It’s National Cupcake Day here in the UK, and to celebrate, I’ve got a cake-themed excerpt from my latest Tish Tarragon cozy culinary mystery, THE GARDEN CLUB MURDER. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it with a cupcake, a cup of tea, or the sweet treat of your own choosing.
‘You’re welcome. Now let’s take a look at you.’ The woman gave Tish a hug and inspected her wounds. ‘Jules told me what happened. You were very lucky.’
‘I know,’ Tish moaned. She was tired of discussing her good fortune. ‘Where are the cakes?’
‘In the fridge,’ Jules replied. ‘Ms Celly wouldn’t let me see them until you got here.’
‘You’re darn right I wouldn’t. These beauties deserve a proper introduction.’ She extracted three boxes from the refrigerator and lined them up on the counter. ‘Rose cakes with raspberry frosting,’ Celestine announced as she removed the lid from the first box to reveal row after row of pristinely pink cakes topped with fresh raspberries and crystallized rose petals.
‘Ooooh,’ Tish and Jules cried in unison.
Celestine lifted the lid off the second box. Inside stood dozens of miniature loaf cakes with a light, whitish glaze and purple flowers. ‘Lavender and lemon cakes with lemon glaze and whole sugared violets.’
Tish and Jules’s second response echoed their first.
‘And, finally, something for the gluten-free folks.’ She opened the third box, which was filled with tiny golden Bundt cakes filled with billowy soft peaks of cream and garnished with tiny yellow flowers. ‘Corn flour and orange blossom chiffon cakes with crème-fraiche frosting and candied honeysuckle blossoms straight from my backyard.’
‘These might be the most beautiful cakes I’ve ever seen,’ Tish gushed. ‘As well as the most fragrant.’
‘I know they ate fairy cakes in the book, but I thought using the garden as inspiration might be fun,’ Celestine chuckled.
‘These are absolutely brilliant, Celestine. And they’ll look terrific on our vintage cake stands.’
‘I got some lemon leaves to decorate with too. Just for a little extra pop of green.’
‘The heck with lemon leaves. I can’t believe I’m drooling over something gluten-free,’ Jules declared. ‘When do we get to taste them?’
Celestine happily cut up one of each cake for a quick – and ultimately divine – taste test before settling into the day’s work.