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Author Archives: Ashley
We are in the thick of summer right now, and while a lot of ladies have the option to throw their hair up in a ponytail, a messy bun, or fun braids, this is a not-so-much situation for those of us with a pixie cut. Although I will say I am rocking a pretty cute teeny tiny ponytail to get the hair off my neck right now. In a relative fashion, my hair is pretty long for me, and especially for the summer. Some projects I’ve been working on in my acting life have prohibited me from chopping it all off, so it’s been hanging in my face and driving me bananas. So how to get it out of my way and make it stay put? Well, I invested in a curling iron for the first time ever, and haven’t looked back since. Between my floral maxi and the curly do I’ve been sporting all summer, I don’t know how I could figure out a better fix to last me through these humid months.
Of course, this takes a little more time in the beginning of my morning routine, but I’ve been so grateful to spend the extra 10-15 minutes to curl it up. A little spray to keep it in place and I haven’t had to worry about it all day. The curls gives it body, it keeps most of the hair in the front off my face, and it’s just fun to change it up. With shorter hair, it’s harder to get inspired in the styling department. I admit I’m not one to really branch out with lengths, style and colors, but I’ve become addicted to this option. So I’m going to give you a little hair recipe for all you pixie enthusiasts out there, in case you feel stuck, and aren’t comfortable with going totally Mia Farrow this summer.
The Summer Solution
Caviar Heat Protection Spray: I spray this all over my hair before I curl it. My hair is very fine, I’d hate to cause a lot of damage by curling it numerous times a week.
John Frieda Fizz Ease Serum: If things look a little frizzy after the curling, a small dollop of this carefully applied to the curls keeps things tame, and helps you avoid treading into Doc Brown territory.
Aussie Hair Spray: Now ideally, yes you should look for something a little more environmentally friendly, but I get the travel size since I use so little. After I like the way the curls are sitting, I’ll give a quick spritz all around my head, especially the bangs area and be on my way. If you use hairspray everyday, do the planet a favor and get non aerosol, make-the-earth-happy stuff.
Make sure hair is completely dry before beginning. Hair is untucked from behind the ears and bangs slightly pushed over to whatever side you normally part them.
Heat up a 1″ barrel curling iron.
Spray heat protection all over hair
Starting at the very top of your head (sort of where guys wear their super trendy man buns), begin curling 2″ sections of your hair, ultimately curling the ends inward.
After curling the top of the head, curl the sides and as much of the back as possible before moving toward the front and bangs area.
Save the bangs for last, try to curl bangs in only a few large chunks.
Find the natural part on the side of your head and make it more distinctive, placing the bulk of curls in sort of a pile on top of each other.
Carefully run your fingers through the main mess of curls, loosening them a bit, and separate large chunks throughout.
Use frizz serum if needed by placing a small amount on tips of fingers and running through curls.
Finalize the look and placement of hair, pushing excess side curls behind the ears before spritzing with hair spray to hold.
It’s a super easy look. I’ve gotten really fast at completing it, and I don’t burn the tops of my ears anymore, so, that is an achievement.
The other summer solution? THIS DRESS. I pride myself on finding gems, and *cough cough* age-appropriate things for me to wear at Forever 21 since I am far from 21. I don’t mind the heat, but I actually will wear as little or as flowy as possible as the temperatures rise. This dress is a jackpot. Breezy, light, bright summer pattern, and something I can just throw on everyday, either to see a show, or sit in the park. I wore it to Alice’s birthday picnic where I brought this cake. I also wore it bumming around to run errands, there are no limits to this floral maxi dress.
