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Lavender Honey Cake is a delightful confection that captures the essence of spring in every bite. This cake is characterized by its tender and airy sponge, which is infused with the subtle floral notes of lavender tea. The addition of honey not only enhances the sweetness but also imparts a rich, earthy undertone.
The cake is frosted with a silky smooth cream cheese frosting that’s sweetened with honey, and it’s garnished with fresh lavender sprigs, making it as visually appealing as it is delicious.
Lavender, a herb belonging to the mint family, has been used for centuries in various cultures for its medicinal properties and aromatic fragrance. It is believed that the ancient Romans and Egyptians were among the first to utilize lavender for its scent and in cooking.
However, it is in the Provence region of France where lavender is most famously cultivated and used in culinary applications. In French cuisine, lavender is often used to impart a delicate floral note to dishes, including baked goods. Inspired by the French’s love for lavender, the Lavender Honey Cake brings together the Provencal charm with the comforting sweetness of honey, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.
Lavender Honey Cake is versatile and can be served on various occasions. Its elegant flavor profile makes it an excellent choice for sophisticated events such as bridal showers, tea parties, and garden soirees. It’s also a wonderful option for spring and summer celebrations, such as Easter, Mother’s Day, or a picnic.
Additionally, this cake can be a delightful end to a romantic dinner or simply enjoyed as a special treat on a cozy afternoon with a cup of tea. Its lightness and the floral notes of lavender make it a refreshing dessert that is not overly sweet, catering to a wide range of palates.
Approx. Nutrition Facts (per serving)
- Calories: 350
- Fat: 20g
- Saturated Fat: 12g
- Cholesterol: 85mg
- Sodium: 200mg
- Carbohydrates: 40g
- Fiber: 1g
- Sugars: 25g
- Protein: 5g
- Two 8-inch round cake pans
- Parchment paper
- Medium-sized saucepan (for the lavender tea infusion)
- Mixing bowls (at least three for dry ingredients, wet ingredients, and frosting)
- Electric mixer or stand mixer
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Sifter or sieve (for sifting flour and powdered sugar)
- Rubber spatula or spoon (for folding in ingredients)
- Cooling rack
- Sharp knife (for leveling and cutting the cake)
- Offset spatula or butter knife (for spreading frosting)
- Optional: Cake stand or plate for presentation
- Optional: Decorative piping bag with tips (for decorating the cake)
For the Sponge Cake
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup lavender tea infusion (see below for ingredients and instructions)
For the Lavender Tea Infusion
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender
For the Honey Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (adjust to desired sweetness and consistency)
- Fresh lavender sprigs
- Edible dried lavender buds (optional)
- Honey for drizzling (optional)
Preparation Preheat the Oven and Prepare the Cake Pans
- Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C) to ensure it's hot enough when your batter is ready.
- Line the bottoms of two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
- Lightly grease the sides of the pans with butter or a non-stick cooking spray.
Making the Lavender Tea Infusion
- In a medium-sized saucepan, bring 1/4 cup of water to a boil.
- Once the water is boiling, remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Add 2 teaspoons of dried culinary lavender to the hot water.
- Let the lavender steep in the water for about 5-7 minutes.
- After steeping, strain the infusion through a fine sieve into a bowl to remove the lavender buds. Set aside to cool.
Mixing the Dry Ingredients for the Sponge Cake
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- Sifting helps to aerate the mixture and ensures there are no lumps.
- Set the dry ingredients aside.
Mixing the Wet Ingredients for the Sponge Cake
- In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together 1/2 cup of unsalted butter and 1 cup of granulated sugar until it's light and fluffy. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
- Beat in 2 large eggs, one at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next.
- Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
- Gradually mix in 1/4 cup of the cooled lavender tea infusion.
Combining Wet and Dry Ingredients
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with 1/2 cup of milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
- Use a rubber spatula or spoon to fold the mixture gently until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
Baking the Sponge Cake
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
- Use a spatula to smooth the tops so that they are even.
- Place the pans in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
- Once baked, remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the pans for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, transfer the cakes to a wire cooling rack and let them cool completely before frosting.
