Something special for International Women’s Day! Poppyseed and lemon cupcakes with a rich violet buttercream icing, to give that purple touch. I happened to have a small bottle of violet liqueur, which I needed to use up, but you could leave it out if you’d rather. I love Parma Violets - they’re the sweet I’ll pick out first from those old-fashioned mixes, but it’s a rather individual taste. The floral scent isn’t too strong, but test as you go and don’t add too much at once.
Our Seniors Lunch Club discussion was on the theme of Inspiring Women. Every member of the group chose a special woman to tell us about and gave a piece of advice to a young woman starting out today. We heard about local, international, famous and family – Angela Davis, the US Black Rights and Civil Rights activist; Lucille Ball, actress and producer; Amy Johnson, flying ace; Temple Grandin, animal behaviourist and autism activist; Elsie Inglis, WW1 doctor; Florence Nightingale; Marie Curie; mothers and mothers-in-law who were kind, supportive and strong; female bosses who were challenging and also supportive; local judges and barristers who encourage and mentor the younger lawyers. Our advice to young women comes from those who have lived through war, want and plenty. They’ve raised families, had professional lives, seen difficulties, dangers and great joy. Their advice is typically practical, down to earth, and mixed with the aspirational!
Makes 18 cupcakes Timings: 1 hour for the cupcakes, then cooling time and then 30 minutes for the icing.
For the icing: 250g unsalted butter, 150g icing sugar, 50g white chocolate, purple food colouring, 1 tablespoon violet liqueur
Pre-heat your oven to 180°C. Beat the butter or margarine with the caster sugar until fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time with a spoonful of flour each time. Add the sour cream. Tip in the lemon zest and the poppy seeds and then stir in the rest of the flour, either with the mixer running slowly or by hand.
Spoon the mixture into cup cake cases and put the tray into the oven. I prefer to make one tray of 12 cupcakes at a time, and then make the next, rather than have to swop trays over from top to bottom halfway, which I think tends to make the cakes fall slightly. The un-used mixture will stand happily for 20 minutes while you cook the first batch.
Cook each batch for 15-20 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
To make the icing: beat the butter until fluffy. Melt the white chocolate over a gentle heat. Beat the icing sugar into the butter one spoon at time, then add in the melted chocolate, the violet liqueur, and beat again. I find the addition of chocolate helps hold the fluffiness of the icing. Add the colouring to your preferred level of purple-ness.
Ice the cakes using an icing bag with a star nozzle and decorate with candied violet petals and some purple glitter for the final sparkle.
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.