I am slightly obsessed with lavender. I love to wear it as a perfume, I love to keep pots of it at home, and I love to eat it! I even have a secret desire to name my future daughter Lavender (I just have to get my husband on board...). So for my last birthday, I decided to treat myself to a lavender birthday cake. I was inspired by Ina Garten's Coconut Layer Cake, though I've made a fair number of tweaks. I was also inspired by Someonewhobakes' recipe for Vanilla/Infused Italian Meringue (http://someonewhobakes.com/2011/03/03/hell-hath-frozen-over/), though I again make some tweaks. The end result is a delicious, big, lavender-heaven cake. —CarlaCooks
15 or more birthday guests
grams / 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the cake pans
dried culinary lavender
large eggs, at room temperature
vanilla sugar, or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
coconut extract (optional)
all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
coconut milk (full fat is best)
grams / 4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
Some sliced strawberries (optional)
Lavender-Infused Italian Meringue Frosting
1 3/4 cups
egg whites, slightly warmed (in a bowl of water for a minute or two)
Start with the cake. Preheat the over to 175 C / 350 F. Grease two 22 cm / 9 inch round spring-form cake pans, then line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the top of the parchment paper and dust the whole pan with flour, shaking out the excess.
Add the two teaspoons of lavender to the two cups of sugar and place in a seal-able Tupperware. Shake and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
After the sugar has infused with the lavender, add it to the butter (lavender and all) in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream together until light yellow and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. When fully incorporated, add the vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract) and coconut extract and mix well.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients and the coconut milk to the batter in three parts. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut.
Pour the batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick come out clean. Cool completely before removing from the spring-form and frosting.
Now it's time for the frosting. Add the teaspoon of lavender to the 1 1/2 cups sugar in a sealable Tupperwave. Cover, shake, and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes.
Combine the lavender-infused sugar (1 1/2 cups) and the water in a small saucepan (lavender and all) and bring to a boil. Using a candy thermometer, simmer the syrup until it reaches 238 F.
Meanwhile, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer until it forms stiff peaks. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with the mixer on. Once incorporate, slowly pour in the hot syrup with the mixer running on high speed. Your white will deflate a good bit, but don’t panic J Once all of the syrup has been added, continue to beat the white for 7 minutes, or until they regain some of their height and are stiff again.
With the mixer still running, add the butter a bit at a time, allowing each addition to be fully incorporated. Your mixture may look like it is separating, but continue to remain calm and just beat the hell out of it until it resembles frosting.
Frost the bottom layer of your now-cooled cake with a healthy dose of frosting. If you’re feeling indulgent, add a layer of strawberries! Place the second layer on top, then frost the entire cake. Once frosted, dust the cake with the sweetened shredded coconut. This makes a very tall and large cake, so cut small pieces. Enjoy!