The Party Emporium
20Aug

Cult cakes: Miss Bunting’s version of Black Star Pastry’s Watermelon & Strawberry cake

Cult cakes: Miss Bunting’s version of Black Star Pastry’s Watermelon & Strawberry cake

Rumoured to be the most instagrammed cake in the world,  Sydney’s Black Star Pastry’s Watermelon & Strawberry cake was one instance where I wanted to have my cake AND eat it. Problem is, I don’t live in Sydney. So when my husbands’ family decided to put on a baby shower breakfast for me, I thought this would be the perfect time to see if I could knock up a homemade version that had the same sentiment, but possibly not the same look and taste. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to find out for real, but for now I was chuffed to find a cake with watermelon  and strawberries in it, I mean, basically it’s a breakfast fruit salad in cake form, right?

Black Star Pastry's cult Watermelon and Strawberry cake.

Black Star Pastry’s cult Watermelon and Strawberry cake.

Not that I can take all the credit though – I’m certainly taking the easy option by using store bought sponge (quelle horreur!) and I’ve actually combined two recipes to create this one here. Firstly, Delicious have a Watermelon & Rose layer cake, which is very similar, but doesn’t have the Almond Dacquoise layer that the Black Star Pastry has. So for this, we’ve borrowed from the King of Desserts himself, Adriano Zumbo and altered his Hazelnut Dacquoise recipe, found here.

Finally, this cake uses rosewater – which I adore, but it is a polarising flavour for many. I couldn’t track down any rose petals and would normally get the ones from Pariya – so here I used some from my garden as I know we don’t used pesticides on them! I also added pomegranate from my garden too, as they suit the middle eastern influence and I just adore their jewel ruby red colour, though mine are a rose colour.

Ingredients

For the Almond Dacquoise: 

  • 150g roast almonds
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 200g egg whites (approx 6 big eggs or 8 small ones)
  • 50g caster sugar

For the rest of the cake: 

  • 1/2 a seedless watermelon
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) rosewater
  • 1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
  • 500g punnet strawberries, halved
  • 600ml thickened cream
  • Unfilled sponge cake – I used the 450g rectangular version from Coles.
  • Approx. 15 seedless grapes, halved
  • Slivered pistachios and rose petals to serve.
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional) to serve

Method

For the Almond Dacquoise: 

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. (160°C fan-forced)
  2. Line a large tray with baking paper –  I used 2 lamington trays the same size as the sponge cake.
  3. Finely grind almonds with the icing sugar. (If your almonds aren’t roasted, simply pop them in the oven for 15 minutes)
  4. To make the meringue, place the egg whites and a pinch of caster sugar in the bowl of a food mixer. Beat, on medium speed, until frothy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, one-third at a time. Let each amount clear before adding the next. Continue mixing on medium speed for a stronger and more developed meringue.
  5. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and gently fold in the nuts and sugar mixture until just combined. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Your dacquoise must be crisp on the outside, and soft and moist on the inside.
  6. Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool completely. Gently remove each of the meringues from the baking paper.
 For the rest of the cake: 
  1. Slice your watermelon into 1cm slices . Arrange on a wire rack in a single layer, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon rosewater and 2 tablespoons sugar, then stand for 30 minutes for flavours to infuse. Pat dry.
  2. Combine strawberries with 1 tablespoon of rosewater in a bowl then stand for 15 minutes to infuse.
  3. Whisk the cream and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with electric beaters until thickened. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon rosewater and whisk until soft peaks.
  4. If using the Coles rectangular sponge, carefully slice the cake halves in half again, horizontally. Place one cake layer on a serving plate and sprinkle with a little extra rosewater. Spread over one-third of the cream, then using one of the other sponges as a size guide, trim your almond dacquoise to sit on top of the sponge layer.  Repeat layers, then top with a final layer of cake and cream. Press grapes and strawberries into the cream, then garnish with pistachios, dried rose petals and pomegranate seeds.
Tips: 
 This cake looks so much more complicated than it actually is – and it’s a real showstopper! If you were making for a party, get ahead of the game and make the almond dacquoise the night before and chop up your strawberries, watermelon, grapes and even whip your cream and keep it cool. All you need to do then is assemble close to serving!
13Jul

A baby shower for Miss Bunting!

A baby shower for Miss Bunting!

