I am one lucky girl. Now I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, but I have so much to be grateful for and today I’m going to share them with you. Last weekend my parents threw me a party to celebrate getting a distinction in the LPC and my new job.
I’m thankful not just for the party with copious amount of Champagne, but for the opportunities and support they gave me growing up so that I could get to where I am today and reach my full potential.
I’m also grateful for where I live surrounded by friends, family and the countryside!
|Wandering through Hitchin Lavender Fields, Ickleford|
For the party I decided to make cakes and I’m lucky enough to live somewhere where I can easily source local ingredients. Just a short drive away we have lavender fields, pick your own fruit farms and local honey producers. I wanted to make the most of all of these things before we move to
London and our only green space becomes an inner city allotment.
With two jars of local honey in the cupboard, I already knew that honey cakes would be on the menu but I wanted to add a twist.
Mr KG (another person I’m incredibly thankful for having n my life after 8 and a half years together) and I decided to spend our Saturday walking through the local lavender fields spotting bumblebees and butterflies amongst the flowers. They opened for the first time this year and for just £4 per adult – with kids going free – you can pick as much of their 15 varieties of lavender as you like! They even give you a bag to carry it home in and scissors to do the cutting.
|Floral fancies – Lavender infused Honey Cakes|
They don’t just make their money by letting locals come and cut their own. The lavender is also used in a number of food and beauty products which you can buy in their barn shop. They also produce essential oils (which I may have to stock up on!)
After browsing around the barn I came across their lavender honey and it suddenly occurred to me that lavender and honey cakes were the twist I was looking for! We’d seen in the hours we’d spent wandering the fields just how much the bumble bees loved the lavender so I was sure that my family would love the cakes too.
If you don’t fancy hand picking your own lavender to add fragrance to your sugar or to decorate the top you can now buy lavender sugar in supermarkets (such as Sainsbury’s and Waitrose). It would be fab if you could use local honey in your cakes too, but any old jar of runny honey will do the trick!
My favourite thing about these cakes is the delicacy of the flavours. The honey gives the cakes a beautiful, deep golden finish but the flavour is mellow and rich. The lavender gives a flowery note which dances on your taste buds.
|Bees collecting pollen to make honey for the cakes!|
Here’s how to make them:
- For the cakes
- 150g butter
- 100g lavender infused sugar
- 50g runny honey
- 2 eggs
- 150g self raising flour
- For the icing
- A few sprigs of fresh lavender
- 225g icing sugar
- 100g soft butter
- Vanilla paste
- Sieve the sugar to ensure there are no large pieces of lavender. Cream together the sugar, butter and honey until soft, pale and creamy.
- Beat the eggs together in a small bowl and gradually add to the creamed sugar and butter. Whisk quickly until a smooth batter has formed.
- Next spoon in a quarter of the flour at a time, folding it into the cake batter before adding more.
- Once a thick, smooth and aerated cake batter has formed, spoon it evenly into cake cases.
- Place in the centre of the oven and cook for 20mins at gas mark 4 until they are golden.
- Take the cakes out of the oven when they are springy and a knife inserted into the cakes comes out clean.
- Straight out of the oven, brush them with a little more runny honey, and then leave them on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cool, cream together the butter and icing sugar. When a soft butter cream has formed, stir in the vanilla paste.
- Pipe the cakes with a beautiful rose swirl, drizzle over a little honey and top with fresh lavender sprinkles.
Top tips for making these cakes:
- Create your own lavender infused sugar but placing lavender sprigs in a jar with your sugar. Give it a shake and leave at least overnight to infuse!
- Don’t panic if the mix is a little runnier than normal – that’s just the honey!
- To get the perfect rose swirl use a Wilton 1M nozle and pipe from the inside out.
- Love your local producers and look for honey and lavender from your area.
|Picking the lavender for the cakes|