So work on your abs, or eat three burritos, a maxi dress doesn’t care. Stock up because the heat still has some ways to go in the next few months. I’m really sad that I couldn’t find this exact dress on the site, but Forever 21 is kind of killing it in the floral maxi game right now, so please consider:
**Special shoutout to Ben from Ramshackle Pantry! Have you tried to comment on any of my posts and it blocked you?? Well if so, I’m so sorry, I had no idea! Ben brought this to my attention and it should be all fixed now! And make sure to check out his blog!!**
Now to the business at hand, summer birthdays. It must be nice to be a grown-up with a summer birthday. All through school I remember friends who wouldn’t get to bring cupcakes to class, or have a party easily attended by all the kids because it fell between June and the beginning of September. What. A. Bummer. But once we all lose summer break as adults, birthdays are fair game, and as a summer baby you can make up for lost time ten fold. You win at birthday time of year. There are birthdays at outdoor movies, beach day, patio bar crawl, or what this cake was made for, a picnic! My friend Alice is one of the coolest Brooklyn chicks I know, so of course she decided a picnic with plenty of friends and a table with food and drinks for miles would be the way to go. I wanted to make her a cake, but it’s summer, it’s hot, I’d prefer to not have to turn on the oven. Plus with a busy schedule, being able to make part of the cake beforehand was ideal. Well pastry cream and fruit curd can check those boxes so after playing around with some flavor combos, I created this ooey gooey delicious crepe cake.
Blackberry & Thyme Crepe Cake
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For the Blackberry Curd
- 1 pint blackberries
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tablespoon flour
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
For the Crepes
- 4 cups AP flour
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 tbsp melted butter
For the Curd
- In a small saucepan over low-medium heat mix together blackberries and lemon juice and allow it to simmer 10 minutes to break down
- Push mixture through a sieve into a medium saucepan, pressing all the juice through with a wooden spoon
- Add butter and sugar into medium saucepan over low heat and allow to melt into blackberry juice
- Turn up the heat a touch so it just starts to simmer and add in eggs and yolk, whisking constantly
- Allow the mixture to thicken and then remove from heat, allow to cool, then pour into bowl and place plastic wrap over bowl, directly onto curd to avoid creating a skin, keep chilled until use
For Pastry Cream
- In a medium saucepan, stir together 1 1/4 cups of the milk, sugar, salt, and thyme. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, flour, and egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup milk.
- Whisk some of the hot milk mixture with the egg yolk mixture to temper it
- Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the remaining simmering milk
- Whisking constantly, bring to boil and allow to thicken
- Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve to remove lumps and thyme leaves
- Stir in the butter and vanilla extract
- Rub a piece of butter over the surface of the cream to avoid a skin, press plastic wrap against top of cream and allow to cool completely
- Once cooled, fold the whipped cream into pastry cream
For the Crepes
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and flour
- Add milk and water, whisk together, then add salt and melted butter, and whisk until smooth
- Spray crepe pan with cooking spray and in 1/4 cup increments, scoop batter into pan,
- Make sure batter is spread evenly on pan and allow about two minutes per side (until it starts to lightly brown)
- Place wax paper or foil in between crepes to prevent sticking while crepes cool
- Using the rim of a bowl around 6-7" as a guide, cut the crepes into a uniform size
- In order, layer crepe, curd, crepe pastry cream; spreading curd and pastry cream thinly on top of crepe, allowing a clean boarder to give them room to spread
- Continue the order of these layers until desired height is reached, I think around 16-18 crepe layers is enough
- Top with confectioners sugar, extra pastry cream, or fresh blackberries if desired
- **This crepe recipe should make about 24, since a few will turn out lame or not cooked all the way, it provides plenty of leeway to pick the best of the bunch
Domestic B(i)atch http://domesticbatch.com/
I adapted the pastry cream from one of my go-to sites for basic recipes, King Arthur’s Flour, here, and the curd from a great blog, Fab Food 4 All, here.
The curd was delicious but, I wanted it to be thicker, so it didn’t ooze out quite so much. I feel like a little cornstarch or an extra egg yolk or two would be helpful for next time. Also if you don’t have a box that fits, and it’s hot out, this cake is a little tricky to transport. It got pretty slidey on its trip from Harlem to Greenpoint, Brooklyn. But if you’re eating it at home, or it’s secure in your car with AC, you should be fine. And even slanted over, it still tasted great! The herbaceous essence of the cream is really nice with the rich blackberry.
And I’m sure on all your minds is the very important question, “But in this sticky, hot weather, what did I wear to this outdoor birthday party?” OMG, you’re so lucky, I’m going to show you later this week, because it’s quickly taken over as my summer uniform.
Ciao for now, b(i)atches!