The Awakening: Spring lilac, violets and blossom…with cake!

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A warm morning with dew on grass and early morning bees buzzing…I made my way down the old walled garden, heavy with fragrance and birdsong, walking in the virgin silence of a new-born morn’. Lilac hanging low like amethyst jewels, apple and quince blossom billowing in a gentle breeze whilst cherry blossom danced on old and gnarled branches…scent, fragrance and beauty with every step I took.

Spring Cherry Blossom

A blue sky hung overhead and storybook clouds bobbed across the sky, full of candyfloss loveliness, there would be “picture painting” to be done with them later, whilst lounging in an old striped deck chair – a post prandial pleasure.

Spring Blossoms

On letting my hens out, I laughed at their morning antics, all feathers and bustles as they ran across the grass in search of worms and other chicken treats. Warm eggs in straw met me on checking the nesting box, a clutch of eggs waiting for breakfast, cakes and other bakes……nestled like ovoid gifts, warm and freckled with each hen’s personality, I knew their heart would be pure gold. A quicker pace now as I head back up the garden, anticipation of tea, boiled eggs and toast, as well as that quiet peace of being the first one at the kitchen table…….a simple pleasure, but eagerly anticipated – almost prize-like for being the first one up.

Spring floral arrangement

Spring has finally awakened, and whilst I sipped my scalding hot tea and dip “soldiers” in freshly boiled eggs, I planned my foraging for the day ahead. Lilac was a “must have” and I also know that the rosemary is in bloom – tiny purple flowers heavy with the idea of “roast lamb” as well as scented, crispy potatoes and garlic. With a basket full of eggs, cakes and baking was also on my spring day agenda, maybe fairy cakes for the spring tea time table or a jar of golden lemon curd for toast, crumpets, muffins and fluffy freshly-made bread rolls.

Homemade Lemon Curd

The garden is a freshly painted canvas of blossom and fragrance, a veritable “Old Master” of flower and future fruits…..and, I am minded of a verse from my mother’s favourite poem, one that she wrote in my first “autograph book”, and old-fashioned piece of beauty and grace, redolent of sunny days with grandparents in other walled gardens……

The kiss of the sun for pardon, The song of the birds for mirth, One is nearer God's heart in a garden Than anywhere else on earth.

(From “God’s Garden” by Dorothy Frances Gurney, 1858 - 1932)

 And so to seasonal baking plans, maybe floral cakes to herald spring to our family tea time table? Violets still peep through fresh grass, and I still have a small tin of crystallised violets on the pantry…

I wish my garden held primroses, as I would have made some of Sarah’s Primrose Lemon Curd Cakes, with my freshly made lemon curd and free-range eggs, but, sadly there are none this year; so, sweet violet fairy cakes it will be then…..small and dainty cousins to the blousy cupcake, a much-loved tea time treat, an “Auntie’s Handbag” sort of cake, in the best “Devon Violet scent” kind of way.

Spring Lilac, Violets and Blossom..with Cake!

The kitchen is still mine, as the family continue to slumber……so eggs are cracked, butter is whipped with sugar and flour is sifted high over an old ceramic mixing bowl….. a bowl heavy with memories of hundreds of Christmas cakes exuding from its pale beige loveliness, as well as birthday cakes, Easter cakes and “just because” cakes too. Little paper cases are popped into an old patty tin and the mixing bowl is licked and scraped out with a wooden spoon, no need to share the bowl this time! The cakes rise, wire racks are set out to receive them and my pantry is raided for “hundreds and thousands”, crystallised violets and other “cakey” things.

This recipe of mine is a simple 4,4,4,2 Victoria Sandwich recipe (4 ounces of sugar, butter and flour with 2 eggs), there is a goodly dollop of home-made lemon curd added to the top, and then the cakes are adorned with “hundreds and thousands” with a final floral flourish, a crystallised violet on each cake. If you have been industrious in the kitchen then these cakes can be made with violet sugar for an extra floral note, but normal caster sugar works just as well. Fresh lemon curd is the only other requisite, and my mum’s recipe is divine, trust me! I will leave you with the recipe for my spring Spring Violet and Lemon Curd Cakes, and do let me know if you make these, and may all your early spring mornings be as beautiful as mine!

Spring Lemon Curd Cupcake Recipe Card

Thanks for reading!