Sticky toffee sauce makes this apple currant cake even better!
Tiny chunks of apple baked into the batter makes this cake moist and delicious.
1 In large bowl, using electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in yogurt and vanilla until smooth.
2 In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using electric mixer, beat flour mixture into butter mixture. Stir in 2 cups of the chopped apples. Set aside.
3 Filling Combine remaining 1 cup chopped apples, brown sugar, currants and oats. Spread half of the batter in greased 10-inch springform pan; add half of the filling. Repeat layers.
4 Bake in 350°F oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until golden and toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool on wire rack before removing sides of springform pan.
5 Sauce In small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water together until smooth. In small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add cornstarch mixture to saucepan along with brown sugar and apple juice; whisking well. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
6 Drizzle sauce over individual cake slices. Sauce can be served warm or cold.
Tip: This cake freezes very well.
Cooking Time: About 7 minutes
Baking Time: 60 minutes
Makes: 1 cake (16 slices)
Take a tour of this gorgeous family cottage on Lake Simcoe.
Designer Jessica Waks gives this family's second cottage its own unique flair, creating a spot to accommodate not only guests but also generations to come.
Nudged awake by the sweet smell of fresh cinnamon buns wafting from the kitchen, sleepy family members lumber downstairs, along the way catching sweeping views of serene Lake Simcoe – calm and quiet before the afternoon action takes hold. It’s a common Sunday scene at this Innisfil, Ont., cottage, which is peaceful in the morning until everyone gets up and silence gives way to animated chit-chat and laughter. Often, it’s not just the occupants of this abode in attendance, but the next-door neighbours as well – after all, they’re family, too. The homeowners, a Toronto couple with four adult daughters and two toddler grandchildren, weren’t planning on purchasing a new place – they bought a cottage only five years ago (featured in Style at Home’s July 2013 issue) – but when this 7,000-square-foot three-storey structure directly next door to the first became available, the owners decided to take advantage of the unique opportunity to keep their rapidly expanding family together on these adjacent vacation properties. To make the cottages look cohesive, they rehired designer Jessica Waks – Style at Home’s former design editor – of Jessica Claire Interiors, who had perfectly appointed their first place. “The homeowners wanted the spaces to have their own identities but to also look unified,” says Jessica, discussing how she took the nautical tone of the first property and layered a more country feel into the second. “I used a refined rustic aesthetic to temper its grand architecture, which boasts a spacious foyer and formal principal rooms,” she says.
Jessica was thinking Nantucket rather than classic Canadiana (“it’s more in keeping with the beach locale,” she says) when she rescued the dark and dated interior from its 1980s time warp. The most notable offences? Upholstered doors, inexplicable wall cut outs, tacky floral wallpaper (even on the ceiling in some rooms), mismatched flooring (including fruit-patterned tiles and pink-stained oak), heavily swathed valances, forest green toilets and sinks and a bizarre balcony that jutted into the living room from the second floor. In other words, the cottage called for a complete overhaul. So Jessica started fresh in almost every room, smoothing out the architectural oddities and replacing the flooring with dark-stained oak hardwood, which contrasts the newly white walls throughout – a timeless and cohesive envelope for the elegant nautical look.
Creating a furniture plan for the grand living room was tricky because it has so many points of entry,” says designer Jessica Waks. “Not only did it need to seat a lot of people, but it also had to look good from all angles.” Jessica cleverly selected items like the blue swivel armchairs that can face the central sitting area, the fireplace or the view (win-win-win)!
To make a statement in the foyer, Jessica set visually interesting pieces like the vintage spool-legged console with a curvy linen-upholstered settee against a simple, traditional pedestal table. The jug of maple branches is a nod to the cottage’s sylvan surroundings.
Above the console in the great room, the designer framed and hung a simple grid of antique Simcoe county maps. Believe it or not, the stunning console was a Craigs List purchase. “I love find ing preloved pieces online, at markets and at consignment stores – there are such gems to uncover,” says Jessica, who skilfully pairs these secondhand scores with new custom items.
Meals are often served alfresco with stunning views of Lake Simcoe on the side. To visually connect the two properties, Jessica chose the same outdoor dining furniture for this space as she did for the other cottage next door. “I love how the teak’s grey stain and toss cushions match the stone work and siding of the home’s exterior,” she says.
“The windows in the dining room look out to the front and side of the property,” says Jessica, “so to make up for the lack of lake views and to add visual interest, I chose a charming paisley wallpaper.” The blue-grey tone of the print perfectly matches the original slate fireplace surround.
