30 March 14 • MAV

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As usual I had the wrong date on my calendar for SCB’s birthday. I have no idea why I always think it’s the 31st. But actually … it’s today! I know she might be a bit miffed at me (but she will forgive me) for wishing her a big public HAPPY BIRTHDAY but I had to do it!!!

Happy birthday! Love you, Steph. Hope you enjoy a great day today and a fantastic new year ahead. I had to dip into your star sign and what I found was completely true — “The great strength of the Aries-born is in their initiative, courage and determination. These folks love to get things going and are fearless along the way.” SO true! xo

And for my gift … a simple jam cake. Enjoy!

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Simple Jam Cake

3/4 C unsalted butter, softened
1/4 C natural sugar + 1/2 C natural sugar
4 eggs, separated
2 t vanilla
1 1/2 C almond meal
1/2 t cinnamon
zest of two lemons
1/4 t salt
1/2 C buckwheat flour
fruit jam (I use St. Dalfour because it doesn’t have added sugar so you can really taste the fruit.)

Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Prepare a 9- or 8-inch round cake pan with butter or oil and then line the bottom with parchment paper. Using a standing mixer, cream butter with 1/4 C sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks one at a time and then mix in vanilla followed by the almond meal, cinnamon and lemon zest. Transfer the thick batter to another mixing bowl and clean up your standing mixer bowl to prepare for the egg whites. Add egg whites and salt to your clean dried mixing bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Add 1/2 C sugar and beat again until soft glossy peaks form. When egg whites are ready, add a few spoonfuls into your batter gently folding them in. Then, add a few spoonfuls of your buckwheat flour gently folding that in. Rotate back and forth between egg whites and buckwheat until everything is mixed into the batter. Be gentle and take your time with this step. Spread batter into cake pan and bake for 25–30 minutes or until it starts to brown a bit and sides of cake pull away from the pan. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes and then turn the cake out to further cool. When the cake is completely cooled, slice it in half and spread in your jam (I use raspberry, mainly, but anything will do). Bring the two layers together and top with icing sugar if you wish. Serve with vanilla ice cream or lightly whipped cream.

Note: If you want to make this cake taller just double the recipe and make it in two cake pans or one tall (3-inch) cake pan. You can also bake this cake in a 6-inch cake pan and cut it into 3 layers. That is very cute too!

30 March 14 • SCB

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This week I had a hankering to do a “just for fun” craft—making things and experimenting with supplies on hand is a true meditative practice and stress-buster for me.

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I pulled out my copy of Lena Corwin‘s Made by Hand. MAV and I had so much fun doing the photography for this book (we have posted about it here and here and here), and I have long promised myself that I would make it through making all the projects in the book, I was daydreaming about it the entire time I photographed the makers in Brooklyn, in fact!

I was looking for a quick project, so I adapted Cal Patch’s braided cotton jersey rugs instructions to make hot pads. Because I have so much wool on hand, I used it in place of the cotton jersey (much of what I used was leftover melton wool from making bunnies, but I used some wool jersey as well which was much easier to work with). Otherwise, I followed Cal’s instructions, just finishing off sooner and adding a leather strap for hanging.

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These were so fun and relatively mindless to create that I am determined to make a full rug now, using wool again as I love its feel and durability.

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After that, I am on to the next MBH project! You can see more examples from the book and purchase it in our shop—there are projects for the beginner to the more experienced crafter which I love. If you already have the book and have been making projects, Lena recently set up a hashtag on Instagram to share them with us, it’s #LCMBH.

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