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Street party food: lavender and strawberry cake
I know what you're thinking. Lavender? In a cake? That's certainly what the rest of Echo Towers was thinking when I made this for them this week - but it was all gone before I had chance to take a photo, so it can't have been all bad.
This cake is ideal if you want a slightly more flavoursome alternative to the Victoria sponge. It uses lavender sugar - the only flavoured sugar that's worth the trouble, if you ask me.
I make mine with a jar of caster sugar and a good handful of edible lavender flowers, which I buy from a health food shop in Romsey but you can just as easily buy from Amazon. (If anyone knows somewhere local you can get them do let me know!) And if you really can't be bothered with making your own, Waitrose sell ready made lavender sugar.
Please note this makes a small sandwich - 6in or 15cm. If you want a bigger cake, double the sizes. It will need longer in the oven, so keep an eye on it!
110g butter, soft
110g caster sugar - 55g lavender, 55g normal
110g selfraising flour
1tsp of baking powder - note this is a proper cooks teaspoon, which is equivalent to a heaped teaspoon if you're using the sort you stir your tea with
2 large eggs
1tsp vanilla bean paste if you've got it, essence if you haven't.
To finish: vanilla butter cream, handful of strawberries, thinly sliced and a sprinkle of lavender flowers.
Oven temperature 180C
Cream the eggs,vanilla and sugar until very pale and frothy. Add roughly half the butter and flour and all the baking powder and mix until well incorporated, then add the rest of the butter and flour.
Mix until very light and fluffy (about five minutes on a high speed). Check to see if your mixture drops easily off a spoon. If not, add a little whole milk and mix well.
Divide between two lined or greased 6in sandwich tins and bake in the centre of a preheated oven for about twenty minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool for a few minutes then turn out onto a rack.
When cold, smooth a thin layer of vanilla buttercream on the top of your bottom layer and the bottom of your top layer. I haven't included a butter cream recipe but I use this one from Hummingbird Bakery. This quantity should be enough for your cake - if you're doing a larger cake, you will (obviously) need more.
Cover the top of your buttercreamed bottom layer with your thinly sliced strawberries. Sandwich the cake together and cover the top with the rest of the buttercream. For extra style, you can also cover the sides of the cake with icing using a palette knife. Sprinkle your lavender flowers on top. Serve.