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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Comments

  1. 1

    perfection and oh so delightful! Thanks for the tips. I can see how absolutely symmetrical your slices are.

  2. 2

    lavender and lemon curd…yes please ; )

  3. 3

    I definitely think these have a wow factor. I haven’t used lavender in baking but I would love to try. There is a lavender farm on Maui so I will have to place an order.

  4. 4

    Summer’s almost here- lets hope with this cake we can beckon it to come even sooner

  5. 5

    Wow, this looks perfect, for Summer or for Spring! I’m sure a taste of this would bring the sunshine. I’m also a sucker for the lavender-lemon combination.

  6. 6

    Oh Rosie, I baked your rich dark chocolate cake recipe last night (the one that you posted a few days ago).

    And I have to tell, that it is the MOST FABULOUS chocolate cake I have ever baked! I didn’t have time to do all the whizzy frostings ~ that’s for a special occasion ~ but with some simple chocolate butter cream filling and pure melted dark chocolate on top ~ it is incredible even just like that.

    So moist and so light ~ this is one hell of a recipe ~ so thank you!

    Cheerio,
    Virginia from Melbourne, Australia.

  7. 7

    I totally agree with you – every bit of sweetness is welcome. No matter how small.

    I actually have some culinary lavender sitting around that I’ve had absolutely no idea what to do with for the past few months. Thanks for posting this! I think it’s the perfect solution to my little lavender dilemma.

  8. 8

    Rosie,your simple is magnificent. Wow. I love this like all your other post. And what a beautiful overhead shot!

  9. 9

    Glad to hear you’ll be posting more often! I love reading you posts…I always check in daily just in case! Funny enough, I’ve been looking for a recipe with lavender in it…can’t wait to give it a try!

  10. 10

    thanks for sharing. We grow lavender and lemons so will give this one a try soon.

    • 11

      Diane, I know you don’t know me, but I have a question for you. I grow lavender, too, but I am not sure if it’s “culinary” lavender and I have never cooked with it before. It sounds like you do cook with your lavender. Is it specifically “culinary lavender” that you grow? I just bout my plant in Walmart’s garden dept a few years ago and I would love to be able to use the blossoms in this recipe if I can. Rosie, maybe you know the answer to this question . . . Can I use my generic lavender in this cake?

      Thanks so much!

  11. 12

    Hi! I’ve just found out about your blog, and I must say looking through your archive of fancy cakes made me drool all over my keyboard, plus use up 45 minutes of my time, but it was worth it. These look amazing, and I love love love the lavender & yellow colors!

  12. 13

    not only does that look amazing the presentation is fabulous :) great blog!

  13. 14
    Katie Rose says:

    I had a chocolate lavander popsicle in New Orleans last summer and it was amazing (although it melted quite fast)! Surprising what a hint of lavender flavor can do to enhance a dessert.

  14. 15

    Was missing your frequent posts – then checked and found so many! Please write as often as you can, Rosie!! Your ‘everyday’ is still superlatively, scrumptiously gorgeous!

    I’ve tried lavender baked into a lemon drizzle loaf cake and in lavender cream-flavoured chocolates, and it’s so nice. Strangely addictive!

    Lavender-infused sugar is really nice in a weak lemon tea (black tea), and rose petal or violet infusions are really nice with dark bitter chocolate!

  15. 16

    Absolutely beautiful!

  16. 17

    Your choco cake below and the photos = “Incroyable!!”

    I mean really. Photographers studio quality. But then again, your photos are always unreal.

    And now ~ a lavender lemon cake, to knock my (our) socks off?

    Dainty and fresh, and all around, purely lovely. Makes me want to put on white linen and head out for a picnic in a perfectly enormous hat ;) (avec cake in tow of course)

    xoxo

  17. 18

    Yum yum! My all-time favorite chocolate bar (well, tied with the Lindt Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt) is one I can’t find anywhere but in Germany: Lindt Dark Chocolate Blueberry with Lavender. It is BEYOND divine. I’ve found a substitute, but it’s not nearly as good – Dagoba Lavender Blueberry. Anyway, I’m SO going out and buying some culinary lavender this weekend! It’ll be a perfect match for our low-80s temps we’re experiencing here! : ) Thank you!

