I spent the majority of this week doing a whole heap of nothing. I made everyday trips to the grocery store (I’ve quite liked buying my ingredients based on daily whim lately), visited the movies twice (I cannot fathom getting through this awards season without having viewed all the potential winners), watched several inspiring crime documentaries, read books, drank tea on my couch and finally got back into my French lessons.
Now to some, this might sound like an incredibly dull week… but to me it’s perfect. There is nothing more I cherish than alone time. Oh, and a few days ago I also baked these Mini Lavender, Champagne and Hazelnut Cakes…just because it was a sunshine filled Monday morning, which itself is enough cause for celebration.
I’ve been on a little bit of a floral kick lately. I’ve discovered some sort of strange pathological obsession and delicious desire to put flowers into almost everything I eat – in my breakfasts, dinners, drinks and of course, into my baked goods. The key though to using flowers in cooking is to keep the addition small and subtle… too much and it can quickly turn into an overpowering storm of flavour.
This floral discovery has opened an entire new door to how I perceive and interact with food.
Mini Lavender, Champagne and Hazelnut Cakes are incredibly moist, light and have a gentle flavour due to the addition of lavender buds both to the batter and infused in the sugar. These cakes though, are neither too perfumed nor overwhelming due to the combination of lavender and warm nuttiness from hazelnut meal.
Champagne is also generously glazed over the cake too, making it very moist… and deliciously boozy. Seriously though, the moistness and light, fluffy crumb of this cake cannot be overstated enough.
To make these mini cakes, I adapted a decadent champagne-soaked butter cake recipe from Michelle // Hummingbird High– which turned out near perfect. I then baked the cake in a sheet pan and stamped out circles using cookie cutters. I stacked the mini cake rounds three layers high and filled them with a champagne and vanilla bean buttercream. For the final touch, I piped a decorative rose on top for garnish.
This is the sort of post where editing is really hard because I start to terribly crave these delicious mini cakes all over again. Sweetly scented, these delicate Mini Lavender, Champagne and Hazelnut Cakes are utterly delicious, and arguably, can be considered my new favourite cake – I have a feeling you will feel the same.
- 2 tbsp. culinary lavender buds
- 2 cups caster sugar
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup hazelnut meal
- 1 tbsp. culinary lavender buds
- ¾ tsp. sea salt
- 1 cup + 6 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups lavender sugar
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 6 large eggs
- ⅓ cup crème fraiche
- 1 tbsp. vanilla essence
- ½ cup champagne
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups icing sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla essence
- 2 tbsp. champagne
- Red and blue food colouring
- In a food processor, blitz together the lavender buds and sugar until well combined. Set aside until needed.
- Preheat an oven to 180 C / 350 F. Grease and line a 35 x 30 cm / 14 x 12 inch roasting tray (or large baking sheet pan/cake tin). Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, hazelnut meal, lavender and sea salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with electric beaters, beat together the butter, sugar and honey on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. While the mixture is beating, in a separate bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs, crème fraiche and vanilla. After the butter and sugar has finished beating and become light and fluffy, lower the speed and add the liquid egg mixture and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and combine until the batter is uniform and smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, using a spatula to spread and level it. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake slab is firm in the centre and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before inverting onto a wire rack and levelling the top, bottom and sides to remove any browned crust. Once the cake is levelled, gently soak it with the champagne, cover closely with cling wrap and refrigerate to cool for a couple of hours or overnight.
- To assemble the mini cakes, use 5 to 7 cm / 2 to 3 inch cookie cutters to stamp out the cake circles. Then stack up the cakes, 3 layers high and sandwich with a bit of buttercream and top with a piped rose or desired garnishes.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the icing sugar and beat well to combine. Mix in the vanilla essence and champagne. At a time, add a drop of both blue and red food colouring to dye the icing until it reaches a lavender purple shade. If you want to pipe a rose on top the cakes, the buttercream will need to be quite thick and stiff, so if it is too soft, add a table of icing sugar at a time.