I CALLED HIM a murderer.
That was the thought in his mind when he woke an hour later. I called him a murderer, he called me a sodomite…and yet it’s Fraser he called out. Why?
Because Fraser accused him, point-blank and publicly, or treason. He had to challenge that; he couldn’t let the statement stand. An accusation of murder might be mere insult, but not an accusation of treason. And particularly not if there was any truth in it.
Of course. He’d known that, really. What he didn’t know was what had possessed Fraser to make the accusation now, and in such a public manner.
He got up, used the pot, then splashed water from the ewer over his face and, tilting the pitcher, drank most of the rest. It was nearly evening; his room was growing dark, and he could smell the luscious scents of tea preparing downstairs; fried sardines, fresh buttered crumpets, lemon sponge, cucumber sandwiches, sliced ham. He swallowed, suddenly ravenous.
He can’t have done it for me. The thought carried some regret; he wished it were true. But he was a realist enough to know that Fraser wouldn’t have gone to such lengths merely to distract attention from Twelvetree’s accusation of sodomy, no matter what he personally thought of Grey at the moment – and Grey didn’t even know that.
Diana Gabaldon, The Scottish Prisoner (Chapter 30, Particular Friends)
The love that lies between James Fraser and John Grey may not be reciprocated romantic love, but it is filled with the respect, loyalty and affection of a decades-old friendship between two men who, despite their different political and sexual orientations, would lay down their lives for each other.
A love worthy of a Valentine’s celebration in any century.
These cupcakes combine a traditional English sponge (in cupcake form) with a sweet, fruity buttercream made from Fraser Strawberry Jam, one of 50+ new recipes coming in the Outlander Kitchen cookbook by yours truly, and published by Delacorte Press of the Random House Group.
See the jam in the tarts on the cover?!
Although currently available for pre-order online, the cookbook’s release date is in June, so use another jam for now if you want to make a batch of these sweet cakes in time for Valentine’s Day.
(Click on the link below for a printable version of the recipe.)
Tender, moist cupcakes with a sweet, fruity buttercream.
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon poppyseeds
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup softened butter
- ¼ cup strawberry jam
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- A few drops red food colouring (optional)
Move a rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350℉. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
In a small bowl, stir together the milk and lemon juice. Set aside to clabber while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt until well combined.
In another larger bowl, beat together the sugar, melted butter, and lemon zest with a handheld mixer on medium-high speed until well blended and glossy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the clabbered milk and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Gently fold in the flour with a wooden spoon until just combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cupcakes comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely on a metal rack.
For the buttercream, beat the butter and jam together with a handheld mixer until blended, about 1 minute. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Beat in the optional food colouring, until the desired colour is achieved.
Frost the cooled cupcakes with the strawberry jam buttercream.
Store in a covered container for up to 3 days. Freeze leftover buttercream for up to one month.
- You will need one or two lemons for the juice and zest. To make things easy, zest the whole lemons first before juicing them.