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Vintage Parisian Romance Dessert Table & Printables (35 photos)
Ah, the French…what would we do without them? Precut sticks of deep fried potatoes would not seem so exotic. Passionate kisses involving tongues would not seem so romantic. And what about that whole French bread pizza craze? And for giggles let us thrown in one Luc Besson (think The Professional and 5th Element). Gone. All. Of. It. I know, I too am struggling to breathe right now as well. Alright so all of that might have been a bit of a stretch. But the one truly important thing that would vanish would be the inspiration for our take on Valentine’s this year. Our last one if you believe the Doomsayers! Oh emm gee, we better get started…
This year we wanted to skip the whole juvenile red and pink heart jazz and go with a more muted color scheme and “grown-up” theme. Not that there is anything wrong with getting those colorful miniature cards and conversation hearts from your friends at school. Here at Hello My Sweet, I wanted to go a different direction. Think more east. No, no not Asia. Too far east. Back it up a bit. STOP…France!
As I said before we had this look in mind about our V-Day table & printables this year. Heather had wanted to do something feminine that included elements of old air mail envelopes, mailboxes, and love letters. So I went about my research. It was then that I had my epiphany, and by epiphany I probably mean my son shot me in the head with a NERF dart. Let’s set our table in Paris, France during wartime. We’ll let everyone in on a day in the life of a young woman’s vanity, where she has various trinkets and recent letters from her husband, boyfriend, or lover who has gone off to war. I know on paper that might sound a bit heavy handed, but I can only imagine what it must have been like for so many women during the years of 1939 to 1945 to say “Good-bye” to their men then worry for years at a time. When the guns stopped firing and the treaties were signed, their men came back, though unfortunately not all of them; to the waiting arms of the one they love. To me nothing epitomizes romance and enduring love quite like that.
With our color scheme in tow, we ventured off to do some prop shopping. The first place we usually go is our local Jo-Ann Fabric store. After much distraction and looking around, we decided to go with a taupe colored muslin for our “vanity” top covering. We also picked up a length of fringe and some lace in a pale pink. The fringe, while being tad bit on the expensive side, was gorgeous and I had plans to spruce up a well used cake stand with it. Since our Jo-Ann store is located in a mall, we also decided to walk on down to the Belk department store as well. At times in the past we have found some incredible deals in their home goods department. This time was no exception. Sitting beneath a display of glass cake platters and stands, was an unassuming & dented upside down box. Turning it over revealed it to be this little gem. This had to be one of the largest apothecary jars I have ever seen. Looking at the price tag of $40.00, I would’ve thought that was a fair price for it, but it was about that time I noticed a sign saying that all Home Accents products were 50% off. Score! A 17 inch apothecary jar for $20.00? To be fair, this was after Christmas and we know that a lot of stores have end of year clearance sales. We didn’t find anything else we wanted, so I went ahead and got in line to purchase my awesome find. I handed the box over to the lady behind the counter, she then scanned it and told me the total; a whopping $10.49! Wow. I walked away from the counter clutching the box like a man who had just stolen something.
I have mentioned her before in other articles, but I think it bears mentioning again since she is such a treasure trove of awesome vintage stuffs. Cindy Robertson, Heather’s mother, graciously let us borrow some truly unique family heirlooms that we thought would look great on our throwback Valentine’s Day table. A Sabin 9” Crest-O-Gold china plate with real 22k gold trimming, a woman’s oval mirrored vanity tray with gold filigree, a pewter jewelry box with some very intricate carvings, a picture frame from the 1940’s, a gilded plant/birdhouse stand, and several books with copyright dates ranging from 1917 to the 1930’s. All of it, super old and super cool.
Another person we would like to give a shout out to (we’re so hip, we’re using super cool youngster lingo!) is Carmen Taylor. Hailing from Tampa, Florida she “is the creative mastermind behind PomFlair which offers hand crafted party ware.” We contacted Carmen through our Etsy store and pitched an offer to have some of her gorgeous wares, in particular her tissue tassel garland, on a future table for some cross store promotional goodness. She was a great sport about it and agreed. Unlike some other Etsy store owners, who were understandably less than enthusiastic about “loaning” out product. We totally understand, in this day and age, people just usually don’t give you much reason to trust them. In the end though we think we reached out and made contact with a kindred spirit, and it will surely benefit our readers and customers, both PomFlair’s and Hello My Sweets’.
When you think of French pastries what comes to mind for you? Croissants? Madelines? The ever popular Macaron? Us too. In fact, that is just what we included, minus the macarons. Oh sweet crispy chewy Macarons, why are you so hard to make? Because your oven is terri-bad Heather, at least that is what I keep telling myself. It couldn’t be my skill level or anything like that, no sir. Must be faulty equipment. OK sorry about that, major tangent. Anyway, we included traditional Parisian fare like the croissant and madeline, which we were able to find at our local grocery. We also wanted to have lots of little cakes and cookies as well. Just like you would find in the Pâtisserie. So we stuck to the color pink and we baked a Strawberry Cake, Rose Cupcakes and Raspberry Kiss Meringues. We also included Turkish Delight. What you say? Not a French pastry? You are right of course, but they were the right color, bite sized and rose infused, and so we thought, what the heck.
