystem this way.

Outdoor Airers

With the weather (finally!) starting to warm up, one great way to help save energy is to use the power of nature. Use the summer breeze to dry your washing. Instead of putting the heating on, use an outdoor airer to dry your laundry; it has the same drying effect, it will help you save money and it is much better for the environment.

You could even buy a Brabantia outdoor airer.  By buying a Brabantia outdoor airer you help to support their campaign, Love Nature – every time someone purchases an outdoor airer from Brabantia, they will plant a tree.

Curtains

Not only helping you to save money during colder months, thermal curtains are great for reducing the amount of energy you use as they help keep your home insulated, keeping the warmth in and the cold out, meaning you don’t need your heating on as high or for as long.

In the heat of the summer, a cooling fan might be all you want, however, we recommend using blackout curtains. These will help block out the suns warming rays keeping your home perfectly cool without using unnecessary energy.

Although only a small change in reducing your energy output, every small difference counts.

Use Less Disposable Plastic & End Plastic Pollution

Although it’s great to increase our recycling of plastic, it’s even better to reduce the amount of plastic we throw away by reducing the amount of plastic we’re using in the first place.

Top Tip: Start by asking yourself ‘do I need it?’ and ‘can I use something else?’

Water Bottles

Instead of constantly buying disposable plastic bottles from shops, why not carry around a stylish reusable drinks bottle instead?! It’s much more cost effective and will reduce your disposable plastic useage.

Lunch Boxes

Although it can seem easier to wrap our lunches in cling film or to keep our sandwiches fresh in disposable sandwich bags, its much more environmentally friendly to transport your lunch in a lunch box or a reusable lunch bag. Not only do they keep your food cool and fresher for longer but they help protect our environment from plastic pollution. Many lunch boxes come with reusable cutlery too, preventing the need for disposable plastic alternatives.

Food Shopping and Food Storage

When doing your weekly shop be aware of the packaging on the products you are buying. Where you can, avoid food items with plastic wrapping or plastic packaging. If you’re concerned about how to keep your food fresh without the plastic wrapping once opened, simply empty your food into air tight containers.

Things to Avoid

As well as plastic wrapping on food, there are other things you can easily avoid to reduce your disposable plastic usage.

Plastic straws. They are definitely not a necessity. Although many venues switching to paper or cardboard straws, or removing them as an option completely, one thing we can easily do to help is to simply decline when offered a straw.

Try to avoid fabrics with plastic microfibres such as polyester, and opt for other fabrics instead. Cotton is a great alternative and modal fabric is even better, using 10-20 times less water in its cultivation than cotton.

Top Tip: If you prefer polyester materials but still want to help the environment, check ways the plastic microfibres can be caught and collected in your washing machine to prevent them entering drains.

Brabantia & The Ocean Cleanup

Another great way to help end plastic pollution is by supporting the Ocean Cleanup campaign. You can do this simply by buying a Brabantia NewIcon bin. For every bin bought, Brabantia will make a donation to the Ocean Cleanup who are working to develop advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. This bin is also made from 40% recycled materials, so you can feel even more proactive with this purchase!

 

 

 

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