Old Fashioned Sweet Violet Syrup for Easter & Mothering Sunday Cakes & Bakes

Old Fashioned Sweet Violet Syrup  for Easter & Mothering Sunday Cakes & Bakes

Old Fashioned Sweet Violet Syrup
for Easter & Mothering Sunday Cakes & Bakes

Old Fashioned Sweet Violet Syrup

for Easter & Mothering Sunday Cakes & Bakes

The violets in my front garden

It’s violets all the way……..I seem to have hundreds of these beautiful, highly scented flowers in my garden this year – they are delightful and make me smile when I open the front door. And to think that just two weeks ago they were under a thick blanket of snow…..but here they are now, all smiley and happy; the air is heavy with their scent – an old fashioned fragrance redolent of lace edged handkerchiefs, old leather handbags belonging to elderly aunties, as well as sweet shops and Sunday afternoon tea. I have adorned every spare shelf with little glass jars of these pretty little flowers, splashes of colour in dark corners and forgotten nooks and crannies brighten the house and my mood.

Little glass jars of Violet happiness

It’s the arrival of my violets that has let me back into my still room – a place where I preserve fruit and vegetables, and flowers too. I have made liqueurs, jams, chutneys, pickles, potted meats, bottled fruits, curds, syrups, jellies and aromatic gins and brandies in this quiet back room with its old porcelain sink in the corner and assorted wooden wine cases of jam jars sit waiting to be filled with glorious produce. I have a love affair with all things floral in the kitchen; I blame it on my mother, who would decorate birthday cakes with delicate crystallised primroses and delicate rose petals. Easter cakes were presented with tussy mussies of wild flowers in the middle whilst home-made chocolates were adorned with crystallised violets. Cakes and bakes each had a crown of preserved flowers along with  floral icings and scented buttercream.

Old Fashioned Sweet Violet Syrup

This is a simple and beautiful syrup that is easy to make and produces amazing results, both in a visual and culinary sense. I usually crystallise my violets, and I will be posting that method soon, however, I recently found an old recipe for making violet syrup in one of my mum’s notebooks, so, I have been busy making Sweet Violet Syrup this year.  This violet syrup is great when added to icings and buttercream for cakes; and is wonderful when used in beverages –  only a small amount is needed to add to sparkling wine or lemonade for a delectable and elegant drink. I have also added the syrup as a  flavouring for homemade macaroons, French Macarons. Why not make a homemade violet ice cream, or add this syrup to junkets and blancmanges, the list is endless.

Old Fashioned Sweet Violet Syrup

Old Fashioned Sweet Violet Syrup

Serves 1 x 450ml bottle
Prep time 24 hours
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 24 hours, 20 minutes
Region British
By author Karen S Burns-Booth
The syrup is great when added to icings and butter cream for cakes; and is wonderful when used in beverages too. Only a small amount is needed to add to sparkling wine or lemonade for a delectable and elegant drink.


  • 40 to 50g Sweet violets (about 3 to 4 handfuls)
  • 150ml Boiling water
  • 300g White caster sugar


The syrup is great when added to icings and butter cream for cakes; and is wonderful when used in beverages too. Only a small amount is needed to add to sparkling wine or lemonade for a delectable and elegant drink.


Step 1 You will need a bain-marie for this recipe as well as a sterilised bottle that will hold 450ml (3/4 pint).
Step 2 Remove all of the stalks, green "peeps" in the middle of the violets and the leaves before putting al of the the flowers into a clean bowl, such as a Mason's mixing bowl or a stainless steel bowl. Pour the boiling water over the flowers, then cover with a tea towel and allow the violets to infuse overnight or for 24 hours.
Step 3 Next day, put the violets and water into the bowl that fits on top of the bain-marie, then add the sugar and stir well. Bring the water in the bottom of the bain-marie to a rolling boil and then place the bowl with the violets over the boiling water; keep stirring the violet mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved. If you don’t have a bain-marie, place a suitable sized sauce pan on top of larger pan with water underneath and proceed as before.
Step 4 Strain the violet mixture through a fine sieve, then bottle and label the syrup and keep in a cool place, or the fridge for up to 12 months. Use in cakes, scones, pancakes, icings, butter creams, ice creams, biscuits, beverages, cream puddings, custards, cakes etc.
I will be back later with some more recipes that use violets, as well as the method for my crystallised violets too…….I also have some fishy dishes to share along with some family recipes that save on the pennies! Bye for now, Karen.

Old Fashioned Sweet Violet Syrup – Makes a great Gift in a Jar for Family and Friends

Step-by-Step Method for making Sweet Violet Syrup:

Pick your fresh violets and weigh them before adding boiling water.

Allow to infuse overnight before adding sugar and placing in heatproof bowl.

Heat over bain-marie until sugar is dissolved and them simmer for 15 minutes, before straining over a jug or bowl.

Gently press the flowers against the sieve and allow the syrup to strain and drain into a jug or bowl.

Pour the violet syrup into a clean and sterile bottle or bottles, seal and keep in a cool, dark place for up to one year.


  1. Bakingaddict says

    This looks so pretty and I’m sure it’s very versatile too as you mention. Can’t wait to see your recipes with violets and how to make crystallized violets!

