A slice of sunshine – buttermilk and calendula cake

Rain at last.

Thick grey clouds have filled the sky above the House at Nab End for weeks. Yet below, the grass is parched, the pond is low, and deep cracks run through our heavy clay soil. The dense clouds have locked in the heat, refusing, until now, to release a single drop. The garden is desperate for the rain, and so is our wildlife. And if it must be grey, I would rather have these life-giving drops, than days of drought under sunless skies.

To banish the seemingly endless greyness, the other week I collected petals from the calendula patch, and made a cake – sunshine on a plate.

Calendula patch | The House at Nab End

The basic recipe is taken from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess – her buttermilk birthday cake – to which I added petals plucked from 20 calendula flowers and ½ teaspoon of rosewater. The buttermilk gives the cake a lovely moist sponginess, so it didn’t seem to need any butter icing, just a few edible viola flowers to decorate.

I have other adaptations in mind – replacing the rosewater with lime zest, or turning it into a calendula and poppy seed cake.

More petals have been picked for other kitchen goodies, but those can wait for a future post!





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