13 February 2024

Love in all its many forms

Posted by Terry Glover

A tinge of pink has reappeared in the Cake Shop colour palette – a nod to the subtle shift of seasons. Though the days are still short, the ground is softening; snowdrops and garlic shoots are pushing through, and there’s a little more light, a pink blush to the sunset which brings me out of the doldrums and lifts my mood. 

I’ve been channeling that warming heart energy into the Cake Shop menu. Snow violet drinks, with violet syrup and coconut water. Persian love cake with pistachio and rose. Raspberry and beetroot muffins served with vibrant hibiscus tea. Pickled sour cherry mayonnaise with blue cheese. Colour gives us the boost we need to get through this late winter stretch – as does love in all its many forms. The pleasure of coming together to share a hot cup with a good friend. A warm exchange. It’s important to keep the heart flame nourished when things are a bit melancholy, and one of the ways I’ve been doing that is by making time to read fiction. I’m currently halfway through Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo, an absolute delight of a book – an electric and unconventional queer love story, and a powerful evocation of the Windrush generation and the London Caribbean community. 

Easter comes early this year, which means I’ve been stirring fruits for Simnel cakes and beginning to work on the hand-painted cake toppers. This year I’m fully channeling my nana inclinations and going for pale pink icing decorated with purple pansies: big, velvety, lush flowers which speak to my hankering for softness. 

I’ve also started making batches of black butter – an ancient apple recipe from Jersey whose roots are deeply entwined with convivial winter customs. Despite the name, there’s no dairy involved; instead, you boil down apples for days until they collapse into a smooth, silky sauce. Traditionally, communities would gather to tell stories and sing songs as they took turns to stir the butter-making pot with wooden paddles. We use it in cakes, and in sandwiches; our current combo with gorgonzola, apple butter, roasted walnuts and truffle oil is a must-try. We’re going to serve it on sourdough crackers at Apéro Hour – walk in before any event at the Bookshop to enjoy a pick-me-up in good company.

Books mentioned in this blog post