Culinary Adventures: Boozy Lavender Lemon Cake Recipe
Traveling adventures are our favorite, but some of our adventures don’t involve leaving the house. I wanted to make our friend Heather a birthday cake, and I was feeling creative. I had some lavender vodka I’d made sitting around, and thought maybe I’d try to use it as a flavoring. Lavender goes excellent with lemon, so I found a basic white cake recipe and altered it a bit to make a boozy lavender lemon cake.
Baking is a science, and if you don’t get the ratios right, things can go terribly wrong. I did my best guesswork, and it turned out pretty damn good.
Warning: if you want to make this cake today, you are out of luck. The lavender vodka is easy peasy but takes a few days to steep.
For the vodka, you will need a 5th of at least halfway decent vodka (think Skyy Vodka level and up, you could getaway with Schmirnoff if all you’re doing with it is baking), and several sprigs of organic lavender. You need to be sure that the lavender is organic and has NOT been treated with any pesticides or near any plants treated with pesticides. I have a lavender plant in my garden, so I’m sure of its origins.
Rinse the lavender and insert it into the vodka bottle. Let it steep for a minimum of 3 days, but no later that 5 days. The vodka will turn brown like whiskey, this is normal. Remove the lavender and you are ready to go.
Lavender Lemon Cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup lavender vodka
zest of one lemon
3 drops of purple food coloring (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Grease baking pans. For this cake, I used three square pans for a three-layer cake. You can use any shape you like, or make cupcakes.
3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat eggs in one at a time, then beat in the vanilla extract.
4. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk and lavender vodka, beating with the electric mixer after each addition. Add the food coloring (if desired) and beat until combined. Don’t over mix.
5. Divide batter evenly between the greased pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes (time will vary depending on how deep the batter is in the pans–the thinner the layer, the shorter time it will take).
White Chocolate Lavender Flower Decorations
While the cakes were baking, I decided to try to make some decorations. I found some chocolate molds for floral chocolate pretzel sticks at Joann Fabrics (made by Wilton).
I lifted the mold tray up and looked underneath to find any air pockets that were unfilled, and adjusted the chocolate as necessary so that all the air pockets were filled. I put the lavender flowers in the freezer for fast hardening.
Next, I made the frosting:
Boozy Lavender Lemon Frosting
1 1/2 cups salted butter (softened at room temperature)
*About* 4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup lavender vodka
Lemon juice to taste
3-4 drops of purple food coloring (or two drops red two drops blue)
I never use a recipe for frosting. Basically, you need powdered sugar and butter (I always use salted butter, the salt makes it nice and rich and balances out the sugar), and a liquid/flavor.
Beat the butter and half the powdered sugar with an electric mixer. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and the vodka. Add lemon juice to taste, adding more powdered sugar as needed until the desired consistency and flavor is reached. You want it to be thick enough to stand up, but smooth enough to spread. Add food coloring last and beat until consistently mixed.
Make sure your cakes are completely cool before frosting. Put the first layer on your serving platter, and add a big dollop of frosting to the middle of the cake. Spread from the middle outwards until even.
Add the next layer and repeat
Add the last layer and frost the top and the sides. Add your decorations as you see fit.
There you have it, boozy lavender lemon cake. You could smell the vodka in the frosting from a foot away. The cake was a success at the birthday party, and there was very little of it left at the end.
Note: It turned out pretty rich. For a fluffier cake I might try adding more milk next time and see if that lightens it up a bit.
Now, mix that leftover lavender vodka with some organic lemonade and keep the boozy evening going…..