Dorie Greenspan

Mulberries. Mulberry Cake.

the first of the mulberries.

I first ate a mulberry two summers ago after discovering what I thought to be a tree full of them growing in a public park.  Any prior knowledge I had of mulberries centered around the Dr. Seuss book And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, which in my mind was one of the earliest books I read myself.  I don't recall that book contained the eating or description of the mulberry, which is a less seedy, blackberryish berry that grows either on trees or bushes depending I assume on the maintenance of the plants and the locations they are found.   What I do know now is that a fat, thumb-sized, perfectly ripe mulberry has no comparison in the berry world.

The first taste of mulberry for me (after confirming with someone who knew what a mulberry was), wasn't really so sweet.  Mulberries must be falling-off-the-tree ripe, and deep black - at least the varieties that I've seen here should be deep black.  The reddish ones, or ones that need some coercion to detach from their tree, are sour or tart; they are seedy and not that pleasant.  Last year's severe drought is blamed for just about everything bad in the Wisconsin food world of 2012... and what few mulberries I saw were tiny and I suspect gobbled up by the birds.  But this year:  sweet success.   The clutch of public trees I had my sights on were prolific this year, still bearing as I check up on them every few days or so, ripening slowly as if to provide me desserts just as I need them.

mulberry cake

I made the first full pint of berries we found into a tiny batch of jam, a single jar that I've been enjoying on toast about every other day.  But when we checked the tree Monday and many more berries had ripened, I thought I should really celebrate by making a cake.  I never need prompting to make a cake... but it helps that I had recently made one of my favorite summertime cakes ever - Dorie Greenspan's Dimply Plum Cake.  Except the two pieces I gave some visiting friends, I ate that whole cake myself, and then had to refrain from making another. 

I made only a few well suited changes to Dorie's impeccable original recipe, chiefly adding coconut oil instead of another type of vegetable oil.  Coconut oil and butter work together to provide an amazing texture, almost bordering on a softer version of shortbread.  Playing around with the spices is only half the fun too.  This cake is so endlessly adaptable, you could really do any kind of fruit, nut, or berry I would think. 

mulberry cake (batter)


If you are a raw batter taster, as I am, I would heartily encourage you to taste this batter.  It is billowy, silky, and downright indescribably delicious.  I tried to think of just one spice that could complement the flavor of mulberry, and settled in on nutmeg.  It could be that a nutmeg heavy cake I had made for a Daring Baker challenge was lingering in my mind, and I grated in a good amount of it due to the happy memory of enjoying it.  I'd see no reason why you couldn't fold the berries into the cake batter instead of arranging them on top, but I wanted to keep the spirit of Dorie's cake, and let the berries dimple the top.  The cake is best served with just a bit of barely sweet whipped cream, and additional mulberries.

Mulberry Cake (adapted from Dorie Greenspan)
  • 1 1/2 c. AP flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • about 1 t. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 5 T. (2 1/2 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 c. (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 c. melted coconut oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. ripe mulberries (you can snip off their stems if you like, but I went for rustic and left them attached...)
Preheat oven to 350.  Butter and flour an 8 inch round pan, I used a springform pan.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.  In a large bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the sugar, and beat another 3 minutes until fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, and beat a full minute after each addition.  With the mixer on medium speed, blend in the coconut oil, lemon zest, and vanilla.  Dorie says "the batter will look smooth and creamy, almost satiny", which is so apt I need to include her description.  Taste it.  It's wonderful.  Finally, add the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.  Before transferring the batter to the baking pan, use a spatula to be sure you've incorporated any dry spots.

Smooth the batter into the prepared pan, and decorate the top with the mulberries.  Bake for about 40 minutes until the top is nicely browned and a tester comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge before unmolding it.  Cool it right side up.  Store the cake at room temperature for 2 days (it's moist, so will mold if you try to push it further), or coax another 2 days of longevity by storage in the fridge.  The texture changes under refrigeration, which isn't bad, but you may wish to allow your slices to come back to room temperature before eating them.

mulberry cake

After the discovery of what mulberries looked like, I identified trees in nearly every park we frequented.  Some trees are so big, I'd need a ladder and a friend to help glean.  But fortunately, the best glut of berries to be found is right in my own neighborhood, and is low enough to reach - even for my kiddo.  Just this week, we noticed another similarly sized tree hiding in plain sight, not far from the first... more than plenty for fresh eating and playing around with.  Not much makes me happier than seeing my picky eater stained purple from picking and eating berries and excited to look for more.  He even liked my cake, and now that he's finished off the last of the fresh mint ice cream (which is the best recipe ever, by the way), he may even help me to eat it.  If I'll share it, that is.

mulberry cake

Babies and Brandy.

brandied tart cherries
brandied tart cherries.

