Summer in New England! It's hot, humid and the blueberries are delicious! I know that many people get more excited for the summer New England seafood...and yes, I think that stuff is great too, but bring on the dessert please. One of my favorite places for vacation is Maine and they are known for their blueberries up there. One of my favorite places to eat in New England is Pickity Place in New Hampshire. You likely have heard me mention this place before if you've seen my recipes for Lemon Lavender bread and Lavender Brownies because this is the place where I was introduced to Lavender Lemonade. Let me tell you...the lemonade is incredible. It's like drinking a spa day in a glass. Naturally, I bought some culinary lavender in their gift shop and that started my baking fun with lavender.
This recipe combines three of my favorite things: New England blueberries, Pickity Place lavender and a 6 inch cake. You can find my vanilla birthday version and chocolate version of the one bowl, 6 inch cake on the blog already. This recipe uses the vanilla version as a base with a few slight modifications such as the obvious addition of blueberries and lavender, a reduction in the amount of vanilla extract and an increase in baking time as the berries add moisture to the cake.
I use a total of 4 TBS of lavender in the whole recipe. Most of it goes into the cake and I reserve 1-2 tsp for the frosting. The lavender is added into the recipe with the sugar once it's processed in a blender or food processor. I find that this amount of lavender makes the flavor noticeable to taste and smell, but it's not overpowering. You could increase or reduce the amount of lavender to your preference, but I recommend starting on the lower end of your preferences and working your way up. A little lavender can go a long way.
Let's get baking this beautiful cake.
Ingredients for the Cake
-4 TBS culinary lavender (processed to a fine consistency in a blender or food processor)
-1 cup sugar
-3/4 cup vegetable oil
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
-2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 cup whole milk
-1-1 1/2 cups blueberries
Process the lavender in a food processor or high powered blender. Prepare 2 x 6 inch cake pans with parchment paper and non-stick spray. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the lavender except 1-2 tsp (which will be reserved for the frosting) with the sugar and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Add the eggs and combine either stirring by hand or with a mixer. Do the same with the vanilla.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt on top of the wet ingredients. Gently stir them together with a fork and then gently combine with the wet ingredients. Pour the milk and stir until all combined. Fold in the blueberries. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes until the center of the cake is cooked through, as indicated by inserting and removing a clean knife or toothpick to the center of the cake. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans. Transfer the cooled cakes to a wire baking rack and ensure the cakes are completely cool before frosting.
For the lavender vanilla buttercream frosting shown on this cake. simply add 1-2tsp of processed lavender to the powdered sugar in this vanilla buttercream recipe. Enjoy the flavors of New England summer!
Our 2 1/2 year old has a fascination with farms, particularly cows. He says the word "cows" many, many times each day. So, we headed out to a local'ish farm recently, which is where this recipe was inspired with a little bit of seasonal New England food.
While at the farm, I picked up some parsnips and spinach. The only way I've eaten parsnips growing up was boiled and mashed in potatoes. Many of the boiled type dinners I had consisted of a mashed potato and veg. Parsnips or turnips would often be part of that mash. I wasn't a fan. I might get messages from some cousins on this one. I can't help it- it just wasn't my thing. It turns out that parsnips are crisp, sweet and delicious roasted with a little bit of olive oil and sea salt. Super simple. Then I paired them with this tangy, blender made dressing that has orange, ginger and it gets its creamy texture from a couple of tablespoons of tahini. The flavor combination works well. So let's get cooking this together.
-3-5 parsnips peeled and chopped
-olive oil drizzle
-spinach or other spring greens
For the dressing:
-1/2 cup sesame oil
-3 oranges juiced
-zest of 1 orange
-approx. 2 1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped (you can use more or less depending upon how much ginger zing you would like)
-2 TBS tahini
-salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking tray with cooking spray. Peel and chop the parsnips and arrange in a single layer on the tray. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle sea salt. Roast at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Give them a little stir about 15-20 minutes into the roasting time.
While the parsnips cook, add the sesame oil, orange juice, orange zest, ginger, tahini and salt/pepper to a high speed blender or food processor. Blend until all combined.
Once the parsnips are finished roasting, serve them on a plate of spring salad greens, drizzle on the dressing and enjoy!
New England wife, mom & home baker. Faith, food, fitness, baking, cooking and constantly cleaning my kitchen.