Introduction: Chocolate Lavender Cake
This Instructable shows how to make a Chocolate Lavender Cake. I usually make cakes with two cake layers, but for this cake I wanted bigger ratio of lavender cream to chocolate cake and used only a single layer. The cake base uses classic European technique with eggs, chocolate and ground nuts. It's my favorite cake base recipe that I use in several different cakes.
On the other hand, lavender is not commonly used for cakes in Europe, so the whole cake is more of an American take.
Serves eight and bakes in a 9" (23cm) springform pan.
- 4 eggs, separated
- 125g dark chocolate, melted and cooled. I use good quality 60%-75% chocolate.
- 125g pecans or almonds
- 100g sugar
- 100g apricot preserves
- juice of one lemon
- 1 Tbs brandy (optional)
- 110g dark chocolate, same as used for the cake base
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 heaping Tbs of lavender flowers. If you are into foraging, Whole Foods often has lavender around their stores, blooming profusely. The flowers keep forever dried or in the freezer.
- 2.5 cups of heavy cream
- 90g of good white chocolate
Step 1: Grind the Nuts and Start the Lavender Cream
Combine the lavender with a cup of heavy cream, bring to boil and let steep.
Grind the nuts. I use a nut grinder. A food processor can be used to grind the nuts, but the grinder produces better results - the grains are more uniform and also have more surface area.
Step 2: Make the Cake Base
Preheat the oven to 300F.
Beat the egg yolks with three quarters of sugar until pale and thick. Fold in the melted chocolate and nuts.
Whip the egg whites. I use a stand mixer, but a hand-held one would work just fine. Add the remaining sugar and whip until stiff, but not dry. Add about a quarter of whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the rest until combined.
Step 3: Bake the Cake Base
Line the bottom of the springform pan with a liner or a piece of wax paper. I have a sturdy piece of silicone baking liner that I cut to fit my pan and have been using it for years. You can also just butter the bottom. Unless your pan is nonstick, butter the sides as well.
Pour the batter into the pan. It will be fairly soft and a few taps will make for a smooth, even top.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. It's better to underbake than overbake. Let it cool in the pan.
Step 4: Make the Lavender Cream
You should do this step while the cake is in the oven.
Chop the white chocolate coarsely. Bring the lavender cream to boil and strain it over the chocolate. Discard the flowers. Let it stand for a minute and then stir until the chocolate is melted and the cream is smooth. Let it cool and then refrigerate.
Step 5: Prepare the Midlayer
Combine the apricot jam with lemon juice in a small pan and bring to simmer so the jam melts. Strain into a cup and add the brandy, if using.
Scald the cream and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for a minute and then stir until smooth.
Step 6: Assemble the Cake
Unmold the cake, invert it onto a serving plate and peel off the liner. Prick the cake with a fork - this will make it better absorb the apricot sauce. Spread the sauce over the top of the cake and work it in.
Put the springform pan ring so it fits the cake - we use it as a mold. Spread the chocolate ganache onto the cake base. The more even this layer, the neater will the final cake look. In other words, don't be slapdash like me.
Combine the cold lavender cream with the rest of the heavy cream and whip until firm. Spread the cream on the top of the chocolate layer so it's smooth on top. Refrigerate until firm.
Step 7: Unmold and Enjoy!
Slide a thin knife between the cake and mold to release it. Open the springform mold and remove it.
The cake will keep for at least five or six days in the fridge. Perhaps longer, but it never seems to last in our house.
Step 8: Extra Credit for Chocolate Lovers
You can make a no-lavender more-chocolate cake based on this recipe.
Bake two chocolate bases. Make twice the apricot sauce. Instead of lavender cream, top the cake with the second base and work in the extra apricot sauce. Make chocolate glaze for the cake using 130g of dark chocolate, 1/2 cup of heavy cream and optionally 2Tbs brandy.
A slice of this cake with some unsweetened whipped cream is to die for!
I hope these cakes bring you as much joy as they bring to me.