vintage plates & decorating with blackberries

I’ve recently contributed a guest post to Juniper & Rose, Vanessa Campbell’s lovely blog. Vanessa runs cookery courses on cooking and eating delicious, sustainable and ethical food and her blog includes gorgeous images that encapsulate beautifully many simple pleasures from flowers picked straight from the garden to freshly made crusty bread in a French bakery.

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French sourdough breadDavid Austin Roses jug

My blog post was about the simple pleasures of vintage and I mention my stacks of old tea plates, bought at a local barn sale. Last night my mismatched but pretty plates got lots of use. I’d baked some cupcakes for the school Macmillan coffee morning and had some six year olds to help me decorate them. Choosing from the piles of pretty plates took the girls quite some time. As did choosing between calendula, violets, raspberries and lavender for decorating. I seem unable to go for a walk or pop out in the garden at the moment without returning with blackberries, so I had to sneak a few on top.



Of course it didn’t take long for the girls to sneak in a few other items.


It made me smile to see my 6 year old helpers initially place petals really carefully around the cakes, then decide that minimalism wasn’t for them.


As usual I’d started off with good intentions of keeping these sweet treats relatively healthy and natural and my plans had gone slightly awry.

The icing was made from cream cheese, lemon juice and icing sugar as I used here. In an effort to avoid colourings full of additives I tried adding a few drops of my elderberry cordial to some of it. It gave us a pleasing shade of pink that the girls were happy with. Then I let myself be persuaded that sweets were needed. My usual dodgy balance!

We obviously had to sample a few and I had to admit though that the maltesers did add something.

Although I often add grated courgette or other squash to these sort of little cakes – I hesitate to call them cupcakes again as I’m never going to be the sort of person who rustles up Magnolia Bakery style cakes with perfect swirls of pretty buttercream – these were straightforward sponge rustled up quickly when I didn’t have too much time. While I still have Autumn fruiting raspberries to pick I do fancy trying this lovely Ren Behan recipe for raspberry and basil cupcakes though. If I do will definitely try to keep the smarties away!






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