Lavender isn't just Provence, it also says Norfolk to me as it's grown there, right by the coast at Heacham. You can now get dried edible lavender flowers from Bart. If you don't want an iced cake, just make a lemon and sugar-syrup topping: mix the juice of 1 large lemon with 100g caster sugar, stir together until the sugar is mostly dissolved, then make holes all over the top of the cake with a skewer and slowly pour the syrup all over it while it's still warm. FOR THE CAKE:
- 300g granulated sugar
- ¾ tablespoon dried lavender
- 175g plain flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 250g Greek yogurt
- 125ml mild olive oil or sunflower oil
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon juice
FOR THE ICING AND DECORATION:
- 1 egg white
- 150g icing sugar, sifted
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 6-8 sprigs of fresh lavender
- Caster sugar for dusting
- Heat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/mark 4. Put the sugar and lav- ender into a food processor and whizz until the lavender has broken down. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Add the lavender sugar. In a jug, mix together the eggs with the yogurt and oil.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and gradually pour in the wet ingredients, stirring as you go. Add the lemon zest and juice. Be careful not to overmix. Scrape into a base-lined and buttered cake tin, 20cm diameter and 6cm deep.
- Bake in the oven for 55 minutes, or until the cake is coming away from the sides of the tin and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Turn out the cake, peel off the paper and set on a wire rack to cool.
- For the icing, beat the egg white with a fork to break it down, then put half of it in another bowl. Mix the icing sugar with the remaining half egg white, beating until smooth. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Spoon over the top of the cake, allowing the icing to drip down the sides.
- To make sugared lavender, dip sprigs in the reserved egg white and dust all over with caster sugar (not too thickly). Set on a wire rack somewhere warm and dry. When the sugar is dry, decorate the cake with the sprigs.
To drink: A lot of dessert wines go with this sweet, lemony cake, including Rieslings, Sémillon-based wines, such as Sauternes, and Chenin-based wines, such as this one from the Loire: Domaine des Forges Côteaux du Layon Chaume 2011, £8.49 for 37.5cl, Waitrose. Wine details correct at original magazine publication date.
Recipe by Diana Henry; photograph by Martin Poole; food preparation and styling by Aya Nishimura; table styling by Alexander Breeze; wine recommendations by Joanna Simon.