The inspiration for this cake recipe comes from a lavender shortbread cookie I adore from Miette, in the San Francisco Ferry Building. This cake is rich, fragrant, has a nice crumb and, due to it’s floral nature, really adds a wow factor. It is perfect paired with a cup of coffee or a dollop of ice cream.
Lavender Vanilla Cake
1 cup (two sticks) softened, unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean (see my post on vanilla)
6 sprigs of fresh (not dried) lavender (see directions below)
1 cup milk
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
In a medium saucepan combine lavender sprigs, milk and vanilla bean. Turn on heat to medium low. Cook just until milk is hot. Take pan off of burner (turn burner off) and let mixture cool completely. Once cool, remove lavender and vanilla from milk and reserve for later use in batter. Take lavender sprigs out, remove flowers from stem and rough chop. Cut open vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape seeds from inside and reserve for incorporation into batter.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar and salt. Add in eggs, one at a time, making sure to scrape down sides of bowl in between additions. Add in lavender flowers, vanilla extract and vanilla seed from vanilla bean.
In alternating portions and scraping down bowl in between additions, add in 1/3 flour mixutre, 1/2 milk mixture, 1/3 flour mixure, final 1/2 milk mixture and final 1/3 of flour mixture. Mix on medium speed 2-3 minutes. Allow batter to rest at room temperature for at least one hour before baking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, prepare bundt cake pan with baking spray or butter and flour, pour in batter and smooth out with spatula to distribute evenly. Tap bottom of pan on countertop several times to let out any air bubbles. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the top comes out clean.
Let cake rest at least 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling rack.
Serve with a dollop of whipping or ice cream or, reheat in the microwave with a little butter for a few seconds.
Lavender grows in temperate climates all around the world in some 40 different varieties. The plant has long been heralded for its ability to promote peace, calmness and induce restful sleep.
Do you feel like your household is in constant turmoil or that certain family members aren’t getting along? Are you having trouble sleeping? Try taking some lavender and simmering it on low heat in a pot of water on the stove. Let the steam rise and lavender essence fill the air. Keep watch over the water to make sure you don’t burn anything. Add more water as needed. Once mixture is spent and completely cool, pour it out in the garden.