“Consume me.” – Virginia Woolf
The month of March is usually a time of chaotic transition for me & this past week has been quite the whirlwind. Keeping up with errands, all the university assignments, baking for the blog and working on some other collaborations has left me with very little spare time on my hands. I haven’t even begun to think about or prepare for Easter. Oh, and it looks like we’ll be moving next week too.
I feel very bittersweet about the whole moving affair, but really am looking forward to the change. It’s an old house, one with personality and by-gone charm. There’s space for my own vegetable garden. Oh, and the kitchen… its spectacular – newly remodelled with beautiful natural light that streams through the windows.
I’m attracted to the idea of moving, of cutting ties and embracing new adventure with open arms. It’s the un-packing I’m most looking forward too though. The part where I can set up my life again and decorate to my heart’s content. Creating a home and space that I always envisioned. That thought is quite exhilarating.
Since moving became an option, my Pinterest addiction worsened too. It’s a big black hole; something I spend way too much precious time on. You should see all the secret boards I have dedicated to kitchen and home inspiration. It’s crazy. I’ve also started collecting niche pieces for the kitchen too: antiques, copper and pretty bric-a-brac. Hopefully all my hard work will be rewarded… when I have a finished kitchen that I can cook in, shoot around and style up for the blog.
So, soon expect more progress shots. The mess, the clutter, the chaos of the kitchen – and the beautiful end result. These are the real photos I want to share. But until then, I’m leaving you with this recipe for a Dark Chocolate and Lavender Cake that I managed to whip up recently. I love it. It’s dark, decadent and delicious. Fragrant with lavender, rich with dark chocolate, sweetly iced and perfect for Easter. Here’s to new adventures and memories.
- 1 tbsp. culinary lavender
- 430 g / 15.2 oz. plain flour
- 90 g / 3.2 oz. dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
- 510 g / 18 oz. caster sugar
- 115 g / 4.1 oz. salted butter, melted and cooled
- 3 medium eggs
- 115 ml / 4.1 fl. oz. milk
- 225 ml / 7.5 fl. oz. boiling water
- 200 g / 7 oz. dark chocolate (70%)
- 280 g / 10 oz. salted butter, at room temperature
- 200 g / 7.1 oz. icing sugar
- 60 g / 2.2 oz. dutch processed cocoa powder
- ½ tsp. vanilla bean extract
- 4 tbsp. whipping cream
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 C / 350 F. Grease and line three 15 cm / 6-inch cake pans. Alternatively, prepare one and bake in three stages.
- In a food processor, blitz together the lavender and 3 tbsp. of the sugar to combine. Stir this mixture back in with the rest of the sugar and set aside.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and soda into a bowl. Add the sugar, melted butter, eggs and milk. Beat for a few minutes to just combine. Add in the boiling water and beat to form a thick and uniform batter.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for 10 minutes, before inverting them onto a wire cooling rack. Once cool, level any domed tops.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Set it aside and let it cool to room temperature.
- Beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the icing sugar and cocoa powder a little at a time until evenly blended. Mix in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract. Add the whipping cream gradually and beat for a few more minutes until the frosting is smooth, thick and shiny.
- Place the first leveled cake layer on a plate or stand. Evenly spread about 2 tbsp. of the frosting over its face. Repeat this process with the second layer. Place the third layer, on top, cut side down. Spread a thin layer of the frosting all over the cake to form a crumb coat. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes or until the frosting has firmed. You can leave the bowl of frosting out while the cake chills. Once chilled, spread a thick layer of the remaining frosting evenly around the cake. Decorate with pesticide free lavender flowers if desired.