When it comes to creating a memorable dining experience at home, the setting is just as important as the meal itself. Make your loved one feel extra special this Valentine's Day with a thoughtfully styled space that is both relaxed and refined, allowing your guest to feel at ease while enjoying some elevated touches.
Embracing pure, textural linen in rich, romantic hues is a simple way to create a sense of occasion, starting with our generously sized Flocca Linen Tablecloth as a versatile backdrop for layering. With a sumptuous drape that lends understated drama, our pure linen tablecloth is available in an extensive palette that ranges from soft neutrals to rich, decedent hues, all mixing and matching effortlessly with our pure linen runners and napkins.
Lighting can instantly transform the mood of a room, and there is no better way to achieve a warm and intimate setting than with candlelight. A few tealight candles provide a soft and subtle glow, while taper candles and tall candlesticks imbue a hint of formality. Flowers make the perfect finishing touch – add a pop of vibrant colour with a bright posy, or opt for the understated elegance of a single stem in a tall vase.
Napkins are a post-dinner necessity, and our Basix Linen Napkins offer the ideal balance of style and practicality. Pre-washed and softened for a relaxed, textural look and feel, a set of handcrafted napkins makes a luxuriously functional addition. They can also introduce beautiful accents of colour, with delicious berry, caramel and toffee hues lending sumptuous tonal layers to your table setting.
Chocolate Buttermilk Cake
This delectable recipe by Tilly Pamment is the perfect dessert to impress your special guest.
MAKES ONE 18 CM (7 INCH) LAYER CAKE
225 g (8 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
50 g (1¾ oz) Dutch (unsweetened) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
¼ teaspoon salt
275 g (9¾ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
125 g (4½ oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
250 ml (9 fl oz) buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
125 g (4½ oz) unsalted butter, softened
20 g (¾ oz) Dutch (unsweetened) cocoa powder
240 g (8½ oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar
40 ml (1½ fl oz) buttermilk
sprinkles or chocolate buttons (melts) to decorate, optional
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F) fan-forced. Grease three 18 cm (7 inch) round cake tins well with butter and line the bases with baking paper.
- Sift the flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the salt and caster sugar and stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, place the eggs, melted butter, buttermilk and vanilla and whisk to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix on low until smooth. Scrape down the side of the bowl, then beat again, this time on medium speed, for 1 minute or so, until the mixture is smooth, fluffy and lighter in colour.
- Divide the batter evenly between the tins and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until the cakes have risen and are cooked through. Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 5 minutes or so, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- When the cakes are cool, make the chocolate buttercream by combining the butter, cocoa and half the icing sugar in the stand mixer bowl with a paddle attachment.
Mix until smooth before adding the buttermilk and remaining icing sugar. Beat well, scraping down the side of the bowl a few times, until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
To assemble, place one of the cakes on a serving plate and spread with one-third of the buttercream. Top with the second cake and spread with another third of the buttercream. Sandwich the final cake on top and swirl on the remaining icing. Decorate with sprinkles or chocolate buttons if you like; otherwise, slice and eat as is.
- Any left-over cake will keep happily in an airtight container in a cool place for a day or two.
Images and text from The Plain Cake Appreciation Society by Tilly Pamment, photography by Tilly Pamment. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.