Well, its been a while between drinks here on the blog – quite literally – as I’m excited to share that I am expecting my first in September! To celebrate, my gorgeous friends in my hometown of Perth threw the most divine baby shower when I came home to visit. And not only are they the funniest, smart, supportive, gorgeous, laugh-a-minute types (seriously, just spend one night in an empty room with just a helium can and lose 6 hours of your life in hysterics #truestory), clearly they are uber talented, creative and also very, very good to yours truly.

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We were lucky enough to have one of those stunning, warm winter days – that golden glow casting a magical light over a pretty verandah overlooking the vineyards at Entopia Wines in the picturesque Swan Valley on the outskirts of Perth. The girls went with a citrus and fruit theme – based on those funny fruit comparisons they give you when you’re expecting – the ‘this week, your baby is the size of a lemon!’ to help you visualise just how tiny your bub is, despite feeling like you’re the size of a house and that surely there must be triplets in there. I digress. Knowing how much I adore a good tablescape, the girls set up an afternoon high tea set up – with the glossiest lemons for place settings, vintage napkins and delicious teas to enjoy in between a cheeky tipple. The girls strung 100’s of pears through the beams so they were suspended over the tables and around the balustrading, while our Miss Bunting Big Balloons added an element of fun. And then there was the food – there was no outside catering for this motley girl gang of control freaks – no, no they made it all. Including those perfectly symmetrical macarons and delicious naked cake, made by Nat. I mean really – talk about setting the bar pretty high! Cue a glorious, relaxing afternoon just yabbering away and catching up – it was absolutely perfect, and just what I would have planned for myself.

For more pics, jump on over to the gallery, right here.

Thank you to my girls Nat, Ivana and Stacey for making me feel so loved and special and creating a perfect afternoon I’ll never forget! xx

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25Mar

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

As if time doesn’t feel like it’s moving faster year on year, having Easter in March this year is only compounding matters! Still, it’s a time of year to slow down and reflect – and here at Bunting HQ, we’re feeling the need for mindfulness to deal with the hectic fullness of our day to day. As such, Easter for us is a relatively low-key affair this year. On the agenda? Sleep-ins, long lunches and tackling the ever-growing magazine stash piling up bedside. As such, for our Easter lunch this year, we’ve gone super-simple with a 10 second DIY – which is so cute, it will totally look like you invested a whole lot-more time thinking about what to create. Simply toast 120g of slivered almonds, melt 375g milk chocolate over a bain marie, and throw in some toasted, shredded coconut if you can be bothered. Mix well in a bowl and spoon dollops onto a greaseproof lined tray, creating a small well in the centre with a teaspoon and cool in the fridge until set. Grab some mini-eggs and voila – Easter cuteness in 10. Enjoy and Happy Easter. xx

14Aug

Cosmopolitan Bride – Tale of an Elopement

Cosmopolitan Bride – Tale of an Elopement

Don’t forget to pick up this month’s copy of Cosmopolitan Bride to catch Tale of an Elopement, featuring yours truly! Hubby and I were truly honoured to be featured in this issue – jam packed as usual with amazing inspo and ideas for your big day. For more info, pick up a copy at your local newsagent and watch this space for a full wedding album run-down to come!

 

9Aug

The ten minute teacake

The ten minute teacake

Otherwise known as ‘oh crap, I’ve got guests here in an hour’, this is a recipe for those that count greek yoghurt and frozen blueberries as pantry staples. I rarely cook with cream – ironically only really for baking – as I find  Greek yoghurt a good substitute for cooking and always have a tub of the good stuff, and I am never without frozen berries. Though now I religiously check for the country of origin….! I found this recipe some time ago via Julia’s Album and have tweaked it slightly for an Australian baker. I love it because it seriously takes 10 minutes to chuck together before putting in the oven for 30 minutes. The Greek yoghurt gives it a beautiful, moist texture and it’s not overly ‘sweet’.

IngredientsFullSizeRender

  • 1 cup plain flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 60 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar (preferably caster)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1 cup blueberries – fresh or frozen

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°. Mix the butter and sugar in your Kitchenaid, mixer or handheld beater until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and egg, mix until pale and creamy.

In another bowl, sift your flour, baking powder and salt together, then tip half into the butter and sugar mixture. Mix together slowly, add half the yoghurt, mix again and repeat with the remaining flour mix and yoghurt. You can do this step by hand – try not to over mix or you’ll knock the air out.

