Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath


 
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook

Hi hi! Happy Friday! I am super excited to share this recipe from my amazing friend Tessa’s book - a Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. This is Tessa’s second book, and is called “Icing on the Cake”, and is filled with not only a whole lot of incredible layer cakes, but other amazing desserts - there’s macarons, pies, marshies, eclairs, tarts, the whole nine yards. It’s an incredible go-to book if you need a show stopping dessert, whether it needs to be a quickie to whip up, or a more labour intensive recipe such as this cake!

I taught myself how to make buttercream flowers a while back, and did a quick wee 2 hour course with a friend a few years ago, and they are kind of something that I always forget that I can do, then get excited to make, spend a whole afternoon making them, get mad at myself for not making them more often because they really are learnt by repetition and I need to just sit down and make them more to learn, then do the exact opposite and not make them for ages. However, when I do sit down and take the time to do them, I am reminded how fun they are once you get the hang of them! They can be a teeny bit tricky to start off, but once you get going, they are a really fun and effective way to decorate cakes and cupcakes! I’m definitely going to make them more often if I can! I promise it’s worth all the little piping bags and couplers and tips. Tessa has a whole section in her book about how to make the different flowers, and how to pipe them directly onto cupcakes!

The flowers are great and pretty, but the cake underneath also deserves some spotlight time - it’s so, so good! It’s a pretty simple vanilla cake, but the milk in the cake is infused with lavender, giving it a super subtle floral taste. The lavender is then emphasised in the lavender syrup which is brushed on the layers, then the whole thing is stacked up with a cream cheese frosting and a blackberry jam filling. Lavender and blackberry go so beautifully together, and cream cheese icing is just the best in literally any occasion. There’s a fine line between not being able to taste lavender in desserts and accidentally adding too much and it tasting like hand cream (I’ve done both before), but when it’s good it’s AMAZING, and Tessa has absolutely nailed this one. Congrats lady - I’m so proud, and I can’t wait to bake my way through this bad boy! x

A few wee tips:

  • I’m not going to lie, the buttercream flowers on this take bloody ages. But, they are so, so worth it - It’s amazing seeing how you get better with practice, and I think that it’s a really fun thing to know how to do!

  • Tessa has a great tutorial on her instagram of how to make the flowers she used for this cake! I pretty much just followed that.

  • If you don’t want to pipe the flowers, Tessa has another cake topped with buttercream swirls and blobs that I love, that would also be perfect for this!

  • You need the Swiss buttercream to be slightly on the firm side for this - to help with this I kept the whisk attachment on my mixer and the bowl of buttercream in the fridge until I was ready for it, then gave it a quick whip to help smooth it out. I worked with one colour at a time. AC in your house will help too if it’s summer, but our foster cat has her bed on the AC, so we are still kinda working out how to let her know that she’s going to have to move. We aren’t there yet.

  • I made the cake and the lavender syrup the day before, which really helped to break up the process a bit.

  • Buy yourself a copy of Tessa’s book. Just do it - there’s so so many beautiful things in there!

 

 

Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath

- Makes one Three Layer, 8” cake -

Reprinted with permission from ‘Icing on the Cake’ by Tessa Huff

Lavender Milk
1 cup (240ml) whole milk
2 tsp dried culinary lavender

Lavender Cake
1/4 cup (60ml) sour cream
2 1/4 cups (325g) cake flour
1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks / 225g) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Lavender Syrup
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp dried culinary lavender

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks/225g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz (115g) cream cheese, at room temperature
5 to 6 cups (625g to 750g) powdered sugar
3 to 4 Tbsp heavy cream or whole milk
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
4 large egg whites
1 1/3 cups (265g) granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups (4 sticks / 450g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

To Assemble
1/2 to 1 cup (120ml to 240ml) blackberry jam
Gel Food colouring

 

- PROCESS -

LAVENDER MILK

In a small saucepan, slowly bring the milk to a simmer over low heat. Add the lavender and remove from the heat. Let steep for about 20 minutes. Strain the milk through a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl and discard the lavender. Let cool completely.  

