Vanilla Lavender Cake or Cupcakes

August 22, 2013

Today I bring you a delicious vanilla lavender cake recipe. Just like baking rose-flavored things, baking with lavender is easy! So, don’t be afraid. Here are a few of the options you have:

  1. If you are going to use fresh lavender sprigs, make sure they are organically grown! No pesticides. No wild lavender from the side of the road where car exhaust hits it. To use it, start with the freshest organically grown lavender you can get your hands on. Then immerse the sprigs in cold water to clean them. Dab dry. Then place the flowers in a mortar and pestle and grind ’em up.
  2. I highly recommend purchasing culinary lavender. It’s available at Whole Foods in the bulk section with the spices. This is the least expensive purchasing option as it is only a few bucks. I’ve also seen it online at Williams-Sonoma and Amazon for a little more.
  3. Lavender extract is also an option. Like rose extract, you would add only a few drops of it to a recipe. I’ve seen it on Amazon.
  4. Lavender-infused sugar is another option. Use 1–2 TB of culinary lavender for every cup of sugar. Two options here: 1) Put your lavender in a little muslin sachet and bury it in a jar full of sugar. Let the jar sit for about a month, shaking every so often. 2) Send the lavender and sugar through a food processor and pulse until the lavender looks evenly distributed. This is easier when making a large amount.

And as with any recipe that involves flowers, err on the side of not using enough. You don’t want your food tasting like soap!

VANILLA LAVENDER CAKE BATTER

Makes 12 cupcakes or enough batter for one 9″ round cake pan. (Note that a typical cake involves doubling the recipe and baking two pans’ worth of batter.)

I’ve also converted these measurements to metric for you readers in the UK. Note that I don’t sift flour when measuring—just when combining dry ingredients. I double-checked them quite a few times, but if you’re from the UK and think I missed something, do let me know!


Ingredients
  • 1 2/3 cups cake flour (160 g)*
  • 1 tsp baking powder **
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces (250 g, or 4 oz)
  • 1 cup sugar (200 g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk (180 mL)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp culinary lavender
* This conversion applies to cake flour. For plain flour, use 200 g.
** British teaspoons are slightly larger than American ones (1 UK tsp = 1.2 US tsp), but it’s not really enough to matter here. But if you’re feeling extra precise, feel free to go the teeniest bit scant when measuring with teaspoons here.

Method


If you haven’t already, you should check out my basic cake baking method and my list of cake baking tips! Every cake batter recipe I post follows that same method, and my cake baking tips are great tips to memorize for whenever you’re preparing a cake batter such as this.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (that’s 177°C or gas mark 4).
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a larger bowl, beat the butter at a high speed, and gradually beat in the sugar. Then, beat in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Now you will gradually be adding the dry mixture and the milk to the butter-sugar-egg mixture. To do this, alternate mixing in some of the dry mixture, followed by some milk, followed by some dry mixture… You get the picture. Do that until you’ve incorporated the dry mixture and the milk completely. Just don’t over-mix here.
  5. Finish by incorporating the vanilla and lavender. (Bonus points if you grind the lavender a little bit first.)
  6. Baking time! For cupcakes, fill your liners 2/3 full and bake for 17 to 22 minutes. For a cake, fill a greased 9-inch round cake pan about 2/3 full with batter and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Use the toothpick test for perfect doneness.

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