Spring has most decidedly and wondrously sprung, and not a moment too soon for the more fragile hearts among us. What a delight it has been to see the blossoms on the trees, the roses in all their glory, and the frequent birdsong and buzzing bees in the garden. The world has been a bit much these days, so I find myself more and more tuning in to nature and tuning out the incessant noise of modern life. I am particularly obsessed with my two rose bushes, which are providing tremendous joy every single morning. I wish you could smell them. They are spectacularly beautiful to me and unlike anything I've ever encountered.
On the topic of encountering beauty, we have a gorgeous assortment of pieces that feel very much like the essence of spring across the board. I hope you can swing by for a look. As ever, a visit to the boutique is the perfect escape from the outside world, which we all surely can use from time to time, and especially right now.
Have you started thinking about Mother's Day yet? We still have enough time to make something custom and truly special if you have a particular idea in mind to mark the occasion with. Of course, this could mean a gift for yourself too. I'm a big believer in treating oneself to something wonderful when the mood strikes.
While it may be the birthstone for August, peridot feels particularly suited to springtime. I have a funny relationship with peridot, meaning for a long time I suppose that it wasn't my favorite hue and I didn't often gravitate towards it. When I was doing the colored stone course at GIA, for my final exam we had to blindly select a stone to analyze. You can imagine my disappointment in the moment when I discovered that I had chosen a peridot -- or rather, a peridot had chosen me! Recently, I was surprisingly and happily drawn to this special parcel of stones, which I used in a custom piece for an equally special person. Not only do I actually love the color, but really everything about them.
Thinking of color, these felt so perfect for Easter Sunday, don't you agree? I can't say that I typically gravitate toward pastel palettes, but these rings feel fresh and radiant in the softest and loveliest of ways. Despite the gentle hues, each of these rings makes a rather strong statement, and almost feels like a celebration in the form of adornment. While they are stunning at any time of year, they feel especially right for the current season. You can have a closer look here and here.
It also feels like the season for our Lilia slip dress. We make this silhouette in so many different fabrics, and each one has a completely different personality, I feel. The dresses in the Italian men's shirting cotton fabrics are crisp and fresh, as are the Liberty of London cotton floral prints. I love the contrast of the lace with the stripes and plaids especially. We even have a new one in a red and white micro check that I can't wait to wear this summer. The silk and cotton voile version comes in solids with black lace, with the double layer of fabric giving it a floaty kind of drape that feels super dreamy.
For Easter last Sunday I made a delicious lemon + almond cake, inspired by a recipe from the NY Times. I have a hard time leaving well enough alone, so naturally I had to make a few changes. Few things feel as optimistic and sunny as a jar of fresh lemon curd, so I highly recommend making this just for its mood-boosting properties. It really is lovely and might also be a nice to have for Mother's Day, which is nearly upon us!
Lemon + Almond Butter Cake
For the Lemon Curd:
Grated zest and juice of two lemons
2/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
For the Cake:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
For the curd, combine lemon zest, juice, and sugar in a heatproof bowl, and place over a saucepan with a couple of inches of simmering water inside. Whisk in the eggs, and cook while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or a spatula, adding the cubes of butter one at a time, until the mixture thickens into curd. This should take between 5-10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, and refrigerate until cool, approximately one hour.
For the cake, preheat the over to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, and line with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, and stir in the ground almonds. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together until they start to foam. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, and then add the eggs a little at a time, sprinkling in a few spoonfuls of the flour mixture once you've added about half the eggs, then fold in the remainder of the dry ingredients, mixing gently until evenly combined.
Scrape batter into the prepared pan. Drop the lemon curd in large spoonfuls around the center of the surface of the cake batter, leaving at least a 1-inch border. Sprinkle the top with the toasted almond slivers.
Bake until the cake is toasty brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, which should be around 40 minutes or so. It's going to look like the lemon curd has disappeared, as it sinks into the cake, but that is part of its rustic charm. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove sides of the pan and let cool completely.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream sweetened with maple syrup or sugar if you prefer.