“Always Winter, but never Christmas” – these immortal lines spoken by Mr Tumnus in C.S. Lewis’s classic The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe ring true around this time of the year.
…But before we know it, the daffs will start poking their little green tips up above the frosty ground, we’ll be stockpiling Easter treats and the nights will seem a little lighter - Christmas and New Year will feel like a distant memories. However, how can we make the most of the middle bit?! It’s back to school and work for many, and with resolutions waning, will power difficult to muster and the thick slabs of ice to defrost from our cars of a morning, how can we make this time of the year a little better? Well, that’s something we’ve been thinking a lot about lately.
The festive period can be wonderful, however there is a beauty in this time of year that doesn’t rely on gifts and party food (although we’ll never turn down a party ring), after all, the Danish practice of ‘Hygge’, which roughly translates to ‘cozy, comfy contentment’ would lose its appeal somewhat in the Summer, and those fairy lights you’ve decided to keep up wouldn’t look half as lovely on a hot Summer’s Day. In order to spread some Wintry cheer throughout our space, we’ve decided to take inspiration from Mr Tumnus himself, the fawn with the umbrella who Lucy meets when she first wanders through the wardrobe and into the powdered snow-covered land of Narnia.
“And really it was a wonderful tea. There was a nice brown egg, lightly boiled, for each of them, and then sardines on toast, and then buttered toast, and then toast with honey, and then a sugar-topped cake.”
– C.S. Lewis
I don't know about you, but I definitely feel that there's something about that description that just makes me want to get the toaster out! Bare in mind that The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe was published five years after WWII ended in 1950, (and with it comes several parallels), it should come as no surprise that with the story's wartime setting (both Lucy and Mr Tumnus's Fathers both went away to war) the thought of a feast of afternoon tea-esque delights in the form of toast and 'sugar-topped cakes' would delight both children and fawns alike, as many goods were still being rationed well after WWII had ended.
It's not hard to imagine sugar would have been a treat during those years, and so it's likely that a 'sugar topped' cake would have been a economical way to add some sweet flavour to recipes. We've decided to opt for cinnamon and cloves for a festive and warming recipe, (our Pumpkin Pie pre-made mix would work well too!) and a sprinkling of sugar on top of the finished cake for that rustic Narnian effect!
First things, first - cuppa tea time!
Shop Our Wild Flower Mug For Spring!
“And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”
This cake recipe is super easy to make - just mix the ingredients together and bake for an hour!
125g Caster Sugar
200g Self Raising Flour
Pinch of Salt
2 tbsp Milk
Few Drops Vanilla Essence
1 tbsp Cinnamon
1/2 tbsp Cloves
For the icing:
A little icing sugar mixed with water to a watery consistency
A sprinkling of Sugar
Grease & line your preferred tin
Mix all of your ingredients together and smooth level
Bake for 1 hour at 180c, 350F or Gas mark 4
When the cake is in the oven, prepare your icing sugar. Use a little water and mix the icing sugar powder to create a watery paste (You can mix to a thicker consistency, but on this occasion we've 'rationed' our sugar to give a more rustic effect!)
Once the cake is cooled, poke the top with a fork and pour your icing sugar mixture all over. Then sprinkle with some regular sugar for that extra hint of sweetness!
Leave to set and then cut with a nice cup of tea!
Measure out your ingredients for the perfect concoction!
Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix from The Herb & Spice Co.
would work well if you can't decide what to put in your mix!
...and if you're not into baking your own treats this season, we have something for that too! Our tempting Confectionery Mixture is a hand-selected mixture of ten family favourite sweets! (and starting from £6.99 for a box, you won't even have to sell your family out for it, Turkish Delight-style!)
Shop Our Confectionery Mixture!
Either way, we hope we've inspired you to get cozy at this magical time of year, it won't last for long, and it's always good to have something in the kitchen for any unexpected woodland visitors!
The Pretty Odd Team x