A few weeks ago, I purchased a verifiable buttload of culinary lavender. My eyes shone and my heart swelled with the hope of delicious gourmet treats. Unfortunately, my burgeoning skill in the kitchen was not entirely ready to take on lavender – I just couldn’t seem to get the balance right!

First I tried honey lavender salted caramels. In a word: disaster. I was overzealous during the lavender infusion process and the lavender milk ended up tasting like soap. And then, my stupid candy thermometer broke mid-caramel so I ended up with something more closely resembling a cross between brittle and glass.

But I pushed ever forward and decided to give lavender infusions another shot, this time with chocolate brigadeiros. I’d had such success with coconut milk brigadeiros in the past, I thought, “what’s the worst that can happen?” Well, I learned from my past mistake and created a much subtler infusion, but the end result was still gross.

At that point, I was beginning to think that maybe I just don’t like lavender all that much. Until last night! Finally, I made something delicious with lavender! Granted, the lavender is more of an accent than the main event, but that’s something! Behold, my gateau au citron with lavender cream!

Started out by combining 1/2 cup yogurt (I used Wallaby’s Organic Vanilla Bean rather than plain because it’s my utter fave), 1 cup sugar and 3 eggs…

Grated 2 tsp worth of lemon zest…

Then I added 1.5 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder and the zest to the bowl.

Poured in 1/2 cup canola oil…

And stirred until everything was totally smooth. The recipe I followed advised that things would look oily and messy for a bit and boy howdy, they weren’t kidding. I had to vigorously stir for a few minutes until the oil decided to incorporate.

Buttered my cake pan…

And poured in my pre-cake! Please ignore the precarious position it holds on my counter… I don’t know what I was thinking!

Popped it into the oven at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes…

And woot woot! Springy, golden deliciousness! Once again, please ignore those two giant holes – I ran out of toothpicks and I refuse on principle to purchase a “cake tester”, so I (perhaps misguidedly) opted to use chopsticks as readiness testers. Oof.

But I wasn’t done yet, oh no – there were two more glorious components to tackle: the lemon glaze & the lavender cream! During one particularly zealous trip to Safeway, I purchased a veritable paint can of honey, an actual paint can! Seriously, 5 lbs of honey will probably last longer than I’ll live in this apartment. But it was on sale and I’m a sucker for a deal.

I cut the portions for the lavender cream to a third of the original recipe since I was making this cake just because and not for a specific occasion (meaning Spencer and I would be the only fatties indulging in this particular confection and there’s no reason for me to have 1.5 cups of lavender infused whipped cream in my fridge). Anyhoo, drizzled 1 tbsp of honey into 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream and added 1/4 tsp lavender blossoms.

Brought the whole thing just to the boil then removed it from the heat and let it steep, covered, for 10 minutes. I’m learning that lavender is superstrong and will totally take over the flavors of any dish more quickly than you can imagine. So even though I cut the suggested time significantly (the original recipe calls for the lavender cream to steep for 30 minutes), I think in the future I’ll probably cut it down to 5 minutes.

Once the cream had steeped, I ran it through a fine mesh sieve, producing a soupy, vaguely purplish puddle, and popped it in the fridge to cool.

Then I whisked my purpley concoction into submission and much to my delight, it turned white & fluffy! Whew.

By this point, the cake was completely cooled, so I ran a butter knife along the edge to ensure it would release easily…

And I had my first turning-a-cake-out-of-the-pan experience. Thumbs up and smiles all around! Turned it out onto a cutting board covered in wax paper…

And then bam, flipped it onto the serving platter!

Then it was time for the glaze, which was criminally easy. The recipe suggests juicing two lemons, but my lemon was exceptionally juicy so I just stuck with the one. Which was wildly convenient since I only had one lemon anyway!

Speaking of lemons, I have serious citrus-envy toward a large portion of people in my neighborhood – perhaps it’s a California thing, but it seems like just about everyone has a lemon and/or lime tree in their yards! Honest to goodness, lemon and/or lime trees! What I wouldn’t give to have a fruit bearing tree. I have this dream of being in the middle of cookin’ up something tasty and then reaching out my window to grab a fresh lemon off the branch of my very own lemon tree, a la Cher in Clueless, the film that defined my adolescence. Someday… sigh…

So I juiced my paltry store-bought lemon and ended up with about 3 tbsp of tarty goodness.

Mixed in about a 1/4 cup powdered sugar…

And spooned it over my glorious cake! Usually I’m not a huge fan of glazes – I just can’t get behind the idea of partaking in anything that’s been shellacked. This glaze was different in that things were glossy at first, but then the glaze slowly seeped into the cake, imbuing the top 1/2 inch or so with sweet lemony magic.

The wait was beginning to get excruciating – mama (and Spencer, for that matter) just wanted some cake! So I lightly dusted the top with powdered sugar using a fine mesh sieve.

It was lookin’ damn fine if I do say so myself! Finally, it was time to eat! Sliced it up…

Dolloped some lavender cream and sprinkled a few lavender buds on top!

Hot diggity damn.

Recipe adapted from RoostBlog

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