A couple weekends ago we went to Jackson School Lavender U-Pick and picked some fresh lavender! Walking around the field felt like a fairy tale! The fragrant aroma was carried through the hot summer air, just like at the Portland Rose Garden. Only this time, we weren’t smelling roses – we were intoxicated by the sweet and calming scent of fresh lavender. This therapeutic plant is in season here in the Pacific Northwest from June through August. There were hundreds of happy bees buzzing about the blooming lavender. Shout out to the bees for sharing a few sprigs of their lavender with us! Have you ever picked flowers before? IT WAS MAGICAL. 💐🐝 And I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to create a chocolate cake with lavender infused buttercream with our fresh-picked flowers.
Lavender-Infused Buttercream Frosting
I was so inspired by the fresh and floral scent of the lavender that I learned how to infuse it into butter! It’s actually quite simple. Just melt three sticks of butter on the stove, throw in a handful of purple lavender buds, and let it all simmer away for about 15 minutes. Strain out the lavender and let the butter cool and solidify. Voila! You now have exquisite homemade lavender-infused butter in your hands! 💜
You could use your lavender-infused butter to spread on biscuits or toast. Or you could use them in recipes for any baked goods, like brownies or cookies! And lavender is not the only aromatic you can infuse into butter. The possibilities are truly endless! Infuse your butter, coconut oil or vegan butter with rosemary & thyme, cinnamon & cardamom, or espresso & chocolate. Back in my teenage years, I used to infuse butter (with a different herb… *cough cough*) and slather it on pancakes along with maple syrup. Wherever your imagine takes you, infused butter will follow!
Inspiration for this Lavender Layer Cake
The recipe that inspired this treat is Molly Yeh’s Chocolate Tahini Cake with Rosemary Buttercream. I was intrigued by the idea of decorating a cake with buttercream infused with a traditionally savory herb like rosemary. I decided to go with lavender for my first attempt though, since lavender tends to smell more sweet and floral, like a cake. On the next cake perhaps, I’ll forge my way ahead into even more unconventional and unique flavor pairings!
Inspiration for this cake also came from a special occasion. I wanted to make an impressive cake for my unofficial godmother’s birthday! We sang happy birthday and watched her to blow out the candles on her chocolate cake with lavender infused buttercream. So if you’re looking for an impressive cake, try infusing the butter with flowers or herbs. You’ll knock the socks off everyone who takes a bite!
Chocolate Cake with Lavender Infused Buttercream
Chocolate Layer Cake
- 1 scant cup non-dairy milk (or cow's milk)
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1¾ cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ¾ cup strong, freshly brewed black coffee
Lavender-Infused Buttercream Frosting
- 1½ cups unsalted butter (3 sticks)
- 6 Tbsp fresh lavender buds
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp non-dairy milk (or cow's milk)
Make the Chocolate Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch round cake tins.
- Pour the scant cup milk and two teaspoons of white vinegar in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes at room temperature to curdle a bit & become homemade buttermilk. Alternatively, you could use one whole cup buttermilk from the store.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
- In another large mixing bowl, whisk together the two eggs, vanilla extract, vegetable oil and your homemade or store-bought buttermilk.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix it with a whisk or spatula until there is no dry mixture visible.
- Add the hot strong coffee and whisk again until the batter is smooth.
- Pour half the batter into each of the two cake tins. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of each cake. (Be sure to check each cake for doneness, as they could finish baking at different times.) Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then remove them from the pans and allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.
- Once the cake is completely cool, level the tops of the two cakes. I found each cake to be thick enough that I could slice each parallel to the countertop to create a total of four layers, each about ½ inch thick. The edges don't need to be trimmed on this cake, as it is so moist and the edges don't get very caramelized.
Make the Lavender-Infused Buttercream Frosting
- In a saucepan, melt the three sticks of butter on medium heat. Add the fresh lavender buds and simmer for about 15 minutes on medium-low heat. Stir the butter often while it's simmering. Pour the butter through a fine mesh sieve to strain out the lavender. Set the butter in the bowl in the fridge to cool and solidify for a couple hours.
- If your butter is hard, let it sit on the counter to come to room temperature. Once your butter is softened to room temperature, beat it in a stand mixer or with an electric beater, until it becomes pale and fluffy.
- Add the powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract and milk to the butter and continue to beat until it is all combined and fluffy.
- Frost the cake layers however you desire. I made a little extra vanilla buttercream and dyed it purple and green to be able to pipe lavender flower springs onto the decorated cake. Enjoy!!