22 March 2022

Violets in Bloom

Posted by the Cake Shop

As the first signs of spring emerge, we can’t stop thinking about violets. Tiny but potent, these little blossoms evoke new possibilities and a history of resistance.

Terry says:

My obsession with violets goes way back. When I was eight, we went to my uncle and aunt’s for Christmas. Their house had a strong seventies aesthetic, with a rumpus room, seagrass matting and a home bar. They had just poured little sherry glasses of violet liqueur for everybody when Debbie Harry came on TV. It was the first time I’d ever seen her: she was singing ‘In the Flesh’ and when she took off her black beret and shook out that head of platinum hair, I was mesmerised. In that instant a Pavlovian connection between violets and punk was forged that would stay with me all the way through the eighties. Purple hair, violet lipstick, Parfait Amour and lemonade at the bar of old pubs where we’d go to play the jukebox. My eighties handbag would invariably contain roll-ups, chocolate and violet Ayurvedic oil; if the oil leaked, as it frequently did, the chocolate and the roll-ups would end up tasting of violets as well.

As a flower and as a flavour, violets really punch above their weight: fragile and fresh, they’re the first flip of springtime, that high-sky colour of the horizon before dawn, a promise of what’s to come. The smell is musky sweet, but on the palate there’s a subtle bitterness, a sophisticated note of strange perfume. Violet is the colour that vibrates at the highest frequency on the spectrum of visible light, and in Buddhist tradition it’s also the crown chakra, located just above the top of the head, connecting your body with the world.

It’s also one of the key colours of the suffragettes, along with green and white. For me, if there was ever any proof of an inherent connection between violet and punk, it’s in this movement of inspiring, rebellious women, carried over to this day in the colour of the contemporary feminist movement worldwide. 

We’ve created rhubarb muffins topped with raspberry and violet jam, a recipe from one of our all-time favorite books by Diana Henry, Salt Sugar Smoke; we’re also serving a violet and cherry tonic using the last of the summer’s cherry preserve. We’re also super excited to get our hands on Floral Provisions by Cassie Winslow – more floral flavours coming soon…

Books mentioned in this blog post