Unique cake decorating techniques for the perfect spring bake.
Baker and cake decorator extraordinaire, Lily Vanilli has been wowing customers at her East London bakery with her naturally delectable designs. Boasting the best bakewell in town, the shop on Columbia Road opens solely on Sundays, offering Lily’s stand-out bakes and a cosy vintage-feel interior to enjoy them in. Cakes feature fresh flowers, fruits and nuts as her decoration techniques focus on putting nature firmly at the helm.
In this easy to follow guide, Lily shows us how to make crystallised spring flowers, perfect for giving your Easter cake that extra wow factor. She also shares her thoughts on traditional Easter baking and her top picks from our Kitchen collection.
“For the first time in recent memory, April actually feels like the start of spring and not a stretch into the abyss from the previous winter to the next one. The sun is out (mostly), the flowers are blooming at the right times and the first spring crops have been healthy. This is good news for the pastry chef, who looks forward to this time of year when some of the best fruit and edible flowers are on their way into season.
As traditional Easter baking (bunnies, eggs, chicks) has never really been my thing I have been busying myself with crystallising the first crop of edible spring flowers. If done carefully enough (it can be painstaking work, though the kind many bakers enjoy, myself included) they will last up to a year. Store them airtight in a cool place and make sure they are fully sugar coated.
Use them fresh or crystallised to decorate cakes and pastries for a really pretty spring look with subtle, fresh flavours.”
Some lovely edible flowers out now include:
Viola and cultivated/wild primrose
To crystallise a handful of edible flowers you will need:
1–2 egg whites, loosened with a few drops of water (approximately 4 drops per white)
Small bowl of caster sugar
One baking tray, lined
Fine, clean paintbrush, not used for anything besides food
1. Clip the flower stems as close to the base as possible and snip away the sepals (the green pockets on the back of the flower). Place a flower on your prepared tray and use the paintbrush to coat with the egg white, making sure you are thorough. Brush away any excess egg white. Hold the flower by what’s left of the stem over the sugar bowl and sprinkle generously with sugar. Turn it over and shake gently to release any excess sugar.
2. Do the same for the back of the flower, making sure the entire flower is coated. Place it face up on the baking tray. Repeat with the other flowers, and when you are done, put them in a cool, dry, dark place overnight or until the flowers feel crisp to the touch. Store them in an airtight container.
Lily’s Baking Picks:
Shop Lily’s top three kitchen picks from our inspirational Baking Essentials edit and kit yourself out like a pro. From the all important wooden spoon, to recipes from the Peruvian Kitchen, these pieces will enhance any culinary collection.
1. Blue Six-Piece Enamel Prep Set by Falcon, £55.00
2. Olive Wood Spoon, £4.95
3. Ceviche Peruvian Kitchen, £25.00
Lily Vanilli’s first book, ‘Sweet Tooth’ will be available from the Liberty Home department soon!
Share your Easter baking successes with us and Lily:
Twitter: @Libertylondon @lilyvanillicake
Instagram: @LibertyLondon @lily_vanilli_cake
Inspired by an archival print and repeated roses pattern, we reveal the story behind Emma Mawston’s print card for the Liberty Loyalty 15th Anniversary card.
In celebration of 15 years of the Liberty Loyalty programme, the loyalty team asked four of our most cherished designers and brands to each design an exclusive print to feature on the limited edition anniversary cards – including Liberty Art Fabrics designer Emma Mawston, Head of Design for Liberty London Fashion and Accessories James Millar, London jewellery designer Annina Vogel and renowned perfumer Le Labo. This print by Emma Mawston, Head of Fashion Fabrics for Liberty Art Fabrics, takes its inspiration from a 19th century floral spray found in the Liberty London archive. The artwork has been completely re-drawn and hand painted in repeat from a selection of roses by David Austen and a rose bush called Rosa Xanthina. We caught up with Emma Mawston to find out her design process and choice of flower.
Roses have always been one of the most popular flowers on Liberty Art Fabrics; they are the emblem of England and Liberty prides itself on its heritage. They are one of the most wonderful flowers to paint and draw as they come in so many amazing colours, shapes and sizes. Even the same species on one bush can be so varied.
The Rose is cherished not only for its floral beauty but also for its fragrance which makes rose gardens one of the most evocative and memorable experiences in English gardens. Literature and especially childrens literature features roses in such diverse and illustrative ways some of which we have translated into designs, examples are ‘Snow White and Rose Red’ and ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. The latter was the inspiration for ‘Rose Xanthe’ a design named after my younger daughter which is a larger version of the rose design represented on the Liberty store card. The design was inspired by ‘Would you please tell me’ said Alice a little timidly, ‘Why are you painting those roses red?’ and will be on sale in Spring Summer 2015 in a cream un-painted roses colour way and in a deep rich red representing the painted ones.
The design promotes Liberty’s design heritage for hand drawn, original prints with inspiration taken from the famous Liberty archive. This design represents Liberty Loyalty customers as their continued support for our fabric collections has made them the most successful part of the Liberty business in recent years.