  18. 19

    wow, looks delish!! love your site!!

  19. 20

    I think this has plenty of WOW factor! I even have culinary lavender AND homemade lemon curd:) Do I dare? I think so! Thanks for the great recipe

  20. 21
    Laura Lee says:

    An afernoon tea party with Rosie is just what I need! Just like the olden days! I have some great footage of us when we were 3-4 years old, wearing old lady hats and playing with our dollies.
    I bet this is just the kind of cake we were pretending to eat :)

  21. 22

    Oh trust me I understand strange cravings all too well! I think sometimes I swing between chocolate and citrus cravings. I guess when I’ve indulged in too much chocolate it’s time for a little palate cleansing citrus. I think you’re right about the lavender, a little does go a long way.

  22. 23

    We love this lavender frosting! A slice of this cake while outside is snowing…then, it would be wonderful! A real slice of summer!

  23. 24

    So pretty Rosie!! They look like slices of sunshine :O)…curious to try lavender in some sweets…sounds delish! xo

  24. 25

    Such pretty slices of cake. Glad you shared this with us even without a big batch of photos. I am the same way – I love to post a lot of pics :) Lavender is lovely in desserts.

  25. 26

    Thanks so much for the sweet comments, everyone. I look forward to tying lavender into more desserts! It’s such an interesting flavour. I also love knowing it’s grown locally. xo

  26. 27

    Ciao, you have a beautiful site, I love your creations and your style :-).

    I’ll be back!

    Alessandra

  27. 28

    hi rosie, i think most of us wouldn’t mind if you wrote about pouring a bowl of breakfast cereal! we just love to see what you’re doing and how you’re doing it! lol. thank you for all the posts.

  28. 29

    I definitely agree that a short post from you is better than none at all. I always love to see what you are up to and drool over your delicious photos.

    I’ve never had a lavender infused cake. I will have to try it though as it looks and sounds delicious.

  29. 30

    Mmmm! I adore lavender and lemon! And I love the sweet, little triangle slices. I’m inspired to have a tea party! :)

  30. 31

    This sounds yummy! Do you use lavender buds like these?
    http://www.amazon.com/Rinas-Garden-Culinary-Lavender-Flower/dp/B000RRJVPG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1299529616&sr=8-1
    And do you remove the lavender from the milk before you add it to the cake/icing?

    • 32

      Thanks, Jen! Yes, you’re right–I apologize for the confusion. You do strain the lavender from the milk before using. I’ve made the corrections to the recipes on the post and printables. Also, yep, that lavender link you attached is the same lavender I use. As long as it’s dried culinary lavender, it should work well!

      • 33

        Thanks so much! I can’t wait to try this. I just found your blog the other day and now there are so many new sweets I want to make! XD

      • 34

        Rosie, do you know if the place you purchase lavender through has an online shop? Or do you happen to have any extra that you’d be willing to sell? I have been trying to contact the seller I had listed on Amazon for over a week now about purchasing culinary lavender from them without any response so I need to find somewhere reliable. I’d like to buy a little to make this cake!

  31. 36

    My friend Sarah is having a lemon themed reception, this would be the perfect cake for her!!!

  32. 37

    This is the EXACT cake I had in my brain to make myself for my birthday. So glad you posted it! A google search for lemon lavender cake brought me here, and I immediately added you to my reader. Loooooove your blog.

  33. 38
    Charlie says:

    What an absolutely beautifully simple little recipe! I can’t wait to try it! I have only recently found your blog and it has fast made its way into my very favourites, love your writing, your photos, your ideas and your obvious passion and talent :)

  34. 39

    I study at a tech college two nights a week, and on Monday one of the students brought in her excess lemons. So I made this cake yesterday and took it in share with the class. :-) It was amazing!

