When I think of the springtime, I start to think about flowers coming to life after a winter rest. I also start to think about baking with flowers. Dried flowers, like lavender, are available for use year-round, however I especially appreciate the delicate floral notes that they bring into baked goods when I start my spring baking. This Lemon and Lavender Tea Cake is a wonderful way to kick-start your spring using two of my favorite end-of-winter flavors.
The loaf cake is infused with plenty of lemon zest and dried lavender flowers, and both flavors come through strongly in the finished cake. Dried lavender can be found in the spice section of many specialty markets and will last for quite a long time if stored in an airtight container in the pantry, so you don’t need to rush to use it up (though it is not difficult to do if you bake a few of these loaves in the next couple of weeks). The cake has a dense, tender crumb that is halfway between a muffin and a pound cake. It doesn’t quite have the richness of a pound cake, which makes it a bit lighter and much more appropriate for a breakfast or brunch dish!
I finished my cake with a lemon glaze, which I simply drizzled over the top of the loaf when it was cool. The glaze adds a bit of extra sweetness and makes the lemon flavor pop even more, however the cake is still delicious without the glaze if you want to skip it. I don’t usually frost loaves like these, however a lemon-scented cream cheese frosting would also be a nice finishing touch if you feel like decorating the cake with more than a simple glaze. The cake is moist enough to keep well for several days after baking if stored in an airtight container or cake carrier, but my experience is that slices of this loaf tend to disappear very quickly.
Lemon and Lavender Tea Cake
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp dried lavender
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, followed by lemon zest and dried lavender.
In a measuring cup, combine almond extract, lemon juice and buttermilk.
Pour half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture and stir to incorporate. Add in the buttermilk mixture, followed by the remaining flour mixture, and stir just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached. Allow loaf to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Finish with lemon glaze before serving.
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 – 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, vanilla extract and 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar until the mixture is smooth and reaches a pourable consistency. If you need the glaze to be thicker, incorporate additional confectioners’ sugar a few tablespoons at a time.
Pour onto cooled cake.