Diana Henry’s Lemon & Lavender Cake

August 29, 2016
16 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 50 minutes
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

You buy dried edible lavender: Check online if you cannot find it locally. This recipe is reprinted with permission from Simple by Diana Henry, © 2016. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • Unsalted butter, for the cake pan
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tablespoon edible dried lavender
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mild-flavored olive oil
  • Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Confectioners' sugar, to dust
  • Sprigs of fresh lavender, to serve (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter an 8-inch diameter, 2 1/2-inch deep cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Put the granulated sugar and lavender into a food processor and whizz until the lavender has broken down. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl. Stir in the lavender sugar. In a pitcher, mix the eggs with the yogurt and oil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and gradually stir in the wet ingredients. Add the lemon zest and juice, but don’t over-mix. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cake is coming away from the inside of the pan and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Turn it out, peel off the paper, and set on a wire rack until cold. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving and decorate with sprigs of fresh lavender.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Niti Choksi Sanghrajka
    Niti Choksi Sanghrajka
  • Katie Hornstein
    Katie Hornstein
  • Nathan Campbell
    Nathan Campbell
  • Emily S.
    Emily S.
  • Terry McKenzie
    Terry McKenzie

23 Reviews

LAG5131 February 27, 2023
I made this recipe as directed and it was fantastic. The cake was very flavorful with great crumb. I cut the cake into two layers and put some lemon curd between the layers, then served it with Earl Grey ice cream. My dinner guests raved over it! Will absolutely be making this again.
Skipper3 February 11, 2023
Absolutely wonderful cake.
Gcasey June 26, 2022
Thought it might be helpful for others to know this can be made in a loaf as well (my husband and I can’t eat a whole cake). I halved everything and baked at 350 for about 35ish minutes. It is so moist and yummy!!! Put a lemon glaze on it instead of powdered sugar which made it even better. Might increase the lemon and lavender next time.
Sylvialin222 June 11, 2022
Made this cake for the first time today and it's definitely a keeper! I reduced the sugar to one cup and also use homemade kefir instead of Greek yogurt just because that's what I happened to have on hand. The cake turned out springy, moist, and with just the right amount of sweetness for me. Very lovely summer cake that I'm sure I'll make again.
Natalia November 8, 2021
I used a 7-inch pan as that’s all I have and 1 hour 10 mins later it’s still not cooked. Tips?
LoriB July 20, 2021
I made this cake exactly as the recipe was written and it was FABULOUS! I am a chocolate lover, way back, but I think I've found a new favorite. THANK you for sharing this cake. It will be my new go-to to impress guests.
Sue B. April 25, 2021
I made this wonderful cake for dessert. I made recipe as written, except I didn't have Greek yogurt so had to substitute creme fraiche. The subtle lavender is perfect with the lemon. I mixed lemon curd I had made with whip cream as a topping & some berries. Really Good, thank you Diana!
Niti C. October 6, 2020
I made this delicious cake, but made it eggless! I used 2 tbsp flax meal with 5 tbsp water (mix & set aside for 5 mins) instead of the eggs. Doubled the lavender and used lemon zest & juice of a whole lemon. I only had ½ C plain yogurt instead of 1 C Greek yogurt, so added ½ C water instead. I LOVE this cake!
evaoakes July 15, 2020
Made this for a friend's birthday and it was a hit! Reduced the sugar to 1 1/4, doubled the lavender and added more lemon zest and juice than it called for. Decorated it with some candied lemons and lemon/confectioners sugar glaze and it was perfect.
Katie H. March 15, 2020
I loved this cake! I cut the sugar to 1 and 1/4 cups, doubled the amount of lavender and whizzed the zest from one large lemon with the lavender and sugar in the cuisinart. So my lemon and lavender flavors were on point! I wanted to taste both elements and that's exactly what happened. After the cake came out of the oven, I poked it with a toothpick and brushed a tart lemon simple syrup on top. Nice fluffy crumb and totally delicious.
Carina M. April 14, 2019
I reduced the lavender to 1/2 T, I was worried it would be overwhelming and 1/2T ended up perfect! I also subbed sour cream for the yogurt. I just used lemon juice, but I think zest would have been better. The lemon is very subtle with just juice.
Monica January 17, 2019
I love this recipe. I’ve also substituted rosemary for the lavender and it’s equally delicious. I, too, double the lavender (or rosemary) and cut back on the sugar to one cup.
Nathan C. December 29, 2018
Love this cake. Like others suggested, I double the lavender. To ensure a moist cake I brush with a simple syrup. I have also divided into two cake pans and served it with fruit preserves in between layers. A diverse and delicious cake no matter how you serve it.
Jamie K. October 25, 2018
I baked this cake in two 8" cake pans because I wanted to do an apricot jam center. They took 25 minutes to bake. The cakes came out perfect and the flavors were wonderful together. Served with unsweetened whipped cream. I will reduce the sugar a bit next time as I found it a tad too sweet. (Everyone else thought it was perfect :)
klpena November 8, 2017
I followed the recipe as directed. I did add a bit more lemon juice since I love the taste of lemon. Came out delicious and moist! Nice recipe.
robinanne July 30, 2017
I just made this cake exactly to the recipe's specifications and it is wonderful - light and fluffy with a delightful lemon and lavender flavor.
Shelley March 18, 2019
Good for you for making it as written!
Emily S. April 5, 2017
I've made this twice so far, and plan to make it again. I reduced the sugar (like some other commenters), and have used veg. oil in place of the olive oil.

This is a delicious, crowd-pleasing cake. And easy!
MaddieF March 4, 2017
Made this recipe as written but used a 9 inch pan (since I didn't have an 8 inch). Turned out wonderfully after 45 minutes in the oven with a lovely thin crunchy layer on top and no sinking in the middle. This will be perfect for tea time!
andrea S. February 25, 2017
I made this with the reduction in sugar to 1 c and increase of baking powder to 1 tsp, and no other changes/modifications. Baked for 40 minutes and it looks beautiful, smells great, and tastes terrific. We ate it warm and then ate some extra pieces just to confirm how yummy it is. Great recipe and very easy to make.
Terry M. December 23, 2016
Can it be true that so few people made this that there are only 2 comments? If there is anyone else out there who has, please weigh in. I've made it twice. I like the flavor (though the second time I made it, I pumped up the lavender a bit.). Before I mixed the ingredients, I thought to myself "hmm, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder doesn't seem like enough to do the job but maybe it's enough with the soda." The, when I saw the volume of the batter, the 8" pan indicated in the recipe seemed small. I think I screwed up and left out the leavening the first time I made this (baking a cake during a 4:30 am bout of insomnia is probably a poor choice) so when it cratered in the middle I was not surprised. The sides rose but the middle took forever to be done. However, the second time I made it, the sides rose almost over the top of the pan but the rise in the center was not a whole lot higher than the first time. Again, it took forever for the center to bake. Also, edges rising over the pan rim makes for an ugly, ugly cake. I like the flavor, so I want to make this cake work. I'm thinking 9" pan. More baking powder? One of those? both? How much baking powder?

Jenn K. January 18, 2017
I made this, but with a few changes after looking at a few recipes for yogurt cakes. I upped the baking powder to 1 tsp and decreased sugar to 1 cup. I used a 9" round pan and baked for 40 min. It came out perfectly so thank you for the heads up about the pan size and leavening!