The Sweet Taste Of Spring Herbs
The Gardener|September 2020
The arrival of spring is always a cause for celebration. Goodbye brown, frosty gardens, cold mornings, and nippy evenings. Hullo, sunshine, long days, and the fragrance of herbs as gardens burst into life.
Alice Spenser-Higgs

Spring garden cupcakes decorated with edible flowers are a delicious way to indulge the family’s sweet tooth. Think of delectable and unusual combinations like lemon and thyme, strawberry and mint, orange zest and ginger, or rosemary and chocolate.

Floral flavors are also winners for cupcakes, such as lavender, rose-scented geranium, lemon verbena, and lemon basil.

The pièce de résistance is to decorate the frosted cupcakes with edible flowers like sweetly scented violas, cheerful calendula petals, aromatic lavender, or sumptuous rose petals. Use fresh flowers for a pop of color or candy them using egg white and caster sugar. This recipe provides the base to which the herb and flavoring combinations of your choice can be added. It is as simple as that.

Cupcake base: ½ cup butter, 1 cup (200g) sugar, 2 large eggs, 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract, 1½ cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ cup milk. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Beat the butter and sugar together until creamed. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, then beat on medium-high speed until combined. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and start the mixer on a low speed. At this point you can slowly add one of the following:

Strawberry and mint 1/3 cup strawberry pulp Chopped strawberries Chopped mint

Lemon and thyme 1½ tablespoons lemon zest 1/3 cup (80ml) fresh lemon juice Chopped thyme

Tips for using herbs

The shorter the baking time, the softer the flavor of the herbs, which is why cupcakes work so well.

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