sixx design

Has anyone else seen the Bravo TV show, “9 by Design?”

Image by The New York Times

I’ve become a little addicted to it. In case you don’t know, here’s a short overview: Husband and wife, Robert and Cortney Novogratz, have seven children….that’s right, seven. The ages range from 12 to 8 months or something like that. For the last 10 years they have been demolishing, renovating and redesigning old spaces into livable areas as the design firm, Sixx Design (named for the six children they had at the time).
Case in point, a recent episode highlighted the fact that one of the unconventional home spaces they were working on used to be a Manhattan sex club. Yeah…not your typical home renovation. Now, mind you, neither of them has any traditional training as designers. But they sure have a knack for it. You should see these uber cool, beautiful spaces they come up with!

Let me tell you what I love:

1) The kids names: Wolfgang, Bellamy, Tallulah, Breaker, Five, Holleder and Major. Right off the bat, they just sound like super cool people…though I know not everyone would agree with me, I love the names!

2)Their style: They have this wild, “I just threw this on” kind of messy downtown look to all of them, kids included. I love it.

3)And of course, their design aesthetic: Seriously, just watch the show (or check out their website) to see the amazing aesthetic this duo has!! They each come from the South and I think it definitely plays into their designs, which combine traditional with modern, vintage with contemporary and Southern antique with New York eclectic. If I had endless amounts of money, their design style is exactly what I’d be shooting for. Beautiful. Seriously. Check it out.

Image from Casa Sugar

Image from Magnificent Me

Image from WeHeart.

Image from WeHeart.

Image from WeHeart.

Image from WeHeart.

Image from WeHeart.

chocolate praline layer cake…

Ok, so it’s been a while…

I’ve been extremely busy with work (a good thing for the most part), working on the house, and traveling. And it’s not even that I have much interesting to say today, but I want to get back into the swing of things.

What better way than to share a delicious baking recipe?!

I found and fell in love with this recipe during college and have made it a handful of times over the years since. I’m all about semi-homemade greatness and this recipe takes the cake…literally! (My apologies for the shameless pun).

The most recent time I’ve made it was this past weekend for a Mother’s Day celebration. Though the cake was falling apart (it was still too warm when I had to get it ready) and not super pretty, the cake stand was practically licked clean by the time I took it home. ­čÖé

Try it for yourself and see what you think!

Chocolate Praline Layer Cake (by Julie Bengtson, winner of a Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest during 1988)

INGREDIENTS
Cake
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 (18.25-oz.) pkg. Pillsbury┬« Moist Supreme┬« Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs

Topping
1 3/4 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
16 pecan halves, if desired
16 chocolate curls, if desired

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat oven to 325┬░F. In small heavy saucepan, combine butter, 1/4 cup whipping cream and brown sugar. Cook over low heat just until butter is melted, stirring occasionally. Pour into two 9 or 8-inch round cake pans; sprinkle evenly with chopped pecans.
2. In large bowl, combine cake mix, water, oil and eggs; beat at low speed until moistened. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Carefully spoon batter over pecan mixture.
3. Bake at 325┬░F. for 35 to 45 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled.
4. In small bowl, beat 1 3/4 cups whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until stiff peaks form.
5. To assemble cake, place 1 layer on serving plate, praline side up. Spread with half of whipped cream. Top with second layer, praline side up; spread top with remaining whipped cream. Garnish with whole pecans and chocolate curls. Store in refrigerator.