This buttery lemon-lavender pound cake is simple to stir together and so satisfying. It’s topped with a thick drape of lemon glaze and garnished with a veritable bouquet of edible petals.
Each year in early June a neighboring town holds a festival dedicated to everyone’s favorite flowering herb. The lavender festival is held on a historic square, and vendors line the streets selling all manner of lavender-themed goods. My favorite part of any festival is the food, and this one is no exception. They serve lavender begniets, lavender lemonade, and a wide array of lavender jams and jellies.
It’s no surprise that this year’s festival has been cancelled due to health concerns, so I’ve decided to celebrate lavender in a big way at home, starting with these petal-topped pound cakes!
Like any good pound cake recipe, this one starts with lots of butter creamed with sugar. There’s no leaven in this recipe, aside from what the eggs provide.
I made this pound cake with a hand mixer – and you can too! Just be sure to mix the flour in at low speed until just combined. it should look like the picture above, with a few streaks of flour here and there. Stay pockets of flour are then mixed in by hand using a rubber spatula. This helps you achieve the dense, tight crumb that is the hallmark of any good pound cake.
The cakes won’t crown much during baking – in fact, they may look sunken at first because the edges start to rise before the center does. Don’t be alarmed! This is normal. At the end, the baked cakes should have a little bump on top, much like a classic French madeleine.
The edible flowers I had on hand were mostly dried, so that’s what I used, but I highly recommend using fresh, soft petals from an organic garden if you have them. If you don’t have good source, you can always order some but shipping can be pricey for delicate flowers.
My favorite edible flowers to use are pansies, blue cornflower, nasturtium, marigold and rose petals. I’ve collected dried versions of these from various shops online, and primarily from vendors.
The glaze is exactly two ingredients – freshly squeezed lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar. It should be thick enough to drape down the sides of the cakes while remaining opaque.
Garnish with whatever edible petals make you happy! I included a few fresh mint leaves and tiny white thyme blooms.
The interior should show an even, dense crumb speckled with lavender buds. To avoid tunnels (holes) in the cakes, be sure not to over-mix the batter using the electric hand mixer – mix just until combined and always fold those last bits together by hand.
These were practically made for afternoon tea, and that’s just how we’ve been enjoying them. The citrus notes in the lavender pair so well with the brightness of the fresh lemon. I hope you’ll love them as much as we do. xo
(Lemon-Lavender Pound Cake)
1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
Zest of one lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon culinary grade lavender buds
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Juice of one lemon (about 3-4 tablespoons)
Fresh or dried culinary grade flowers
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Coat 3 (5.75 x 3 inch) with flour-based baking spray or grease and flour the pans. Alternatively coat 8 (3.8 x 2.5 inch) or one (9×5 inch). I used a mixture of small and mini loaf pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is fluffy. Mix in the lemon zest. Add the lemon juice and mix again. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract; mix. Beat in the lavender buds.
Add the flour and beat on low speed until just combined with a few streaks of flour remaining. Scrape down the bowl and mix by hand with a rubber spatula until all of the ingredients are incorporated. Do not over mix.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pans and bake until lightly brown around the edges and slightly raised in the center (this cake won’t crown much, it should just have a little bump in the center).
Mini 3.8×2.5-inch pans should bake for about 25-30 minutes.
Small 5.75×3-inch pans should bake for about 40 minutes.
Large 9×5-inch pans should bake for about 55 minutes.
Keep an eye on pans, as darker pans will cook more quickly than aluminum pans. Remove from oven and let cool in the pans for about 7 minutes; turn out to wire racks to cool completely. Note that the cakes will begin to rise at the edges of the pans first, so the centers may look sunken for a while – this is normal! Cakes are done when the entire cake is risen and a toothpick tester inserted near the center comes out clean.
For the glaze, stir together confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a mixing bowl using a whisk. Gradually whisk in additional lemon juice until a thick, opaque glaze forms that will hold in the balloon of the whisk, and slowly pour back into the bowl in a ribbon.
Spoon the glaze over cooled cakes and immediately sprinkle on your choice of blooms and petals. Allow cakes to stand until the glaze is set, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately if your cakes are topped with fresh blooms. Cakes with dried blooms can be stored under plastic wrap at room temperature.