It’s amazing how a single food possesses the power to transport a person to ecstasy, and this luxurious recipe is one such example of this sweet bliss. Traditionally made with one pound each of flour, sugar, butter and eggs, pound cakes are among the the simplest of cakes; but they require precision and careful technique to achieve a dense richness, yet remain light and fluffy. Balancing just the right sweetness to the perfect tartness, lavender and lemon together are pure heaven. We love the bolt of lavender that sweetly surprises your senses in this refreshing cake.
12 miniature cakes
For the cake:
2½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 egg yolks
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dried lavender, coarsely crushed or ground
¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature
For the sugar glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Meat pounder, spice/coffee grinder or food processor to crush the lavender
Stand mixer with paddle attachment
(6) 2-cup mini Bundt® pans or (1) 12-cup Bundt® pan
Generously grease Bundt® pan(s) with butter or non-stick cooking spray and dust lightly with flour, knocking out excess. Do not preheat oven.
Sprinkle the lavender into the buttermilk and let sit for 10 minutes. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula. Then beat in the eggs one at a time, beating only until incorporated after each addition. Mix in the zest, lemon juice and vanilla.
Mix in the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Beat the final addition only until smooth. Do not overmix.
Spoon the batter into each cup, filling it only ¾ full and distibuting it evenly between the 12 Bundt® cups. Tap each pan several times on the counter to eliminate air bubbles and level the tops. Place both pans in the cold oven and turn the oven to 325 F. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the tops (which will eventually become the cake bottoms) are risen and golden.
Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 30 minutes, then run a thin knife around outer edge of each cake to loosen and unmold by inverting the pan over onto a wire rack. The cakes will be right-side-up at this point.
Prepare the glaze:
Combine the powdered sugar, heavy cream and lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir with a rubber spatula until the glaze is smooth and of drizzling consistency. Spoon the glaze over the top of each slightly cooled cake, letting some run down unevenly on the sides. Zest the lemon over the tops of the glaze and serve.
[Chef’s Notes: When preparing the Bundt® pan for baking, thoroughly grease and flour the molds to ensure the cake will release easily from the pan.
When a recipe calls for sifted flour, it means sift the flour, then measure for accurate results.
This recipe calls for six 2-cup mini Bundt® pans to make lovely spring gifts, but feel free to use whatever size pan you desire, as this cake bakes well in a variety of pans – two 8½ x 4½ x 2½-inch loaf pans or one larger 10 x 3½- inch Bundt® pan. Just be sure to adjust the baking time to suit, as the larger pans will take a bit longer.
DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN until at least 30 minutes into baking so your cakes will not fall.
Wrapped in plastic or aluminum foil, the cakes will keep for 3-5 days at room temperature and for up to 3 months in the freezer.]
Recipe by Monica Glass
Photo by Andrea Meyers