Lemon Lavender Cake

I love lavender-trimming day. Delicate buds not yet spent, but given their pollen to the bees, at the ready for culinary cajoling. I bundle the limping stalks, tacking my baker’s rack with lines of purple. A scent of Provence fills the air. I toss the dried buds in everything from simple syrup to custards, aioli to bitters, shortbread to biscotti. I especially love it in this cake.

Lemon-Lavender Cake
(this is a riff on a classic 1-2-3-4 cake)

1 cup unsalted butter–room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 Tbs lemon zest
juice of 1 large lemon
1 generous tsp dried lavender buds

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time fully incorporating after each addition. Stop and scrape down the sides with a spatula and resume beating until the mixture looks like buttercream frosting. Meanwhile…in a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice and buttermilk together. With the mixer on low, alternately mix in the flour and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, in 3 additions. Do not over-mix, just allow the ingredients to come together. Stir in the lavender. Pour into 2 loaf pans that have been coated in pan spray. Bake at 325 F for approximately 50 mins. Check for doneness after 40 minutes. Cake is fully baked when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.When cool, pour glaze over.

1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbs cream
Juice of lemon (more or less to your taste)
Stir together and pour over cooled cake.

Cornmeal and Fig Financiers

Recently I met a young man. He asked to meet to discuss an idea. An idea born in sharing. I was early for the meeting, mostly because I have yet to shake some of my uptight corporate mores. He was tardy but only by minutes. A delay caused by
a sweet pause to pick gorgeous ripe figs which he then gifted to me. We talked for hours about our love of good food and how we share it with others.

Cornmeal and Fig Financiers

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs honey
2 Tbs buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal *
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
5-6 fresh figs-halved

Measure the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and honey. Add the eggs one by one, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Quickly beat in vanilla and buttermilk. On low speed, mix in the dry ingredients, do not over mix. Scoop into small brioche molds, cupcake tins or other vessel. Fill to about the halfway mark (perhaps just a tad bit more), and then gently push 1/2 fig on top. Bake at 350 for approximately 15-30 minutes. Use the toothpick method to ensure they are baked through.
*i used a medium coarse cornmeal–but you can use anything from fine to coarse…the texture of your cake will reflect whichever you choose to use.

Sugared Orange Tea Cake

Hey. Remember those oranges that I sugared and canned? Remember how I promised to make lots of good things with them. Well, I don’t break a promise. So here is my first creation; a gorgeous and moist cake perfect with a cup of tea

Sugared Orange Tea Cake
1c + 2Tbs unsalted butter–room temp
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs–room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
10-12 sugared oranges
orange syrup (from oranges)
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking powder in a bowl. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one mixing thoroughly after each one, careful to clean the sides of the bowl as you go. Add the vanilla and beat once again. Make sure the batter is thoroughly whipped before stirring in the dry ingredients. Once you add the dry ingredients, be careful not to over mix. Pour into prepared cake pan (greased and floured). Smooth the top and lay the oranges on top, overlapping a bit. Bake at 325 until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. After cake is removed from the oven, but not yet cooled, pour a bit of the orange syrup on top, allowing it to completely soak in before adding more. Do not add more than 1/3 of a cup.
*you can add a bit of grand marnier to the syrup if you like. you can also make a nice icing of confectioner’s sugar with the orange syrup and drizzle for a lovely presentation.
allow to cool completely before removing from cake tin.