LAVENDER CAKE

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Grease and flour three 8-inch (20cm) cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, stir together 3/4 cup (180ml) of the lavender milk and the sour cream.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat the ingredients on low speed until just combined. Add the butter, vanilla, and about 1/2 cup (120ml) of the lavender milk mixture. mix on medium until evenly distributed and the dry ingredients are moistened, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add the eggs to the remaining lavender milk mixture and stir to combine. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the egg mixture in three additions, mixing for about 15 seconds after each addition and stopping the mixer between additions to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Evenly divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the pans. Allow the cakes to cool completely, right-side up, on the wire rack before removing the parchment. Level the tops of the cakes with a long serrated knife as needed.

LAVENDER SYRUP

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and 1/2 cup (120ml) water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and add the lavender. Simmer the syrup for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let steep until cool. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl and discard the lavender.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer), beat the butter and cream cheese on medium until smooth. Meanwhile, sift the confectioner’s sugar. With the mixer running on low, gradually add 5 cups (625g) of the confectioner’s sugar, 3 Tbsp of the cream, and the vanilla and mix until incorporated. Turn the mixer to medium high and mix until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup (125g) confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 cup (65g) at a time, and / or the remaining 1 Tbsp of cream until the desired consistency is reached. It should be spreadable and creamy, not runny.

ASSEMBLE THE CAKE

Generously brush the cake layers with the lavender syrup. Place one cake layer on a cake board or serving plate. Place about 1/3 cup (80ml) of the cream cheese frosting on top and spread it with an offset spatula. Fill a piping bag fitted with a plain round tip with some of the cream cheese frosting. Pipe a ring around the outer top edge of the cake to create a “dam”. Pipe a second ring of cream cheese frosting a couple of inches in from the outer ring, to create a “bulls-eye”.

Use a spoon to fill in the gaps between the rings of the cream cheese frosting with 1/4 to 1/3 cup (60 to 120ml) of the blackberry jam. Top with a second cake layer and repeat; place the final cake layer on top.

Crumb coat the cake with the cream cheese frosting and chill for 15 minutes. Frost the cake with the remaining cream cheese buttercream.

SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

Put the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Gently whisk them by hand to combine. In a medium saucepan, bring an inch or two (2.5 to 5cm) of water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double boiler (be sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water). Heat the egg mixture, whisking intermittently, until it reaches 160°f / 70°c on a candy thermometer.

Carefully affix the mixer bowl to the stand mixer (it may be hot) and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg white mixture on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes, until the mixture holds medium-stiff peaks and the outside of the bowl has cooled to room temperature.

Turn the mixer down to low and add the vanilla. Add the butter a couple of tablespoons at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next. Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk for the paddle attachment.

Turn the mixer to medium high and beat until the buttercream is silky smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.

Note - If your buttercream is a little soupy, refrigerate for 15 minutes then re-whip. You need it to be firm enough to pipe with.

DECORATE THE CAKE

Tint a small amount of buttercream green for the leaves. Tint the remaining buttercream the colors of your choice for the flowers. Cut about 30 2-inch (5cm) squares of parchment paper. Dab a small amount of buttercream on a flower nail and secure a square of parchment on top. Fill piping bags fitted with various piping tips with the tinted buttercream (I like to use a coupler so that I can switch out the tips). I used a petal Wilton #103 and #104 tip, a Wilton #81 tip for the Mum flower, and a small round tip for the little blobby flowers. Tessa has a great tutorial , and there are lots online!

Pipe various buttercream flowers on top of the parchment squares, then transfer the flowers to a baking sheet or cutting board. Chill the piped flowers in the fridge until firm, at least 15 minutes.

To create the flower crown, pipe a ring of buttercream around the top of the cake, about 1 inch (2.5cm) from the edge. Carefully peel the chilled flowers off their parchment squares and use a small offset spatula to arrange them on the ring of buttercream, angling them slightly in and away from the center of the cake.

Fill a piping bag with a leaf tip with the green buttercream and pipe leaves to fill in any gaps between the flowers.

Chill in the fridge until 30 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook

Blueberry Lavender Pie


 

We are baaaaack! It's a super weird feeling. Each time we are in New Zealand I don't want to leave a little more than the last time, and this last trip I was somehow homesick before we even got on the plane to come back to America. Rich got a fever on the plane and was super sick, so we got minimal sleep. I of course managed to catch it off him, and it turned out to be this gross super cold so we have both spent the last week hiding away trying to fight it off. Not quite the idea I had in my mind of hitting the ground running and jumping straight back into routine to combat homesickness, but these things happen. 

It feels like this year has already been all allocated! I had a grand plan to somehow make it to Italy this year, but I already feel kinda stressed about fitting it in! My goodness. It just feels like we are busy already? 

