I’ve often wondered if, in another life, I would have made an excellent gardener. If I didn’t happen to kill almost every plant I touch, that is. I adore flowers. Their singular beauty and intoxicating scent have been known to stop me dead in my tracks on occasion. So it seemed only natural that, once I’d discovered that some floral essences pair well with baked goods and chocolates, I would give it a go and create something using two of my very favourite scents: rose and violet. My first experiment was earlier this year with chocolate, since the charm and vintage appeal of the English rose and violet creams so intrigued me I had to try it for myself. Making my own fondant, of course. Yes, I am well aware that it’s far easier to just buy it in the big tub and scent or colour it, but I can be a bit stubborn. Okay, maybe more than a bit: I can be as stubborn as the Pope is Catholic.
The experiment went extremely well – rose is a perfect match with the lighter flavour of milk chocolate, while the sharper notes in violet pair nicely with dark. But what inspired me to try it in a cake form was the leftover rose buttercream that I had made for the chocolate macarons I’d baked earlier. You may recall my mention of them in a previous post. No big deal. So I was racking my brain trying to figure out what I could use it for when it hit me – a soft, snow white cupcake filled then topped with the striking pink buttercream in the shape of a hand-drawn heart. I would call them Bleeding hearts, in homage to my very favourite flower. It was perfect – the only issue left was whether or not I could actually pull it off the way I did so effortlessly in my mind. Quite often, there’s a bit of a disconnect between the two. But I set to work researching and found this recipe for the cake – which also gave me the opportunity to use up my last remaining egg white. It originally called for vanilla extract for flavouring. I thought that since I was going so far as to top the cake with rose, would it be overkill if I were to use it in the cake as well? As it so happens, I’m rather fond of overkill.
The results were rather well-received from whom I consider to be my harshest of critics apart from myself – my husband. He has a particular dislike for cupcakes. He doesn’t seem to understand what all the fuss is about with this little piece of cake with some icing that has somehow managed to spawn its own industry. Maybe it’s a chick thing? I don’t see too many men swooning over a cupcake. Except him, over this one. He said it was a perfect balance of the flavours. I myself was quite pleased with the whimsical heart I’d managed to create on a good portion of the cupcakes. Some of them were wonky, not gonna lie. I was also thrilled that I had the exact amount of icing needed to fill as well as top all sixteen cupcakes. So really, all in all, it was kind of a win-win situation.
I think my next experiment with floral cake will somehow involve adapting that white cake recipe to a chocolate one, then fill and top with a violet buttercream, in the shape of a violet? What do you think? Perhaps more importantly, what the heck would I call it?? As I’m typing, the voice in my head which tells me to bake all these things is whispering The Violet Femme which has a nice ring to it but I’m not yet convinced. I think I would have to wait and see what the outcome turns out like on this one. But I am, as always, open to suggestions.