More than two weeks have floated by, after the birth of my second son.  He was born swiftly and smoothly on a beautiful Summer evening, 7 years to the day after his older brother.  To say that you can fall head over heels in love with another human being so quickly is an understatement of epic proportion.  He fits into our family in a way I couldn't have anticipated, and the darling boy even let me bake bread the day after I arrived home.

Physically, I feel like I can do anything.  Recovery time has also been fast, much faster than with my first son - and I feel like I have all of the energy I need to make up for lost time in the kitchen.  Grains have been sprouted, ferments set to bubbling, farmer's markets attended, and the only area I feel lacking in is actual meal planning.  Sporadic baby interruptions just before the dinner hour have slowed me up a little, and "piece catch" meals hit the table in great thanks to my freezer, garden basil, and last minute imagination.  When I was first married and working full time, I recall I used to actually plan meals in a little notebook... and I'm thinking it might not be a bad idea to bring that method back.

But meanwhile, things are good in my world.  Babies have a way of making everything feel fresh and amazing.  Kind of like a fresh bottle of brandy.  Before the comments of nursing mothers and alcohol come flooding in, I'm not actually drinking the brandy - and to be honest, despite brandy being the most often purchased liquor in my state, it's really not even my favorite.  But used to cook with or inoculate fruits?  It might just be my favorite thing ever.

Dorie's brandied chicken.
click the photo for the recipe.

Alcohol in general is still not on my grocery list.  On the continuing path to our household economic recovery, (and fresh off the path of 9 months of abstinence anyway...) I can't see spending a red cent on something as trivial as alcohol - especially since it isn't really a necessity.  But my parents were here for a Sunday dinner when my newest babe was just 5 days old, I knew I had to have them try one of my favorite chicken-in-a-pot recipes from Dorie Greenspan's Around my French Table.  It's a recipe that calls for Armagnac, which is a spirit that I find completely wonderful, though prohibitively expensive to me.  Fortunately, if you enrich the much cheaper brandy with dried prunes and cook it with chicken, the flavor is stellar nonetheless. My Mom and Dad visited the first liquor store they have probably been in since before I was born to get me a bottle of brandy for the dish, and I've been making good use of the rest of the bottle in the days since that chicken was earnestly devoured.

brandied raspberries

My neighbor has a tart cherry tree in her back yard.  She generously offered them free for the picking, and another neighbor graciously offered to pick some for me, since we were in the midst of a heatwave.  The cherries were deliciously deep red, tart, and perfect, and I instantly knew I had to make brandied cherries.  The last time I made them was maybe 3 years ago, and I still have a handful of faded cherries submerged in liquor stashed in the back of my fridge.  I couldn't remember what ratio or recipe I used, so I went with one I found on Serious Eats.  The general ratio for that recipe was one part sugar (I used raw sugar), one part water (or cherry juice) to two parts brandy.  I didn't pit the cherries, and didn't bother to poke a needle through each one either:  I figured a bit of time on the counter and more time in the refrigerator would take care of any of that extra work for me - and I was right.  I let them sit out on the counter for a few days before transferring, and already the brandy was dark red and the cherries nicely spiked with flavor.

brandied raspberries

Some new friends recently transplanted back to the Midwest from Oregon stopped by yesterday to visit and thoughtfully brought me perfectly ripe raspberries.  I decided to try brandying the raspberries using mostly the same method, but using the ratio of 1 part each sugar (white granulated sugar in this case to preserve the true flavor of the raspberry), water, and brandy.  I packed the raspberries into clean pint jars, heated the sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar just dissolved, and then added the brandy off the heat.  Just standing overnight led to color saturated liquid that is less potent than the tart cherries, but so excellent tasting I can hardly wait to have an excuse to make a pound cake or some shortcakes, maybe even a "poke" type cake that can make use of the bright, spiked raspberry juice.  There are some words I hate using to describe food, and luscious is one of them... but these berries truly are luscious.

