I’ve said this multiple times on here but I am not a fan of cake-making. I generally try to stay away from it because icing and decorating cakes is hard and I hate when something doesn’t come out exactly how I picture it. But it’s unlike me to shy away from a challenge, and so I decided it was time to try again.
This cake was inspired by the lavender syrup that was gifted to me by a friend. I’ve been using it to sweeten my coffee but it’s such a large bottle that I was looking for other uses. I used lavender syrup in the cake, as a soaking syrup, and even in the icing! It adds a subtle flavor that mixes perfectly with the tangy lemon flavor.
The cake base is a lemon cake with subtle lavender. It’s got a similar texture to a pound cake, but slightly fluffier. I wanted to make a smaller cake, so I baked it in a rimmed baking sheet and cut out circles with a bowl. If needed, you can double the recipe to fill three 8-inch cake pans to make a full-size cake. You can also stack however many layers you want. I went with four to get my desired height.
I used a buttercream/cream cheese frosting combo, which is my new favorite. The tanginess from the cream cheese offsets what would normally be a very sweet buttercream. I colored it purple with some regular food dye and just saved a little extra to pipe on the coral (they were supposed to be branches but my sister said it looks like coral and I’m sticking to it!).
Before spreading the frosting between each layer, you should coat the cake with lavender syrup. This will keep the cake moist and will add a stronger flavor. If you don’t have pre-made lavender syrup, you can make your own! There are plenty of recipes online that use fresh or dried lavender.
When I first made this cake, it turned out to be a complete mess. There were supposed to be blueberries in the cake batter and, while it kept the cake moist, it ruined the structure and caused it to collapse (pictured below, I stopped mid-frosting because I was frustrated). So, upon second attempt, I decided to place the blueberries between each layer instead, which fixed the problem!
Overall, this cake is fabulous and easy enough to make for beginners (like me). Decorate however you like because that’s the fun part! This cake would be perfect for any occasion and is great to share with friends and family. Beautiful, sweet, with perfectly subtle flavors! Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Lemon Lavender Cake with Lavender Buttercream
For the cake:
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour + 2 tbsp
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 large egg white, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 3 tsp lavender syrup
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
For the frosting:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 oz cream cheese (half a block), softened to room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp whole milk
- 2 tsp lavender syrup
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup blueberries, for garnish (optional)
- sprinkles (optional)
- 1/2 cup lavender syrup, for soaking
Make the cake:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a rimmed baking sheet or cake pans.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until well combined.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, cream butter, sugar, and lemon zest together until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- On medium speed, mix in eggs, egg whites, and lavender syrup until well combined.
- On low speed or with a whisk, add the flour mixture until combined. All flour should be mixed in (no clumps).
- Pour the buttermilk and lemon juice into the mixture. Whisk until combined. Pour batter into prepared pans and smooth out with a spatula. Try to make it as evenly spread as possible.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. A toothpick should come out clean if inserted into the middle of the cake.
- Take out of oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely in the pan, at least one hour. It should be completely cool before you work with it, or the frosting will melt.
Make the frosting:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium speed until smooth.
- Add powdered sugar, milk, lavender syrup, and salt. Mix on low.
- Increase to high speed and mix for about 3 minutes. Add more confectioners sugar if the frosting is too thin, add more milk if it is too thick. It should be creamy and spreadable, but not runny. Color with food dye if desired.
- Refrigerate until needed.
Assemble your cake:
- Cut out your cake layers if you baked them in a rimmed baking sheet. Using a bowl or cutter in the size of your choosing, cut out cake layers.
- Place the first layer on a plate or cake stand. You can layer parchment paper underneath if you want to keep things clean.
- Brush lavender syrup onto the first layer. If the lavender syrup is too thick, you can thin it out by heating it with some water.
- Spread a thin layer of buttercream onto the first layer of cake. Place fresh blueberries evenly on top.
- Place the next layer on top of the blueberries. Repeat until you've stacked all layers of cake (cake, syrup, buttercream, blueberries, cake, repeat).
- Once the fourth layer is on top, use a larger amount of frosting to cover the whole cake with a thin crumb coat. This coat basically catches all of the crumbs from the cut edges of each layer.
- Refrigerate cake until frosting is set, about 15 to 30 minutes.
- Using the rest of the frosting, completely cover the cake. Smooth out with an offset spatula or the edge of a bench scraper. Decorate as desired.
- Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving. This will help the cake keep its shape.
- Enjoy! Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.