Globally Inspired Flavours

Elizabethan Lavender Cake

I was discussing the subject of lavender uses with food today, as I had a tasting of ready made food items I had prepared for a client and in the Tourtière, I used a blend of herbs known as Herbes du Provence. This blend includes lavender which adds an unusual taste and note to food and oddly enough it was a man who picked up on this first.  Lavender is what could be referred to as an old world flavour along with rose hip, rose petal and many other florals which were popular in Medieval and Elizabethan times and up to the late Victorian period  before giving way to more familiar flavourings such as vanilla and citrus. Florals were used to flavour everything from sauces and soups to cakes, ice cream and even medicinals. Upon returning home I pulled out my wedding cake recipe for lavender buttercream frosting and did a little research for a cake recipe, that with a bit of tweaking, is now the recipe below. This cake is simple, elegant and less fussy then the original. It would make a lovely wedding cake for those who are looking for something a little more interesting. Topped with a Lavender butter cream frosting or lavender infused whipped cream, you can close your eyes and picture Lizzie the Oneth seated out on the lawn, enjoying this with her Ladies in Perpetual Waiting!

English Lavender (l. angustifolia and munstead) has the sweetest fragrance of all the lavenders and is the one most commonly used in cooking. Lavender has a sweet, floral flavor, with lemon and citrus notes. The potency of the lavender flowers increases with drying.

Elizabethan Lavender Cake

This one is fragrant, delicious and makes me wonder about Lizzie's diplomacy skills. No wonder she remained Queen for so long. Who would have enemies if they served them this cake? Maybe that's why Marie Antoinette said "Let them eat cake!" well...actually she said "Laissez-les manger du pain", which translates into "Let them eat bread", but you get my point.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 5 mins
Resting Time2 hrs
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Servings: 8
Author: Chef Seika Groves

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten by hand
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh lavender florets or 1 tbsp dried culinary lavender roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk

Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp lavender

Lavender Infused Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tsp lavender
  • 2 tsp fine granulated sugar

Instructions

Cake:

  • Heat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour an 8 inch round 2 inch deep spring form pan or a deep 8-inch round pan. (I like to use a spring form pan so the cake comes out clean. If you do not have a spring form pan use parchment or wax paper to line the bottom for clean removal) In a separate bowl sift together flour and baking powder set aside. In  mixer bowl with beater attachment cream butter and sugar thoroughly until light and fluffy. Add  eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition, until mixture becomes thick and glossy. Fold in the flour, lavender florets, vanilla and milk. Spoon the mixture into pan and bake for 1 hour or until knife inserted in cake centre comes out clean. Let sit 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Frosting:

  • In mixer bowl, cream shortening and butter. Add lavender to sugar; gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.
  • *NOTE: to infuse the flavour of lavender into frosting or whipped cream place milk/cream into a small pot and bring to a simmer on low heat. Add lavender and bring to a boil for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled strain lavender from milk with fine strainer.

Whipped Cream:

  • Add whipping cream to mixer bowl and beat on medium low speed until soft peaks form. Add sugar and increase speed to high until cream forms firm peaks.
  • DO NOT over beat or you will have lavender butter, tasty I'm sure trust me this is NOT the end result you are looking for.
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