I've had a nearly-full packet of dried culinary lavender sitting on my kitchen shelf for months now after buying it for a cake I made a while back, and I decided it was time to put some of it to use again. Not that it's going to go off or anything, but maybe it will loose it's flavour and scent over time- does that actually happen?! Anyway, Mothers Day seemed like a perfect excuse to bake a cake, and what better than a classic madeira cake. My mum loves a simple loaf cake topped with glace icing left to dry out so that it goes all crunchy and cracks when you cut the first slice, and so I knew this would be the perfect cake to make. I like to add a little lemon zest to my madeira, and it's such a Springtime flavour you know? I decided to keep the lavender for the icing, as I didn't want it to be too overpowering. I also thought the addition of Earl grey tea would also add an extra dimension to the cake, and I have paired it once before with lavender which was a great success.
The cake itself turned out beautiful, with a lovely crack right down the centre- the sign of a good loaf cake I say! I spread over the icing whilst the cake was still warm so that it dried out fairly quickly to leave a deliciously crunchy top. My mum was certainly pleased anyway!
For the cake:
175g butter, softened
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs
grated zest of one lemon
250g self raising flour
For the icing:
100g icing sugar
1/2 tsp dried culinary lavender
1/2 tsp Earl grey tea
Water to mix
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in the eggs.
- Sift the flour in the mixture, and fold in gently until incorporated. Carefully fold in the lemon zest
- Transfer the mixture into a 900g loaf cake tin that has been lined with greaseproof paper.
- Bake at 170C/Gas mark 3 for approximately one hour until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and allowing to finish cooling completely on a wire rack.
- For the icing, grind the lavender and earl grey tea leaves in a coffee grinder or using a pestle and mortar. Combine this with the icing sugar and add small amounts of water until you have a thick but pourable icing. Spread this over the top of the cake allowing it to drip down the sides a little. Finish with a sprinkling of the dried lavender- perfect!
Let me know how you get on!