The old saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Given what’s happening in the world today with the COVID-19 and everyone being asked to shelter at home, now is the time to make that lemonade and this cake as well, because we can all use and something to do (#isolationbaking) and there’s nothing wrong with having some yummy carbs in the process.
I made this cake today because I’d picked some fresh lemons from our tree and felt inspired to bake something. When I pulled up this old post I was shocked to see it’s been almost exactly 10 years since the original post. Time flies…
I’ve updated the recipe, making it easier to print, and swapped out the canola oil in the original for olive oil. It was delicious!
Originally posted March 13, 2020 A couple of weeks ago my mother was cleaning out a box of stuff in her office and came across a bunch of old recipes. In the middle of it was a 5×8 notecard with a recipe for “Old Fashioned Lemon Bread,” handwritten by yours truly.
The letter began, “Dear Mom, I just made this and liked it so much I had to send you the recipe.” It ended with, “You are required to make this as soon as possible.” I was a college student living in an apartment and starting to cook more on my own. On the front side of the card, I had decoupaged a selection of phrases cut from magazines including “Hot Stuff” and Highway Mileage Maybe lower” and the Surgeon General’s warning about smoking. God knows what I was thinking. No matter, the cake was fantastic and once I saw the recipe again, I knew I had to make it a.s.a.p.
It’s been a prolific year for our ancient Meyer Lemon tree and the sweeter flavor of those lemons lends itself to many different applications, especially cakes and cookies. In addition, I’ve got two different types of lavender in bloom and I thought it would add a nice accent flavor to the cake. It did, but if you don’t have lavender, don’t worry. This cake is wonderful even without it; sweet, tangy, and a bit sticky all at the same time. The syrup poured into it keeps it moist for a few days after baking though I doubt it will last that long.
A lemon and lavender cake with lemon syrup. When life gives you lemons...
Prep Time20 minutesmins
Cook Time50 minutesmins
Total Time1 hourhr20 minutesmins
Keyword: cake, dessert
For the cake:
1.5cupsall purpose flour
1/2cupolive oil or a neutral oil
2tspfresh lavender flowersoptional
Lemon Glaze recipe
For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour an 8"-9" loaf pan.
Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
In a medium sized bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, lemon zest and lavender. Add the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Pour the batter into a greased and floured loaf pan. I used an 8.5# non-stick loaf pan and sprayed it with a little cooking oil spray and then dusted it with flour.
Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean. The cake may cook faster if you use a larger or differently shaped loaf pan so start checking it after about 40 minutes.
Once the cake is done, remove it from the oven. Using a long wooden skewer, poke holes in the top of the cake, all the way to the bottom, about 1" apart. Do not remove from the pan. Follow the directions below for adding the glaze.
For the Lemon Glaze
Mix the sugar and the lemon juice and heat until the sugar dissolves into a syrup. Do not add the zest and lavender yet.
Pour 1/2 the glaze over the cake while it's still in the pan after you have poked holes in the top (as described above). Let the cake rest for 15 minutes and then remove the cake from the pan and set on a platter.
Mix the other half of the syrup with the lemon zest and lavender flowers, heat it in a small pot and let it reduce about 1-2 minutes. The goal is to slightly thicken the syrup but be careful not to let it burn.
Remove from the heat, wait about 15 seconds, and then pour the syrup with the zest and the flowers in it over the top of the cake and allow to cool.
You'll need about 3 lemons total for this zest and juice in this recipe (depending on how juicy the lemons are)The recipe adapts well to substitutions:
Use olive or a neutral oil like safflower or canola.
Leave out the lavender if you want.
I've made this without the lavender and added a cup of fresh blueberries to the batter right before putting it into the pan. It was fantastic.