What is coming up soon though is Pie Day! The 14th of March is the big day! I find it kind of funny because in New Zealand we write the date with the day first, so if we had it our way then pie day couldn't exist, but for now this is the one time I am grateful for the confusing way America writes things. I was looking through my instagram the other day, and for pie day last year I made my very first Pie crust! It was a total piece of crap and 100% fell apart, but I was very proud of myself. I like to think I have come a little way in the grand scheme of pie in the last year - it's currently one of my favourite things. I love how versatile it is, it's easy to make ahead, and provided you have dough and some form of fruit, you can totally make a recipe up on the fly. I have a couple of pie ideas hiding up my sleeve, so I will try and get them all up before the 14th! 

This one is super simple - a blueberry lavender pie. Although blueberries aren't in season in America at the moment they most definitely are in New Zealand. They tend to be readily available still in supermarkets in the U.S. though, so if you were wanting a little hit of summer in this gross winter, this is for you too! Blueberries alone are amazing, but accentuated with a subtle hint of lavender, this pie has another level of flavour to it. If you are not a lavender person by all means feel free to leave it out. (I love it, but totally understand that some people think that it tastes like hand cream). The fruit cooks down to an amazing jammy texture, and pairs so well with the flaky pastry.

I used pie stamps on the top of the pie - they are a really easy way to make the top look super pretty. You could do a simple lattice, or just cut out rounds with a shot glass and arrange them on the surface of the fruit. Anything goes really, provided you end up with some sort of crust arrangement on the top of the pie! 

 

 

Blueberry lavender pie
- Makes one 9 inch pie - 

From 'Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie book'

Pie Dough
2 1/2 cups (310g) Flour
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp (8g) sugar
2 sticks (226g) cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) Apple cider vinegar

Filling
1 medium apple
5 cups fresh blueberries (approx. 1 Kg)
2 Tbsp (30ml) lemon juice
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1/2 cup (50g) packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (40g) flour
1/2 tsp lavender essence
1 Tbsp finely ground culinary lavender

To finish
1 large egg
1 tsp water
Turbinado / Raw sugar for sprinkling
 

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

Place flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or  your fingers,  cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.

Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight. 

On a lightly floured surface, roll one disc into a circle slightly larger than your pie dish. You want it to be approximately 1/8 inch (3mm) in thickness. Line the pie dish, leaving the extra dough overhanging. Trim the dough so there is about 1 inch overlapping the edge of your dish. Fold the dough back on itself, and crimp the border of the pie using two fingers of one hand and the thumb of the other. Roll out the second disc of dough, and cut out shapes using a cookie cutter or pie stamp. Place the shapes on a cookie sheet / baking tray. Refrigerate both the lined dish and the tray of stamps until ready to use. 

ASSEMBLY

Peel the apple, and then roughly grate. Place in a large bowl. Add the blueberries, lemon juice, sugar, brown sugar, flour, lavender essence, and culinary lavender. Mix well with a stiff spatula or your hands to combine, crushing some of the blueberries in the process. 

Pour the filling into the prepared pie dish. Arrange the stamped dough on the top of the fruit, making sure that there is a small amount of overlap. Rest the pie in the fridge for 15 minutes to set. 

While the pie is resting in the fridge, preheat the oven to 425˚f/ 220˚c. Place a baking tray on the bottom rack of the oven. 

Whisk together the egg and water in a small bowl. Brush the surface of the pie with the egg wash, and sprinkle liberally with turbinado / raw sugar. Take care not to get filling on the pastry. 

Place the pie on the baking tray in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the pastry has begun to go golden brown. Move the pie and baking tray to the middle of the oven, and decrease the temperature to 375˚f / 190˚c. Bake the pie for a further 35 to 40 minutes, or until the pastry is deeply golden and the filling is bubbling. 

Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Lavender and Pistachio Brioche Doughnuts


 

Doughnuts are another thing on the list of "things I only recently realised are very easy to make at home". This list also includes ice cream, almond milk, mozzarella cheese, and a whole heap of other things. 

Recently Richard's parents were visiting, and we took them to Chelsea Market in NYC. It has to be one of my favourite places in New York, aside from the green market. There are so many amazing things all jammed into one building and its just the best! We got some teeny baby doughnuts from The Doughnuttery, and one of the flavours was called "Paris Time" - Vanilla, pistachio and lavender. If you know me you know that anything Lavender gets me all heart-eyes, and these were no exception. Of course as soon as we got home I had to recreate my own version.. so here we are! 

