I should call this cake Mediterranean Chiffon Cake because this brings me back to our travels in that region, where Meyer lemon trees lined up the hillside of the Amalfi Coast and where the air is filled with the scent of lavender in the open market of Old Town Nice.
I discovered the culinary use of lavender about twelve years ago and I began to appreciate lavender beyond Yardley’s English Lavender soap. I made lavender brownies and my daughter who was then in high school brought some to school to share with her friends. It was not appreciated at all. She said that it was not the best way to make friends. I guess they weren’t ready for the taste of lavender or it is too sophisticated for the palate of high schoolers. Now a lot more people seem to appreciate lavender as a flavor.
For this cake, I used the same chiffon cake recipe I have been using since 1981 especially when I make my children’s birthday cakes. I modified it for this to use extra virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil, lavender buds and Meyer Lemon rind instead of vanilla. These three complete my Mediterranean trio. I also replaced some of the liquid with Meyer lemon juice.
- 2 1/2 c cake flour
- 3/4 c granulated sugar
- 1 t salt
- 3 t baking powder
- 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 c Meyer Lemon juice
- 1/4 c water
- 2 t ground lavender buds
- finely grated rind of 1 Meyer Lemon, about 1 1/2 t
- 1 c egg whites
- 1/2 t cream of tartar
- 3/4 c granulated sugar
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Using a mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar.
- Slowly add the sugar while beating. Continue beating until egg whites form hard peaks.
- Sift the cake flour , sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks by hand about 2 minutes, add the liquids, lavender and lemon rind while beating.
- Add the dry ingredients into the egg yolk mixture slowly while beating.
- Fold the batter into the egg white-sugar, either using the slowest speed of the mixer or by hand until well blended.
- Pour into a well oiled tube pan.
- Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes.
- Cool the cake before icing.
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 2 t ground lavender
- 1 1/2 c confectioner’s sugar
Make the frosting.
- Add the ground lavender to the container of heavy cream , close and shake. Let the lavender soak in the milk.
- When ready to make the frosting, pour the heavy cream over a strainer into the mixing bowl. Discard the lavender.
- Keep the frosting in the refrigerator until ready to use.