LFW (and Carrot Cake)

girl waitin’ for the train
she’s got a shirt that says ‘addict’
wanna-be struggler
baby, I will show you a habit
["They Will Fall," Hype City Kings]

September is a fabulous month for fashion addicts. It is the month when the most creative and innovative designers from all over the world, having spent months trying to crystallize and actualize their ideas, finally share the product of their hard work.

September is like a season, and fashion week a migrating holiday generating excitement and inciting furious preparation as it approaches. It moves through New York and then London before decamping to head for Milan and finally ending in Paris. The shows during fashion week are exclusively for industry insiders and celebrities.

Which is why I was instantly curious when I came across an advertisement for London Fashion Weekend. I quickly discovered that after the final show, Somerset House converts the Fashion Week venue into a trade show for the public – and just anyone can snag an invitation to the catwalk! 

If you hadn’t already seen my Fashion Night Out post, or my post on contemporary British fashion icons, and therefore aren’t aware of my enthusiasm for fashion, let me tell you: I am a “nutter” (popular British term) about fashion. When I see a beautiful ensemble, I feel drum beats in my heart. It feels like believing in fairy tales - drum beats in my heart and magic in my eyes. I wish I could describe it better.

Jill, Anna, Amy, and I booked tickets for Sunday, September 25th - the final day. By Sunday morning I had developed a nasty head cold, but I was still determined to go. I threw together a decent outfit and marched across Waterloo Bridge (in heels) with my flatmates. It was worth it.
my gorgeous flatmates

There were five shows lined up that afternoon. Three were collections by individual designers and fashion houses: Jaeger London, Bryce Aime, and Osman. The other two were trend shows, compiled from pieces from several collections, and were titled the Great British Autumn and Rive Gauche. It gave us a little bit of everything, from established fashion house Jaeger London to the avant-garde Bryce Aime; from the impeccably chosen Great British Autumn to the in-demand Osman. The showspace was very hot due to all of the lights trained on the runway. It wasn’t long before I felt feverish, but the Jaeger London show gave me chills.

I am so happy that I went to the show. I didn’t buy anything from the boutique or vintage stands, but I didn't leave empty handed either! I had pre-ordered a show bag designed by David Koma, which contained baby oil, tissues, facial towelettes, an Elizabeth Arden face cream sample, flapjack sweets, Lavazza instant coffee, false eyelashes, a copy of Elle UK, and one diet coke in a limited edition bottle designed by Karl Lagerfeld.

The girls and I headed home that evening anxious to take off our heels and unload our show bags. After a bit of rest I went into the kitchen, where Charlotte was baking carrot cake. One by one the roommates filtered in. We spent the rest of the night dancing in the kitchen, taking turns trying on Charlotte’s new high heels, sharing stories and eating warm carrot cake. Laughter really is the best medicine. 

Here is the recipe for the cake, supplied by Charlotte. Obviously, we didn't make it as prescribed - we mixed everything by hand, forgot the cloves and nutmeg, used a 9x13 inch pan, didn't make frosting, and struggled with conversions and degrees celsius - but the cake was still delicious!!  I'm not sure whose recipe this was originally, but I'm a huge fan, and I'll be making it again soon.

For the Cake:
  2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  1 tsp baking soda
  1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  1/8 tsp ground cloves
  1/2 tsp salt
  1 pound carrots (6 to 7 medium), peeled and grated
  1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  4 large eggs
  1 1/2 cups safflower, canola, or vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and adjust your oven rack to the middle position. Spray two 8″ round cake pans with cooking spray, line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper.

Whisk together the dry ingredients from the flour to the salt in a bowl and set aside. Using a food processor, process the sugars with the eggs until they’re well combined and frothy, about 20 seconds. Keep the machine running then drizzle the oil through the feed tube. Process the mixture until it’s well emulsified, about 20 seconds longer after all the oil has been added. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl and stir in the grated carrots and dry ingredients. Make sure the mixture is incorporated well and no streaks of flour remain.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pans and bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Rotate your pans halfway through the baking period. Cool the cakes on a wire rack (in the pan) to room temperature.

For the Frosting:
  8 ounces cold cream cheese
  5 tbsp softened butter
  2 tbsp vanilla extract
  (Scant) 2 cups powdered sugar

Using a hand mixer, beat the top three ingredients together until well combined. Gradually add the powdered sugar as you continue beating the mixture. This will be enough to frost a two-layer cake.

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