File this one under something new and different. A while back I was checking out a post on the Frugal Antics of a Harried Housewife. She referenced the East India Company in her recipe for Stuffed French Toast with Strawberry & Pepper Jam. Her recipe was drool worthy and my interest in the East India Company was piqued. Naturally I took a look see and liked what I saw. And in the interest of brevity I’ll get to the point and tell you that they sent me a bottle of their Lavender Cordial to try in one of my recipes. Hmmm, whatever shall I make? I tossed around lots of ideas and not surprisingly came back to my cake baking comfort zone. No surprise there huh? Ok, now that I’ve decided to use it in a cake, what kind and do I use it in the batter, or the frosting? What the heck, all of the above!
The East India Company is located in London and they sent the cordial out to me lickety split. I was expecting a 2-3 week wait, instead it was four days. I was also expecting a tiny sample size bottle, but received a 250 ml which is about 8 oz, or if I’m being exact
(the Mr. says there is no such thing as about when you’re measuring) 8.45 oz. I had to taste it right away but had enough sense to take a small taste. The first thing that hit me was the aroma, pure lavender. Heady but not overwhelming, it took me straight back to my aromatherapy days. A tiny sip revealed what I’d anticipated, it was sweet, very, very sweet. I knew I had to tread lightly with this in a recipe. The Mr. is not into sweet drinks at all so I knew he wouldn’t be thrilled. Charisse always sniffs everything first and her first comment was, “it smells like air freshner. Next time I’ll keep my goodies to myself.
Back to square one, what kind of cake to bake with it. For the last couple of months I’ve seen my fair share of lavender baked goods but they all contained the lavender flowers. A web search for lavender cordial didn’t turn up much other than recipes for making it. Looks like I was about to go where no man baker has gone before. Cover me foodies, I’m going in.
Lemon Lavender Cordial Cake
2 cups sugar
1 cup Splenda for Baking
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup + 2 TBS canola oil
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
¾ cup milk
¼ cup Lavender Cordial
1 cup of Lavender Cordial
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt or tube cake pan. In large bowl, beat the sugar, Splenda and canola oil with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. If using a stand mixer this typically takes approximately 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed in and stir in lemon peel and vanilla.
With the mixer still on low speed, beat in flours, baking powder, salt, baking soda and milk and lavender cordial until smooth, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour batter into pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10-15 minutes. Turn cake out onto a serving plate. While the cake is still warm, prick top and sides of cake with a fork. Brush warm cake with lavender cordial and allow the glaze to soak into cake. Cool completely, preferably overnight before serving. Garnish with lavender flowers, if desired.
After the first bite I realized that I could’ve easily used more of the cordial in the batter and a wee bit of lemon juice in the glaze. The cordial taste came through loud and clear in the glaze, but not in a bad way. It was just bold enough to call attention to it and make you wonder what it was. The crumb was a bit coarser than the typical pound cake, but that’s what I expected. And in this context coarse and dry aren’t synonymous. I enjoyed it, left out a couple of slices for the fam and happily packed up the rest for Charisse to take to work. End of story.