With a shining combination of gin sponge layered with a tangy lemon curd and a subtle lavender cream, this cake feels so fancy you could serve it at the Queen’s birthday party. If you weren’t invited, try this recipe at home anyway and enjoy with a glass of champagne and your most glamorous friends. These quantities make either a 4 layer 20cm cake or 4 small individual 3 layer cakes.
Lavender Whipped Cream
2 cups thickened cream
2 teaspoons Bridestowe Culinary Lavender
3 tablespoons icing sugar mixture, sifted
2 ¼ cups plain flour, sifted, plus a little extra for dusting the pans
¾ cup whole milk
¼ cup gin
6 large egg whites (¾ cup), at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups white caster sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
175g unsalted butter, softened and cooled
250g lemon curd (for homemade, see the bottom of the recipe and make sure the curd is made first)
- To make the lavender whipped cream, first place the thickened cream in a small saucepan and add the culinary lavender. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat and then turn the heat off. Leave the mixture in the saucepan for 10 minutes to allow the lavender to work its magic, then strain the cream into a bowl and discard the lavender buds. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the cream to avoid a skin forming and pop the bowl into a fridge to cool for at least a couple of hours until the cake is ready to assemble.
- Set the oven rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 160C for a fan forced oven. Using canola spray, grease two 20cm round cake tins, ensuring you grease the sides well so that the cakes rise easily and neatly. Line the bottom of the tins with non-stick baking paper and then give the paper a light spray and dust the tins with flour. Invert them and sharply tap them on the bench to remove any excess flour.
- Pour the milk, gin, egg whites and vanilla extract into a 2 cup measuring jug and mix with a fork until they are well blended.
- Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on a low speed to allow the ingredients to mix. Add the butter and continue to beat at a low speed until the mixture looks like moist breadcrumbs and all floury streaks have disappeared.
- Add half the milk mixture to the crumbs and beat on low speed for 30 seconds (to allow the ingredients to incorporate without making a mess) before increasing to medium speed. Beat for a minute and a half and then add the remainder of the milk mixture. Beat for 30 seconds, stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat for a final 30 seconds.
- Divide the mixture equally between the two cake tins using a rubber spatula to push the batter to the sides and to smooth the surface of the cakes.
- Place the tins on the centre shelf of the oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean.
- Let the cakes rest in the tins for a couple of minutes before inverting onto wire racks to cool. Re-invert them onto additional racks so that they cool down completely the correct way up.
Lavender Whipped Cream
- Combine the chilled cream and the icing sugar in a bowl. Beat on a medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
OK, to assemble the cake!
- Cut the two cakes in half so you have four layers of cake that are level and the same height. You can do this by measuring your cakes and cutting any tops that need a little trim. This is important as even layers look better in a cake and also provide greater stability.
- Place the first layer of cake on the serving plate and cover with ¼ of the lavender cream, ensuring you place it evenly across the top of the cake, giving about ½ cm lip to allow the cream to spread when the other cake layers are placed on top. Place one third of the lemon curd on top of the cream and lightly spread it over the cream.
- Place the next cake on top and again cover with ¼ of the lavender cream and 1/3 of the lemon curd as per the previous step. Repeat with the third cake using another ¼ of the lavender cream and the final 1/3 of lemon curd.
- Place the final cake layer on top. Smear over the last ¼ of the lavender cream, decorate as desired and serve!
Cook’s Notes –
To make the individual cakes, you need to do everything until the first point in the assembly of the cake (that is, follow all the above steps until you cut the two cakes in half to make four layers of cake). Use a 7.5cm cookie cutter to cut out three cakes from each layer. Assemble the cakes with three layers, calculating to use ¼ of the lavender whipped cream and ¼ of the lemon curd per cake.
- Do not open the oven for at least the first ¾ of baking time as the cakes may sink once you take them out of the oven.
- It would be a shame to throw out the tops of any cake that you trim – these are perfect to snack on with some ice cream, cream, chocolate ganache or a caramel sauce…delicious!
(makes 2 cups)
3 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
1 cup white caster sugar
100g unsalted butter or ghee
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon very finely grated lemon rind
- Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a saucepan until it the mixture is completely smooth. Turn on your cooktop to a low-medium heat. Add the butter, juice and rind and continue to whisk over low-medium heat to ensure the mixture does not curdle and remains smooth.
- Just keep whisking, just keep whisking, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Be patient as this part of the process could take up to 10 minutes*.
- Once thickened, allow the curd to cool for a couple of minutes then pour into hot sterilised jars. Cover the jars and pop them in the fridge. The curd should keep for up to 3 weeks in the fridge if stored in this manner.
* It does take a little while for the curd to thicken but the effort is so worth it. If you rush this part of the process you could end up with a curdled mixture or one that is not as smooth as it could be. Once the curd does reach the correct temperature, it will thicken quite quickly. In the meantime, if your hand starts to tire, it helps to alternate the whisking with stirring using a wooden spoon. Just make sure to keep whisking every once in a while to keep the mixture smooth and glossy.
This recipe was created using Bridestowe Gourmet products by Helen from Mumma’s Country Kitchen. It has been reproduced here with her permission. You can see more of Helen’s beautiful work on Facebook and Instagram.