Pour / scoop into a lined, greased springform tin (around 20cm – it’s not a big cake or one that will rise that high) and then pour over your cup of frozen berries, lightly pressing them in.

Bake for 30-40 minutes at 190° (this will depend on your oven). It should be a lovely golden colour and a skewer will come out clean. Stand to cool before removing from the tin.

 

2Jul

DIY ikat inspired plates: Miss Bunting for Party with Lenzo

DIY ikat inspired plates: Miss Bunting for Party with Lenzo

One of our favourite ever DIY’s was one we created for our shoot for the Lenzo edit. These plates are a simple and chic way to create a stylish tablescape for your next function – all you need are a few plates and some special ceramic paint from the craft shop! To create this look, head on over to the Lenzo edit now for your step-by-step here. Happy dining! Close-up stacked

15May

Friday Five: invitation inspiration

Friday Five: invitation inspiration

Who doesn’t love receiving a beautiful invite or thank you note in the card? A well considered invite says a whole lot about the event, or the sentiment behind the thank you or note. And while we love luxe cardstock and swoon over a gold foil – first and foremost comes the design. When it came to choosing my own wedding invites, I knew I wanted something that was clean and structured, yet floral and feminine – and I absolutely had to have an envelope liner! Firstly I feel head-first for the ‘Reverence’ collection at Bliss & Bone – the most stunning pressed leaf and perspex invite screened with gold – however, needless to say these fell a little out of the budget! In the end, my lovely friends over at Design Collision worked with me to create my perfect invite – drawing inspiration from some botanical prints I’d found in an old bookstore in Tuscany, Italy. Given we’d eloped and these invites also served as an announcement, they carried our elopement date on the front, along with our new initials to create a monogram, foiled in gold.

Our other favourite stationers and invite designers?

1. Bliss & Bone

2. Santiago Sunbird

3. French Navy

4. Minted.com

(my invitations, by Design Collision)

5. Daniel Ioannou

Invite

3May

Dutch Butter Cake (Boterkoek) a.k.a. easiest recipe in the world

Dutch Butter Cake (Boterkoek) a.k.a. easiest recipe in the world

I recently stumbled across the recipe on Pinterest the other day and a bunch of childhood  memories came flooding back. It’s called Boterkoek – basically a Dutch Butter Cake and let’s just say it does what it says on the tin. The beauty of this one is you literally only need 4 ingredients – kitchen staples – so it’s that perfect recipe to keep up your sleeve when you have unexpected guests arriving in 30 minutes. This is rich and decadent – but I’m a big believer in everything in moderation and I also believe in ‘if you’re going to do it, do it right’. So with that, we went the whole hog with the richest French Butter we could find! You’ll also find other recipes around with almond meal and eggs and so on – but we love this one for the simplicity. Yes it’s not exactly slimming, but a small slice of this with an espresso and its pretty much like having shortbread with your coffee….heaven in a slice.

The original recipe can be found over here, but we’ve converted it to metric for you here. Enjoy! (And then go for a run…)

FullSizeRenderIngredients

  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose plain flour
  • 250g (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • ⅔ cup (150 grams) sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Line an 20cm x 20cm pan with baking paper.
  2. Melt the butter and mix it with the flour, sugar, and salt until just combined. Don’t overmix. Press into the bottom of prepared pan.
  3. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes until the edges just start to turn golden. The middle may still be gooey, but the cake is definitely done at this point. Allow to cool completely before removing foil from pan and cutting into squares.

That’s it! Seriously!

Notes
If using salted butter, just omit the salt from this recipe.

 

2May

Mothers Day brunch

Mothers Day brunch

A few weeks ago, we got together with a few of our favourites to style up a gorgeous Mother’s Day brunch. Inspired by new and young mum’s, we wanted bright pinks that would pop against a crisp autumn setting for a feminine, but fresh feel. With the most insanely gorgeous florals by the uber talented Nadia over at Studio Botanic, delicious catering by Stirring the Pot catering, menus by French Navy, and props by Lily & Bramwell, pop on over to the Lenzo edit for the full story, including our tutorial on how to create the Dip Dye Ombre tablecloth.

