06 August, 2014


Last week we made a belated birthday cake for what would have been our first twins' fourth birthday.  The little ones were ecstatic to be making a birthday cake, and it was balm to my heavy heart to answer their every question.

So, we are makin' a birthday cake but they are still not with us? Will we sing to them? Our big brothers? Katharina showing her uncle the cake on FaceTime said, "This is the cake, it's for Hugh and Leif's birthday. They are dead but we are celebratin' them still!" And celebrate them we did, complete with a tear-jerking toddler rendition of Happy Birthday to You.

This cake was a lemon and lavender buttercream cake I had seen months ago and have been waiting for a reason to make it-- this seemed perfectly fitting. We decorated it with lavender from our old house's garden.

Lemon + Lavender Buttermilk Cake

for the lemon buttermilk cake:

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs + 2 egg yolks
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF/175ºC. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and set aside. Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed using paddle attachment. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Turn mixer to low and add lemon zest, vanilla, and eggs -- one at a time. Scrape bowl.

3. On low speed, in alternating batches, add dry ingredients and buttermilk. Mix until combined.

4. Evenly distribute the batter between cake pans and bake for 22-24 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

for the lavender simple syrup:

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon culinary lavender* 

Add all ingredients into saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until syrup begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until mixture thickens into a syrup (about ten minutes).  Strain out lavender and set aside. (Reserve 1/4 cup for frosting).

for the frosting:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup lavender simple syrup

(or use the Buttercream in the original recipe)

In electric mixer, beat cream until soft peaks form. Do not over beat. Gently fold in vanilla extract and lavender simple syrup until combined.

for the lemon glaze:

2 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoons milk

Stir the lemon juice into the sugar. Add in the milk until sugar is dissolved and desired consistency is achieved.

To assemble: divide the lavender simple syrup between both cakes and brush over top. Place first cake on plate and spread buttercream/frosting over top. Top with second layer. Gently spread lemon glaze over top of cake, allowing to drip over the edges. 

*I did not have dried lavender and used 3 drops lavender essential oil. If you use this instead, simply stir it into the syrup at the end.

So moist with a perfectly soft crumb, it's worth every step. We'll definitely make this again. Happy birthday, Hugh Taylor and Leif Nicholas.

You can find the original recipe here.


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