17 September 2013 15:10:30 BST
The Neom team decided to have great British lavender bake off. Each day for over a week the team was tasked with bringing in a lavender (home-made) bake.
From butter buns to shortbread, check out our fab lavender bakes and read the recipes we used.
Have you got a favourite lavender recipe. Head to our Facebook page and upload your bake for your chance to WIN one of our Perfect Night’s Sleep Tranquillity bundles worth £75.50 and includes a Tranquillity Home Candle, Bath Foam and Room Mist.
For the cakes
- 100g/3½oz unsalted butter, softened
- 100g/3½oz caster sugar
- 2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
- 100g/3½oz self-raising flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp fine salt
- 1 tbsp milk
- 2 heaped tsp of lavender
For the buttercream
- 125g/4½oz unsalted butter, softened
- 200g/7oz icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Lemon curd or jam for the topping (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a 12-hole bun tin with 12 paper fairy cake cases. (Or for deep American-style cupcakes, line a 6-hole muffin tin with larger muffin cases.)
- Place the softened butter in a large bowl then beat with an electric hand-whisk until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until fully combined.
- Add a little of the beaten egg to the butter mixture, then whisk again. Gradually add the egg, little by little, whisking after each addition. It’s important to go slowly here, as adding too much egg at once can cause the mix to split. If it does split, simply add a tablespoon of the flour and whisk until the batter is smooth again.
- Sift the flour into the bowl. Using a large metal spoon or spatula, fold the flour into the cake mix.
- Add the vanilla, lavender and the salt and stir to combine. Add the milk to get the cake mix to a soft dropping consistency, where a heaped spoonful of mixture falls off the spoon after tipping it for few seconds.
- Using two dessert spoons (one to scoop and the other to push the mix into the tin), fill the paper cases half full with the batter, filling them equally.
- Bake the fairy cakes for 15 minutes in the middle of the oven, until golden-brown and the cakes spring back when pressed lightly. (Bake cupcakes for 18-20 minutes.)
- When cool enough to handle, lift the cakes onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely. The cakes can be frozen for up to a month, or will keep fresh in an airtight tin for a few days.
- To make the buttercream, put the butter into a large bowl and beat with electric hand beaters until smooth and creamy. Sift in the icing sugar, then work it into the butter, starting slowly at first, then beating more vigorously once all the sugar is combined. Add the milk and the vanilla, then beat until creamy and smooth. If the mixture is too stiff, add a little more milk. You can colour the buttercream at this stage.
- To make butterfly cakes, cut the top off each cake using a small serrated knife – angling the knife in slightly so that you make a concave cut. Cut the tops in half, to make two ‘wings’. Spread or pipe a heaped teaspoon of buttercream into the dip you have made in the top of each cake, and spoon on a little lemon curd or jam. Place the wings into the buttercream, and dust with a little icing sugar.
^ Click the banner to see Iain's recipe
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 300ml double cream
- 1 tablespoon of dried lavender (or lavender flowers from your garden)
- 60g sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- Preheat the oven to 150°C
- Put the cream and lavender in a pan and bring to the boil slowly. When boiling, simmer gently for 5 minutes
- While the cream concoction is simmering, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl
- Bring the cream concoction back to the boil and then pour into the bowl with the egg yolks and sugar
- Whisk together for a couple of minutes
- Strain the mixture into a jug
- Fill 4 ramekins to about 2/3 full
- Place in a roasting tin and fill the tin with boiling water to about half way up the ramekins
- Cook for about 30 minutes
- Check regularly – the crème brulees are ready when they are just set but still a bit wobbly in the middle
- Remove the ramekins from the water and set aside to cool to room temperature. Chill until needed.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle one level teaspoon of caster sugar evenly over the surface of each crème brulee, then caramelise with a chefs' blow-torch.
- Make them look pretty by putting them on a serving plate with sprigs of lavender.
^ Click the banner to see Richard Salem's recipe
Ingredients (Serves 24)
- 350g butter, softened
- 125g caster sugar
- 4 tablespoons sifted icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lavender
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 325g plain flour
- 65g cornflour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, caster sugar and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the lavender, mint and lemon zest. Combine the flour, cornflour and salt; mix into the butter and sugar mixture until well blended. Divide dough into two balls, wrap in clingfilm and flatten to about 2.5cm thick. Refrigerate until firm, about 1hour.
- Preheat the oven to 170 C / Gas mark 3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 6mm in thickness. Cut into shapes with scone or biscuit cutters. Biscuit stamps will work well on these too. Place on baking trays.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, just until biscuits begin to brown at the edges. Cool for a few minutes on the baking trays then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
^ Click the banner to see Vicky Bellerby's recipe
- 450g of good quality white or dark chocolate. Chop up if you haven't bought chips or buttons
- 400g (tin) of sweetened condensed milk
- 3tbs of butter (75g)
- 1tbs of dried lavender flowers or 3tbs of fresh lavender flowers
- Grind flowers in coffee grinder or finely chop. Melt chocolate and condensed milk. Add butter and stir until well mixed. Add chopped lavender to mix.
