Nothing beats a first-class pure and simple chocolate cake.
Good-quality ingredients make all the difference in this crowd-wowing chocolate cake.
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2 Butter two 8" round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
3 In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda; set aside. Using an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the batter from the sides of the bowl and beat in the eggs, one at a time, until completely combined. Beat in the vanilla extract.
4 Stir together the buttermilk and vegetable oil in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the wet ingredients, and beating until just combined after each addition.
5 Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans, smoothing the tops with an offset spatula. Bake on the centre rack of the oven until the cakes are set in the centre, 35 to 40 minutes.
6 Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 15 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack, removing the parchment paper and allowing them to cool completely.
7 Meanwhile, make the icing. Whisk together the cocoa powder, espresso and coffee liqueur until smooth; set aside to cool completely. Using an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Whisk the espresso mixture into the butter in three additions, alternating with the icing sugar, and beating until combined after each addition. Fold in the melted chocolate.
8 Cut each cake in half horizontally using a serrated knife. Place one layer cut side up on a cake plate and spread to the edges with about 1/2 cup of the buttercream. Cover with a cake layer cut side down. Spread with another 1/2 cup buttercream. Repeat with the other two layers.
9 Lightly spread the top and sides of the cake with a thick crumb coat of buttercream and refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. Ice the cake with the remaining buttercream and chill until set, about 30 minutes, before serving.
Prep & cook time: 2 hours
Serves: 10 to 12
Decorate for Halloween with these stylishly spooky decor accessories.
Boo! It’s that time of year again! Halloween is lurking just around the corner and if you love this haunted holiday, now’s the time to get some inspiration for adding a spooky look to your home. But forget tired and tacky … we’ve rounded up Halloween decorating ideas that are chic and stylish. Each one will help you add the spirit of the season to your home in an effortlessly elegant way.
1 Pumpkin and Ornament Garland
Garlands are traditionally a Christmas decoration but this Halloween-inspired garland is an easy and elegant way to bring the spirit of the season into your home. The jet-black garland is accented with shiny glass balls, faux orange pumpkins and shimmery curls of ribbon that come together to make a dramatic decorative statement! Pumpkin and Ornament Garland, Pier 1, $39.96.
2 Black Glitter Light-Up Tree
Another twist on a classic Christmas decoration, this bare tree features black glitter and safety candles that twinkle in the night and will add a spooky atmosphere to any room in your home. Cluster two or three trees together for a more dramatic effect and consider using them as a centerpiece on your table when you have guests visiting throughout the month of October. Black Glitter Light-Up Tree, Pottery Barn Kids, $47.
3 Matte Black Pumpkin
Pumpkins are a sure sign of Halloween, but in this beautiful black painted finish and with their gold foil stems, they take on an eerie effect that’s quite striking. Made from Styrofoam and plastic, they’re light and easy to move from indoors to outdoors and make a great addition to your seasonal decor. Matte Black Pumpkin, Pottery Barn, $39.50.
4 Creepy Crawly Polyester Window Treatment Collection
This fine-gauge lace window treatment adds the appearance of a large spider’s web to your window, adding just a hint of a haunted Halloween to your house! Easy to hang and subtle in its style, this is the perfect Halloween decoration for anyone who prefers to keep things a little more subtle. Creepy Crawly Polyester Window Treatment Collection, Wayfair, $39.99.
5 Falling Leaves Small Pumpkin
What’s black and white and chic all over? These gorgeous embellished pumpkins, that’s what! Made by Mackenzie-Childs, designers who revel in creating decorative items that feature traditions with a twist, these painted resin pumpkins will be the star of your Halloween décor, year after year. Fall Leaves Small Pumpkin, Horchow, $54.
6 BOO Outdoor LED Sign
Let trick or treaters know you mean business the moment they approach your front door. This pre-lit orange LED sign comes with hanging hooks and a removable kickstand to help make set up simple. Perfect for indoor or outdoor use, this sign will add a playful touch to your Halloween home. BOO Outdoor LED Sign, Balsam Hill, $49.
7 Black Branch Wreath
Gnarled bare black branches twist together to create this exceedingly creepy Halloween wreath, perfect for your front door or hung over a mantel. Black Branch Wreath, Crate & Barrel, $69.95.
8 Mr. Skeleton Figure
Granted, this skeleton is pretty creepy, especially if encountered in the dark. But it can also be a hilarious homage to Halloween when placed in amusing positions around the house. If your style is more funny than frightful, this might be the perfect decoration to add to your Halloween repertoire! Mr. Skeleton Figure, Urban Outfitters, $60.
lead image by Pier 1 imports
Find inspiration for your own space from this dreamy nursery.
Find nursery inspiration from this pale and pretty nature-inspired baby's room.
Designer Jo Alcorn of Whitewash & Co. works her magic to create a pale and pretty nature-inspired nursery for her niece.
In a nursery, opt for easy-to-install cozy carpet tiles. The genius part? Individual tiles can simply be changed out if a spill happens. Add subtle dimension and texture to an all-white space by covering a wall with painted wood planks.
Decant oils and lotions into pretty pump bottles and display them on a picture ledge alongside treasured photographs, cute prints and cheeky stuffed animals.
Upgrade a gallery wall with colourful kid-friendly prints, a round mirror, wall decals and a rotating collection of baby’s favourite books.
Here are a few nursery accessories to help you get the look of a soft and serene nursery.
Pearhead Sonogram frame, Indigo, $30.
Stupell Industries oversized chevron initial, Wayfair.ca, $41.
DaVinci convertible Autumn crib in White. West Coast Kids, $349.
Kicevo rug, 6' x 9', Elte Market, $1,625.
Baby Chick mobile, Pehr Designs, $80.
Use your favourite apples in this tasty tart recipe.
Use your favourite apples in this tasty tart recipe.
Serve this delicious apple tart with maple whipped cream any day of the week.
1 In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt; place 1 tablespoon in a small bowl and set aside.
2 Add the apple and flour to the remaining butter mixture, tossing to coat; set aside.
3 On a large sheet of parchment paper, unroll the pastry; fold the pastry in half and roll out to a 1 5" x 6" rectangle. Lifting the parchment along with the pastry, transfer to a large rimless baking sheet.
4 Preheat the oven to 400°F.
5 Whisk the egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water; lightly brush some of the mixture over the edges of the pastry. Fold the edges over all around, pressing to adhere. Brush the remaining egg yolk mixture all over the pastry, then prick the centre all over with a fork.
6 Arrange the apples, overlapping slightly, in two rows over the centre of the pastry. Brush the apples with the reserved butter mixture.
7 Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden and the apples are tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
8 Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the thyme; allow to cool slightly.
9 Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the whipping cream with the maple syrup using a hand-held mixer until stiff peaks form; serve with the warm tart.