Lemon and Lavender Cake

lemon and lavender cake recipe british summertime treat fresh

What to get the baker who has everything – well a cake calendar of course! This one hangs pride of place in our kitchen, and proved a great inspiration for this cake, which I made for my Dad for Father’s Day a couple of weeks back (we celebrated early this year due to various trips away).

lavender bundt cake calendar inspiration

For some reason, a quirky disconnect in my blonde brain, I didn’t choose to follow this recipe, but instead borrowed from this wonderful National Trust recipe. As a lifetime NT member, I’m sure my Dad will approve! Scaling down the recipe to fit my size of tin, and replacing the ground almonds with some essence, I adapted the recipe as follows. The lemon, almond and lavender are a great compliment to each, making a floral, fruity and balanced cake. Finish with a lavender syrup and a crunchy lemon icing for a super spring and summer treat!

Ingredients
125g butter
125g plain flour
125g sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of almond essence
1 lemon, grated rind and juice
1 heaped teaspoon of fresh lavender

Lavender syrup
1 tablespoon fresh lavender
1 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons water

Lemon icing
100g icing sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Lavender sprigs and/or lemon rind to decorate

Although you can buy cooking lavender, I used some fresh from my garden, pulling the flowers off the stalks, and crushing gently to get more flavour. You can use any fresh lavender plants, as long as you’re sure they’re chemical free (so homegrown is best).

Method
– My favourite kind of method – put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well!
– Spoon into a well-greased tin, I used the smaller size of my Ikea Sockerkaka round silicone bundt moulds, which holds around 500ml
– Bake at 150 degrees C, until baked through (test with a skewer, when it comes out clean it’s done). Time will depend on the size and shape of your mould, anywhere from 45 – 75 minutes. Mine took around an hour, in a fan oven.
– Once the time is nearly up, place the syrup ingredients in a heavy bottomed / non-stick saucepan. Heat gently and allow to bubble for a minute or so. The sugar should start to thicken into a sticky syrup. Remove any large pieces of lavender
– When the cake is cooked, removed from the oven, and quickly (but gently!) prick small holes all over with a fork or skewer, so the syrup will absorb in
– Put the cake on a cooling rack, with a drip tray underneath, and spoon or pour the syrup all over the cake
– Set aside and allow to cool completely
– Mix together the icing sugar and lemon juice to form a thick paste, that will slowly drip off the back of a spoon. Spoon or drizzle over the cake, finishing with lavender or lemon decorations

ikea sockerkaka silicon cake moulds review usage

lavender sugar syrup cake recipe

dousing cake with lavender sugar syrup lemon and almond flavourings summer treat

lemon icing drizzling over lavender cake for fathers day

lemon and lavender cake recipe decorative topping with sprigs and citrus rind

I had great plans to take some beautiful photos in front of my lavender plants – but sadly the great British weather put paid to that. Soggy cake is not a good look!

british summer rain blossoming lavender plant cake recipe

Nevertheless I still managed to snap a couple of shots through the patio windows – and the rest safely in the dry of my own kitchen.

lemon and lavender cake with flower sprigs decoration icing drizzle

IMG_0541 lemon and lavender sponge cake recipe with hints of almond fresh garden summer

The Simpsons Cupcakes for Father’s Day

father's day the simpsons cupcakes present gift made from coloyred fondant icing

Happy Father’s day to all the dads out there! I couldn’t let the occasion pass without baking something for my lovely dad, and this year I decided to create one of his favourite TV programs in fondant-form – The Simpsons!

My mum gets a lot of brownie points for asking if I had some new stencils to make the characters – but no! I printed an image off and used the outlines as templates, from there on in everything was created with just a sharp knife, a cocktail stick, and some edible glue.  I used a vanilla cupcake with a big cloud of vanilla frosting to create a blank canvas for the characters to sit on.

First up – the brat of the bunch! Bart Simpson – his extra spiky hair proved a bit of a challenge as my fondant wasn’t happy in such tiny points, but a bit of coaxing with the cocktail stick and it got there in the end.

bart simpson cupcake fondant work had cut no stencil

The first of the sisters – Lisa Simpson. The pearl necklace was so simple to create but I love how perfect it looks! Her eyelashes were painted on using the end of a cocktail stick dipped in black gel food colouring. My only gripe is that she looks a little grumpy though…

lisa simpson cupcake with pearls necklace black eyelashes painted on

The baby of the bunch, little Maggie Simpson. I had a lot of fun making her blue bow and red dummy (or pacifier if you will!) Although a bit fiddly as it was so small, I think the results are super-cute:

maggie simpson cupcake pacifier dummy red and blue bow in hair

Next up – Marge Simpson. I’m not going to lie, that big blue perm was somewhat of a challenge! I made the fondant quite thick on this part, so it wouldn’t crack up too much.

marge simpson hand crafted fondant cupcake on white icing background red pearl necklace

And last but certainly not least, the dad himself! I am thankful to Matt Groening for designing Homer Simpson as such the simple character that he is and therefore very easy to make – a big oval head, 5 o’clock shadow, and then a few sprigs of hair painted on with edible food colouring.

homer simpson cupcake hand cut father day dad

I’m impressed myself with the way they turned out – although very surprised that I couldn’t find any Simpsons cupcake cases to put them. There’s clearly a gap in the market!

the simpsons family cupcakes gift cartoon for fathers day hand crafted from fondant icing

Happy Father’s Day dad! x

Father’s Day Double Chocolate & Guinness Cake

A good friend mentioned a Guinness chocolate cake recipe to me a few weeks back, and father’s day seemed like the perfect excuse to try it out!

The recipe she’d used was Nigella’s Guinness chocolate cake, and, not having cooked with beer before, I was happy to stick with the pro’s. So – here is my take!

The recipe itself is amazingly easy, basically stick everything in a big saucepan and set the electric mixer loose. I did substitute the sour cream for some fat-free vanilla yoghurt, as the sheer volume of sugar seemed like more than enough unhealthiness for one cake! It also makes an awful lot of the gorgeous gooey mixture; when I’d suggested making a half batch poor Rob’s face had fallen, so cupcakes it was too.

The mixture cooked beautifully and came out a lovely rich, dark chocolate colour, almost like a mini glass of Guinness itself.

For the icing I also went against Nigella’s advice. A whole pot of real cream? I wanted to give my dad a treat, not a heart attack! My icing was white chocolate cream cheese frosting – a tub of extra-light cream cheese, a bar of white chocolate, melted, and enough icing sugar to whip it up to a pipe-able consistency.

The cake I piped with a narrow, slanted nozzle, going in lines across and up and down the cake, to give a ribbon like effect. I love the way it looks like foam around the edge, like the head on a pint of the black stuff.

The cupcakes had the same frosting – smoothed across the top then piped into a swirl to finish:

I finished the cupcakes off with a small abstract swirl of dark chocolate; piped onto greaseproof paper, chilled, then gently place on top of each cake – all the same yet beautifully individual.

For my dad’s cake, I wanted to add a father’s day message. When it comes to letters, my piping skills really aren’t so hot. Plus, I didn’t really think this one needed any extra chocolate!

I took my letter stencils and pressed them lightly into the icing…

…before carefully filling in each letter with some silver lustre, to make them really stand out!

Boxed up, it was ready to go with the rest of my gifts (some yummy fresh cheeses from lovely local deli Delilah).

It looked fab and hopefully tasted so too – Happy Father’s Day dad!

 

— Edit—

In preparation for my first Photo Friday, I took some extra photos of the cupcakes with some fresh strawberries. There were too many to put on the other post, but too good to go to waste!