I might be silly to compare my new babe to a bottle of brandy.  But in a way, it fits.  When you don't have something for a long time, you can really appreciate it all the more, and that is how a second baby is for me.  I am reminded of how wonderful every new moment was with my first little son, and just what is is store for me with my second.  I marvel over impossible long eyelashes and tiny fingernails, I get to know all the expressions and nuances of a brand new personality, and savor each one for the fleeting moment in time I now know it is.  Like the bottle that empties too quickly, but lives on in what it has preserved, I document in both mental and physical photographs the new life I've been blessed with.  I will most happily decant both in the future and be able to feel as full of emotion as I am right now.


The story of Gâteau Basque, time alone, and friends to share it with.


This whole week I've spent nearly alone, my kiddo having stayed behind with his Nana and Papa for his first extended Summer sleep-away. I pulled out of the driveway last Monday feeling strangely solitary, and surrounded in my car by overwhelming silence. Until I am separated from my child, I don't realize how much the boy talks. I am told that this is repayment from my own childhood, when I would talk for hours on end. One famous story told by my Gram and retold for years to come by my Mom reminds me that I had gone to stay with her and in a long car ride I was talking non-stop. When sudden silence hit, she turned around to see why I had stopped talking and found I had fallen asleep mid-sentence...

I will admit that the quietness of my house is good for me once in a while. It was only periodically interrupted by long talks with my Husband, which felt good and strangely adult. With no schedule to keep I felt like I was on vacation. Really my home is like a vacation to me; most of the time there is nowhere else I'd rather be.

Amidst the organizing and some deep cleaning, a shift worked at the cafe and gentle, simple dinners, my new boss/friend and I decided that my being childless was a good excuse to have a collaborative dinner. She was bringing some pork that she had butchered in a class and had stashed in her freezer, and I was in charge of bread, dessert, and veggies. Her sister (/co-worker/neighbor) and I all sat together on the patio last night after our delicious dinner trying to pronounce "gâteau", which I thought ended up sounding more like the Spanish "gato".

But, the pronunciation doesn't matter much with this homey, easy dessert. Filled with last years tart cherry jam, I felt relieved that I had gone with a Dorie Greenspan recipe when trying to impress a chef-friend. It bears mentioning that any recipe Dorie Greenspan has ever written will turn out for me on the first try, no questions asked, making her one of my secret weapons when I am trying to make an impression. Gâteau is exactly the thing to make for simple dinner parties. It is lovely and French, it can be filled with whatever preserve on your shelf you need to show off or use up, and it isn't so big that you find yourself with enormous amounts of leftovers to contend with. It could be my new favorite dessert.


Truth told, I am insanely insecure about cooking and entertaining for others, even more so when one guest is a professional. I re-washed all my silverware and towel dried the spots off of them, I re-folded all of the mismatched napkins to approximate the same size, I baked the gâteau at the last moment - when it had enough time to cool to room temperature, but not enough time to be called "old". The batter, which is really more of a dough or a cross between a batter and a dough, is rolled out into circles between plastic wrap, and then chilled for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Baking time is just over 45 minutes, allowing one to get herself cleaned up and presentable for company. Like I said, the perfect dessert for easy entertaining.

Gâteau Basque (Dorie Greenspan, Around my French Table)
makes one 7 or 8-inch cake, 8 servings
  • 2 c. ap flour
  • 3/4 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 10 T. butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature (I soaked a cold egg in hot water for 10 minutes)
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c. cherry jam or other thick preserves
  • 1 egg, for eggwash

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in a bowl with a handheld mixer), beat the butter with both sugars for 3 minutes, or until the butter is smooth and the sugar has started to dissolve. Add the egg, and beat for 2 more minutes. Scrape down the sides at least once, and the batter may look curdled, but this is normal. Reduce the speed to low, add the vanilla extract, and then add the dry ingredients in 2 or 3 additions, beating only until they are fully incorporated.

