Lavender Honey Tea Cake

Dear Fellow Foodies:

March is one of those strange months.  Sometimes it feels like spring, sometimes it still feels as though winter is going to be here forever.  When we lived in Chicago we had a fabulous French Bakery in our neighborhood that would have the standard green cupcakes in March but what we always remembered were the tea cakes they had available.  This tea cake is like the ones we used to enjoy.  Time to break out your bundt pan for this one.  Anyone else remember “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and the reference to bundt cake?   To increase the lavender flavor, leave the lavender leaves in the milk.  If you want it to be very subtle, just strain it out.  Be sure you are using culinary lavender (known as French Lavender) not regular lavender.  Culinary lavender doesn’t have a strong taste of camphor (like bath soap).  If you want to increase the lavender flavor, grind it in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle then add to the powdered sugar before making the glaze.

This would be a wonderful cake to bake for a tea party.  Pair this with the Sweet Cream tea from our local tea blender Devi Tea.  Or the latest arrival of Tarantas Spanish Cava works well after dinner with this.

Lavender Honey Tea Cake

Pre-heat your oven to 350F
Grease and flour a bundt cake pan

To flavor the cake:
1/2 Cup Whole Milk
2 Tablespoons Lavender Honey
1 Tablespoon Culinary Lavender blossoms

Heat the milk with the honey and lavender.  Allow to steep for 30 minutes.  You may strain out the lavender blossoms for a subtle flavor or leave in for more pronounced flavor.

For the cake:
2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
7.5 ounce tub Creme Fraiche
1 Cup Caster Sugar
4 ounces unsalted butter – room temperature
3 large eggs

Whisk dry ingredients together.  Mix the creme fraiche and milk in a bowl until smooth.   Beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time until incorporated.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture.  Add 1/3 of the creme fraiche mixture.  Add more flour and then creme fraiche mixture until smooth.  Place in prepared bundt pan and smooth the top of the batter (it is fairly thick).  Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for 45 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on rack completely.  You can either dust with powdered sugar and more lavender blossoms or make a glaze.

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon finely ground lavender blossoms (use a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle)
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Mix the glaze.  Pour over the top of the cooled cake.  Allow the glaze to set up.  If the glaze is too thick add a few drops of lemon juice, if too thin add more powdered sugar.
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