Friday, January 28, 2011

English Garden Party

Warm Stick Toffee Cake
(Photo by Kirk Mckoy/Los Angeles Times) 

Prepping for spring involves coming up with new party ideas. It's just about February 1, so let's get crack-a-lacking.

Therefore, may I impart some wisdom? Pick a designer, choose a recipe, and get to'll become a hostess with the mostess in no time, solidifying an A+ outfit and planning a carefully thought-out menu.

I definitely want to throw some sort of garden party, an English garden party, spiffied up with a novel, citrus theme. My good friend, party planner Samantha Scott, brought one her colorful affair's to life with fragrant orange, lime, and lemon centerpieces, topping it off with a touch of glamorous rusticity. Using burlap tablecloths and antique chalkboard menus, Scott created a warm, inviting atmosphere where guests sipped cocktails and lingered for hours.

I'm done hosting bridal showers for the time being so I'll have to come up with some other occasion. In the meantime, I'll be dreaming up ways to gather funds to buy an Erdem dress and baking away to perfect Westside Tavern's Warm Sticky Toffee Cake, a heavenly combination of carmel gooie-ness and dense cake.

As for Erdem; the british designer's spellbinding spring/summer collection paves the way for the print craze we're about to embark on. Floral patterns, lace, chiffon in modernistic silhouettes--thank you to the fashion gods from above!


(Photos by Erdem) 

(Photos by Samantha Scott Events) 
THE MAIN DISH  (Pictured above)

Warm Sticky Toffee Cake
Recipe from Los Angeles Times 
Total time: About 2 hours
Servings: 6 to 12

Note: Adapted from Westside Tavern

A. English toffee sauce
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (1 ½ sticks plus 1 tablespoon) butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup

In a large heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the cream, butter, brown sugar and maple syrup. Bring to a boil over high heat, whisking frequently. Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat. Blend the mixture using an immersion blender until thickened and emulsified. Alternatively, the mixture can be blended in batches using a standard blender (be careful as the mixture is very hot). This makes 4 cups sauce.

B. Toffee cake and assembly
2 tablespoons (¼ stick) butter, plus extra for buttering the ramekins
Sugar for dusting the ramekins

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
3/4 cup plus 2 ½ teaspoons (3.4 ounces) flour

Pinch salt
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup plus 1 ½ teaspoons dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

3/4 cup coarsely chopped dates
Hot prepared toffee sauce
Whipped mascarpone cream, cream or ice cream

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 6 (6-ounce) ramekins with butter, and dust with sugar. In a saucepan, whisk the baking soda into the boiling water.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and vanilla until fully incorporated.
4. To the butter mixture, add the egg and beat until fully incorporated. Over low speed, slowly and gently add the dry ingredients, scraping the bowl to make sure the batter is fully mixed.
6. Over low speed, slowly stream the hot water into the batter. Add the dates and continue mixing over low speed until the batter thickens. This makes about 2 cups batter.
7. Divide the batter between the prepared ramekins. Bake until the cakes are a dark, caramel color, about 45 minutes.
8. Remove the ramekins and cool the cakes for 5 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the hot toffee sauce onto the cakes until they seem saturated (extra sauce will pool at the bottom, this can be gathered for additional glazing and serving), then glaze the cakes a second time with the sauce.
9. Set the cakes aside for about 30 minutes to set up and cool. The cakes can be made a few hours in advance and held on a baking sheet, loosely covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature.
10. To serve, cover each cake with one-fourth cup warm toffee sauce. Serve with a generousquenelle or dollop of mascarpone cream or whipped cream, or scoop of ice cream.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE Samantha Scott Events. LOVE this blog post. I may have to swing by Westside Tavern!


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