Read on below for the details on where we found our store bought items and the recipes for the ones we baked ourselves.
Rose Turkish Delight
We found this beautiful box of Turkish Delight at our local Kroger grocery. It was so pretty. It was so appealing. It was so not what we expected. Have you ever tasted a Turkish Delight? We hadn’t. It fit so well with what we wanted on our table though we grabbed it and put it out there, and then we tasted it. It was like biting into a stick of rose scented chap-stick, covered in powdered sugar. It wasn’t bad, it was... unusual. I wouldn't go so far as to call it appetizing however.
Private Selection Mini Butter Croissants from Kroger grocery. These were in a 6-pack and came frozen. They must thaw and rose overnight before baking the next day. We found these croissants delicious! Flaky, buttery, soft, everything they should be.
Also from Kroger grocery. These were pre-baked and available in the bakery section of our store. They were also very tasty. Madelines are traditionally a soft cake-like cookie, and we are for sure a fan of these.
Light as air meringue cookies that melt in your mouth! A super easy recipe that requires minimal preparation. The recipe uses jell-o as it’s main source of flavor, so if you prefer another flavor or color simply buy that kind of jell-o instead of the Raspberry. We wanted a berry flavor and the pink coloration as well.
6 Tsp. Meringue Powder
6 Tbsp. Water
3 1/2 Tsp. raspberry Jell-O
3/4 c. sugar
Preheat oven to 250 degrees
Beat together (in a mixer on high) the meringue powder and water until combined, then add the salt and continue to beat until foaming.
Add the Raspberry Jell-O and sugar gradually, and continue beating until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
Pipe batter into small swirls or kiss shapes on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.
Bake at 250 degrees for 25 minutes, the turn the oven off and allow them to sit for an additional 20 minutes.
Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely before taking them off of the parchment paper.
These cookies should be stored in an air-tight container and will remain fresh for several days.
Ingredients for Cake:
2 ¼ cups All-Purpose Flour
1 ½ Tsp. Baking Powder
¾ Tsp. Salt
1 ½ Sticks Un-Salted Butter, room temp.
1 ½ Cups Sugar
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Cup Fresh Strawberries
Ingredients for Buttercream:
1 Cup Fresh Strawberries Blended
2 Sticks Un-Salted Butter
3 - 5 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla
Directions for the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your cake pans in your preferred method.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and stir, then set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy.
Add the sugar and continue beating until it is well combined.
Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the mixer bowl as necessary.
Add half of the dry ingredient mixture and continue beating on low speed until blended.
Add the buttermilk and continue mixing on low until smooth.
Add the remaining dry ingredient mixture and continue beating on low speed until blended.
Add in the fresh strawberries and mix on low speed until blended.
Divide the batter evenly between your cake pans. We used three 6” pans to create a small, but tall cake.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and your cakes are slightly golden on top and spring back to the touch. Approx. 20-30 mins depending on the size of your cake pans.
Allow the cakes to cool the transfer them to a wire rack until you are ready to stack your layers.
Directions for the Buttercream:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy.
Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
Add the vanilla.
Mix in the strawberry puree a tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired texture.
Add more confectioners sugar as needed to thicken your buttercream to your liking.
To assemble your cake, spread an even coating of the butter cream onto the top of your first cake layer.
Continue with your next layer, and so on until you have all layer stacked with buttercream between each.
Apply a thin coat of buttercream to the entire outside of your cake.
Do not worry about crumbs at this point as this is your crumb coat. Allow this to set up until it has hardened slightly.
Then apply another thicker layer of buttercream onto your entire cake. If you prefer you can pipe it on making a pattern or even use a cake comb to create an interesting design into the buttercream.
Store your cake under a cake dome or wrapped until you are ready to serve.
These cupcakes employ rose water to keep them smelling fresh as... a rose! Rose water can be hard to find at times, but most specialty grocers will carry it. Look for it with the French cuisine along with the international foods.
1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
2 - 3 Tbsp. Rose Water (your preference)
1 - 2 Drops Red Food Coloring
1 Cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, room temp.
6 Cups Confectioners' Sugar
1/2 Cup milk
2 - 3 Tbsp. Rose Water (your preference)
Directions for Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, pipe frosting into small swirls around the outer edge of the cupcake then work your way inwards until you reach the center. Garnish with sugar pearls.
Directions for Buttercream:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and rose water. Mix until smooth.
Hard as we may try it is entirely possible that we have left out a detail or two here and there, so if you spot something please do not hesitate to speak up in our comments section and we will try to right that wrong! I was recently informed that our Hot Chocolate Stick recipe while insanely delicious, had omitted the small detail of oiling the spatula that you use to spread the marshmallow. The brave reader at home had attempted to create these hand-crafted marshmallows and said she ended up with it everywhere! Stuck to everything! After checking I did discover that while we mentioned oiling the spatulas, we had forgotten to mention the importance of covering your hands with non-stick spray to ensure that you do not end up marshmallow-ed. So we apologize for that!