Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Lavender and Lemon for Tea

Last week, I gave a talk to a nearby town's garden club

Whenever I do, I take an herbal treat.
This time I chose a lemon lavender cake

And besides the one I made for them
I made one for me as well
And so I invited friends to join me for tea

In the breakfast room
Where there is only room for three!

A lemon lavender cake

The Spode Blue Italian
a sweetgrass vase with flowers
Alas, not garden ones but some lovely bought carnations

It's a very good tea cake
A dense cake lightly scented with lavender and highly spiked with lemon!

We visited and sipped and enjoyed the afternoon and each other's company.


For the cake: 

  • 8 sprigs pesticide-free fresh lavender flowers, or 1 tsp. finely chopped, pesticide-free fresh lavender leaves, plus flowers for deecorating (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups ground blanched almonds
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

For the icing: 

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 large lemon, or as needed
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

To make the cake, strip the flowers from the lavender sprigs. Place in a food processor and add the superfine sugar, butter, lemon zest and salt. Process until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, alternating with one-fourth of the flour, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition. Gently stir in the ground almonds and the lemon juice.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and bake until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn the cake out onto the rack. Place right side up and let cool.

Meanwhile, make the icing: Sift the confectioners' sugar into a bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the lemon juice, a few drops at a time. The icing should be thick but spreadable. If it is too stiff, add a little more lemon juice.

Using a knife and dipping it in hot water if it becomes too sticky, spread the icing over the cooled cake, making sure that it drips down the sides. Let stand until the icing is set, about 1 hour. Decorate the cake with fresh lavender flowers. The cake will keep, stored in an airtight container without the flower garnish, for up to 3 days. Serves 8 to 10.


ellen b said...

The cake looks just right with those dishes!

Anonymous said...

Yum!!! Your dishes are so lovely.

Miss Jane said...

It looks delicious! For anyone reading, be sure you're using food grade lavender, sometimes called culinary lavender or chef's lavender or cooking lavender.
Lavender is very potent, a little goes a long way!

Petra said...

It looks delicious! I always enjoy reading your blog.
Best regards from Holland,

Pat said...

Your lovely Blue Spode is a perfect accent with the lavender!!!
This cake looks much like one of my homemade bread recipes!!!
It is dense, moist and flavorful!!!
Yours looks divinely delicious, dear friend!!!

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Martha, your tea cake looks lovely! Lemon and lavender accompanied by wonderful blue china; so charming! It's always a treat to see your tea set up in the breakfast room. Enjoy the weekend.