Making the Frosting Softening the Cream Cheese
- Take 8 ounces of cream cheese out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 30-45 minutes to soften. This will make it easier to mix and will result in a smoother frosting.
Mixing in Honey and Other Ingredients
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the softened cream cheese and 1/4 cup of unsalted butter until smooth and creamy.
- Add 1/4 cup of honey and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the bowl, and continue to mix until well combined.
- Gradually add in 1 to 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, a little at a time, while continuing to mix. Adding the powdered sugar gradually will help you achieve the desired sweetness and consistency.
Whipping to the Desired Consistency
- Once all the ingredients are combined, increase the speed of the electric mixer and whip the frosting for an additional 2-3 minutes. This will help to incorporate air into the frosting, making it light and fluffy.
- If the frosting is too thick, you can add a splash of milk or cream to thin it out. If it’s too thin, add a little more powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
- Once you are satisfied with the consistency and taste of the frosting, it’s ready to be spread onto the cooled cake.
Assembling the Cake Cooling the Sponge Cake Layers
- Before you begin assembling the cake, it's essential that the sponge cake layers are completely cool. This will prevent the frosting from melting when spread on the cake.
- If you haven't already, remove the cake layers from the pans and place them on a wire rack to cool completely. This can take around 1-2 hours.
Layering the Cake with Frosting
- Place one of the sponge cake layers on a cake stand or plate.
- Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread a generous amount of the honey cream cheese frosting evenly over the top of the first layer.
- Gently place the second sponge cake layer on top of the frosting.
- Spread another layer of frosting over the top of the cake, and also around the sides if you’d like the cake to be fully frosted. If you prefer the "naked cake" look, you can use a minimal amount of frosting on the sides, just to cover the cake, letting some of the cake show through.
Garnishing with Fresh Lavender Sprigs
- For a final touch, garnish the top of the cake with fresh lavender sprigs. Place them in a decorative manner, such as a small bouquet in the center or scattered across the top.
- Optionally, you can also sprinkle some edible dried lavender buds over the frosting for added texture and lavender flavor.
- For a sweet finishing touch, you can drizzle a small amount of honey over the top of the cake.
How to Slice and Serve the Cake
- Before slicing the cake, it’s a good idea to let it sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This will help the frosting to set, making the cake easier to slice.
- Use a sharp, long knife to cut the cake. Run the knife under hot water and wipe it dry before making each cut. This will help to make clean slices.
- Serve the cake on individual plates. Optionally, you can add a sprig of fresh lavender to each plate for decoration.
- Tea: A floral tea like Earl Grey or chamomile pairs beautifully with the lavender in the cake.
- Coffee: A lightly roasted coffee with mild acidity can complement the sweetness of the honey and the floral notes of the lavender.
- Sparkling Wine: A sparkling wine or Champagne can add a touch of elegance and make the dessert suitable for celebrations.
- Lemonade: A homemade lemonade with a touch of lavender can be a refreshing non-alcoholic pairing.
Storage and Leftovers
How to Store the Cake
- To store the leftover cake, place it in an airtight container or tightly wrap it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
- Store the cake in the refrigerator to keep the frosting firm and the cake fresh.
- When stored in the refrigerator, the cake will stay fresh for up to 3-4 days.
- For longer storage, you can freeze the cake. Wrap it tightly and store it in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Substitutes for Ingredients
- Honey: If you don’t have honey, you can substitute it with maple syrup or agave nectar.
- Lavender: If you can’t find culinary lavender, you can use a floral tea such as chamomile or Earl Grey.
- Cream Cheese: If you prefer a different frosting, you can use whipped cream or a classic buttercream instead.
Alterations for Dietary Restrictions
- Gluten-Free: Substitute all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend.
- Dairy-Free: Use a dairy-free milk alternative such as almond milk, and use dairy-free butter and cream cheese substitutes.
- Vegan: Use dairy-free alternatives as mentioned above and replace the eggs with flax eggs (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 2.5 tablespoons water for each egg). Substitute honey with maple syrup or agave nectar.