Saturday, 5 May 2012

Chocolate cake with lavender cream - another Cake of the Week!

Tuesday saw another meeting of the South Lancs Clandestine Cake Club and this time, the theme was "In an English country garden." Not being great at sugarcraft, I thought I'd better just include an element of a garden in my cake and the first thing that came to mind was lavender. I'd heard of it used in various dishes and cakes, hunted around and thought I'd give it a go.

The basic cake was the chocolate cake according to Ruth's recipe which is now my go-to recipe for chocolate cake as it works every time and it is always lovely. I even panicked this time because I made it in one tin, and then put it in the fridge to chill so I could slice it and the outside seemed very firm but I can report it was not dry at all. I did make a little bit of last minute lavender sugar (made by adding edible lavender to caster sugar and leaving it overnight in a box) but I don't think you could taste it. 

For the cream, I had read about various ways to add the flavouring to the cream. Some infused the cream with the lavender overnight, some ground it with icing sugar in the food processor then added it to lightly whipped cream. So I did both! I added some edible lavender - which I bought from Waitrose by the way - to double cream and left it overnight. Then I lightly whipped the cream and tasted it. The flavour was very mild so I did the grinding thing and added that to the cream and whipped some more. Unfortunately, I had a mini-disaster at this point - the cream got to the right consistency but I went to turn my handmixer off and turned it the wrong way so it mixed faster! So it was slightly over-whipped but I think I got away with it. I used that to sandwich the cake and top it, then sprinkled a bit more lavender over the top. 

As ever, my cake didn't look that pretty up against some of the other cakes there but it was the first one I tried. I was praying that the lavender taste wasn't overpowering and wonder of wonders, it wasn't - it worked! A nice chocolatey cake with a twist - slightly floral but not too medicinal. Relief. But the array of cakes was splendid - a honey cake baked in a honeycomb tin, a gorgeous chocolate, raspberry and rose cake, and a beautiful butterfly cake flavoured with elderflower. But special mention has to go to Linzi for her English country garden cake which really looked the business.

It's always a good event - you get to meet lovely cake people, have a natter, eat and talk cake; this time, I finally got to meet the lovely Dolly Bakes who made the lovely butterfly cake. And then you get to take cake home! Bonus. I enjoy it because it forces me to try things I wouldn't usually try and that helps to push my boundaries and improve my skills.

I'm linking up again with Helen's Cake of the Week linky
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