Emma has worked at Liberty for nearly 22 years, starting as a colourist in 1992. She took over as Head of Fashion Fabrics in May 1998 and her first collection was produced in Spring/ Summer 2000. After helping to produce over 30 fashion fabric collections, she has now moved over to head up the Liberty Art Fabrics Furnishing Fabric design studio as well. A mother of two, Emma’s two little girls continue to make her laugh every day and inspire her work.
The Liberty Loyalty programme celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. Why not join us for the celebrations and pick up a limited edition card? You don’t have to be a new member to opt in for a new card! Join Liberty Loyalty now and, as a member, you will have a chance to win a luxury stay. One winner will be chosen every month from April to December 2014. Liberty Loyalty members will receive exclusive discount invites, new collection updates, loyalty vouchers and beauty loyalty benefits.
Our womenswear buyer, Meera Pow, reveals the top five jeans styles you need to complete your denim wardrobe.
Every wardrobe needs its denim, no matter the season. But if you find you’re utterly stuck on skinny jeans or that your loyalties lie firmly with your boyfriend-fits, then you might need to know the 411 on the other styles out there worth working into your collection. Meera Pow, Liberty’s contemporary womenswear and denim buyer, give us her ultimate denim guide with the top jeans styles to invest in and the brands doing them best for Spring/ Summer 2014.
Light Blue Le Skinny De Jeanne Mid-Rise Skinny Jeans
“Frame is relatively new on the demin scene and is making waves with its clean branding and super fits. The Le Skinny de Jeanne in Culver is a perfect wardrobe staple.”
Light Blue Jake Slim-Fit Boyfriend Jeans
“J Brand’s new Jake fit is a slim boyfriend – an easy way to do the boyfriend look. Team this mid-blue Eternal wash with a T by Alexander Wang tee for a versatile, dressed-down summer look.”
STRAIGHT LEG JEANS
Navy Nouvelle High-Rise Straight Leg Jeans
“This high-rise cigarette is a great fit for anyone who isn’t too keen on anything too skinny but still wants a leg lengthening look, and the high-rise only helps to emphasise this.”
Navy Tube Tom Slim-Fit Jeans
“This is a relatively new fit for Nudie Jeans and the slim leg is slightly tapered at the opening so it’s a great alternative to a true skinny. The contrast stitching on this Twill Rinse wash is a signature of the brand and a nice detail.”
Navy Hidden Hills Bootcut Jeans
“When it comes to bootcut jeans, they don’t come more flattering than these Hidden Hills jeans in Stream. If you’ve got curves, these jeans will work wonders for you.”
Find your perfect pair of jeans or find out how to contact one of our denim experts for style advice using our Jean Genie.
Last night the Liberty denim room was taken over by the Evening Standard’s Orsolya Szabo, who was on hand to hunt out the best jeans for women in our extensive collection.
Intimidated by skinny jeans? Not sure how to wear a low-rise waist? Last night our denim room was taken over by stylist Orsolya Szabo, who was dressing lucky customers, answering denim dilemmas and picking out her favourite pieces for this season.
Shoppers browsed the rails while munching popcorn, had makeovers courtesy of Hourglass and got the chance to grill Orsolya and our resident jeans experts – who are totally clued up on all things denim. If you didn’t make it down, make sure to visit the Liberty Jeans Guide; your one-stop destination for the best advice on fit, wash and style.
At the event, Orsolya offered us her top tips for the latest ways to wear denim:
“I’m obsessed with cropped skinny jeans. I’m trying to move away from skinny but the furthest I’ve got is a faded denim, light boyfriend jean. Those are my two favourites at the moment.”
“I wear denim with everything: I start with denim, and finish with denim. I’ll go to work with a T-shirt and a Helmut Lang blazer, then I’ll wear a really embellished top then dress it up with strappy heels.”
“I love Frame Denim at the moment. I think they do the best fit: they look really small, and you think they won’t fit but then they do and it’s amazing!”
The experts at Hourglass reveal how to achieve a stunning red lip using Hourglass liquid lipstick, and the perfect cheeks and brows to go with it.
Heading up the make-up station at the Liberty ‘A Date with Denim’ event, experts from the Hourglass counter showed shoppers how to create the perfect red lip, and the best products to use with it.
If you’re unsure of which shade to go for, choose a universally flattering red with blue undertones.
“Blue tones usually suit warm skin – blue is quite cool so it offsets the warm tones in the skin. This Hourglass liquid lipstick is really good for both yellow-undertones and English rose skin type.”
Whether you’re going subtle or full-on brow:
“Always use thin strokes to build up the look so it doesn’t look drawn on. Pick a cool-toned colour so the shade stands out. Hourglass brow pencil is wax-based so it keeps the hair in place.”
Then, sweep Hourglass ambient lighting palette over the cheeks.
“Cheeks really depend on the look that you’re going for, but if there’s a lot of pinkness in your skin, you don’t want to go too pink with blusher. Choose a bright pink with a cool-toned base such as Ambient lighting palette in luminous flush to offset more yellow tones.”