Ok…you know I can be fickle when it comes to my love for cake. I love this one and that one and that other one over there and easily vacillate between fruit and chocolate and spice and cream as my favorite. But today…on this wintry, rainy day in January when Nashville is preparing for twenty degree temps, this is my FAVORITE cake of all time and it fits the bill perfectly! It’s sweet, but not too sweet…it’s perfectly moist…it’s complex without being complicated and it is just SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL! So gather your seven ingredients (yes…only 7!) and get to baking! Don’t forget to have a cup of coffee, a fire or favorite blanket and a good book at the ready! XO
CHOCOLATE APRICOT MARBLE CAKE (Adapted from Scandinavian Baking by Trine Hahnemann)
1 cup butter (I always use salted butter)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 7/8 all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 oz best dark chocolate, at least 60% cocoa solids; finely chopped (I used Lindt Excellence with Sea Salt)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 oz organic dried apricots, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (3 – 4 minutes).
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift in the flour and mix again, just until a smooth dough forms. Halve the batter and put each half in a bowl (I left half in my standing mixer for the chocolate). Add the chocolate and cocoa to one bowl and mix well. Mix the dried apricots into the batter in the other bowl (I mixed this half by hand). Butter or spray a loaf pan. (I also use four mini loaf pans.)
Pour the chocolate batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly, then pour over the apricot batter and spread that evenly, too. Take a spoon and dip it into the batter, going right to the bottom of the pan and pulling up to make a swirl inside the cake. Repeat three times in different places in the pan.
Bake one hour (or for mini loaf pans, bake 30 – 35 minutes). Insert a toothpick into the middle of the cake; it should emerge clean. If not, bake 5 minutes more, then check again.
Let cool in the pan. Serve morning, noon or night!
“Hey mom! I’ve been doing some thinking. I sure would enjoy it if you remodeled my bedroom in a Scandinavian Minimalist style!” said Ethan Pflug NEVER. HAHAHA! Yep…I’m literally LOL as I write this post. Poor kid. Having to put up with a designer mom that is always using her home as her own little mad scientist laboratory. And the truth is, E didn’t say those words because I said them. I said them (or at least I thought them) and the idea worked! It worked for my son and it worked for me!
No matter the date on the calendar, this Rosemary Beach Condominium was designed to be the quintessential endless summer getaway for a busy couple and their three young sons. The home, situated in the heart of the Rosemary Beach, Florida town square, is a light and airy space where graphic punches give way to organic, woodsy respites, all thoughtfully woven together with a rich, leafy thread that feels neither forced nor overused.
Hold on Ranch Dressing and boring ol’ Onion Dip! There’s a new dip boss in town! Peach and the Willow Dip, “please stand up, please stand up, please stand up”! (Go ahead and rock the Slim Shady song here….it’s Friday and you’ve been itching’ to dance all week!). Continue reading →
I see it all the time in my interior design work. Homes with these quirky little wall insets in halls, foyers or transition spaces. I’m guessing it’s the builder’s attempt to add “character” to the house but, inevitably, the homeowner is left scratching their head as to what to do with the dang things! In most cases, the easy “go-to” is to lean family photos or artwork or place a floral arrangement inside but, many times, those choices leave the homeowner feeling underwhelmed and bored. I, too, was faced with this problem in my own home. However, my problem was two-fold. (A)… I didn’t enjoy the look of the inset and (B)…I needed more storage space. In my case, the inset was placed on an angled wall and angled walls usually house unused space behind them. Now…those of you that know my work know that I am never opposed to busting through walls if I think there is hidden storage behind and that’s exactly what I did! Check it out! See the pretty antique door? That used to be an unimaginative wall inset! How’s that for “turning it up a notch?”
I don’t know about you guys, but just looking at this breakfast nook makes me instantly HAPPY!!! So imagine getting to eat your Cheerios in the midst of all this happiness every morning or your mac n’ cheese at night?! And then further imagine that you’re the kid(s) that created these modern art masterpieces! I mean…wouldn’t you feel super duper proud of yourself and want to go out into the world and drink up every ounce of it’s goodness; maybe cure some rare diseases or write the next Great American Novel???!!!! Continue reading →
One of the most frequently asked decorating questions I get from clients is what to do with a fireplace wall, how to style the mantel and how to make them both become a “feature” and not a “flop.” Continue reading →
The kitchen…the heart of the home…the very hub of life’s “hubbub,” wants to be loved too! If our kitchens could talk, I sometimes think that they would say they felt neglected. Not just neglected from a “wear and tear” standpoint, but aesthetically, as well. Don’t you agree? The kitchen performs on the daily for us…first in the morning over pots of coffee, bowls of cereal and trails of toast crumbs…then into the evening where it takes the heat, the sauce splatters, the wine spills, the ice cream plops, the oil slicks and performs like a champ through it all. But shouldn’t our kitchens be more than just our work horse? Doesn’t most of LIFE happen in the kitchen?…from social gatherings to family meals to homework to bill paying? And since everyone ALWAYS ends up in the kitchen, shouldn’t your kitchen not just function but look really awesome too??? I think yes! Continue reading →
Are you feeling it like I’m feeling it…seeing it like I’m seeing it??? The warmth of the sun, the pop of greens, the new melodies of the song birds??? Spring, albeit too early, is bursting all around us! From tree blossoms to grass weeds…the signs are everywhere! Soon…crates of Strawberries will be showing up from Plant City, Florida to satisfy our strawberry indulgences and vices. And although a nasty freeze will surely make an unwelcome appearance before it’s all said and done…we can still be excited about Spring’s beautiful, life renewing arrival. Continue reading →
I promise that no friends were harmed in the shooting of this blog! Real Friends. No actors. (Wait! Check that. A couple of my friends are actors but let’s not get caught up in semantics.) And from all accounts (and even though I bossed my friends around a great deal that night)… everyone had a ball! Create your own outdoor party like this one and you’re guaranteed to have a ball too!!!
Confession…I have dreamed of creating a party in this backyard oasis ever since I was first invited to the Russell’s beautiful home about a year ago. Continue reading →