In My Studio

Crochet Star Blanket

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If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know how much I enjoy crocheting in my spare time alongside running the party shop. I’ve recently started a new venture named Tea, Cake and Crochet, involving crochet lessons from home with the odd sweet treat… or two! (no need to worry at all though, I still absolutely adore parties so you can still visit my shop and blog for your regular party fix. I have some very exciting things planned for it this year, so please stay tuned!)

So, back to the star blanket…I’ve wanted to crochet one for a while now and some would say I am fairly late to the party. However, I’m so glad I did it. It was such an enjoyable make and it is absolutely perfect for experimenting with colour combinations. It didn’t use a lot of yarn at all, so it’s perfect for ‘stash busting.’ (in non crochet terms, using up leftover yarn which you have stashed away!)

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Several months ago, I found out that a friend is expecting a baby boy. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to crochet a star blanket. It was a complete suprise, she did not have the slightest clue that I was crocheting it. Being such a regular social media user (particularly Instagram) it was very tempting to share my progress but I managed to resist as I didn’t want to ruin the suprise in any way! It was so worth it, as she sent me the loveliest message expressing her gratitude and sheer happiness about receiving it, which made it SO worthwhile.

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Now it’s been safely received, I am really happy to share the final result with you. I used the Celeste Nursery Blanket pattern, written by Lynne Rowe. You can find this in Issue 47 of Inside Crochet Magazine. This issue is not available in stores any longer as it was published in 2013, but there are ways of downloading digital back issues. I used the ‘Pocketmags’ app on my iPhone and had no trouble with it at all (other apps available).

I decided to roll the blanket up and make a bow out of some lovely blue ribbon I had in my craft room. This seemed like the nicest way to present it. I then wrapped it in some blue tissue paper and enclosed one of my ‘with love greeting cards’ from my shop. Do you like it? It feels like a job very well done to me and I couldn’t have been happier with it! Do you have any crochet projects on your hook at the moment? Feel free to comment below so I can see them, I love to see what my readers are up to!

Party Recipes

Paper Doily Bakes: Lemon Layer Cake

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Happy Thursday all! Those of you who have been reading my blog for some time will know how much I love baking. Are you one of those bakers who has a certain speciality in the kitchen? My speciality used to be cupcakes, but nowadays I seem to get so much more excited from layer cakes (terrible for my waistline, I know!) I first tried my first slice of lemon cake last year in a local cafe. It was truly delicious and I kept going back for more. Fast forward a few months later and they stopped baking it. I thought I’d try baking it myself at home as I was hosting a small party. It was such a success and it was truly enjoyed by all. I’ve been making it ever since and it’s become a regular in this household! Would you like to know the recipe? Read on!

Firstly, I have two variations depending on how I’m feeling. Both versions are layer cakes made using the same sponge recipe but I alternate the icing technique.

One version is a lemon drizzle topping with small individual swirls of buttercream and sprinkles for decoration, alongside a few tablespoons of lemon curd and full layer of buttercream in between the sponge layers. (shown in the first photo above)

If I’m feeling like making the other version, I replace the lemon drizzle topping with a full layer of buttercream. I place a few tablespoons of lemon curd in between the sponge layers, alongside a second layer of buttercream. I finish this off with some sugarpaste flowers and sprinkles to give it a bit of colour. (shown in the first two photo’s below)

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Feeling inspired? Here’s the recipe…..

Ingredients

For the Cake:

Butter 250g, plus a little extra for greasing the tin

Golden Caster Sugar, sifted 250g

Self-Raising Flour, sifted 250g

Baking Powder, sifted 1 tsp

Organic Free Range Eggs 4 large

Lemons 2, zested

Semi Skimmed or Whole Milk, 1 tbsp

Choose either of the following:

For the Filling and Topping of the Lemon Drizzle/Buttercream Swirls Version:

Lemons 4 (2 for the buttercream icing, 2 for the lemon drizzle)

Caster Sugar 85g

Butter 125g

Icing Sugar, sifted 250g

Lemon Curd 4 tbsp

Cake Sprinkles

For the Filling and Topping of the Buttercream/Sugarcraft Flowers Version:

Butter 250g

Icing Sugar, sifted 500g

Lemons 3, zested and juiced

Lemon Curd 4 tbsp

Sugarcraft Flowers and/or Cake Sprinkles

Piping Bag and Star Nozzle

Method

Step 1

Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter, line and flour the bases of 2 x 20cm sandwich tins. Beat the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs and lemon zest together until your batter is of a smooth consistency. Add the milk slowly until the cake batter glides off of a spoon.

Step 2 

Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 20-25 minutes. When they’re ready, a skewer or cake tester poked in should come out clean. Cool on wire racks for 5 minutes.

Step 3

Choose either of the following:

For the Filling and Topping of the Lemon Drizzle/Buttercream Swirls Version:

Make the icing by beating the soft butter with the icing sugar, lemon zest and juice from 2 lemons until light and fluffy. Spread half of this mixture over the top of the cake. Spread the lemon curd on top of this.

Take your second layer and place this on top. Gently prick this top layer all over with a skewer or fork.

Make the lemon drizzle topping by mixing together the lemon juice of 2 remaining lemons, alongside the caster sugar. Pour the drizzle over the cake, the juice will sink into it and the sugar will form a sweet, crisp topping.

Once the lemon drizzle topping has set, insert the star nozzle into the piping bag and fill this with the remaining buttercream icing. Make a series of small buttercream swirls around the outside of the cake. Add sprinkle/s to each swirl if you wish.

For the Filling and Topping of the Buttercream/Sugarcraft Flowers Version:

Make the icing by beating the soft butter with the icing sugar, lemon zest and juice until light and fluffy.

Divide the buttercream icing into half. Spread one half of it over the bottom layer of the cake. Spread the lemon curd on top of this.

Take the other layer and place it on top of the layer you’ve just finished. Gently spread the remaining buttercream on top of this layer. Decorate with sprinkles and/or sugarcraft flowers.

Voila! Enjoy. If you’ve made this cake, do let me know as I’d love to see it and hear your feedback. You can share photographs of your creation on my Facebook page if you like. Happy baking and see you soon!