  2. says

    What a stunning colour, such a beautiful clear syrup. I would love to make some, but have no garden as such, so I’m going to look for boilers online. Thank you Karen for another inspiring recipe. Jude x

    • says

      Thanks Jude, once violets are established they take over and last for weeks….would your garden in France be a good place to plant them? When I come and visit you there this year I can bring some for you!

  3. says

    Stunning photography!! Really beautiful. Unfortunately violets remind me of my granny’s knicker draws, not that I’ve been poking my head in there recently but I seem to remember as a kid that smell emminating from deep within Grandmas draws!!

    • says

      I wish I had added grandmother’s knicker draws to my redolent sentence now Dom! Would have added a certain air to my post! Thanks Darlink! xx

  4. says

    What a fabulous colour, it looks as if it should be worn rather than eaten! I must try and make some of this.

    I must say I am very envious of your still room!

  5. says

    Oh fabulous! I’ve been wanting to try using violet in desserts and then I come across this. I will have to find some violets and try this as soon as I can. Thanks so much. I really look forward to your recipes using violets as well!

  6. says

    SO lovely and SO BEAUTIFUL! a very special recipe – and thank you for reminding me it’s Mother’s Day in the UK – I don’t think my mum would be too happy if I forgot – it’s in May in the US!
    Mary x

  7. says

    ::GASP:: ::TEARS:: Why oh WHY do I not have violets growing near me?! This is perhaps the most amazing color of syrup I’ve ever seen and it makes me so sad that it’s but a picture. WHY???? Love it =)

    • says

      Hahahaha! It is a stunning colour isn’t it and TOTALLY natural as you can see in the photos! Thanks for your lovely comments as always. Karen

  8. says

    I have done lots of time consuming chrystallized violets over time using a miniscule paint brush and egg white but never done a syrup – the colour is divine.

  9. Denise says

    How lucky are you to have a “Still Room” – what a beautiful colour. I bet it smells as delicious as it looks.

  10. says

    Gorgeous Karen! So jealous of your violet-carpeted garden. And I can’t think I have ever seen the words ‘tussy mussy’ in a food blog before (only in Victorian books!). Although I doubt I can make this truly beautiful looking syrup – not having any violets whatsoever, snow-covered or otherwise – I enjoyed reading about its making. And I am not a bit jealous of your still room! Ha

    • says

      Thanks Kellie – I will be using “tussy mussy” again soon, for Mothering Sunday! I am very lucky with my violets, they were only planted 8 years ago and have increased tenfold! My still room is just a back room with an old sink and shelves really, bit it’s mine! Karen xx

  11. Julie Page says

    Absolutely stunning photos Karen. The violets are just so beautiful and the syrup looks wonderful 😀

  12. says

    Karen, I know I’ve already expressed my love for this gorgeous syrup, but I wanted to drop by again and let you know I am featuring this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. It’s always a pleasure following your food…

    • says

      OMG! Is it Friday again already…..where does the time go to! As always I would be delighted if you showcased this for your excellent Friday Food Fetish post, thanks very much!

  13. says

    Oh how did I miss this one? Who would have thought such delicate little flowers could produce such an intense and beautiful colour. Now I’m feeling even more envious of your garden full of violets. Another splendid creation Karen.

  14. says

    I always wanted make this Violet syrup & yours looks absolutely marvelous! Love the color & what an amazing post! Thanks for sharing & have a lovely day! :)

  15. Tiffany says

    What kind of violets do you have? Here in Kentucky we can get african violets easily but they look different and are considered houseplants. I would like to grow some of my own and learn to make your delicious syrup. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks : )

    • says

      I used sweet wild violets, small one that are highly fragranced. NOT African Violets, which I think are inedible, but I will check for you though.

  16. Alyse says

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I finished up my batch of syrup today, it is cooling right now, I haven’t had a chance to taste it yet. my syrup turned more of a blue- green color, I assume because I left the green bits at the back of the flowers on. The water after it steeped was more of a blue than purple as well. Next time I will have to take the time to remove the petals and see if I can’t get it to be a more beautiful purple color like yours!

    • says

      A blue colour is normal with some violets, mine are VERY purple! And yes, it is always better to take off as much green as possible…..but I am SO pleased that you made this syrup and I hope that you will enjoy it in many bakes, cakes and desserts!

  17. says

    That looks so, so beautiful! My garden is strictly herbs and chilis but I think I’m going to have to make an exception because this syrup looks divine!

  18. says

    I am SO making this!! First of all, I also have lots of violets in my garden and my very favorite color is PURPLE!! Beautiful pictures and overal post, as usual!!! You are such an inspiration! Christina

  19. Maya Russell says

    I think you’d need only a drop of the syrup when you made the icing. You wouldn’t want to overpower the cake flavour. Shared on Twitter, @maisietoo

  20. Dana says

    Hi there, do you know where I can buy Sweet Violets here in the US or do you know of anywhere that will ship to the US?

    Thank you,

  21. Shelley says

    Do you think I could use Stevia or Monk Fruit for the “sugar”? Thanks in advance! My violets are soaking now!!


  1. […] where to start; then I remembered a beautiful violet syrup I had seen over on Karen’s blog Lavender and Lovage. The recipe seemed simple and straightforward so I donned my cycling attire (no Lycra thank you […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *