I had a good time recreating a version of the saffron and carrot cupcake recipe that I saw in the beautifully written novel – “Picnic in Provence” by Elizabeth Bard. I tweaked the recipe to suit the ingredients that I had on hand at the time and to make a smaller batch of 6 carrot cupcakes.

The books Lunch in Paris and the sequel – Picnic in Provence – have been the jewels in my recent recreational reading history. In my “spare time” you’ll often find me procrasti-baking, rearranging my vegie drawer or just generally pottering in the kitchen. However, reading a good book is definitely up there with my fave things to do. I love these books for a few reasons – they delve into what it is like to live away from your home, how food is a cross-cultural medium and it’s set in France. A favourite part of the world, for me.

Saffron and Carrot Cupcakes by Play with Food

This post on food memories and blood orange & chocolate cupcakes that I wrote a while ago is popping into my mind as I write this. As I explained then and reflect upon now, food is a powerful medium. For good. For bad. Embracing a positive food experience with kids is so important and why the Happy Mealtimes eCourse starts by investigating YOUR food memories, expectations and ideas.  

Everyone comes to eating from a different journey. In Picnic in Provence, my fave chapter is 16 – Green Bean Hour…. I was in tears of JOY reading it. The food memories that Elizabeth makes with her son are priceless and the detour in her parenting journey as a result is monumental. I totally agree with Elizabeth with not wanting our kids to be all consuming of our identity and why that’s such a conundrum when they mould US in so many ways as people, as citizens, as adults, as workers and as friends – they impact us on every level.  You’ll love this book for a meander through the early throws of parenthood with a very food based lens.

The icing that I made to go with the carrot cupcakes pales (literally) in comparison to what I imagine Elizabeth made in her book using the freshest provincial saffron that she helped harvest. So I’ve only posted the base recipe that I made and recommend that you follow a delicious cream cheese icing recipe like this one from Kidgredients – In a food processor combine 125gms cream cheese, 1 1/2 cups icing sugar and 1 tsp vanilla paste. It will make more than you need for this recipe – so whipping up her Apple, Carrot and Coconut cake would be a wise way to use it up! 🙂 Or of course, use the recipe that Elizabeth has on p205 of her book.

My adaptation of the recipe:

Saffron and Carrot Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Perfect for morning tea or afternoon tea.
Serves: 6 cupcakes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ tsp bi-carb soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ⅓ cup sultanas
  • 1 cup of grated carrot
  1. Lightly whisk the egg and saffton together and then add the sugar and whisk together. Then combine in the oil.
  2. Mix the flour, bi-carb and salt together before adding it to the liquid mixture until just combined - take care not to overwork the mixture.
  3. With a spatula, fold through the carrot and sultanas.
  4. Bake in a preheated moderate oven (180oC or 350oF) for 22 minutes in a silicon cupcake tray or cupcake papers.


Find the book:

Get the hard copy book via my Amazon affiliate link* at no extra cost to you or this is the link to Lunch in Paris if you like to start at the beginning of her story (totally recommend that):

*Having an affiliate account helps me fund the cost of running the website. As full disclosure, these two books were bought as my Christmas present from my mother-in-law and this blog post is all my own opinions and ideas and not sponsored.

What books have you been reading lately?  Where do you find food memories take you?

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