Our contributor, Tessa Huff, is sharing a bright new cake recipe….
You don’t always need a reason to eat a slice of cake. Sometimes a delightful, simple cake is all you need to turn an ordinary afternoon into a little celebration. While many cake recipes are dripping with sprinkles and drowning in caramel and chocolate, sometimes less really is more. With fresh, clean flavors, this cake is the kind of cake to enjoy any day.
Now that we are in full-fledge Spring mode, I’ve been so inspired by fresh-cut flowers and refreshing flavors. The breeze is getting warmer and the days are already getting longer. I wanted to create a light and fresh cake to enjoy on warm, spring afternoons, and this Lemon and Lavender Buttermilk Cake might just be what sunshine tastes like.
This lemony, buttermilk cake is very light and fluffy. With a crumb so delicate, I wanted to pair it with fillings and frostings that would not weigh it down. I gave the cake layers themselves a nice soak with lavender simple syrup before layering them with silky, lavender buttercream. Instead of a heavy frosting, a sweet, lemon glaze was all this cake needed. This is the type of cake I imagine snacking on while chatting with friends over tea on a sunny afternoon.
LEMON & LAVENDER BUTTERMILK CAKE
a recipe by Tessa Huff
For the Lemon Buttermilk Cake:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs + 2 egg yolks
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9 or 10 inch pans and set aside. Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed with a paddle attachment. Add in the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
- Turn the mixer to low and add in the zest, vanilla, and eggs – one at a time.
- Stop mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- In alternating batches with the mixer on low, add in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk – beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
- Evenly distribute the batter between the cake pans and bake for 22-24 minutes, or until done.
For the Lavender Simple Syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon culinary lavender
Add all of the ingredients into a medium-small saucepan. Heat over medium-high until syrup begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until mixture reduces to a syrup (about 10 minutes). Strain out lavender and set aside. Reserve 1/4 of syrup for buttercream.
For the Lavender Buttercream:
3 egg whites
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup lavender simple syrup
- Place egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Gently whisk to combine. Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat. Place mixing bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double boiler. While whisking, heat until the egg mixture reaches 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.
- Once hot, carefully transfer the bowl back to the mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg/sugar mixture on high for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until the outside of the bowl returns to room temperature and the meringue holds stiff peaks.
- Stop the mixer and swap the whisk for the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium-low, add in the butter a couple tablespoons at a time.
- Add in the vanilla extract and lavender simple syrup. Turn mixer up to medium-high and beat until silky smooth.
For the Lemon Glaze:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons milk
Stir in the lemon juice into the sugar. Add in the milk until sugar is dissolved and desired consistency in achieved.
For the Assembly:
Brush the tops of both cakes with the lavender simple syrup. Spread buttercream on top of the first cake layer and top with the second layer, upside down. Gently spread lemon glaze over the top of the cake and let drip over the edges, if desired.