Recipe by Diane Henry, House & Garden UK
Lavender isn't just Provence, it also says Norfolk to me as it's grown there, right by the coast at Heacham. You can now get dried edible lavender flowers. If you don't want an iced cake, just make a lemon and sugar-syrup topping: mix the juice of 1 large lemon with 100g caster sugar, stir together until the sugar is mostly dissolved, then make holes all over the top of the cake with a skewer and slowly pour the syrup all over it while it's still warm.
FOR THE CAKE:
300g granulated sugar
¾ tablespoon dried lavender
175g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
250g Greek yogurt
125ml mild olive oil or sunflower oil
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 tablespoon juice
FOR THE ICING AND DECORATION:
1 egg white
150g icing sugar, sifted
Squeeze of lemon juice
6-8 sprigs of fresh lavender
Caster sugar for dusting
Heat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/mark 4. Put the sugar and lavender into a food processor and whizz until the lavender has broken down. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Add the lavender sugar. In a jug, mix together the eggs with the yogurt and oil.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and gradually pour in the wet ingredients, stirring as you go. Add the lemon zest and juice. Be careful not to overmix. Scrape into a base-lined and buttered cake tin, 20cm diameter and 6cm deep.
Bake in the oven for 55 minutes, or until the cake is coming away from the sides of the tin and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Turn out the cake, peel off the paper and set on a wire rack to cool.
For the icing, beat the egg white with a fork to break it down, then put half of it in another bowl. Mix the icing sugar with the remaining half egg white, beating until smooth. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Spoon over the top of the cake, allowing the icing to drip down the sides.
To make sugared lavender, dip sprigs in the reserved egg white and dust all over with caster sugar (not too thickly). Set on a wire rack somewhere warm and dry. When the sugar is dry, decorate the cake with the sprigs.
To drink: A lot of dessert wines go with this sweet, lemony cake, including Sémillon-based wines, and Chenin-based wines.
Recipe by Diana Henry; food preparation and styling by Aya Nishimura; table styling by Alexander Breeze; wine recommendations by Joanna Simon
Feature Image: Martin Poole