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24Apr

Friday Five: the Bling Ring

Friday Five: the Bling Ring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you may know, I recently said ‘I do’ overseas at our elopement, which you can read all about here. While we never set out to be ‘non-traditional’, when we said our vows, we hadn’t actually even bought our rings. Truth was, I hadn’t found it yet. And by IT, I mean the one. And I didn’t mean my husband in this instance. I’d rather go without than go with something I wasn’t in love with. A good rule for both husbands and jewellery, I might add. Although I was a massive fan of chunky vintage cocktails rings, I’d actually never owned a diamond – so it’s with trepidation I ventured into the world of fine jewellery. To get my head around this ‘4 C’s business, my friend pointed me in the direction of this great (short) video on how a diamond’s value is ascertained. You do kinda need to know all this stuff to arm yourself with answers to the inevitable ‘why is that one more expensive that that one,‘ question or even the ‘seriously, who would know if it’s cubic zirconia anyway.’ Only funny once, buddy.

When we decided to elope, I started the hunt for a ring. EARNESTLY. I mean, I was trawling the internet for days, eating dinner in bed* and glued to anything from estate auctions in Russia to my local jeweller in a bid to get my head around it all and y’know TRYING TO FIND THE ONE. For someone that had never really displayed an interest in diamonds or jewellery, this was an all-consuming (and time-consuming) obsession…and those goddamn google cookies embed jewellery ads WHEREVER I WENT. I felt like a woman possessed, but in the end, I sure knew what the hell made a good diamond from a shonky one and also, what style I kept on coming back to. I figured the more I looked at, the more I knew I’d know when I saw IT. I also wasn’t set on a diamond. And I wasn’t wed to having a newly made ring. But I was set on finding the right one. Try as I might – I just couldn’t find what I wanted locally without it costing the GDP of Botswana to get it made. And I wasn’t confident I could articulate what it was I wanted anyway.

As I went through the process, vintage and estate jewellery was what I kept coming back to without fail. Like Vegemite or crunchy Peanut Butter vs smooth, you’re either a vintage jewellery person or you’re not. Some people understandably aren’t big on wearing dead people diamonds. Even as I write that, it sounds kind gross, but for me dear reader; I LOVED stories that ring might tell me, but mostly – it all came down to the style. Vintage jewellery possesses a style you just can’t make up in a new ring off the shelf. There’s an enigma and a beauty to them. It’s almost mythical – like unicorns and a man that doesn’t leave towels on the floor, estate jewellery has a quality that is hard to define. And as we jetted off to the US, this was the vintage jewellery shortlist where I just knew I was going to find THE ONE:

Doyle & Doyle 412 West 13th Street, New York 10014

Bell & Bird – 1206 West 38th St. # 1102 Austin, Texas 78705

Erstwhile – by appointment only, midtown Manhattan

As history will tell you, I found THE ONE at Doyle & Doyle on our last day in NYC. Quietly tucked away in the Meatpacking district, their selection is edited – but mind bogglingly gorgeous. The Australian dollar was still holding strong against the US (hurrah!) and the next day I flew out as a wife and bona-fide diamond wearer. The other 2 places I wanted to visit weren’t vintage specialists, but places I’d admired from afar and full of untold amazingness. One was Anna Sheffield – an amazing jeweller that crafts timeless, yet alternative pieces. The Hazeline still gives me goosebumps, but felt too delicate for my ahem, sizeable hand span. Catbird NYC in Brooklyn is a treasure trove of delicate, fun and whimsy – even if you only have a $500 budget for a wedding band, there are so many beauties here that it’s worth shipping back to Australia, even with the Australian dollar falling faster than Madonna at the Brits.

So if you’re thinking of buying from the states, here are a few to think about:

  • Remember the Americans don’t add their tax until checkout. This is super annoying and you will forget!
  • If you’re going to ship it back to Australia, make sure you have proper insurance. Obvs.
  • Depending on the Aussie dollar, supply & demand means that diamonds do tend to be a little cheaper than back home at face value, but you will need to consider taxes and insurance and it won’t always work out cheaper. If you’re lucky to be in the US and think you don’t have to pay US sales tax if you get them to ship it home, you’ll have to pay GST on customs when it arrives. Once you factor in the US Sales Tax at checkout (10%), plus shipping & insurance, it puts you almost at the 17% GST range anyway.
  • Make sure you buy from a reputable buyer as you would back home, and that your ring comes with a GIA certificate.

So that’s my ring journey. I adore it and so glad I chewed up all my data months on end searching around and visiting my top 5 in the US. It’s perfect and I’ve never seen anything like it. Just like the Credit Card bill once the conversion fees came through…don’t forget to factor that in one in too!

*I wish.

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