Do you know that November 15 is National Bundt Day? Perfect time to blog about the messy bundt cake I made two weeks ago.
If you know me well, you know my affinity to anything with coffee+ chocolate in it. "Lemon + lavender" on the other hand, is another flavor combination that I can't resist. I have had sables with this combination but haven't had a success with cake yet. After trying the lemon lavender cake from the Macrina Bakery in Seattle, I can't stop thinking about it ever since we came back. The generous serving of their light but flavorful cake is the best lemon lavender cake I have ever had. The balance between two of my favorite flavors is simply spot on.
I have tried making a lemon lavender cake in the past using my favorite lemon cake recipe as a base. Although it was moist and flavorful, upon comparison, I found mine to be too dense. And it shouldn't be so. I need to make one as poetic (and light) as the Macrina's.
In order to achieve the desired cake, I need a lemon cake with light texture as base. The next step maybe a little tricky.It is to determine the amount of lavender required. It has to be just enough to complement the citrus flavor, without making the eaters feel poisoned eating a lavender soap bar. I decided to go with 1 tablespoon of dried lavender. In order to extract the maximum flavor, I steep it in the buttermilk. Easily done when the buttermilk was lefted on the bench to come to room temperature.
Having had good result with this recipe in the past, I decided to use it as the base here. Once the cake was out of the oven, I impatiently waited for 30 minutes before cutting out a thin slice to taste. It was nice, but not as lemony as I would have loved. I knew I had to add a thin layer of glaze to boast up the flavor. And I did just that. But maybe the glaze is a little too thin. It is quite unsightly as you can see from the various shots here. The flavor had improved with the added glaze but I know something is amiss. I really should have bought their recipe book which was prominently displayed on the shelf. Or at least took a peek and tried to remember the recipe! By the way, I also couldn't resist to buy a piece of their chocolate grand marnier cake. Heavenly! Now I need to find that recipe. If ANY of you know the recipe, please drop me an email. My stomach and tastebuds will thank you.
Coming back to the lemon lavender cake, I think this version is not too bad, but I would tweak it again the next time I try. Maybe a little more lemon zest in the batter, and a thicker, prettier glaze.
If however, lemon lavender is not your cup of tea, head over to Nordic Ware's website. There are a series of drool-worthy winning recipes from the "Bundts Across America" recipe contest. One of the judges, is none other than Anita, the talented blogger behind the sweet blog -Dessert First! Her account on the contest judging is here. I am jealous of all the yummy bundts she had tasted......
Lemon Lavender Cake
Modified from this recipe
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (about 13 2/3 ounces)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated fresh lemon rind
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of dried lavender, steep in 1 cup of low fat buttermilk
For the glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar (I used 1.5 cups, it turned out too thin)
3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried lavender
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare the cake, coat a 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray; dust with 2 tablespoons flour.
Lightly spoon remaining 3 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 3 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine 2 cups granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating at low speed, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add rind and juice; beat just until blended.
Spoon batter into prepared pan; sharply tap the pan once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar,lemon juice and dried lavender in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the top of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.