I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the greatest benefit of blogging is the chance to meet so many wonderful people.
Shortly after I began blogging I had the good fortune to meet Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Sensual Gourmet. Intelligent, warm, witty, sexy, sweet, beautiful – these are all adjectives that could very easily apply to Jasmine.
But the one adjective that is most popular with me is generous.
A little over a month ago, I was moaning and complaining to Jasmine about how difficult it was to find certain ingredients in Toronto. As great a city as it is, in terms of baking products and equipment, Toronto can be a very small pond.
I was in search of organic lavender and was finding it very difficult to source in this great city of ours. I had no luck locating it and ended up extremely frustrated by the blank stares and silly questions I got in response to my queries for this product.
I happened to tell Jasmine about it and she immediately offered to send me as much lavender as I wanted from a local supplier (in her neck of the woods).
It’s taken me awhile, but Jasmine I’m finally thanking you in the most public way I can imagine.
To express my gratitude, I’ve made you this very special Lavender Cake from Tracy Stern’s Tea Party.
Thank you for being such a sweetheart!
Adapted from Tea Party by Tracy Stern.
Note: Stern adds lemon to this cake in her book but I’ve changed it to orange. This recipe yields two 8-inch loaves.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sliced almonds (blanched)
1-1/2 cups sugar
grated zest of 1 orange
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 large eggs
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. dried lavender buds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8-inch loaf pans.
In a bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt). Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the almonds and 2 tbsp. of the sugar. Process until the almonds are ground. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, remaining sugar and orange zest. Mix on medium high speed until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Add the orange juice and mix well.
Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk alternately. Begin and end with the dry ingredients in three additions. Be sure to add the dry ingredients on low speed. Mix well after each addition of dry ingredients and buttermilk.
After adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk, add the almond mixture and the lavender buds and mix until just combined.
Spread the batter in the prepared pans and be sure to even it off.
Bake the cakes for 50 minutes to an hour, or until they are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes. Then unmold the cakes and let them continue cooling on a wire rack.
Serve as is or dusted with icing sugar.