Pumpkin Lavender Cake

One thing that resulted from the lavender books I purchased and read this year is a curiosity about experimenting with pumpkin and lavender together.  I happen to love both of them independently and I was pretty sure they’d make a nice combination.

At last I did it.  I fiddled with another recipe and came up with this one for a pumpkin lavender cake.  It did not disappoint.

This cake is doubly special to me because I also did some research on pumpkins and learned more about the Rouge Vif d’Etampes pumpkin.  It’s a French heirloom pumpkin which was first brought to the U.S. in the late 1800s and is now often referred to as a Cinderella pumpkin.  I learned that the flesh of this pumpkin is very thick, yielding much more pumpkin than most and that it also makes the most delicious pumpkin pies.  So, naturally, I bought one.  On Sunday I cut it in half, scraped out the seeds (which I’ve saved to plant next year) and baked it.  Can you believe how beautiful this pumpkin is?  The color is breathtaking, and the walls are very thick.

I could only fit one half on a baking sheet at a time and it yielded a huge bowl of pumpkin, probably enough for all my pumpkin baking this year.  (Yay for me!  I learned something new!)

And thus my pumpkin lavender cake was born, baked with homemade pumpkin puree.  I baked it in my pumpkin cake pan, but it would be especially pretty in a bundt cake pan as well.  {And if I’m honest, I’d say this cake pan makes it look more like a candied apple than a pumpkin, so maybe next year I should try a caramel apple cake in this pan!}  What really matters with this cake is its flavor.

Here’s the recipe:

Pumpkin Lavender Cake


2 cups sugar 1 Tablespoon dried lavender buds 1 cup butter 4 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 cup pumpkin puree 1/4 cup heavy cream (or half and half will work, too) 2 1/2 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt Preparation:

Place the sugar and lavender in a blender or food processor and process until lavender is chopped and incorporated into sugar (*if you’d like to smell something divine, just savor this for a few minutes!).  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl cream butter until light and fluffy.  Add 1/3 sugar mixture and beat.  Continue this until all sugar is added and mixture is creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after each egg.  Add vanilla and beat well.

In a small bowl, combine pumpkin and cream and mix together.  In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Add 1/3 pumpkin mixture to batter and mix well.  Add 1/3 flour mixture and beat again.  Continue adding both the pumpkin and flour mixtures (alternating between the two) until all ingredients are combined.

Grease a bundt pan and spoon batter into pan.  Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Invert onto cooling rack to remove cake from pan and allow to cool completely.

My first impression of the cake was that the lavender flavor was the tiniest bit stronger than the pumpkin.  Because of this I opted to frost it with my Brown Sugar Frosting to balance the lavender and increase the traditional pumpkin taste.  I sprinkled the top with lavender buds for a finishing touch.

My family loved it. They all liked different things more.  Some liked the frosting best, some liked the cake, some liked the pumpkin, some loved the lavender.  It was gone in an afternoon.  I loved savoring each bite, tasting the lavender and the pumpkin both.  I’ll definitely make this cake again, and it was a fun first effort at pairing pumpkin and lavender.

If you ever try it, let me know.  I’d love to get more opinions on the two flavors together!



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