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Honey Lavender Buttercream Cake

I’ve wanted to make another buttercream flower cake for a while now, and decided to make one for this week’s livestream for the Food Network! I love matching my decorations with the flavor of my cakes, so I decided to make a honey lavender cake!! Lavender is such a delicate ingredient, you need just the right amount to give the cake a bright floral taste. If you add too much, you can wind up feeling like you’re eating perfume! I use dried lavender from whole foods to incorporate the flavor into the cake layers and frosting.

Honey Lavender Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cup (416 grams) flour
  • 3 cups (600 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 1/2 tsp (13 grams) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 grams) salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter or 2 sticks (226 grams), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. (9 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (244 grams) – about 7 large egg whites; I use egg whites from the carton to avoid wasting egg yolks
  • 1  cups (240 grams) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 whole milk
  • 1 tbsp dried lavender
  • 1/8 cup (28 grams) vegetable oil
  • purple gel food coloring (optional)

Honey Lavender Buttercream:

  • 6 sticks or 3 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp  salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream, warmed and steeped with dried lavender
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp honey

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 8” round pans, or three 9″ round pans.

Begin by placing dried lavender into a coffee filter or tea bag, secure the top with a rubber band. Heat the whole milk until it is warm to the touch, and steep the lavender bag in the milk.  Set aside, and steep for at least 10 minutes. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk, on a low speed. Remove lavender bag from milk, and add in lavender infused whole milk, vanilla, honey, and oil into the batter. Mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Add in a couple squirts of purple gel food coloring. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-37 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

While the cake layers bake and cool, prepare the honey lavender buttercream (click here for tutorial). Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the lavender steeped cream (same process as used for the cake layers, but with cream) half way through.  Once fully mixed, add in the honey, vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Leave 3/4 of the frosting uncolored. With the remaining frosting, color half a few shades of green, and the half different shades of purple using gel food coloring. Place green frosting into piping bags and cut the tip to have a 1 cm opening. Place the purple frosting into piping bags with different frosting tips (Wilton 103, Wilton 104)

NOTE: If you are making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process. This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

Next, prepare buttercream flowers of your choice! I made a few shades of purple buttercream, and used a Wilton 1M tip, Wilton 103, and Wilton 104 tip to pipe buttercream rosettes and buttercream roses. Once the flowers are piped, place them in the freezer until they are firm to the touch (only takes about 10 minutes).

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To assemble cake, stack layers and spread an even layer of buttercream. Add a thick drizzle of honey, and repeat with remaining layers. Add a thin crumb coat, and freeze for roughly 5 minutes, or until the frosting is firm to the touch. Apply a second, thicker layer of frosting, and smooth with a bench scraper. To see a full tutorial on how to frost a cake with smooth sides, click here. Using the green frosting, pipe tapering vertical lines of green buttercream around the base of the cake. Pipe a semicircle of purple frosting on top of the cake, and secure frozen buttercream flowers into this frosting. Start with the largest flowers in the center, then fill in the remainder of the semi circle with the smaller flowers.

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Fill in empty spaces by piping flower buds and leaves. I also used an Ateco 352 tip to pipe leaves between the flowers. Then slice, and enjoy!!

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