Filled with anticipation after a three-year absence, I recently attended The Inspired Home Show in Chicago.
There, manufacturers unveil the newest small appliances, cookware, bakeware, tabletop, decorative accessories, storage solutions, and so much more, setting many of the trends consumers will see throughout the year.
What innovations would I encounter?
From my vantage point, this year’s trends all pointed to one general theme – consumers’ preference for celebrating the home as a multifunctional, comfortable, joyful place to relax, refresh, and gather.
For one whose brand is celebrating home and family, this year’s focus particularly resonated with me.
From smart storage solutions and impressive, temperature-controlled wine storage for small spaces and discriminating collectors to walls of colorful cooking utensils and stackable shapes for summertime frozen fruit pops, options were available for every budget and style.
Cookware always has a significant presence, but I noticed softer colors than three years ago, echoed by dinnerware and linens.
Viva Magenta may be the 2023 Pantone color, but many brands displayed a more neutral palette with soft, peaceful hues.
Barware is still popular and more attractive than ever – a wedding registry indicator – and spice grinders now come with individual pods to eliminate flavor cross-contamination.
As I reflect on The Inspired Home Show’s celebratory theme, I’m reminded spring and summer offer many occasions to celebrate at home – Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and Father’s Day, plus birthdays, weddings, and births.
In each instance, a celebration cake can elevate an already special day, but sometimes a large cake is too much.
That’s why I love Meyer lemon tea cake.
This single-layer confection features a delicate essence of Meyer lemon, complemented by a simple vanilla glaze rather than a heavy buttercream frosting. Tiny buttercream rosebuds grace the perimeter of the cake but can be easily supplanted by garnishes fitting to the occasion.
Meyer Lemon Tea Cake
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
1 ½ tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
1 ¼ cups sifted cake flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light, about 8 minutes. Add lemon juice and egg, beating until well blended.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Gradually add the flour mixture, alternately with the milk, to the creamed mixture, beating well to form a thick, fluffy batter.
Line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper, spray the pan and paper with nonstick cooking spray with flour, and pour in the batter. Bake 23-25 minutes or until the top is golden and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack 30 minutes, remove the cake from the pan, and cool completely.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ – 2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
Transfer the cake to a cake stand and place strips of parchment or wax paper around the base of the cake to catch any excess glaze. Whisk together confectioners’ sugar, melted butter, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Pour the glaze over the cake, spreading with an offset spatula or knife. Cover the cake completely, gently remove the paper strips after 15 minutes, and set the cake aside until the glaze firms. When it is dry, decorate the cake with real or buttercream roses or as desired.
Yield:10 to 12 servings