Divide the dough into 2 equal portions (yes, I weighed them), and form each into a circular disk. Working with one at a time, roll the dough out into a circle between two sheets of plastic wrap. Be sure that the circles will fit into your pan. I used my 7 inch springform pan, and used the base as a measure. Still in the plastic wrap, stack the disks on a flat plate and refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and generously butter your baking pan (I used salted butter for this, just because). Remove the disks from the fridge, and let them sit for a few minutes at room temperature before peeling back the plastic wrap. Fit one disk into the prepared pan, and spoon the jam evenly on it, leaving a 1 inch border. Moisten the border with water, and place the other disk on top. Press gently, trying not to let too much jam escape the sides. Some jam will escape anyway - and this is okay.

Make an eggwash by beating an egg with a splash of water and brushing it over the top. (Reserve the beaten egg for tomorrow's breakfast.) Make an even crosshatch pattern with the tines of a fork, and the bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 45 minutes or so until the top is golden brown.

Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for 5 minutes. Run a thin knife between the cake and the pan to loosen it, and then unmold it. Let it cool, right side up, to room temperature, then cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream. (I like this one, because it is Jeni's Splendid.)

(Update: I tried this cold out of the fridge the next day and didn't like the texture nearly as well. It still tasted good, but tasted more like dense pie crust. I left the last bit out overnight, covered well with a glass dome, and then tried it the next morning. It was much tastier, more like a tender pastry. If you want to store it for a couple of days, I'd recommend putting it in the fridge, but then allow enough time for slices to come back to room temperature before eating.)


What seems like a long time ago, I found packets of French baking powder in an Asian grocery that I bought because I loved the packaging. They were sold in cellophane, maybe 6 packets to the pouch. I couldn't wait to get home and Google to find out about it. What I remember is that it is single-action baking powder, powder that activates immediately when it hits liquid and not again when it hits the oven heat. I recall that it was recommended to be used in gâteau, though I'm not certain how it would fare with a long refrigeration time. I may try it sometime, I still have the pale pink packets in my baking pantry. They still make me happy when I see them in there.


So my vacation week is ended, my kiddo is on his way home, and I have just a few hours more of a quiet home. I am looking forward to hearing about all of his adventures away (especially because my Mom told me that he was eating all kinds of new foods this week), and I look forward to having my little family all together once again. I have a few pieces of gâteau left for everyone to taste after dinner tonight, and I will see how long the pretty little cake remains tasty.

Sourdough CocoNana Bread (or Just Another Reason Why I Love Dorie Greenspan)

I'm sure that it's no secret that I love Dorie Greenspan. I don't really know of anyone who loves to bake who doesn't, and I think it's because in addition to her very likable personality, she also writes impeccable recipes. I consult her Baking book often, another in the stack of cookbooks that I have whole passages memorized from. Every recipe I've ever made from it has been a success: from the "adult" chocolate ganache cupcakes (gracing my CakeWalk banner above) to the Corniest Corn Muffins, each has been an instant favorite, and I'm hardly exaggerating. If you have been reading for awhile, you'll know that I don't actually own this favorite baking book of all time, instead I trek three quarters of a mile down the road and pick it up from the library every time I need it. The date due stamps are adding up over the years, and every time I check it out I wonder when I will finally break down and buy a copy of my very own.

For my Kiddo's birthday party on Saturday, I made a slew of chocolate cupcakes, and then a variation of her Perfect White Party Cake layered with Chocolate Malt Buttercream frosting for our family party later in the day. As if I would enter panic mode from not having enough chocolate to celebrate the momentous occasion of 5 years of my pride and joy, I decided to also "sourdoughize" a quick bread of Dorie's that I'd never actually tried in it's unaltered version: Coco-Nana bread.

It could be because my Parents came down to spend a couple of days (and we do love our quick breads with the morning coffee), or maybe it's because I was growing my starter bigger to be sure to have enough for plenty of pancake batter, but making this sourdough morning bread wasn't a mistake. I used a whole cup of starter and let it rise overnight until it was billowy and sweetly sour. I decided to scoop out 4 muffin-sized lumps from the rather full loaf pan after remembering my debacle with a recent cake and I'm fairly sure that proved to be a good decision. One muffin went (warm) directly into the Birthday Boy's mouth, where he promptly declared it delicious and I had no additional mess to attend to.

sourdough, overnighted.