- Pour into lined tray and spread evenly. Sprinkle lavender over the top to decorate. Leave in the fridge overnight.
^ Click the banner to see Zoe's recipe
For the cakes
- 200g Organic Swede, (peeled and diced into 2cm cubes) 120g clear Organic Honey
- 2 medium free ranhe eggs
- Finely grated zest of 1 organic unwaxed lemon
- 1 heaped teaspoon of dried lavender flowers 60gr white rice flour 60gr ground almonds
- 2 tsp baking powder
For the Drizzle
- 3 tbsp golden granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 100ml freshly squeezed lemon
For the Top
- 1 tbsp golden granulated sugar
- A few lavender flowers
- Preheat the oven to 180 Celcius/ 350 F/ gas mark 4. Line the base of a loaf tin with baking parchment and lightly brush the parchment and the sides of the tin with a little vegetable oil then set aside.
- Placed the diced Swede in a heatproof bowl with a splash of water and cover with cling film. Cook in the microwave on high for 7 minutes, until soft to the touch. Once cooked through, drain off the excess water and blend to a fine puree.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk the honey and eggs for two minutes until bubbly.
- Add the lemon zest, lavender flowers, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt, and whisk again for 20 seconds. Once all the ingredients are fully incorporated , whisk in the Swede puree to combine.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and put in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes.
- Whilst the cake is cooking prepare the drizzle. Dissolve the sugar in the water by heating slowly in a small pan. As soon as the sugar has dissolved, take off the heat and set aside. Add the lemon juice when the sugar syrup is cool.
- Remove the cake from the oven, leave it in the tin and prick it right through to the bottom with a skewer so that it is covered in little holes.
- Drizzle the sweet lemon liquid over the cake. Do this while the cake is still hot and most absorbent. Finish off by sprinkling with the remaining sugar and the odd lavender flower before serving.
^ Click the banner to see Marleens's recipe
- 2 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 cup 250ml sugar
- 1 table spoon of lemon juice
- Handful of fresh lavender (I used lemon scented lavender)
- 2 cups 500ml whipped cream
- sponge fingers
- In the top of a double boiler, beat eggs, yolks, sugar, lemon juice and chopped up lavender, over a medium heat. Stirring frequently until thick. Refrigerate until cool.
- Whip cream in separate bowl till it holds it shape.
- Fold cream into lemon mixture.
- Line the sides of a 9inch buttered spring form tin with sponge fingers.
- spoon in the lemon cream.
- freeze for six hours.
- Will keep.
- take out and put into fridge 1 hour before serving.
- Should just slide out of tin.
^ Click the banner to see Vicky's recipe
- 75g butter
- 200g digestive biscuits, crushed to crumbs
- 450g cream cheese
- 1 tbsp lavender sugar, see Tip below
- 150g blueberries
- 1 tsp dried lavender buds
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 20ml water
- Line the base of a 23cm tart tin with baking parchment.
- Gently heat the butter in a small saucepan, stirring until melted. Remove from the heat, add the biscuit crumbs and stir until well-combined. Transfer to the tart tin, spread evenly over the base and sides and press down firmly. Refrigerate until hard.
- Beat together the cream cheese and lavender sugar then spread evenly over the biscuit base. Refrigerate until firm.
- Place the remaining ingredients into a small pan. Cook over a low heat until the berries begin to burst then simmer until slightly reduced and thickened.
- Remove from the heat, leave to cool slightly and carefully press through a sieve set over a bowl. Discard the pulp, return the sauce to the heat and simmer until reduced by a third. When cool, use a teaspoon to dot the sauce over the cheesecake then refrigerate until required.
Tip: To make the lavender sugar, mix together 1 tbsp caster sugar and a good pinch of dried lavender buds.
^ Click the banner to see Kate's recipe
- 175g very soft butter, plus extra for greasing
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- zest of 1 lemon
- 175g lavender sugar or caster sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons fresh or dried lavender flowers
- 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 175g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon fresh or dried lavender flowers
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Heat the oven to 160ºC (140ºC fan oven) gas mark 3. Lightly grease and line the base and sides of 8 x 200ml mini loaf tins (or a 900g loaf tin) with baking parchment. Set the tins on a baking sheet.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, then add the butter, lemon zest, lavender sugar and eggs. Beat together for 2 minutes with an electric whisk until fluffy and light in colour. Divide the mixture between the cake tins and level the tops.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes (or 45 minutes to 1 hour for the large loaf cake) until risen and golden and a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
- Mix together the icing sugar, fresh or dried lavender flowers and enough of the lemon juice to make a spreadable but not too runny icing. Add a drop or two of tepid water if necessary. When the cakes are completely cold, spread the icing over the top of each one.
^ Click the banner to see Lucy's recipe
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