A Slice of Summer: Lavender & Lemon Cake

Lavender & Lemon Cake via Sweetapolita

A short and sweet post for you, friends. I have to admit that sometimes I'm hesitant to post some of the simpler recipes I've made, or posts that don't have a ton of photos or wow-factor, but I've decided that even a little bit of sweetness is better than none. The truth is, I miss sharing my baking experiences when I have to go a week or so in between, so I've decided to share more often, even if that means some of my posts are bite-size. Trust me that there are many more towering cakes in our future together -- I promise. Cravings are funny, aren't they? You're going along, thinking that your usual foodie desires are being met, and then, suddenly, out of nowhere,  you get some strange and specific urge for something in particular -- even if it's the wrong season!  I find, it's usually something I haven't had in ages, or something I've never tried (and no, trust me, I'm not preggers!). I suppose that's what makes us foodies. On Sunday, the day I made the Campfire Delight cake (which, by the way, you all showed an incredible enthusiasm for, so I want to say a big thank you!), I also made a sweet little lavender layer cake filled with homemade lemon curd and frosted with a fluffy lavender frosting. Now, it wasn't a show-stopper, the way the Campfire Delight was meant to be, but it's delightful and delicious, nonetheless. A little more understated, but also very summer-inspired. This cake makes me think tea parties and afternoon visits with friends. Have you ever tried lavender-infused desserts? They can be really delicious and unique. The key, seemingly, is using the lavender in moderation, otherwise you will end up with a soapy flavour -- ick. From the research I've done, lavender pairs best with citrus, honey, and even chocolate, to name a few. My husband is from Prince Edward County, Ontario, from which we live about an hour, and among many incredible farms, wineries, and more, there is a beautiful lavender farm. Last year I experimented with the culinary lavender they sell, and I really loved the flavour (is there anything I don't love when it's paired with cake?). Here is the recipe for the Lavender Cake with Lavender Frosting: Lavender Butter Cake   (7", 3-layer)      {click here for printable recipe} Ingredients: 1 cup (227g, or 2 sticks or 1/2 lb) unsalted butter, unsalted 1 3/4 cups sugar 6 egg whites (or 220g liquid egg whites) 1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract 3 cups all-purpose flour 4 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons dried culinary lavender 1 1/4 cup whole milk (room temperature) 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Method: Add 3 tablespoons of dried culinary lavender to whole milk, cover, and refrigerate overnight (or at least several hours). Strain milk into clean bowl/glass. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and place rack in center of oven. Butter and flour three - 7" round cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper and grease and flour parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add egg whites gradually, beating after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the lemon extract, and beat until combined. Stir vanilla into lavender milk, and with the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula. If possible, weigh your filled pans to ensure they are equal. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan gently. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the freezer for about 30 minutes, to make filling and frosting the cakes easier. Lavender Frosting           {click here for printable recipe} Ingredients: 1 lb butter (4 sticks or 2 cups) at room temperature 5 cups icing sugar (confectioners' or powdered) 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/4 cup whipping (35% fat) cream 1/4 cup whole milk 1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender A few drops of lavender food colour (or equal parts blue and red) Method: Add 1 teaspoon of dried culinary lavender to 1/4 cup whole milk, cover, and refrigerate overnight (or at least several hours). Strain into clean bowl/glass. In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar and butter and beat on low speed for about 1 minute. Add vanilla and beat on low until well combined.  Add whipping cream, lavender milk, and food colouring (if using), and beat on med-high speed for another  minutes, until light and fluffy. Best used right away. Enough to crumb coat and frost 7" or 8" cake. Lemon Curd filling from Martha Stewart. Tips & Tricks for Splitting Cakes: 1. Always start with a cold cake: refrigerate for about 2 hours or freeze for about 30 minutes 2. With a good quality serrated knife (I only use my favourite Mac 10 1/2" serrated bread knife--this thing is insanely sharp), trim any doming off the top of each layer. 3. Measure the height of your layer with a ruler, then create a score line on the halfway mark all the way  around the outside of the cake. 4. Lower yourself to almost eye-level to the cake. With a gentle sawing motion, slowly move the knife gradually towards the centre of the cake, then turn cake 1/4 turn, and repeat until you have cut through the entire layer. You may also find this past post helpful: 50 Tips to Baking Better Cakes Happy summer-is-on-the-way!
Good luck & enjoy!

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