They Go Really Well Together is a monthly food blogging event that celebrates flavors paired at the molecular level. For this month’s round, Inge of African Vanielje chose apple and lavender as the magical combination to work with. I’ll be the first to confess that I have never cooked with lavender before, so I had to mull this one over for a little while before I could choose what to make. After much thought, I finally settled on an applesauce cake recipe from my old standby, The Silver Palate Cookbook, but in keeping with the theme, I added lavender to the citrus glaze.
Because I was unable to find culinary lavender locally, I ordered it online through Local Harvest and crossed my fingers, hoping it would arrive in time for me to participate. My order just barely made it, arriving on September 28! Thanks to the folks at Blue Moon Lavender for getting the order to me quickly. This particular culinary lavender is Royal Purple, which is delicate enough for baking but also has enough flavor for savory dishes.
I whipped up the cake last night and we enjoyed it for dessert this afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised at the combination of the flavors and enjoyed the lavender overtones in the glaze. After a successful first experience cooking with lavender, I will definitely use it more often.
APPLESAUCE CAKE WITH CITRUS LAVENDER GLAZE
Makes 1 (12-cup) Bundt cake, serves 16.
stand mixer with paddle attachment
12-cup Bundt pan or 10-inch tube pan, buttered and floured
small sauce pan
fine mesh strainer
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups chunky-style applesauce (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup dried cranberries
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1-1/2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon culinary lavender buds
1 cup powdered sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Set rack in the middle of the oven.
2. In the bowl of the stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until it it light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well each time. Add the applesauce and vanilla extract, and mix well.
4. In the medium bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda. Add to the butter mixture and stir gently, tossing in the cranberries. Do not overmix.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, checking every 5 minutes after 1 hour has passed. When a tester comes out clean, remove the pan from the oven.
6. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
7. MAKE THE GLAZE: While the cake is cooling, combine the lemon juice, orange juice, and lavender buds in a small saucepan. Bring to boiling over medium heat. Remove from heat and strain into small bowl. Allow to cool. Add the powdered sugar and whisk until the glaze is smooth.
8. Pour the glaze over the cake and slice to serve.