Share Some Lovin’…Ma Cherie!

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 With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I think about Love & Chocolate… especially Chocolate Cake! Awww…”Ma Cherie”!! 

It’s time to pull out me favorite “Heart” shaped baking pan, that was handed down from my Grandfather Carson. He was a Pastry Chief, owner of “Carson’s Bakery” in Juneau, Alaska, from 1936-1974. And for two years he was head Baker on the Alaskan Ferry Boat.

I was born in Juneau, and one of my childhood memories was a trip to Grandpa Carson’s Bakery for fresh baked Maple Bars! OMG… The amazing aroma filled his bakery, and such a luscious, melt in my mouth sweet aromatic taste!! I can hardly resist Maple Bars to this day 🙂 That started my love for baking, I’m sure!

Grandpa’s Heart pans are well “loved”, like the velveteen rabbit, with many years of use baking Heart cakes and Pies. I’ve often thought about being a pastry chief, due to growing up with a mother who also baked bread, and pastries often,  just like her father. I especially enjoy baking, experimenting with a variety of herbs and flavors in breads, and pastries for family and friends to enjoy 🙂  I love chocolate and lavender together, so today I’m baking a Chocolate Cake with Lavender Mocha Frosting.

I told my mother that I baked a chocolate cake with Grandpa’s Heart cake pans, a Flourless Chocolate Cake. She said, “why do you want to leave things out when you bake”. I laughed until it hurt. 🙂 I said, “I love experimenting with different recipes,  and now it’s Gluten Free”.  My husband says this cake is, “Sinfully decadent”!! I think it’s lavishly rich, and Heavenly!

Chocolate Cake w/ Lavender Mocha Frosting

(Flourless – Gluten free)

Ingredients:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
¼ cup sifted unsweetened Hershey’s Cocoa powder, plus more for pan
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
5 large eggs
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375’. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan (I used an 8 inch heart pan) line bottom with a parchment round. Butter parchment and dust all over with cocoa powder shaking out excess: set aside.
2. In a medium heatproof bowl set over, not in, a pan of simmering water, melt chocolate and butter; cool to room temperature.
3. Using an electric mixer on high, beat eggs, sugar, and salt until light and foamy, about 2 minutes.
4. Gently fold ¼ of egg mixture into cooled chocolate mixture to lighten the chocolate. Then gently fold chocolate mixture into remaining egg mixture until marbled. Fold in cocoa powder. Spoon into prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until center still feels soft and top has a thin crust.
5. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Run a metal spatula around the sides of pan and invert; remove parchment. Invert again so cake is right side up. When cooled add *Lavender Mocha Frosting. This recipe was altered a tad from Everyday Baking OPB.

*Lavender Mocha Frosting

6 Tbsp Cocoa 6 Tbsp butter, room temperature
8 Tbsp hot coffee 1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp English culinary lavender and 1 tsp Provence culinary lavender(for a more bold, rich flavor)
3 cups powdered sugar

In a small bowl add hot coffee and the culinary lavender, infuse for 15 minutes. Strain lavender out using fine strainer. Combine cocoa and coffee. Add vanilla and butter, beat until smooth. Add powdered sugar and blend well. Frost cooled Chocolate Cake with a generous amount of frosting (You might like a touch of  Whipped Cream on top)  🙂

Enjoy sharing some lovin’, and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! There’s nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate!  Will you Be Mine! Ma Cherie! <3                      

 

 

 

 

Culinary Lavender-English or Provence?

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Today we shipped out  lbs. of our culinary lavender to one of our favorite wholesale customers, Lion Heart Kombucha.  Two pounds were our English variety, “Signature Blend”, and one pound was our Provence, Lavandin variety. We greatly appreciate Lion Heart Kombucha…. They produce a luscious “Lavender Lemonade- gentle infusion of lavender and lemon balm. Subtle flavor, but you will notice the medicinal “happy” effects of the herbs almost immediately”!

In the event that you’re trying a recipe that calls for culinary lavender, here are a few of my ideas on how I choose from the two varieties, English or Provence, in a recipe. I usually suggest to my customers who haven’t tried culinary lavender, to make a tea with each different variety. 1/2 tsp of Provence in cup of hot water, and another cup of 1/2 tsp English, steep 5-10 minutes. This gives you the idea of just how different and unique each culinary lavender variety is.

English culinary lavender, our “Signature Blend, adds a light, delicate hint of lavender. I prefer using it in baking sweets, such as Shortbread, Scones, Cakes, cookies, etc. However, if I’m using a bold flavor of dark chocolate in the recipe, I might add a teaspoon or two of Provence, along with the English lavender. This combination of both culinary lavenders, is a perfect “marriage” that brings a rich, full flavor of lavender into some recipes.

Provence culinary lavender lends a more bold, rich, savory lavender flavor into foods. It is great in meat dishes, beans, soups, bread, salads, and vinaigrette’s etc. Remember for a more fine texture, finely grind the culinary lavender in a spice grinder. Also,I will often use our Hood River Lavender Spice Blend, which is a blend of organic herbs with our culinary Provence lavender, in recipes such as salads, Facassia bread, and vinaigrette’s. 

I hope this helps to explain the unique difference in our culinary lavender. Enjoy baking with these lovely, floral flavors!

 

Here is a photo of Lion Heart Kombuchas

 

Lavender Raspberry Honey Tapioca

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Tapioca is a  light, easy, Gluten Free dessert! It is a favorite “soul food” of mine, that brings back memories of my childhood at Grandma’s house 🙂 I’ve put a little modern twist on this recipe with our Culinary Lavender, giving it a warm, lightly floral  flavor. This would be a perfect light dessert for your Super Bowl menu!

Lavender Raspberry Honey Tapioca

Serves 4-6

2 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup/2.5 oz. small pearl tapioca

2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

¼ tsp. fine-grain sea salt (I used HRL Sel-Gris)

1/3  cup mild honey

Grated zest of 1 small lemon (I left this out)

1 tsp. Organic Vanilla (I used instead of lemon)

2 tsp. English culinary lavender (HRL Signature Blend)

¼ to 1 tsp rose water (I left this out)

Sliced raspberries to garnish

1. Soak the tapioca in 2 cups of the room temperature water 4- 6 hours or overnight. Strain off water, and set aside.

2. In a medium, heavy saucepan, over low heat, add 2 1/2 cups milk, and culinary lavender; heat just to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and allow lavender flowers to infuse with the milk for 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove lavender flowers.

3. Wisk in the egg yolks, salt, and honey, add tapioca, and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. This will take about 15 minutes. Decrease the heat so the mixture gently simmers, stirring constantly, for another 20 minutes or until the tapioca is fully cooked (this depends on how large your tapioca pearls are.) The tapioca is fully cooked when the pearls swell up and are nearly translucent-tasting is the best way to tell. The pudding itself will also thicken into a custard. Continue to taste and stir, preventing the tapioca from scorching. Remove the pan from the heat, and scoop into parfait glasses. Chill or serve warm. Top with fresh raspberries. Enjoy!!

Original recipe is from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day,and 17and baking,  altered a tad with our culinary lavender, and vanilla.