Lemon Bundt Cake with Lavender Icing

lemon budt cake with lavender icing

lemon bundt cake un-iced

As much as I love strong, intense flavours, I’m also a fan of the more subtle. I recently returned from a trip to Iceland and really enjoyed the delicate flavours I experienced. Nothing was overbearing or intense. I should note that I didn’t eat any of the traditional dishes, like Hákarl or Svið. I did try a lot of baking, soups, sandwiches, and other dishes (like lamb loin) which were fantastic. I discovered a new favourite bakery you need to try if you ever make it to Iceland: Brauð & Co, known for their varieties of cinnamon buns (did you say vanilla cinnamon bun? Because this is my new favourite thing).

Anyway, what’s my point? Well, before I left I celebrated my friend’s 30th and baked her a lemon bundt cake with lavender icing. Despite lemon being a fairly strong flavour, I found this cake delicately balanced and subtle. It’s not difficult to make and easy to have fun with decorating. The icing is also so versatile, that you can get creative: want to try basil icing instead of lavender? Or maybe rosemary? Just sub out lavender for a similar amount of whatever you’re subbing. Or just leave it plain and call it a day!

Lemon Bundt Cake with Lavender Icing (and edible flowers!)

Cake recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Yield: 1x Bundt Cake or 2x 8½” x 4½” loaf cakes  

Notes: Anytime I use food colouring (which is not very often), it’s never required. I find it helps elevate the look of desserts which also (in my opinion) makes them taste better! This recipe is a prime example of that: by adding a little food colouring to the icing, it makes it more apparently lavender, rather than a greyish white.

Lemon Cake Ingredients:

Dry

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt

Wet

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup grated lemon zest (3 to 4 large lemons)
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Lavender Icing Ingredients:

  • 2 to 3 tsp dried culinary lavender (note that you can’t just eat any lavender, make sure it’s edible and not just from a random garden)
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 2 cups confectioner’s (icing) sugar
  • A few drops each of red and blue or just purple food colouring
  • Optional: edible flowers for decorating

Cake Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease and flour bundt pan. I brushed my pan with  melted butter and dusted with flour, which created an accidentally interesting design along the surface of the cake (see photo at top of post). Alternatively, you can use spray oil (like Pam). 
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high for up to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  6. On medium speed, mix in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
  7. Mix in the lemon zest.
  8. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low/medium until just incorporated.
  9. Add ½ of the buttermilk mixture and mix until just incorporated.
  10. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low/medium until just incorporated.
  11. Add the second ½ of the buttermilk mixture and mix until just incorporated.
  12. Add final ⅓ of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low/medium until just incorporated.
  13. Evenly distribute batter throughout the bundt pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
  14. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. A cake tester comes out clean when the cake is done (mine took about the full hour).
  15. Let cake cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto cooling rack.

Icing Directions:

  1. Crush or rub together the lavender florets before adding to the milk – this will help release more of the oils and enhance your steeping!
  2. In your smallest saucepan, bring milk and lavender to a gentle boil, and then let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow the milk and lavender mixture to cool. Steep it in the fridge for up to 6 hours (it isn’t mandatory to leave it for this long, 10 minutes could even do if you’re looking for a very subtle taste).
  4. Strain the lavender from the milk. Discard the used lavender.
  5. Optional: to enhance the colour, add three drops each of blue and red food colouring (or add desired amount of purple food colouring, if you have it) to the milk.
  6. Begin by adding 2 Tbsp of the milk mixture to the 2 cups of icing sugar. Stir with a whisk until incorporated. If too thick, add more milk, 1 tsp at a time, until the desired consistency is met. The icing should be thin enough that it slowly runs down the back of a spoon, but thick enough that it doesn’t easily drip off and separate.
  7. Pour, ladle, spoon, or drizzle the glaze over the cooled and inverted bundt cake. I did this on the cooling rack so I didn’t get excess icing on the serving tray, but it’s completely up to you!
  8. Allow the icing to set for about 30 minutes. Note that moving the cake after the icing sets can make wrinkles in your icing (if you look closely, you can see a couple on mine). Try and place it on your serving plate before the icing sets for best results!
  9. Decorate however you like (edible flowers anyone? That’s what I used here – also with golden sprinkles), slice, and serve!
  10. If you have any leftover lavender milk, it makes a great lavender latte (just sayin’).

lemon bundt cake batter

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2 thoughts on “Lemon Bundt Cake with Lavender Icing

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