I’ve been holding back this post. The moment for wild violets has passed, at least in the woods and marsh banks near our home where I gather them. Perhaps there are still a few beneath the greenery that has grown up seemingly overnight, tempestuous, lush, aggressive. I spied two violets waving together amongst the wood chips near our garage yesterday, which makes me think it might be so. But I am not much in the mood to forage for them in recent days to recreate this recipe, even though wild violets have such an irresistible sweetness about them. Perhaps all things fleeting seem so. Though rhubarb pushes up and leafs out with such dramatic splendor, so I suppose this is not really true. As pretty as these cupcakes are, they were a flop. The ground violet tea was a nice idea, and the frosting and sugared violets were perfect, but we are new to gluten free baking, and the cupcakes were gummy and off-putting, doubly disappointing with new restrictions which raise fear about the future of our baking and eating pleasure. I should develop another recipe and practice with patience, but the moment has passed for me. I am onto pea tendrils and apricots and herbs nearly ready. So if they strike your fancy, take your favorite cupcake recipe, gluten free or otherwise, and adapt it perhaps with these ideas, the violet tea ground in a mortar and pestle and stirred into the batter, and the pretty candied violets to perch on top. Next spring I’ll work on a better version, when I can barely wait to see the first violets again, when spring is yet a whisper.
Violet Tea Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting & Candied Wild Violets
1 recipe for plain or vanilla cupcakes
1 T. violet tea, ground to fine powder in a mortar and pestle and stirred into the batter before baking
1 batch cream cheese frosting to decorate the cupcakes (recipe below)
½ c. fine sugar and 1 or 2 drops lavender food coloring placed in a plastic bag and rubbed together for sprinkling on top if you wish
candied wild violets to perch on top (recipe here)
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ c. unsalted butter, softened
sifted confectioners’ sugar, about 1 1/3 c.
1 t. vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar gradually until the frosting tastes good to you and has a smooth, creamy consistency.
- Add the vanilla extract and beat until well combined.