Tag: lavender shortbread

Frances Bissell’s Lavender & White Chocolate Caramel Cake

Lavender & White Chocolate Caramel Cake

This is advanced lavender baking! When I shared my Lavender Gâteau Breton recipe with you a couple weeks ago, I mentioned Frances Bissell’s fantastic baking book, The Floral Baker. The renowned British cookbook author inspired me to give the aromatic blue flowers a try in my kitchen and to add them to my own baking. I started off with the preparation of a jar full of lavender sugar about a month ago, the floral sweetness needs some time to develop its exhilarating qualities. For my buttery French cake, the Gâteau Breton, I sieved the sugar and used the florets just for the topping. I wanted to take it easy at first, to get used to this new flavour and to avoid straining my taste buds without even getting started properly.

So now I felt ready to take the next step, the advanced level of floral baking. I got in touch with Stephen from Serif Books to see if I could share one of the floral master’s recipes on eat in my kitchen. We got along very well and I found out that Frances lives in England and Gozo and also includes traditional Maltese recipes in her cooking. I really hope to meet her there one day for a meet in your kitchen feature on the blog!

After reading her book I felt quite torn between a few recipes but in the end I went for Frances’ Lavender and White Chocolate Caramel Cake. It sounded so decadent and rich that I had to give it a try. The creation is based on her mother’s recipe for toffee cake and it has been in her family since the early 1960s. It’s like Millionaire’s shortbread, just with white chocolate. It starts off with a thin shortcrust base infused with the beautiful aroma of lavender, topped with toffee cream and a final layer of crunchy white chocolate. The creation looks a bit old fashioned which I love, it’s the right treat for high tea with the ladies, when you bring out the nice porcelain and get dressed up. I didn’t use my bone China at my table but another gem I found recently, the beautiful plates and bowls (and my beloved new measuring spoons!) by Ferm Living in Denmark. It’s a clean, grey stoneware collection inspired by Bauhaus classics. My friend Anne, the photographer I mentioned last Sunday, told me about their stunning designs, she knows that I’m always on the lookout for nice tableware. Luckily, we have a similar taste, which is quite minimal, and we’re both picky, so I found the perfect design scout for me!

And thank you for 10.000 followers on eat in my kitchen’s Instagram!!

Lavender & White Chocolate Caramel Cake

 

Lavender & White Chocolate Caramel Cake

Lavender & White Chocolate Caramel Cake

Recipe by Frances Bissell

Mind that you prepare the lavender sugar a few days (or even weeks) in advance, 10 parts sugar and 1 part organic lavender flowers (L. augustifolia, Hidcote).

For a 20cm / 8″ cake tin, about 4cm / 1 1/2″ deep, you need

For the shortbread

plain flour 115g / 4oz
lavender sugar 25g / 1oz (I used mainly the sugar and 1 teaspoon of the flowers)
butter, cold, 50g / 2oz

For the topping

Golden Syrup 2 tablespoons
condensed milk 395g / 14oz
quality white chocolate 200g / 7oz
a drop of culinary lavender essence (I left this out and sprinkled the cake with lavender flowers instead)

Set the oven to 190°C / 375°F (fan assisted oven) and lightly butter the cake tin (or line the tin with parchment paper).

For the shortbread, mix the flour, lavender sugar and butter with the hooks of your mixer. Press the dough into the tin and bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove the tin from the oven and leave the shortbread in it.

For the toffee, pour the Golden Syrup and the condensed milk into a saucepan, stir together over moderate heat until well-mixed, then boil precisely 7 minutes, stirring all the time.

Spread the mixture over the shortbread and allow it to cool. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water, mix in the essence if you would like to use it and spread over the cooled toffee, marking into small triangles, squares or fingers, as appropriate, before the chocolate has set. Sprinkle with lavender flowers. Cut when cold.

Lavender & White Chocolate Caramel Cake

 

Lavender & White Chocolate Caramel Cake

 

Lavender & White Chocolate Caramel Cake

 

Lavender & White Chocolate Caramel Cake

 

lavenderwhitechocolatecaramelcake11

Lavender Gâteau Breton

Lavender Gateau Breton

This little Gâteau Breton looks so simple and innocent but there’s a rich and buttery depth behind its golden crust that can easily compete with any lavish layer cake. I admire the sweet French cuisine for mastering the art of getting the most out of a piece of butter, a few eggs and some sugar and flour. This is minimalism brought to perfection in baking.

I chose this Brittany butter cake as it seemed the right recipe to try out my new homemade lavender sugar. A spongy shortbread, that’s how I would describe it, sprinkled with the most fragrant purple sugar, it sounded so good and it tasted even better. Frances Bissell, the woman behind the wonderful baking book The Floral Baker, is a genius mind responsible for many wonderful sweet and savoury creations refined with lavender, jasmine, rose petals, orange flower water, wild garlic or saffron. Her recipe collection is a journey through nature’s opulence, I felt so inspired by the way she introduces new flavours and offers fresh combinations that I had never heard of or thought about. I already decided that her Saffron and Rosewater Biscuits, Lavender and Tomato Tart and the Lavender White Chocolate Caramel Cake will soon make an appearance on my kitchen table!

My first practical approach to her book was the preparation of lavender sugar. Frances suggests 10 parts sugar and 1 part lavender flowers (L. augustifolia, Hidcote), I trust this experienced baker so I decided to fill a huge jar up to the brim. My new pantry project satisfied me instantly, every couple days, I took it off the shelf to shake my flowery treasure and imagined all the recipes it would refine in future. Pure relaxation in a jar!

After a few weeks the time had come to give it a go and I think I couldn’t have had a better start to my flower project. I didn’t mix the sugar in in the dough, I just sprinkled the purple flowers and sugar on top of my warm Gâteau Breton and it instantly spread its beautiful aroma. It looked stunning, it took a French baking classic to another level and my boyfriend, who isn’t usually too fond of lavender, couldn’t get enough of it (like me)!

I’m with Diana Henry on The Floral Baker‘So thrilled with this by the wonderful Frances Bissell’! Thrilled and inspired, that’s the best a cookbook can do!

Lavender Gateau Breton

 

Lavender Gateau Breton

Lavender Gateau Breton

Mind that you prepare the lavender sugar a few days (or even weeks) in advance, 10 parts sugar and 1 part organic lavender flowers (L. augustifolia, Hidcote), you’ll only need a couple teaspoons for this cake.

For a 25cm / 10″ tart pan you need

plain flour 200g / 7oz
baking powder 3/4 teaspoon
a pinch of salt
butter, soft, 150g / 5 1/4oz
organic egg yolks 3 plus 1 egg
sugar 125g / 4 1/2oz

For the glaze
organic egg yolk 1
water 1 tablespoon

For the topping
lavender sugar 1-2 teaspoons, to taste

Set the oven to 170°C / 340°F (fan-assisted oven) and butter the tart pan.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, the egg and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the butter and mix with the hooks of your mixer, add the flour and continue mixing until combined. Scrape the dough into the tart pan (it will be sticky) and even out the surface a little. Whisk the egg yolk and water for the glaze and brush the top of the dough. Scratch a diamond pattern into the surface (as you can see in the pictures), mind that you scratch deep enough, otherwise the pattern will melt away while baking. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of lavender sugar (without the flowers) and bake for 25-28 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle the warm cake with a little more lavender sugar (this time with the flowers as well).

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Lavender Gateau Breton

 

Lavender Gateau Breton