Brioche doughnuts bring a whole new element to the doughnut game - they are buttery and tender and just the right amount of sweet to hold up against being drowned in pistachio and lavender sugar. Normally I have a little bit of whatever I make then give it to friends, our staff at the studio, the doormen, etc (If you live in NYC and like baking hit me up because theres always extra), but not these. My goodness. The combination of brioche, pistachio and lavender is one of my favourites. 

If you are planning on making these, you will need to make the dough the night before and give it its first rise at room temperature, and then the second in the fridge overnight, then shape the doughnuts and give them their third proof the next day before frying and sugaring them. You could also use non brioche dough if you wanted these to be ready the same day you make them - Deb's recipe is my favourite. The dough recipe I have used here comes from the Bouchon bakery book, which is soon becoming one of my most reached for books. All the recipes are in grams, which I LOVE (My brain works in kilograms and grams, and I struggle so so hard to swap over to pounds and ounces), and the recipes are so well written and easy to follow. If you are looking for an amazing pastry book, this is my current fave! 

 

 

 

Lavender and Pistachio Brioche Doughnuts
- Makes 8 -

Doughnut recipe from 'Bouchon Bakery'

Brioche Doughnut Dough 
518g (3 1/2 cups plus 3 Tbsp) All purpose flour
10g (1 Tbsp) instant yeast
74g (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) Sugar
9g (1 Tbsp) Salt
212g (3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp) Whole milk, at 75f/24c
111g (1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp) eggs
9g (1 1/2 tsp) vanilla paste
55g (2 oz) Unsalted butter, in cubes, at room temperature

Canola oil, for frying

Pistachio Lavender Sugar
300g (1 1/2 cups) sugar, divided
35g (1/3 cup) raw pistachios
2g (1 Tbsp) Culinary lavender

 

- PROCESS -

LAVENDER PISTACHIO SUGAR

In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse the pistachios, lavender and 200g (1 cup) sugar until it resembles fine crumbs. Pour into a small bowl and add the remaining half cup (100g) sugar, and stir to combine. Set aside and store in an airtight container until ready to use.

DOUGHNUTS

Place flour and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, and stir to combine. Add Sugar, salt, milk, eggs and vanilla paste, and mix on low for 5 minutes until combined. The dough will look sticky. Mix for a further two minutes. At this stage some pieces of dough will be sticking to the sides of the bowl. Add the butter a cube at a time, mixing well until each piece is well incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and hook, and mix for a further 15-20 minutes, scraping down periodically.

Turn the dough onto a well floured work surface. Avoid adding flour if necessary - add only enough to prevent sticking. Shape the dough into a rectangle, with the short side facing you. Fold the top side down toward you two-thirds of the way down the rectangle, stretching slightly, then repeat with the bottom side, stretching lightly again. Lightly oil a bowl. Place the dough, seam side down into the bowl. Cover with a cloth and leave at room temperature for about an hour. 

Re-flour your surface, and turn the dough out onto it. Press it into a rectangle and repeat the stretching and folding process. Re-oil the bowl, and return the dough to it seam-side down. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

The next day, lightly flour your work surface, and turn out the dough. Roll it into a round about 12 inches in diameter. Place on a lined tray and refrigerate for 20 minutes, or freeze for 10 minutes, until the dough has firmed up enough to cut easily. 

Line a tray with a silpat or parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray. Using a 3 1/2 inch cutter, cut 8 circles out of the dough. Use a 1 inch cutter to cut holes in each circle. Use the 1 inch cutter to cut mini doughnut 'holes' out of the remaining scraps (These also work well for testing the dough)

Cover the doughnuts with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray, and leave in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size. Place approximately 3 inches of oil into a deep pot or dutch oven, and heat to 350f/177c. Place a cooling rack over a sheet pan, and have the pistachio lavender sugar on a plate nearby.

Working in batches of two, carefully lower the doughnuts one at a time into the oil. Fry for 1 minute, then flip and fry for an additional 2 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on the rack. When the second batch has finished cooking, transfer the first cooled doughnuts into the bowl of sugar and generously cover both sides with sugar. Tap lightly to remove excess sugar. 

Repeat frying and sugaring process with the remaining doughnuts. Doughnuts will keep for one to two days in an airtight container, but are best eaten on the day that they are fried.