Lavender Raspberry Cake Recipe
If there was ever a cake to die for, it’s this one
You may be thinking, “ Flowers in a cake? Gross!” , and I too had that initial thought. I was afraid eating lavender cake would taste like drinking a bottle of cheap perfume. Maybe after my first bite I would be left regretting life decisions, but on the contrary! Lavender raspberry cake is the most beautiful and delicate flavor combination I have ever experienced in my entire life. Can you remember the last time a flavor danced on your tongue or sang to your soul? I can, even just remembering how this cake tastes, my heart faints.
It’s no secret that I have an affinity for flowers. Having blooms throughout my house gives me a great feeling of relaxation, luxury, femininity and beauty. Something about seeing a vase full of flowers sparks my creativity both with my baking and my decorating. One warm summer day, the thought of incorporating floral tones to my flavor combinations seemed like something worth the try. I knew that it would be risky, despite a flowers delicate appearance, the flavor can be overwhelming if not used correctly.
To use lavender or even rose within baking, is like a dance and to balance the aroma is a true art form. Pairing lavender with raspberry has proved to be the perfect combination. The tartness of the raspberries elevate the sweet flavor of the lavender. Using lavender buds within the cake adds an extra element of intrigue especially for people who haven’t had uncommon cake flavors. As seemingly simple as this flavor combination is, it has much depth, perfect for wedding cakes or Mother’s Day for a lasting impression.
To make the lavender raspberry cake, the ingredients are pretty simple to source with culinary buds available at the local spice store and oil shipped on prime. Planning a few days ahead and you should be fully prepared to bake this cake. Although the flavor is delicate, the process to make the cake is quite simple.
1 Recipe makes 36 cupcakes / 1 layer 10” cake / 2 layers 9” cake / 2 layers 8” cake / 3 layers 6” cake+3 layers 4” cake. If you desire to have a cake with 4 layers, double the recipe
Supplies/ tools needed
Baking pans, NOT FLUTED
Measuring cups and spoons
Liquid measuring cup
Extra bowl for sifting
Hand Mixer/ Stand mixer
Bakers Joy/ baking spray
Lavender Cake Recipe
1 cup All purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 pinch salt
1 heaping tablespoon culinary lavender buds
18 ounces white cake mix
3 egg whites 1 whole egg
8 ounces sour cream
1 ⅓ cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ( small eye dropper) Lorann lavender oil
1. Scale out all of your ingredients
2. Sift dry ingredients into your mixing bowl, except lavender buds.
3. Measure out all wet ingredients, except lavender oil and add them to the bowl with dry ingredients.
4.With care, pour 1/8 teaspoon of the lavender oil into a measuring spoon. Dip your dropper into the lavender oil and draw just enough to fill the dropper, set aside.
5. Combine ingredients in mixing bowl and mix on medium until fully incorporated. Fold in lavender buds.
6. OPTIONAL STEP if using lavender oil. Add 3 drops of oil using the dropper, give the batter a gentle stir and smell aroma.
Take time to smell the lavender as you are working with it, the amount can be subject to each bakers taste. Less is better when using the lavender oil and if you feel intimidated, the oil may be left out and the flavor will still be great just not as strong. If you feel like you’ve not added enough, gradually add more lavender oil one drop at a time and be aware of the aroma. Take care not to over do it because you cannot take the oil out once it has been added.
7. Pour batter into desired baking pans properly prepared with parchment paper, flour and grease
8. Place in oven at 325F Conventional oven or 310F convection oven
9. Bake for 28-32 minutes
10. Check for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the center and pulling out clean
11. Remove pans from oven when fully cooked and set out to cool for 10 minutes before removing from baking pan
11. To remove, flip fan over onto plastic wrap or parchment and wrap for storage
Cake layers can be stored in freezer for up to 6 weeks without compromise if properly wrapped
Lavender cake is very versatile and can be paired with a few different flavors. Of course I have my favorite pairing but some other flavor combinations would be good to try out as well. You could certainly spread your culinary wings and pair lavender cake with a blueberry filling and white chocolate finish or stay more down to earth with a lemon curd filling. I imagine those pairings would go spectacular with any spring festivity. Nonetheless, no matter how many different ways I have paired this lavender cake, I’ve always returned to this pairing in particular, Lavender + Raspberry.
Silky to touch and delightful to taste, raspberries have a fresh sweetness to them, subtle and almost floral in a way. Marry raspberries with lavender and now you have something that is truly magical. I like to incorporate raspberry into my lavender cake in two different ways. First with the addition of a fresh raspberry compote for texture and tartness. Secondly with a smooth, beautiful raspberry Italian meringue filling. To make the raspberry compote, it is quite simple, in fact this recipe/ technique can be applied to most berries and fruits alike. For this application, I prefer to start frozen raspberries to cut out the worry of picking out a bad batch at the store and I also get a greater feeling of control when working with frozen versus fresh berries. I also like to prepare my compote a day ahead of time to allow it to properly chill and tighten up, nothing will ruin the a baking experience quite like having slick drippy fillings that make your cake fall apart. Even if you don’t make your compote a day ahead of time, you can store it in the freezer to speed up the cooling time. Just remember,refrigerated shelf life for compote is 7 days so it either needs to be eaten, frozen or discarded within that time frame.
