Post by: Sarah Jampel | Food52 | Published on: 10/04/2016
Lemon and lavender are often made to hold hands, but go overboard with the combination and eating dessert (…or, er, breakfast) can feel like stepping into a soap shop in Aix-en-Provence.
But this cake—as tart and refreshing as they come—is lemon first, lavender second. Diana Henry, who includes this recipe in her new book Simple, balances the herb first by pulverizing it in the food processor with granulated sugar, then toning it down further with the tangy Greek yogurt, olive oil, and plenty of lemon zest and juice in the batter.
Not only does grinding the lavender with sugar keep the herb at bay, but it’s also much faster than using the herb to infuse cream or simple syrup—and there’s no mortar and pestle manpower, either. Thanks to the olive oil and the yogurt, you don’t even have to soften and cream butter.
You can decorate the finished cake, impressively tall and tender for the minimal measure-and-mix effort put in, with sprigs of fresh lavender, as Diana recommends. Or do something even, dare we say, simpler: Crush extra dried lavender buds with your fingers and sprinkle them over the top of the cake along with a generous dusting of confectioners’ sugar.
And we imagine that when Diana bakes this dessert, she makes extra sugar-lavender mixture to keep in the pantry for coating shortbread, or sprinkling on the crusts of fruit pies, or melting down into caramel (in which she sears figs and citrus). But that’s just our hunch.
Diana Henry’s Lemon & Lavender Cake
- Unsalted butter, for the cake pan
- 1 1/2cups granulated sugar
- 3/4tablespoon edible dried lavender
- 1 1/2cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4teaspoon salt
- 2large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2cup mild-flavored olive oil
- Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Confectioners’ sugar, to dust
- Sprigs of fresh lavender, to serve (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter an 8-inch diameter, 2 1/2-inch deep cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Put the granulated sugar and lavender into a food processor and whizz until the lavender has broken down. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl. Stir in the lavender sugar. In a pitcher, mix the eggs with the yogurt and oil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and gradually stir in the wet ingredients. Add the lemon zest and juice, but don’t over-mix. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cake is coming away from the inside of the pan and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Turn it out, peel off the paper, and set on a wire rack until cold. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving and decorate with sprigs of fresh lavender.
Let us know what you think about this recipe!
Reference Article: https://food52.com/recipes/62181-diana-henry-s-lemon-lavender-cake