Makes one 8½ x4½" loaf Servings
Look for culinary lavender at specialty food stores, tea and spice shops, or online [or from millefleurs.ca].
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons dried lavender
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup buttermilk or milk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons buttermilk or milk
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter an 8½x4½" loaf pan and line with parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang on long sides. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
Place granulated sugar, lavender, and lemon zest in a food processor. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; save pod for another use. Pulse until lavender is finely chopped; set 1 Tbsp. lavender sugar aside for topping.
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat remaining lavender sugar and ½ cup butter in a large bowl until very light and fluffy, 5–7 minutes (don’t shortchange yourself here; the long beating time aerates the cake and yields the finest texture). Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend after each addition and scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
Combine buttermilk and lemon juice in a small bowl. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients to lavender sugar mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Stop mixer just before all dry ingredients are incorporated and finish mixing by hand, a guarantee against overmixing the batter, which can cause the cake to be tough. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula.
Bake cake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 55–65 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cake cool in pan 20 minutes before turning out and peeling off parchment. Let cool completely.
Whisk powdered sugar and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Pour over cooled cake, letting excess drip over sides. Using a lemon zester, zest lemon into strips into a small bowl; add 1 Tbsp. reserved lavender sugar and toss to coat. Top cake with sugared lemon zest. Let sit until glaze is set, about 30 minutes.
Credits: Recipe by Jessie Damuck, Photos by Alex Lau