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Lavender Cake

(Makes 2 loaves - about 12 slices each)
Lavender Cake
Lavender Cake
Lavender can be found throughout the Mediterranean region, where the species is native, down into Africa and even into southern reaches of India. In Italy, various types of lavender are cultivated.  The main producing regions are: Tuscany, Piedmont, Lazio and Emilia Romagna.  The name Lavender was derived from the Italian word lavarsi, meaning simply to wash oneself, as the plant was crushed, added to olive oil and then used as a primitive soap in Roman times to improve its suppleness.

Only choose organic culinary lavender for your cooking needs.  Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries, or garden centers.  In many cases these flowers have been treated with pesticides not labeled for food crops. 

You can usually find culinary lavender in the spice area of your market.  The flavor of lavender should be very subtle.  Don't be tempted to add more as the taste and scent of lavender can become overpowering.

2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar, divided
1 tablespoon dried lavender
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon dried lavender
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar


To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  In a food processor, pulse 1/2 cup of sugar with the lavender until finely ground.

Combine butter, lavender-sugar, remaining sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.
Beat the mixture until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Add the flour mixture, sour cream, and milk.  Beat on low speed until the ingredients are well combined.  Divide the batter between the 2 prepared loaf pans.  Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.  Cool the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove cakes from pans and allow to cool completely.

To make the icing:
Microwave water and lavender for 30 seconds.  Remove from the microwave and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Strain out lavender flowers and discard.  Reserve the lavender water.

Whisk together 1 tablespoon of the lavender water and the confectioners’ sugar.  Add more of the water if necessary to get a drizzling consistency.
With a spoon, drizzle the icing randomly over the two loaves.
Allow the icing to dry before serving.
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Add lavender to savory herb blends when roasting or braising meat, also excellent in cakes and icings, try sprinkling a little in your loose tea before steeping.
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