If you plan the night before for this bread, it can be on the breakfast table in a little more than an hour. If you are in a rush, pop all of the batter into muffin papers, and they bake in roughly half the time. Either way the bread ages gracefully, gaining chocolaty depth and brownie points with children. You can easily pretend that you are having dessert for breakfast, which Dorie says is perfectly acceptable. She also says of her "coal dark morning loaf": "At first bite (it) is chocolate-chocolate, and then the banana flavor kicks in - it's altogether winning and, while it may feel decadent to have it at breakfast, it would be just as winning, if a little less racy, as a p.m. treat."

Agreed. And, seeing as my folks brought down my order of local strawberries, I'll add that sliced berries make a pretty great topping to a poundcake-sized portion as well.

Sourdough CocoNana Bread (adapted for sourdough from Dorie Greenspan - Baking From my Home to Yours)
  • 1 c. sourdough starter (100% hydration), fed somewhat recently
  • 1 3/4 c. AP flour
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk (I use my yogurt that is quite thin)
  • 1 c. cocoa powder (I used natural process)
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 3/4 t. baking soda
  • 4 oz. (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 large bananas, slightly mashed
  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips, or 3 oz. chopped chocolate (bittersweet recommended)
Combine the starter, flour and buttermilk in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and let stand at room temperature until risen and puffy, or until you are ready to bake, but preferably at least 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 and set the oven rack in the center of the oven. Prepare a loaf pan by buttering it well. Have ready some muffin tins if you deem you have too much batter to contend with for a single loaf.

Sift together the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, or bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed for a minute or two until softened. Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat for 1 minute after each addition. (The batter may look curdled at this time, and that's normal.)

Reduce mixer speed to low, and mix in the mashed bananas. Mix in the cocoa mixture until just combined, then add the sourdough starter mixture. Mix well by machine, and if the starter is too sticky and unruly, wet your clean hands and knead the whole lot together by hand to evenly distribute the sourdough. I try to do this quickly, gently yet firmly and I use my hands since it they seem to have one up on the KitchenAid. Stir in chocolate chips or chopped chocolate if using and mix to distribute evenly.

Spread the mixture into the loaf pan/muffin tins, and place the pan/tins on a baking sheet for some extra insulation. Bake loaf for about 60-70 minutes, and muffins for 30-35 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then turn out to cool completely.

This is some seriously chocolaty bread. Near black, or "coal black" as Dorie aptly says, is the best description, and it tastes it as well. I may try to cut back on the sugar next time, but it's so good, I may totally decide not to bother. After all, I've already tricked myself into thinking it's better for me since I used sourdough...

No matter how I vary my method of mixing, whenever I make sourdough quick breads I always have telltale streaks of unruly batter. Honestly, I couldn't tell at all (taste or texture wise) in this bread. In some breads I've made, the streaks taste a little chewy - the first attempts were worse and were almost hard, little pebbles of sourdough nearly inedible.

I'm convinced that the more I work with sourdough in quick bread the better I become at incorporating it, and anyway this bread is so decadent that it draws attention away from what almost appears to be just nuts studded throughout. Maybe it's all the butter than softens it up, and maybe that's just another reason to love Dorie Greenspan and her marvelous recipes. My breakfasts are all the better for butter laden quick breads, my life enriched by Dorie and her attention to details.

This post has been Yeastspotted.

So I Don't Forget: A Post About Lemon Lavender Cake.

Cake. I probably like baking cake more than cooking or baking anything else. Like no other thing, it symbolizes everything good and happy in life and it can be either be made decadent or benevolent depending on your whim. There was a time not so long ago when I though baking cake would be a career path I'd choose for myself, but now I know that I'm far too absorbed with other things to be solely obsessed with cake. However, I love when someone asks me if I can make one.

Last week, a friend asked if I'd make a cake for her birthday. She may have been shocked at my over-enthusiastic and immediately-texted-back response, but birthday cakes are my absolute favorite. I may not be the best cake decorator, but birthday cakes give me the chance to make something much more extravagant that anything made for day to day consumption. (Yes, there is more often than not an everyday cake of some kind lying around my house.) They are a challenge, and they have the bonus of being shared. I asked what flavor she preferred, and without hesitation she said lemon-lavender.

