Ever have one of those days? I am sure you have. You know those days were you seem to be pulled in a million different directions. Serenity now!
There is much to do in the first part of the year once the weather warms up. Work, home and all those extra activities can be a bit overwhelming at times. The juggling and balancing act of life is like a dance. Sometimes you are able to get with the rhythm and everything glides along smoothly, but then there are those missteps when you accidentally bump into someone or your partner manages to step on your toes a bit. Ouch!
Early on I have identified that it is easy to absorb the mood of the environment around me. Many times when my daughter has one of those talky, talk, talk days and feels the need to randomly tell stories that lead into one another it is hard to find some head space. It is that open and free space that is used for logical thinking, planning and dreaming. You know, your own thoughts and ideas. Don’t get me wrong, I love the stories and hearing the ramblings of little ones trying to make sense of the world around them, but a little break is needed once in a while.
To help combat this run away train of thoughts and ideas that cloud my head I have found a few tricks to inch in a peaceful moment of clarity.
One of the ways is a standing date of a weekly yoga workout at the local community centre. I have been going for about 3 years now and it is a chance for some me time. The instructor makes the over an hour workout fun and it seems to fly by. Our group always has a laugh and we look forward to the next time we are together. At the end of the session all the thoughts jammed in my head have been cleared away along with a body that is stretched and relaxed. The best sleeps occur after yoga night.
Mind and body are prepped to take on the rest of the week and the challenges that lie ahead.
Similarly the relaxing sensation can occur while baking. If you haven’t tried it you really should. It has been noted that baking can be very therapeutic. The rhythm of putting something together, being creative in your own space (or even sharing it with someone special) along with the act of presenting the finished goods to dive into are what the process can provide.
Baking gets rid of that mental stress and working with the lavender in this recipe will fill your space with an aromatic cozy blanket. I started making the cake later in the evening and after yoga. I didn’t feel like doing much after that I tell you. Total relaxation.
While there are sadly no pictures of the layers inside (the cake was actually for my yoga instructor’s mom to celebrate her 70th birthday) I can still attest to the fact that is it delicious. You see there was enough batter left over for one mini 6 inch cake and some of the lavender buttercream so our family could try it as well. Divine!
Baking can honestly be your happy place along with a little yoga. Namaste
Lemon Lavender Cake
Find your serenity in a forkful of lemon lavender cake.
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 3 eggs & 2 egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 Tbsp dried culinary lavender
- 1 1/2 cups of butter, room temperature
- 4-6 cups of icing sugar
- 1 tsp dried culinary lavender, crushed
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 lemon, cut into sliced then halved
- dried culinary lavender to decorate
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 round 8 or 9 inch pans by oiling and putting parchment paper on the bottom of each.
- In a large measuring cup, combing the lemon juice, whole milk and vanilla. Let stand until it is curdled.
- In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a stand mixer cream the butter lemon zest and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and yolks one at a time, scraping the bowl between the next addition.
- Add 2/3 of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add in 1/2 of the milk mixture and mix until just combined. Repeat with the addition of the flour mixture, the remaining milk mixture and the last of the flour mixture, with scraping the bowl in between.
- Evenly pour the batter into the prepared pans Place in the oven to bake for 20-24 minutes until browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
- Remove from heat an let cook slightly. Remove the cakes from the pans and let cool completely.
- In a medium sauce pan combine the water, sugar and 1 Tbsp dried culinary lavender. Bring to a boil and let simmer for approximately 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and it makes a syrup. Remove from heat and strain into a glass jar to remove the lavender flowers. Let cool completely.
- In a stand mixture beat the butter on high for approximately 4 minutes until it is white in colour and fluffy.
- Add in the icing sugar one cup at a time, beat on high after each addition. Add in 1 tsp of the crushed dried culinary lavender, vanilla and 1/4 cup of the lavender syrup. Beat until combined.
To build the cake: Place one cake on the serving plate and add smooth icing over the top. Add the other cake on top. Smooth icing on the top and sides to create a crumb coat. Using a large round tip in a filled icing bag, dot a row along the bottom of the cake. Using a cake knife lightly press and flatten the dot starting a the middle, dragging the cake knife upward. Repeat row after row until the sides are all decorated. Add and smooth additional icing on the top of the cake. Finish with a dotted border around the top of the cake. Add dots of icing to where you would like the lemon slices to be placed and garnish with a few dried culinary lavender flowers.
Store the remaining lavender syrup in an sealed glass jar in the refrigerator for other uses such as cocktails, icing or sweetener for tea.