...I used to smell lavender and think ‘bath bomb.’ I didn’t grow up with lavender-flavored anything, so I had to make a bit of a face when I got a request for a lavender cake! I had to do some recipe-testing ahead of time though, and this flavor absolutely grew on me!
As I recipe researched, I ran across several Lemon Lavender recipes that sounded amazing – and found one Lavender Lemon Drop recipe that sounded to DIE for!
So….I’ve created a delicious fusion of all the most amazing ideas I ran across online for you! Recipe below!
(Disclosure: As a way to keep my kitchen stocked with butter, sugar, and flour I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn a commission by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
My posts often contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you!)
Lavender Vanilla Cake Layers:
This is a modified layer cake recipe from ChelSweets.com - I highly recommend checking out her site if you haven't before; it's amazing!
3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter (or 2 sticks) room temperature
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature (or buttermilk powder with water is an option if you can’t find liquid buttermilk at your grocery store!)
½ cup Vodka (I used Pinnacle vodka)
1/8 cup (28 grams) vegetable oil
½ teaspoon lavender extract (I bought this extract from Amazon)
1-2 small drops purple gel food coloring, if desired
Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.
Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
Pour in eggs and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part). This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.
Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8-inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7-inch cake pans (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans – it helps to run an offset spatula or knife around the perimeter of the pan first. Cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.
Once the layers have fully cooled, the caramelized bits can be trimmed from the sides / top of the cake using a serrated knife if desired. Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. If you try to trim the layers while they’re still warm, they will crumble apart.
While you’re waiting…make your frosting and cake drizzle!
Lemon Lavender Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6-7 c powdered sugar
2-4 Tablespoons Vodka
2 teaspoons lemon extract
¼ teaspoon lavender extract
1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with vodka until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add extracts and salt if needed and beat until well combined.
Cake drizzle: (optional but recommended!)
- ¼ cup (2 2T jiggers) of vodka
- juice of 1 lemon
Combine ingredients and transfer to a squeeze bottle – use these to infuse your cake layers for a bit of extra lemon drop kick once they’ve cooled!
- 1 8- or 10 -inch cardboard cake circle (I prefer Wilton’s center-punched circles)
- Small piping bag & tip – this set has been one of my favorites!
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, large offset spatula, and pastry cutter/bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! (Here’s a link to the cake turntable I use)
- I also used a textured cake comb to decorate the sides of the cake (optional but super easy and fun!)
- Candy melts + whipping cream for your drip (recipe below!)
- Martini glass (I’ve used plastic glasses before, but these layers definitely bake dense enough to hold a real martini glass!)
- 2-3 small lemons
- Lavender for decorating – I used these artificial lavender bunches so be sure they wouldn’t wilt, but dried lavender would work as well!
Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting. Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers.
Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake tiers to keep crumbs out of your final layer.
Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layers of frosting and smooth. Don’t stress this part too much if you’re planning to texture the frosting with a cake comb! I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part.
Texturing the frosting is fairly straightforward – hold your cake comb against the side of the cake, and press gently while rotating the cake on the turntable. One tip – I made my buttercream too thick on my first attempt, and kept having problems getting the texture smooth. Thinning my frosting just a bit helped. I found I needed to re-smooth the top of the cake just a bit after I was done with the sides. Set the cake in the freezer to firm up the frosting and get the cake cold to set the drips.
Okay! The fun part – decorating!
Candy Melt Drip:
- 4 oz yellow candy melts (I use the Wilton brand)
- 2 ½ Tablespoons heavy whipping cream (the brand I usually use comes from Costco and is incredibly thick; you may need a bit less depending on the thickness of your heavy cream!)
This recipe is very similar to my white chocolate ganache recipe – you’re basically using candy melts instead of white chocolate to make a very similar drip ganache. Place heavy cream and candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on 50% power in 30-second intervals until smooth, stirring in between.
I used small zip-lock bags to pipe this drip - I’ve used squeeze bottles before though, and I find them to be the easiest to work with.
When your candy melt mix has cooled to a moderate temperature – it should feel slightly warm and still be fairly liquid – transfer it to a squeeze bottle or piping or small ziplock bag. A spoon will work if you don’t have either of those; I’ve just found spoons to be a little bit more difficult to work with.
Squeeze about ¼ c of the ganache into the martini glass, and then quickly invert the glass over the cake, pressing the glass into the cake at an angle (check out my video for an extra guide on this step). Slowly drizzle ganache away from the glass, letting it fall down the edge of the cake to create drips. Return cake to the fridge or freezer to set the drips.
Pipe a few frosting swirls around the glass – mine had some cake crumbs showing at the back - and add a few spiraled lemon slices and lavender sprigs to the top of the cake. Add a few quartered lemon slices and lavender sprigs around the edge of the cake too, if you’d like.
Make this recipe? Let me know how it went - or find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!