Posted by the Cake Shop
It’s been a steep, exhilarating ride downhill from summer’s apex — and now we’re almost at the autumn equinox. It’s a time of hedgerows and harvesting; a moment to enjoy the last ripe glimmer of summer while preparing for the darker months to come.
When the sunny weather starts to ebb away, there’s always a sense of melancholy loss, but in a way I enjoy that. The mist rises in the mornings as I cycle through the park. Fruits ripen in the hedges — if there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now, I hum as I pedal. There’s a special romance to this turning point of the year. As the light shifts, and the shadow creeps across the land, you can feel the spirit of this place changing.
For me, it’s about making the most of the sun that’s still there, and getting as close to the earth as you can. Walking across the park barefoot, because you know that soon it’s going to get too cold to enjoy the feeling of grass under your feet. Picking blackberries for blackberry wine. It’s not that I don’t get wistful, but when nostalgia hits I think I’m more of a ‘make the most of it’ person.
And there’s a sense of abundance at the end of summer that’s both magical and a little ominous. All those flavours that will bring us pleasure in the cold months to come are ready to harvest now — the fruits and berries, to be dried, fermented or preserved; the nuts and seeds, to be toasted, caramelised or ground. We have to gather the outside things that will soothe us during the months spent inside, that will tap into that inner warmth.
At the Cake Shop, we’ve been using a lot of fresh apricots recently; they have that beautiful setting sun colour that’s so evocative at this time of year. We’ve been baking fresh apricot crumble muffins, and on Saturdays we’re doing a special with a whisky apricot cheesecake. Right now they’re perfectly ripe and sweet, but soon we’ll be switching to dried apricots, which have a special magic of their own — as a key ingredient in our Christmas Cakes.