I have never had this combination before. Thanks to the Internet, which at times seems like my own personal oyster-arsenal of recipes, I quickly found a way to make an infused lavender cream using the one tiny bouquet of lavender that I stored from my garden last summer. Last year, I planted lavender for the first time, and I fully anticipated using it in baking. Procrastination set in and I never got around to it, although I snatched plenty of pretty stems that decorated my dining room summerlong, and I had the immense pleasure of running my hands through the plant whenever I strolled past the garden. Never once did I make the batch of shortbread cookies I intended to make or experiment with it in other sweets, and I had the one pale purple cluster tied with kitchen twine hanging around my kitchen to remind me.

Perfect cake.

The resinous perfume of lavender is strong, so after thinking about making it into a stabilized whipped cream for a filling, I decided on understatement instead - that I'd use it only in the frosting. For my base layers, I used Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake which is perfect and white, and slices handsomely without fear of toppling. My Perfect Party Cake never rises as high as the pictures of Dories in her Baking book, but I still like the flavor and stability of this cake. Every time I make it, I think it will rise higher - and I still hold out hope that one day, I will have a mile-high white cake. The cake lacks any yolks to color it, but I used more grated lemon peel to amp up the lemon flavor and I'm convinced it made it look faintly yellow. I love to think of Dorie in her kitchen whenever I bake from her Baking book - it really is one of my favorite cookbooks.

With the frosting and cake decided, I just had to decide on a filling. I waffled between using lemon curd or lemon marmalade, or perhaps some of each. When I tasted the finished curd, then subsequently tasted the lemon marmalade, the marmalade tasted positively bitter. I decided on three layers of lemon curd. When cloaked in lightly sweetened lavender whipped cream, I think it really worked. I want to write it down so I don't forget. It happens.

I made the lemon curd and infused the lavender simple syrup the day before I baked and assembled the cake. I had one little jar of lemon curd leftover - I kind of wanted to save a little for myself, to use as a topping on Dorie's Cream Scones that I made last week. She says it will keep up to 2 months in the refrigerator, but I know I'm never going to have to worry about that.

Dorie's Lemon Curd (Dorie's Baking: From My Home to Yours)
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 6 T. butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 6 egg yolks (save those whites! You'll need 4 for the cake.)
  • lemon juice from 4 freshly squeezed lemons (zest them all first prior to juicing. I use organic to ensure they haven't been dyed or sprayed.)
Combine all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Stirring continuously with a heat proof implement, heat over medium-low heat until the butter melts and the mixture gets thicker. Depending on your heat, this should take about 6-10 minutes. (Be careful not to get it too hot, or it can separate.) When done, it should coat the back of a metal spoon without running into the track you create by running your finger down the center. It will thicken in the refrigerator, so you aren't looking for it to be as thick as finished curd when it's still hot.

Pour the still hot, finished curd into a glass bowl, and press a piece of plastic wrap over the top to prevent a skin from forming. Cool completely to room temperature before refrigerating.

Lavender Simple Syrup - for Lavender Whipped Cream Frosting (Cupcake Bakeshop)
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • heaping 1 T. lavender flowers
  • 2 c. heavy cream
Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add lavender flowers, stir to combine, and let steep uncovered for 10 minutes. Place a fine sieve over a small glass or bowl and strain out lavender flowers, pressing to release all the syrup from them. Cool, then refrigerate until ready to make whipped cream.

Whip cream using a stand or hand mixer (or by shear brute hand force if you are up for that) until soft peaks form. With mixer still running, slowly drizzle in lavender syrup and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

You can find the recipe for Dorie's Perfect Party Cake here at Ezra Pound Cake, along with the original buttercream frosting...

I love rich cakes paired with airy light frostings, and this one was no exception. The lemon curd was lemony and tart, and the lavender read more as floral than perfume-y, so I was very happy with the combination of the two. It sliced like a dream, and was rich enough that a small piece was enough. A room full of people were served, and there were still a few pieces for the Birthday Girl to have leftover the next day.

Before the onset of Winter, I covered my first season lavender plant with a large, overturned flower pot - so I have high hopes for it's reemergence this Spring. And, with the time change coming up this weekend already, I feel more ready than ever for the change in weather. I'm glad I have a bit of sunny lemon curd to hold me over until the sunlight is good and properly warming when I wander around outside. I certainly will remember both to use my lavender more during the season and to stash more of it away come Fall. I can see this becoming a habit.