… it may be the Spring equinox this weekend but for me, the arrival of Spring is not officially here until two things happen. The first is when the daffodils at Belleau Cottage come fully out. This always happens later than those in gardens in London which can be as early as February some years but up here in the middle of the country it’s always a little later than down south and I presume it’s a little earlier than in my friends gardens further north. When we moved into the cottage 11 years ago it was September so we had no idea what lay beneath the bank of dried and yellowing grass at the front of the cottage so in that first Spring we were truly delighted. It can be such a pretty sight, even on a dull day… all that sunshine on the roadside…
.. the second is that moment when we arrive at the cottage late at night on a Thursday or Friday… it’s pitch black outside and the cottage stands like a black hole silhouetted against the vast starry sky. The car engine switches off and all is silent until we open the car door to be greeted by the beautiful bleating of the Spring lambs. It’s too dark to make them out in the field opposite the cottage but we know they are there and it sends joy into my heart… Spring has arrived.
mystery freezer cake with honey lemon buttercream icing
my mum always has cake in her freezer… if there was an apocalypse and for some strange reason you needed cake, head for north London for you shall always find cake. Her reasoning, as always, is sound. Why make one cake when you can make two at the same time making the same mess and using the same power. It’s ideal for when random friends pop in unexpectedly, a frozen cake makes an excellent gift to someone who’s just eaten and admired your cake – ‘take one home, I have one in the freezer!’ and it’s also the perfect piece of frozen love to travel 2 hours up the motorway with and arrive with a fully thawed-out delicious home-made cake. Unlike my mum, I don’t label my cakes when they go into the freezer so on the occasion when i’m too tired to bake but need a cake to give to a friend as a birthday gift it usually ends up as a mystery cake.
I’ve tried looking back over my blog to see what kind of cake it can be and at first I thought it was this honey cake but on cutting it open I think it’s probably this brown sugar cake with apples and figs… either way it’s gorgeous!
the icing was of course made fresh to give the cake a boost… this honey lemon butter cream is phenomenal, it’s the perfect combination of sweet and bitter with the added zing of the lemon zest. I cannot recommend it enough!
115g unsalted butter at room temperature
260g icing sugar
85g runny honey
juice and zest of one lemon
extra honey for drizzling
100ml whipping cream
in a large bowl beat the butter with an electric whisk for at least 3 minutes until light and fluffy, then add the icing sugar a little at a time and beat in gently to avoid clouds of sugar
add the honey and the cream and beat in followed by the zest and a little of the juice according to taste – I like it nice and sharp
whip the cream to a firm consistency and fold in gently into the buttercream icing
smother the cake in the icing in any way you fancy and drizzle with a little more honey to serve
eat and of course, enjoy!