Treat of the Week: Lavender Tea Cakes

This weekend the initial phase of our community garden project wraps up with a ribbon cutting.  There will be door prizes, treats, and photo opps for local politicians and would be gardeners.  Of course, this is just the beginning, but the area residents are very excited and several beds have already started to grow.

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As a bonus, today is also Eliza Doolittle Day.  As you may recall from My Fair Lady, Eliza sings a vengeful tune about Henry Higgins.  Her fantasy includes frequent royal visits and a proclamation from the king... 'Next week, on the 20th of May, I proclaim it 'Liza Doolittle Day'.  Between the theater and the film, I have heard that line sung dozens of times.

You can consider today's treat, then, as a tribute to Eliza Doolittle.  The lavender is lightly fragrant and what could be more fitting than tea cakes.  We made ours as tea cakes, but you could use this recipe for other vessels.  Just be sure to adjust your cooking times and monitor closely.

savour... the rain in Spain

Get the rest after the jump...

Lavender Tea Cakes

Before you start:

The baking dishes we used were little crocks.  I found them at a local thrift store for 50 cents each.  Look for something wider and somewhat shallow.  You could also make mini muffins.

Lavender isn't for everyone.  Fortunately, it is the one ingredient that could be reduced just a bit without too much impact.

The dried lavender will soften up as it bakes, but will still be intact when done.  I like the texture, but you may like to grind yours up a bit with a pestle and mortar.

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The ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour / 190g
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup almonds / 60g
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar / 160g
  • zest of one lemon
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon dried lavender 

The method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350̊.
  2. Butter and flour baking dishes.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk to mix completely.  Set aside.
  4. Grind almonds and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Set aside.
  5. Place remaining sugar and lemon zest in mixing bowl.  Whisk together until completely mixed.
  6. Add butter and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 4 min).
  7. Add eggs one at a time and mix between each egg to fully incorporate (about 30 sec).
  8. Add lemon juice and mix until combined.
  9. Alternate adding flour and buttermilk in three phases, scraping down sides and mixing on lowest speed just until incorporated each time.
  10. Add lavender and almonds.  Mix just until incorporated.
  11. Spoon batter into prepared baking dishes and smooth out the tops with a knife or spoon.
  12. Bake small containers for 20 minutes.  Loaves will take longer (45-55 min).
  13. Remove cakes and allow them to cool before glazing.
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