Carrot Cake Tones
Mr & Mrs Clarke consider the effects of spring on our home design perspective and ultimately, our mood.
When it comes to seasonal style and design, Mr & Mrs Clarke believe there are no rules for living stylishly, only
moods and feelings that dictate how we dress ourselves and indeed, our homes. This is why spring remains such
a key marker on the calendar for changes to be made. Edits and uplifts. Whatever extent, refreshing ones home
evokes the feeling of newness, and with it, renews our vigour for life and all its beauty.
With the sun giving us that ray of goodness we all need, textures it seems, are giving us all the feels, quite literally.
One of the simplest design elements to get switched up and refined in transitioning our home designs.
We do it in our clothing, lightening the load to open knits and simple cotton crispness, and this is reflected in
our homes too. We’re seeing home owners delve into that layered luxe aesthetic, and in spring, it is just as
relevant. Think not layers for practicality, but for design storytelling, softening those edges and inviting a relaxed mood.
Rebekah Killigrew is an editor and interiors blogger, whose own renovation of her family home combines textures and
tones in every space.
Spring interiors for me are all about creating a fresh and revitalising feel with the use of natural textures. Soft furnishings made from sustainable linens and recycled cottons are a great way to bring natural spring texture into the home.
Yay for Bouclé
Sofa.com has recently delivered a new fabric collection boasting that Chanel favourite bouclé. While often
associated with cooler months, the fabric – in Alpaca Cream – gives a luscious light frothy texture that would look
great in a bedroom corner or reading nook downstairs.
We’ve searched far and wide to find some bouclé inspiration.
It doesn’t stop there, our love of texture is offering new flavours for interiors in every room. Rattan and wicker
are reigning supreme and you can see why. The lightness, comfort and welcoming persona of these wondrous
weaves perfectly harmonises with natural wood flooring, soft linens and sumptuous leathers, and is also at
home next to hardier architectural lines, deep skirting and striking powder-coated metals. It seems, versatility is
what enlivens the soul and these lighter tone and textures of design can be adapted in lampshades, rugs, accessories and furniture.
Insert rattan into wardrobe doors, rough, unfinished pottery becomes more real, more humble on your bedside
stand, woven side tables offer practical solutions without blocking light around the room. Bare plaster, where
once felt dark and unfinished, is now officially a mood in Farrow & Ball’s ‘setting plaster’ shade.
“Chalk wash and lime wash paints are really popular at the moment. They provide an easy way of brining some subtle texture to walls and furniture, and there are so many great brands who offer gorgeous neutral and earthy palettes to choose from.”
This acknowledgement of texture and tone allows us to inject feeling and emotion into our home spaces,
giving in to the lighter days of spring without committing to pastel shades and poseys. Ok, we all love flowers,
but you see where this is going. Spring inspiration can be garnered from so many plays on the natural world,
alongside florals, have you seen how beautiful asparagus fern is? Yes, that’s right asparagus fern, possibly the
new pampas grass of Instagram-worthy foliage. It’s light, fluffy and just wispy enough to add texture and
decoration to an otherwise smooth interior scheme. The genius green fingers behind Birmingham florist Bloom Collective has used the fluffy fern in bouquets and bunches for some
serious seasonal impact.
Of course, plants immediately bring life and texture to any space and are always my number one go-to for any season, however they are particularly good for a refreshing spring feel ad to add natural pops of colour.
Have you seen our Newbold Terrace home in Leamington Spa?
It is cool, it is moody and has an industrial edge at play with Mid-Century modernity, but boy do those plants sing loud
and proud above the black design particulars and help to soften every hard edge.
Mr & Mrs Clarke Food Stories
Aside from taking inspiration directly from design itself, there is one, perfect little slice of texture and tone that encapsulates spring in all its glory. The humble carrot cake. The objet d’spring and delicious enjoyed out on a veranda, freshly brewed coffee in hand.
The textures, tones and, of course, taste of carrot cake, symbolise just how we can pair layers, be they fabric, textiles and materials, or indeed sponge, together and create that natural, neutral yet sumptuous and decadent final finish. That creamy frosting, plastered on with a kind of artex ceiling joviality, the natural roughness of the walnuts scattered across and that deep wet sand tone of the sponge within.
Textured yet light and absolutely moreish. We ask you, is this not kitchen table inspo right there?
- Three 20cm cake tins
- 300g soft light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 300ml sunflower oil
- 300g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra to adorn the top
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional but delicious)
- 1/2 teaspoon Maldon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 300g grated carrots
- 100g shelled walnuts, chopped, plus extra walnut halves for adornment
- 600g icing sugar
- 100g unsalted butter at room temp
- 250g cream cheese (cold from the fridge)
- Preheat the oven to 170C (fan) Gas 3.
- Line the tins with greaseproof paper.
- Beat together the sugar, eggs and oil in a mixer until well incorporated (don’t worry if it looks a little split at this stage).
- Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and vanilla extract until it is well mixed and looking a light tan shade.
- Stir in the grated carrot (be warned, if you’re prone to mess, this gets everywhere and sticks to places!)
- Pour the mixture evenly into the three cake tins and smooth over with a palette knife.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes until the sponge bounces back to touch and is golden brown. A knife inserted should come out clean.
- Leave the cakes to cool slightly then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
- Once cool, make your frosting by beating the icing sugar (again it goes everywhere) and butter together on a medium-low speed with the paddle attachment in a free-standing mixer.
- Once combined, add the cream cheese and beat until completely incorporated. Then, turn the mixer up to a medium-high speed and whip into a frenzy for at least five minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Do not over beat, it will start to go runny.
- Layer up your cake with delicious lashings of frosting and cover the entire cake, before embellishing with a smattering of cinnamon dust, a sprinkling of chopped walnuts, and, if the occasion calls for it, edge with walnut halves.
- Slice up, sit outside and savour every mouthful.
Recipe for The Hummingbird Bakery Carrot Cake, proudly presented by Jade Scott, our wonderful Wordsmith
Thank you to all of our contributors. We love collaborating and think sharing ideas is wonderful.