There is something about lavender that just calms me. Basically from when I wake up in the morning until I hit the pillow at night, I am running. Yes, it does seem some days that I am running a marathon day after day. There are very few things that actually get me to stop and breath deeply, when I am not in yoga class – and lavender is one of them.
I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit, and couldn’t wait to make it. I was tempted to go outside and harvest my own lavender, but we were camping one weekend – and on the way home stopped at this farm stand. They had fresh lavender all ready for baking, so I bought a package. At that point I had no excuses not to make this. The cake was fabulous – buttery and rich, with a deep vanilla flavor – but it was the peaches that made the entire dessert. First of all – the lavender smell filled my house with such calmness, it was incredible. My entire family loved this dessert – in fact, most of the time I share my goodies with the neighbors – this was wasn’t allowed to leave the house – yes, it was that good – even 2 days later…
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
Lavender Syrup and Peaches
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons dried lavender blossoms
- 4 medium firm but ripe peaches, pitted, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Butter an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 3/4-inch metal loaf pan. Dust pan with flour; tap out excess. Sift 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl;scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (reserve bean for lavender syrup). Using an electric mixer, beat sugar mixture until fluffy. Add egg, egg white, and vanilla extract; beat until mixture is pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Beat in sour cream. Add flour mixture; beat just until blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 56-58 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Turn cake out, then turn top side up. Cook completely.
Lavender Syrup and Peaches
Combine 2 1/4 cups water, sugar, lavender and reserved vanilla bean in a saucepan. Boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; cover and let steep 10 minutes. Strain syrup into medium bowl; discard lavender. Pour 2 tablespoons lavender syrup into small bowl; reserve for whipped cream. Cover and chill. Return remaining syrup to same saucepan; add peaches and lemon juice and bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer about 5 minutes. Transfer peaches to bowl. Boil syrup in pan until reduced to 1 cup, 12 to 14 minutes. Pour over peaches. Chill uncovered 2 hours.
Beat cream and 2 tablespoons reserved syrup in medium bowl to soft peaks. Slice cake. Serve with peaches, syrup, and cream.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Sour Cream Pound Cake with Lavender Peaches