In the kitchen, the white beadboard cabinetry offers a light and airy country look that’s grounded by darker elements, such as the leathered black granite perimeter countertops and slate-look floor tiles. The wide butcher block-topped island provides ample space for the homeowners, who are avid cooks, to prep meals for their large family.
A pretty patterned wallpaper distracts from this powder room’s awkward angles. Using the space’s drawbacks to her advantage, Jessica leaned a vintage wooden ladder against the wall to hang towels for guests.
The third-floor “bunkie” boasts the most coveted sleeping area in the house: the queen bed in the window niche overlooking the lake. “You can see the sunrise from this spot,” says Jessica. Nautical buffalo-check drapery offers sleepers privacy from the rest of the room.
“As a decorator, I love the strong sense of symmetry that comes from a set of twin beds,” says Jessica, who had these hard-to-find spindle-framed beds for one of the rooms shipped from the US. “I like how they stand out against the wallpaper,” she says. “You can really appreciate the spool detail.”
Photo: Janis Nicolay
A dazzling home renovation dream team creates a comfy and collected home that is rooted in their histories.
It was a financial decision that initiated Rebecca and Peter Lapres’s “great creative adventure.” Three years ago, they were living in a 70-year-old house on a large piece of land on Vancouver’s west side when they took heed of the escalating real estate prices and decided to cash out and relocate to the city’s relatively less expensive east side. “We didn’t think it was a good idea to have so much money tied up in a property,” says Rebecca.
They discovered an old neglected teardown on a standard-sized lot in an up-and-coming neighbourhood and bought it right then and there. Why, you might ask? Well, Rebecca is a principal at Riesco & Lapres Interior Design, and Peter is a residential contractor and home builder. So the duo, a veritable dream team of home building, knew they could create a house from scratch that perfectly suited their busy family (which includes three children, three cats and a dog). The seven-month process resulted in this 2,900-square-foot three-storey urban cottage teeming with charm. A passion for everything time-worn and timeless inspired Rebecca to design a space that combines aspects of a previous era, including a strong respect for craftsmanship, with a refined feel. “I don’t see any reason for having to go modern if you’re building a new house,” she says. "We wanted ours to feel more established and traditional, but with a fresh look.”
The living room of this Vancouver home features an eclectic mix that's meaningful to its homeowners: The coffee table is an old dining table with its legs cut down; the curvaceous settee came from a client of homeowner and designer Rebecca Lapres; and the side table was made by one of her brothers from a cedar stump cut down in the 1800s.
Eschewing contemporary architecture also meant bucking the trend of open-concept floor plans. Having lived in London for about two years, the couple became accustomed to narrow Victorian rowhouses that were tiny but still boasted separate rooms. For Rebecca, it was important to define formal and informal spaces, and to create cozy nooks where one could get away – resulting in plenty of wall space for art and furniture. It’s a practical sentiment, but it also appeals to the designer’s sense of playfulness and creativity. “I like interiors where there is a bit of mystery; where you wonder, ‘What’s around that corner?’” she says. “And you find little surprises and quirky touches that feel like an aha! discovery.”
The settee in the home office is the perfect spot to curl up with a good read and a cup of tea. A wall of artwork offers inspiration. "Most of the art I buy is from non-professionals, and they're all fairly old pieces," says Rebecca. "For instance, I have a watercolour of the Galata Bridge an Istanbul painted by a British traveller in the 1920s. It's a very evocative painting for me.
A place full of surprises and discoveries is in fact the perfect description for this house, which reflects the couple’s adventurous lives and sense of wonder. Furnishings and accessories were amassed over time – there are gifts from friends and relatives and items found at vintage stores and junk shops or during their stint in Europe – and most have a story. The rug in the kitchen, for example, was found in the ’80s during the nine months the couple lived in Turkey; the pottery pieces on the living room mantel were created by Rebecca’s late great-aunt, Hilda Ross, who taught in the fine art department at the University of British Columbia; and the entryway cabinet, which is used as a purse closet, came from the “beach shack” the pair rented while this place was being built. “There was an Englishwoman living there before us,” explains Rebecca, “and she sold me the cabinet for $150!”
In the entryway, accessories like the naturally shed antler and the beaver stick lend the space an organic touch that reflects Rebecca's West Coast upbringing. "We found that stick on the beach," she says, "so it has a beautiful texture from the beaver chewing on it and then from being tossed around in the ocean."
This refined eclecticism – inspired by the rich, saturated sense of history Rebecca loves about London and by her outdoorsy West Coast ethos – fits the duo to a T. “I liken this house to the way I feel when I’m wearing very comfortable clothing,” she says. “There’s no stretch for me. I’m not pushing any boundaries. It’s simply my definition of home.”
