Certain flavor combinations are wonderful and we already know they work perfectly, while others might seem a bit unusual to some of us. I’d seen lemon + lavender everywhere – in bars, cookies, cakes and frozen yogurt – but hadn’t given it a try yet. After seeing a beautiful cake in an old magazine, I decided to try the combination, using limes instead.
Now this combo can go straight to the all time favorites list, with apples + cinnamon and chocolate + hazelnuts. :)
Lavender chiffon cake with lime curd, cream and lime icing
adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes, idea from Donna Hay magazine
6 eggs, separated
¼ cup (60ml) neutral vegetable oil, such as canola or soybean
6 tablespoons water
1 ½ cups (300g) caster sugar
1 ½ teaspoons dried edible lavender buds
1 1/3 cups (187g) cake flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
6 egg yolks
1 tablespoon corn starch
6 tablespoons caster sugar
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, room temperature
finely grated zest of 1 lime
2/3 cups (160ml) whipping cream, whipped to firm peaks with 2 tablespoons icing sugar (do it just before assembling the cake)
2 cups (280g) icing sugar
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 ½ tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F; line the bottoms of three 20cm (8in) round cake pans with baking paper; do not grease.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, oil and water. Set aside.
Place 1 cup (200g) of the sugar in a food processor, add the lavender buds and process. Sift into a large bowl, discarding the excess lavender. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the sugar and whisk gently to combine. Add the yolk mixture and whisk to form a smooth batter.
Place the egg whites in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment on medium-high speed until frothy. Slowly add the remaining ½ cup (100g) sugar and the cream of tartar and continue to whip until soft, droopy peaks form. Fold ¼ of the beaten egg whites into the batter, taking care not to deflate the mixture. Gently fold in the remaining whites. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden and a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow layers to cool completely in the pans. To remove, run a blunt knife around the edges, invert each pan and tap out the cake onto a wire rack. Carefully peel off the paper.
While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the lime curd and chill completely.
Lime curd: in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and corn starch. Combine the sugar and lime juice in a non-reactive saucepan and whisk in the egg yolk mixture. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat whisking gently the entire time. Allow to boil for 1 minute, still stirring – curd will thicken.
Pour through a sieve into a heatproof bowl and whisk in the butter until it is completely melted. Whisk in the zest. Let cool slightly, then cover with plastic wrap pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.
Lime icing: sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl and gradually add the lime juice and water, mixing well until the desired consistency.
To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate and spread half the lime curd over the top. Top with half the whipped cream. Repeat with another cake layers and the remaining lime curd and cream. Top with the third cake layer and drizzle with the lime icing.
* homemade cake flour: 1 cup (140g) all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons corn starch
Serves 12-16 – I made 2/3 of the recipe above for a two-layer cake