    I used a bit too much lemon curd (first time making a layer cake) and the layers moved a little during the drive in, but it tasted divine! The lavender gives it such a delicate lovely flavour. I will definitely be making this again, and probably as cupcakes as well.

    One question, my frosting had large air bubbles in it and so didn’t looks smooth. Do you have any suggestions for what I did wrong? It tasted fine, just lots of big air holes. I’m presuming it was from the beating…. I used my Kitchen Aid with the flat beater, do you think it would work better with the whisk?

    • 40

      Hi Melinda! It sounds like you did just the right thing by using the flat beater, which is how I do all of my frostings, but I’m really not sure why you got your air bubbles, to be honest. When I find that my frosting isn’t smooth and fluffy, I add a tablespoon or two of water and then beat it on med-high for a few moments. It’s never failed me, so I hope this helps!

  35. 41

    I made this recipe today and The cake is already goneeeee, it was delicious,elegant and full of different new flavorsss, I love ur work and ur awesome recipes thanx a los fro this awesome blog

  36. 42

    I made this cake for a friend’s birthday party this weekend and everyone loved it! Not one crumb was left on that plate. Thank you for the excellent recipe! (Also, what an excellent site you have here! I will definitely be making more of these recipes.)

  37. 43

    I was just wondering…
    Could I use the same recipe (minus the lavendar) for a simple lemon cake? I am planning to make a lemon cake with a raspberry buttercream filling.

    P.S. I love your recipes. I have a fascination for vanilla as well. :)

    Thanks

  38. 45
    Elizabeth says:

    I made this cake just yesterday (I ended up inadvertently overworking the batter… so the cake, itself is pretty dense, but that’s just an excuse to make it again) and my mother said that the frosting was the best she had ever tasted. Normally she scrapes all the frosting off her cakes but she asked if she could have some extra on her slice.

    Another question, does the size of the cake pan effect the density of the cake? I don’t actually have a cake pan, but my mother has a nu-wave oven with a round pan on the bottom to catch drippings. I tend to just wash it thoroughly and use that as a cake pan and my mom said that might be why the cake turned out the way it did. (Still delicious to taste, but not as light as I might have liked)

    Also, I was wondering what kind of cake pan did you use to be able to get the slices in your picture of the cake? It’s another thing that my mom is really curious about.

  39. 46

    Hi Rosie,

    Coud I make this lavender-lemon cake into a 3-tiered vegan version? would like to try it for a birthday cake. Not sure if I can swap the eggs and butter for plant-based options.

    Thanks very much!

    Taj

  40. 47

    Hi Rosie! just a quick question! I want to make this gorgeous summery lemon and lavender cake as a leaving cake on thursday. I’m starting a new job on monday. I have all the ingredients except the whipping cream. In Germany I can’t get double or whipping cream like back home in the UK. Germans use like a special powder mix, add it to single cream to whip it and keep it thick but I don’t think it will work on a cake like this. Can I use mascarpone or ricotta cheese instead to frost it and keep everything else the same? Would this work?! Many thanks! Charlie xx

  41. 48

    So I made your lemon and lavender cake and for a first attempt it wasn’t too bad! I used marscarpone in the end for the buttercream mix and it worked well. The colour though ended up being green instead of purple coz of rubbish cheap German colouring so I made it look like grass and added rice paper flowers on top! Still looked cute! I didn’t taste any lavender though and I used quite a bit so that was disappointing but the lemony flavour was definately there. Cake was a huge success at work just only thing Id change is the amount of sugar in the buttercream frosting. Man it is sooooooooo sweet, but I’ve noticed thats typical of USA/Canadian recipes. for UK and German people it is way too sweet and 5 cups was too much! I think 1 cup of icing sugar would have been ok but definitely a lovely recipe so thanks for sharing! :)

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