The large foyer is defined by board and batten siding that adds traditional character and offers a distinctive look. "I wanted to give the entryway a sense of significance," explains Rebecca. "I wanted it to say, 'Come into my house. Let me take your coat.'"
The kitchen exemplifies the home's fresh yet traditional aesthetic thanks to elements like the grey-painted Shaker-style cabinetry, honed marble subway tile backsplash, engineered quartz countertop and stainless steel appliances. The brass and powder-coated steel pendant lights and time-worn wooden stools add a vintage vibe.
Open to the kitchen, the dining room is classic and striking, its neutral shades energized by splashes of juicy jewel tones. An old table with an ebonized finish is surrounded by light-toned Windsor dining chairs. "I searched for chairs forever," says Rebecca. "I wanted them to look like they came from a junk store - vintage, humble and simple."
Bookcases in the living room add character and frame the doorway into the home office. "I love books," says Rebecca. "A lot of mine are non-fiction titles on travel and art, as well as a little bit of poetry."
The master bath's built-in vanity, with its drawers and turned legs, looks like a stand-alone piece of furniture. It's made of quarter-sawn oak stained brown and brushed with a black glaze. "It has a nice depth and rich patina," says Rebecca.
In the master bedroom, the side table lends an exotic Moorish look while the avian-motif bedding offers a hit of whimsy.
Designers and decorators share they favourite kitchen trends for 2017.
For many of us, the kitchen is the hub of the home. It’s where the family convenes every night for dinner. It’s where homework is done and family meetings are had. And it’s where guests gather even though the dining room table is set and a fire is roaring in the living room. There’s something about the kitchen that makes it far more than merely a utilitarian space. If you’re thinking about updating your kitchen this year, check out these hot trends, as identified by designers.
Photography: Michael Nangreaves
1 "Mixing metals is my favourite kitchen design trend for 2017. I think it reflects a more individual, less formal approach to design that is popular with millennials and non-millennials alike. While it takes a bit of an expert eye, it is totally appropriate to mix metal finishes in your faucet, cabinet pulls, chair legs and pendants!" - Designer, Lisa Canning.
Credit: Stacey Cohen
3 "One top kitchen design trend I love is to have sections of the upper cabinet extended onto the counter. Let's face it, we all love our small appliances (i.e. toaster oven, espresso machine) but we may not want them on display all the time. A multi-purpose kitchen island has been the go-to solution to disguise the microwave and dishwasher, but unless the island is 10 feet long, it is challenging and perhaps impractical for the island to house the small appliances we use daily off the counter. By having the upper cabinets extended to the counter and small appliances sitting behind doors, you can achieve a sleek design statement without sacrificing your morning coffee!" - Blogger and Decorator, Tim Lam.
: Donna Griffith
4 "In 2017, we will continue to see cabinetry painted white and various shades of grey. I think that we will also see cabinetry painted warmer tones such as greige (grey & beige), taupe and mushroom. Islands in a different colour or stain than the perimeter cabinetry will continue to be prevalent. In addition, handcrafted islands that look like furniture with legs will be popular for that unfitted kitchen look. It also adds personality and charm and the kitchen then looks like it has evolved over time. Quartz as a counter will continue to be popular as consumers become aware of its benefits." - Interior Designer, Vanessa Francis.
Photography: Monic Richard
5 "After years of white on white kitchens, our clients are asking for something different again. While you might not want to paint an entire kitchen in one colour to stand out from the crowd, the tendency in 2017 will be to mix natural wood, paint and metals in the kitchen. Try framing the range hood and the island in chrome to add sparkle to the space. Add texture to your cabinetry with a mix of light wood veneered lowers and white lacquered uppers." - Interior Designer, Tara Fingold.
Photography: Donna Griffith
6 "Say hello to dark metals in the kitchen. Polished chrome and nickel accents are giving way to black faucets, burnished steel pendants and matte black cabinetry handles. The dark finishes can work in sleek modern kitchens or the most cottagey of cooking spaces. With white kitchens continuing to dominate, a dash of black can provide high contrast and instantly update tired cabinetry." - Blogger and Designer, Jennifer Flores.
7 "Terra Cotta is back! But it's not the tangy orange clay you're used to. In 2017, Reclaimed Rose Terra Cotta will be hitting it big. Following the trend of reclaimed wood, the rich creams and pale pinks of this antique terra cotta tile will be the next phase in the modern farmhouse kitchen. Look for hexagon or herringbone for a modern take on this old classic. Pairing over-sized pendants and industrial decor with reclaimed terra cotta will help keep the space current." - Designer, Andrea Haraldsen.