So, it’s been cold around here. Recently in the Seattle area we had a snow day. Now, I don’t mean snowfall that truly prevents you from leaving the house. I mean the amount of snowfall, maybe an inch or two at most, that melts off by the afternoon, but when you wake up and see everything covered in a sheet of white you decide that its "unsafe" to drive, mostly because you don’t want to work that day, and the bed is calling out to you to jump back in. And after you rise from the back-to-bed naptime, you bake. Snow days are for baking.
There’s an adorable place here on the island called Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie that we frequent. Its in a historic building over a century old, they have live banjo on the weekends, an attached general store, pretty off the charts charm, and the best lavender mocha ever. I actually had never had a lavender mocha before coming here. I tend to eat my sweets, not drink them— but the idea really sounded phenomenal. The coffee mixed with the bittersweet chocolate, combined with the floral note and the creaminess of the milk is just my favorite thing. I try not to order them on too regular of a basis, so they remain a real treat that I look forward to getting me through a cold and rainy day.
So, I thought. How delicious would this combo be as a GLAZE? (That’s a no brainer). Then I started thinking of what I wanted to glaze. I got this gorgeous mini bundt pan from Williams & Sonoma about a month prior and was dying to try it. I mean, look at those gorgeous swirls! The swirled shape is just perfect for catching little rivers of glaze as you spoon it over the top. So what would I put in my cake? Probably best to keep it on the simple side so it doesn’t overpower the glaze, I thought, so I’ll keep it to a vanilla, milky flavor, true to the drink that inspired them. Just a touch of cardamom along with the vanilla bean gives these cakes a heightened floral note, adding a slightly intriguing layer of flavor. I think it really complements the cake and in no way upstages the lavender in the glaze.
This recipe will make enough cake and glaze for one large traditional sized bundt cake or 12-14 minis in a 6-cake pan like the one I used. Alternatively, if you don’t have a bundt pan, you could use this recipe to make two pound cake style loaves, or even bake them in a cupcake/muffin tin. It’s seriously so good I don’t want you to miss out on these flavors, however you want to bake it!
Store in an airtight container. It is best eaten fresh on the day of, but it was still good two days later at room temp.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
FOR THE BUNDT CAKE
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plus 2 Tbs (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1.5 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbs vanilla bean paste*
4 large eggs
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 cup whole milk
*Alternately, you can use 2 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise and insides scraped, but I find that paste is easier to work with and more cost effective in the long run.
Note: You will also want electric beaters or a paddle attachment on a standing mixer for this one, I don’t recommend beating the batter by hand.
FOR THE GLAZE
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, in small disks or chunks
1.5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs. instant espresso powder
1 tsp lavender extract
WHAT YOU'LL DO
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Generously butter pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess.
Whisk together the flour, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl or a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar at medium speed, (scraping side of bowl down occasionally), until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla bean paste (or the scraped seeds from the vanilla bean pods) and beat until well combined, about 1 minute more. Add eggs in, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in lemon juice. Lower the speed to low, and now add the flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
Spoon batter into your prepared pan. (I admittedly filled mine a little full. They rose up a bit more than I should have anticipated, so I recommend filling them about 3/4 of the way, not to the top). Smooth out the top surface with a spoon or spatula and tap the pan on the counter a few times to eliminate any air bubbles.
Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
If using a large single bundt pan, about 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 1 hour and then invert and cool on the rack before glazing 30 minutes more.
If using a mini-bundt pan that yields 6 cakes, bake for 20 mins and then allow to cool in pan another 20 before inverting onto a cooling rack, then cool 10 mins more before glazing. Once you have inverted your cakes, repeat with remaining half of the dough. This recipe yields a minimum of 12 minis, quite possibly more if you fill your pan smarter than I did mine.
While your cake is cooling, make your glaze:
Place the chocolate, sugar, and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl; set aside. Bring your cream and espresso powder to a gentle boil in a 1-qt. saucepan. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes without stirring, then whisk until smooth. Add the lavender extract and stir again.
Pour into a glass container and you are ready to glaze!
If it starts to thicken up (after about 30 minutes) before you glaze your cakes, you can warm it back up in the microwave in 20 second bursts until it’s your desired consistency again.