Beautiful, fragrant, and ubiquitous, lavender is used in everything from natural home products, bath products, food, and beverages. Lavender activates all the senses, especially when one is standing in the midst of it or holding fresh-cut stems. The calming fragrance helps reduce stress in a chaotic world, and the flowers provide color and beauty to home and garden.
We use lavender in almost everything we make for the house, but it wasn't until recently when we started using it more in baking.
The infusion of lavender and lemon in this coconut cake results in a rich, airy, and flavorful dessert, where all three flavors work in harmony.
Did You Know? Lavender flowers have a variety of meanings, including purity, silence, devotion, serenity, grace, and calmness.
Beneath that creamy frosting are three layers of delicious coconut and lavender cake, with thin layers of lemon-lavender filling.
Did You Know? An infusion of lavender flower heads added to a cup of boiling water is used to soothe and relax at bedtime. We're fond of lavender and chamomile tea at the end of a long day.
The combination of filtered, natural sunlight, soothing lavender, and soft colors offers relaxation, conversation, and an invitation to sit, relax, and enjoy a few peaceful moments.
When you slice into the cake, and bite into the first layer of moist crumbs, your tastes buds go on a journey through each flavorful layer.
The colorful dishes are Botanic Garden by Portmeirion. They can be a little pricey if you buy a whole set, so if you have a HomeGoods store nearby, keep an eye out. That's where we picked ours up, and we're slowly adding to the collection as we come across new pieces. We used the bowl from the set as the base for our flower arrangement. It's fun to mix things up and use different containers.
The table linens are Potterton Hill.
Now, before you get to the recipe and get frightened away by how long it is (seriously, don't be scared), know that we consider this a "special occasion" cake. Whether for a birthday, anniversary, or summer garden party, this is a cake that most people would only make one, maybe twice a year. And, despite the different steps, if you follow the recipe, it's not a difficult cake.
It really is best during the spring and summer months, but can be enjoyed any time of year. We're hanging onto the last days of summer in northwest Montana, so we indulged.
We rarely sit down to a table (okay, never) that does not boast flowers of some kind. Except for the white ranunculus, the flowers all came from our late blooming garden. Delphinium, hydrangea, and dusty miller (aka silver ragwort) blend prettily together.
Purples and whites are both calming and vibrant.
Speaking of calm, this Lavender Leaf candle by DW Home's Charming Farmhouse line is wonderfully fragrant, but not overpowering. It's been out of stock, which is no wonder. It's rare, for us, to find a lavender candle that is subtle yet still offers all the aromatic powers of lavender.
Okay, are you almost ready to try the cake? Have you thought of the perfect occasion, even if it's "just because"? It's such a delicious treat!
Before we get to the recipe, here are a few tips regarding room temperature ingredients.
When it comes to butter, “room temperature” refers to the semi-solid stage where butter is extremely spreadable but still holds its shape. (Bon Appetit)
Room temperature ingredients bond easily to create evenly textured batters. Your cakes and breads will rise better and have a lighter texture, cookies will hold their shape, and frostings will be creamy and delicious. Butter that is too warm can topple all of your hard work. If a recipe does not call for melted butter, do not melt it!
It is always best to bake with room temperature ingredients. There are tricks to speeding up the process, but if you're not in a hurry, I recommend letting ingredients come to room temperature naturally.
Set out butter 1-2 hours prior to baking. I keep a pretty cool house, so it takes longer than an hour in my kitchen. If you keep a warm house, 30 minutes might suffice. If you press your finger into the butter and it leaves an indent, but is still cool to the touch and not greasy or slippery, then you're good.
Cream cheese should get to room temperature between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how cool you keep your kitchen. You can speed up the process for both cream cheese and butter by cutting them into smaller pieces.
Eggs can be set in warm (not hot) water for 5-10 minutes to bring them quickly to room temperature. I usually set eggs out with the butter, but the warm water trick works well. The exception to the warm water trick is if you need separated eggs. Eggs are easier to separate when they are cold, so do that first. Separated eggs should reach room temp (without help) in 15-20 minutes.
Measure and set out milk, buttermilk, and sour cream 10 minutes prior to baking. While you can microwave dairy at lower power, it's not something I ever recommend because a few seconds too many can ruin it.
1) Measure out all your ingredients to make sure you're ready to go. Don't forget to read the recipe all the way through. There are multiple steps and it will save you time and headache when you prepare and plan ahead.
2) Prepare the lavender syrup and lemon filling at least one hour in advance. It will need to refrigerate.
3) Some steps are optional, and we note those in the recipe, but keep in mind that each step is necessary to achieve the full benefits of this delicious cake.
4) ONLY use culinary grade lavender. Like coconut oil and other herbs and oils, there are multiple uses, and you need to make sure you use the right ingredients.
5) Once the cakes have cooled completely, you can carefully slice part of the raised top off to make the cake layers flat. I don't do this because I bake for my home, friends, and family, and see no reason to waste that bit of cake.
Okay, are you ready? Scroll down for the printable recipe.
Baking is a science, and if you really want to make a long-term goal of becoming a fantastic baker, it's good to learn tricks of the trade. If you're an occasional baker, the internet is a wealth of information for quick tips. The best advice I can ever give a person is to always read a recipe from start to finish before starting. Make sure you have all the ingredients, kitchen tools, and the time required for each step. Even the best bakers in the world make mistakes, so relax and enjoy.
Enjoy, and thank you for visiting!
Especially for you!
Parts of the post was also shared on mkmcclintock.com/blog.