Supplies/ Tools needed
Non stick pot
10 ounces frozen raspberries
½ ounce lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup granulated sugar
1. Add all ingredients into pot on oven range and turn heat on medium
2. As raspberries begin to unfreeze and ingredients marry, stir gently until simmer
3. Occasionally stir until mixture tightens up and is reduced 50%
4. Remove raspberries from heat and store refrigerated in airtight container. Cooling will also make compote tighter.
To pull this flavor profile together, raspberry buttercream is a must. I prefer meringue based buttercream because it isn’t very sweet or heavy leaving flavors real opportunity to shine. Not to say that you cant use an American buttercream rendition, however, in the end it offers a different mouthfeel but still delicious. Some bakers shy away from using a meringue based buttercream such as Swiss or Italian because working with a double boiler, high temperature thermometers or even dripping hot syrup is intimidating. It is, at first but once you do it, you will get over that fear. I first eased my way into making buttercream with Swiss meringue and eventually transitioned over to Italian. I must admit, it took me 3 times before I wasn’t scared anymore and now I can make it in my sleep. If you are scared to try this method of buttercream, let me be the first to tell you- YOU CAN DO IT!
Supplies/ Tools needed
Non stick pot
Raspberry Italian Meringue Buttercream
8 egg whites
½ cup water
1 lb butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
Separate yolks from egg whites and place egg whites into your mixer Bowl. Take care that your mixer bowl is clean and has no traces of fat.
In a pot, add two cups of sugar and 1/2 a cup of water, turn your range on medium Heat.
When your sugar mixture has reached the temperature of 225 degrees, turn on your stand mixer containing egg whites to medium high and whip until stiff peaks. Your sugar mixture should reach 240° Fahrenheit by the time that your eggs are at stiff peaks.
Sugar syrup should be no less than 240 degrees before adding to your eggs. Slowly stream your sugar mixture into your egg whites avoiding the Whisk and the side of the bowl
Run your mixer on high for approximately 12 minutes or until the bowl is cool to the touch.
Add softened butter pieces to meringue and fully incorporate.
Divide finished buttercream into 2 parts . Set aside approximately 2/3 of your buttercream to remain vanilla. This portion will be used to create a dam for the compote as well as finish the outside of the cake. Fold in 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste until fully incorporated.
Into your second part, the remaining 1/3, incorporate raspberry preserves, set aside.
Now that you have made both vanilla and raspberry buttercream from one batch, you are ready to assemble your cake!
If you have never filled and iced a cake before, you are in for a treat. Although cake tier assembly can certainly be done in different ways, I prefer to do it using acrylic discs. Don’t worry if you don’t have acrylic discs on hand, you can substitute using two cake boards, one for the top and another for the bottom of the cake. I prefer acrylics because I can wash and reuse them. If you are in the cake business, acrylic discs will be a worthwhile investment but if you only make cakes from time to time, cake boards will be sufficient. Either way, using this assembly technique will give you straight and level tiers in a fraction of the time, a sure-fire confidence booster.
Prepare your work space by gathering all of your icing tools, cake board, buttercream, compote and bagged vanilla buttercream for dam. Make sure your work space is sanitary and efficient.
Trim cake layers so they are all level
Place acrylic round or cake board onto turntable. Spread a thin layer of buttercream onto surface making smooth with an offset spatula
Place first cake layer onto your smoothly iced cake board or acrylic flat side down. Ice with raspberry buttercream and set up your dam
Using a spoon, spoon the raspberry compote onto your cake layer staying within the boundary created by your dam
Set second layer of cake on top and line up as best as you can
Ice second layer of cake with raspberry buttercream.
Place third layer of cake on top and repeat steps 3 and 4 but omit the cake board.
Finish cake by adding the fourth layer, bottom side up. Smooth a dab of buttercream to your exposed cake layer to attach cake board. Smooth another dab of buttercream onto cake board if you are using acrylics.
Crumb coat your cake with any buttercream that is on your cake exterior and refrigerate to let set
Add your final coat of buttercream and smooth using a smoother. Refrigerate.
Once your cake has chilled, remove it from the refrigerator. You can remove cake boards or acrylics from the top and bottom of your cake using a paring knife. I like to heat my knife in a cup of boiling water, this warms up the buttercream slightly for a smooth release. Start by running your knife along the bottom edge, in between the icing and the board. Then do the same to the top of your cake. Remove the acrylic or board from the top of the cake.
With clean dry hands, you will place one hand on the top and another on the bottom. Very quickly turn the cake upside down. Now the top of your cake is actually on the top.
Using your paring knife again run it in between the acrylic and the icing to release it and expose the top of your cake. Now your cake is ready to decorate.