Sunday, December 11, 2011

LAVENDER - FROM FIELDS TO TABLE - Part 4 - Lavender Walnut Cake

Part 4
Lavender Walnut Cake

Remember our friend Kyle who’s working on a second lavender cookbook for the annual Ojai Lavender Festival? The cookbook Richard’s been trying out and adapting recipes for?  Well Kyle and her husband, Stuart, came for dinner the other night and Richard decided to surprise her with his own lavender dessert concoction.

Years ago I found a walnut cake recipe in a magazine that I’ve baked often with great success.  I know, I know – me?  Well, yeh!  You know I really do cook, right?  And often.  I’m just not the cook Richard is.  Anyway, Richard always loved this cake and thought it would be even better with a hint of lavender.

He was right.

Check it out.



7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Dry bread crumbs
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/4 cups walnuts, ground
1-3/4 cups sugar
8 eggs, separated
2 teaspoons ground culinary lavender buds
½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1cup water
¾ cup sugar
½ cup brandy
1 tablespoon culinary lavender buds


Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Using 1 tablespoon of butter, grease a 9-inch round cake pan and dust it w/ bread crumbs, shaking out the excess.  Set aside.
Stir together flour, baking power and ground walnuts; reserve.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter, the sugar, egg yolks and lavender until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is very smooth.

In another bowl, whip the whites until firm.  Fold them into the butter mixture.  Little by little, add the flour mixture to the batter. 

Turn the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle w/ chopped nuts.

Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.  (Richard suggests you start testing after 45 minutes.)

While the cake is baking, bring 1 cup of water, lavender buds and sugar to a boil in a small sauce pan. Turn off heat and let steep for 15-20 minutes.  Strain and discard lavender.

When the cake is baked, turn it out onto a rack, invert, and place, right side up, on another rack.  Position the rack over a baking pan or plate w/ raised sides.

Re-warm the syrup.  Add the brandy.

Prick the cake deeply all over w/ a skewer or toothpick.  Brush the syrup over the hot cake.  Work slowly so that the cake has time to absorb the syrup.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Serves 6 to 8

Check out Volume 1 of the lavender cookbook.

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