I’ll be honest here, I love any sort of celebration, not just because I love spending time with friends and family, but because it gives me an excuse to make a scrumptious something I wouldn’t normally allow myself the time or ingredients to make.
This spring brings a lot of celebrations into my circle. One of which, is the birthday of a good friend and baking confidant, Katie.
She’s a foodie like me. We work together in the kitchen really well. You could say she’s my kitchen-mate. I realize this sounds a little weird, so don’t get me wrong here. I’m just saying it can be hard to find a person you can trust into your kitchen. Katie is that person for me. I trust her with anything in my kitchen; ingredients, Grandma’s utensils, hidden messes, advice, my kids. She’s my kitchen-mate.
One of Katie’s favorite flavors is lavender. She also likes rum a lot, but I made her a rum cake last year. So this year it was lavender. I hunted down some dried lavender flowers from a local herb store and got to work.
I think it turned out beautifully. It was a lovely, out of the ordinary cake that had lots of flavor.
Lavender Lemon Pound Cake
(adapted from Cakewalker)
Cake: Makes one 10-inch bundt cake
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. dried lavender, divided
3 cups sugar, divided
3 1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grated fresh lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice
4-5 tablespoons lavender-lemon syrup (see directions below)
1 cup (approximate) powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter and flour a 9 to 10-inch (standard) bundt type pan.
Melt the butter with 2 tablespoons of the lavender in a small to medium saucepan. Let the mixture steep 10 minutes, then strain, discarding the lavender. Set aside to cool.
Beat the eggs and two cups of the sugar in the bowl of a mixer until thick and pale, about 5 minutes.
Sift together the flour and salt in a bowl. Using a whisk, fold the lemon zest and one-third of the flour mixture into the eggs until thoroughly combined. In two batches fold in the rest of the flour, scraping the bowl as needed. In a separate bowl, whisk 1 cup of the batter with the melted butter and vanilla. Add this to the remaining batter and fold to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and fill to about 2/3rds full. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the lavender-lemon syrup. Combine the remaining cup of sugar, the lemon juice, 1/2 cup of water and the remaining 3 tablespoons of lavender in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the sugar dissolves and remove from heat. Allow the syrup to steep for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, but no longer. The syrup will take on the slightest blush color of pale lavender.
Transfer the cake to a wire rack positioned over a rimmed sheet pan. With a skewer, poke the cake all over. Brush the top and sides of the cake with almost half the syrup and let cool completely.
For the glaze, in a liquid measuring cup with a pour spout add two strained tablespoons from the remaining syrup. To that add the powdered sugar and whisk together. The mixture will be quite thick at first, but continue to whisk until well blended and smooth. There’s room for play here; aim for a pourable drizzle consistency, one that’s not too thin so that it all runs off the sides of the cake—but thick enough so that the fingers of glaze drape nicely over the sides. If the glaze is too thick, thin it by adding more syrup drops at a time until a desired consistency is reached. Drizzle the glaze onto the cake. If desired, garnish with 1 tablespoon of dried lavender.