Cake of the Week: Parma Violet Cake

For one night only this cake was also known as The Violet Mary Costello Cake. (see photo!)

I have a new addiction – crushing up sweets and concocting various cake recipes. This was my offering to our latest Clandestine Cake Club held in St Helens last week. Our theme was Spring and I thought spring flowers and pastel colours would suit the theme.

Off I tottered to Amazon and duly ordered some Violet Syrup – I was going to go the whole hog and order crystalised violets but quite frankly, they were deeply ugly so I didn’t bother. Days went by and no sign of the violet syrup (I am in fact a week after the CCC still waiting for it to arrive and may be having a Parma Violet Cocktail night when it eventually does!) Not one to be deterred, I thought how best can I get a violet taste and so started the search for Parma Violets.

Turns out that they are considered quite a delicacy in St Helens – I was under no illusion previously that we were a Mecca for unusual ingredients but blinking hek, Parma Violets!?! Many a shopkeeper looked at me like I’d lost my marbles until my friend, Sue visited the good old market – Hurrah! I was now the proud owner of 40 packets. Yes, you read right – 40!!!

By now I had already made a sponge cake (just a normal vanilla sponge) so I crushed up 10 of the packets by bashing with a rolling pin in a heavy duty foodbag – I’m not ruining my Magimix for the sake of some Parma Violets! I mixed the crushed sweets with some thick buttercream/frosting and popped in the fridge for a few hours – I think the taste was slightly more concentrated because of this step but I’m sure if you ate straightaway it would be fine. The sweets weren’t completely crushed to fine sugar but the little flecks gave a lovely texture when we ate it. The parma violet taste was delicious and gave a little aftertaste kick – it was even nicer the next day. I also sprinkled some fine Parma Violet powder over the icing on the top of the cake for added flavour.

I’m thinking my next mission might be to try crushed Swizzels or even pear drops (although they do make me cough!) Can you think of any sweet suggestions? Don’t blame me though when you get told off by your dentist!

I know its been yonks since I did a cake of the week linky but if there’s anyone that would like to link up, I’d love to see your work.

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