Lemon and Lavender Buttermilk Cake

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.

Lemon and Lavender Buttermilk Cake | by Tessa Huff for TheCakeBlog.com

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.

Lemon and Lavender Buttermilk Cake | by Tessa Huff for TheCakeBlog.com

Lemon and Lavender Buttermilk Cake | by Tessa Huff for TheCakeBlog.com

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 and Lavender Buttermilk Cake | by Tessa Huff for TheCakeBlog.com

Lemon and Lavender Buttermilk Cake | by Tessa Huff for TheCakeBlog.com

Lemon and Lavender Buttermilk Cake | by Tessa Huff for TheCakeBlog.com

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

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare two 9 or 10 inch pans and set aside.  Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. Stop mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
1/4 cup lavender simple syrup

  1. 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.  Heat until egg mixture is hot to the touch (about 155-165 degrees on a candy thermometer).
  2. Once hot, carefully transfer the bowl back to the mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.  Beat on high until the bowl of the mixer is room temperature.  Stop mixer and swap out the whisk for the paddle.
  3. Beat on medium-low and add in the butter, vanilla, and lavender simple syrup.  Turn mixer up to medium-high and beat until silky smooth.


For the Lemon Glaze

2 cups confectioner’s 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.


To Assemble

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.

Lemon and Lavender Buttermilk Cake | by Tessa Huff for TheCakeBlog.com

Lemon and Lavender Buttermilk Cake | by Tessa Huff for TheCakeBlog.com

Lemon and Lavender Buttermilk Cake | by Tessa Huff for TheCakeBlog.com


My Lemon Meringue Cake
My Raspberry Earl Grey Cake
My Orange Creamsicle Cake
My Banana Choco Hazelnut Cake
My Rose Buttercream Cake


Tessa Huff is a professional cake designer and lover of all things art and design. She particularly enjoys creating edible decorations, sugar flowers, and unique flavor pairings with fresh, seasonal flavors. Read more about Tessa on her bio page.


  1. 8

    Mina says

    I made this cake for my boyfriends mother’s birthday. I was so excited to try a lavender infused cake and this one looked so pretty. Unfortunately, this recipe did not deliver. The method of infusing the cake with lavender simple syrup only served to over sweeten the cake while not delivering any lavender flavor or aroma whatsoever. This didn’t surprise me all that much, but what did surprise me was that the buttercream frosting also had no trace of lavender. If you want a beautifully light and aromatic lavender cake, this is not the recipe for you! If you want an overly sweet, heavy buttercream filled cake, this is for you! Very disappointed and will probably never use this site again.

  2. 10

    Jane says

    What a disaster!

    Recipe sounded amazing, ingredients smelled wonderful…but, after 25 minutes, even though a toothpick came out clean, the cake collapsed as soon as it was turned out and was visibly raw on the bottom.

    The lavender buttercream was was so thin it wouldn’t coat the back of a spoon. I checked the recipe three time to make sure I hadn’t missed an ingredient I started the entire buttercream from scratch-same result. After several minutes with the mixer, it hadn’t thickened at all. I needed a heavy dose of pure cream and arrowroot to get something spreadable.

    I also agree with Mina that the buttercream is too sweet, anyway.

  3. 12

    Alex says

    I had high hopes for this cake, but came away disappointed. It’s a decent tasting lemon cake, but nobody who sampled it at my house could taste the lavender, even though I added extra to the simple syrup, in an effort to get more concentrated flavor. I didn’t have any problem with consistency of the buttercream or glazes, but found it to be a lot more trouble than it was worth. I also agree with others who felt that it’s too sweet. Next time I’ll just use the lemon cake recipe for cupcakes & skip the lavender all together.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>