Friday, July 14, 2017

Our Daughter's Cake à la lavande - Lavender Pound Cake

Hello and happy summer! For once, this recipe is not my mom's!  Since I am really into baking these days,  I figured out that, since I am in France (yes vacation! for 2 1/2 months - too much right?),  I should use this time to bake. The weather in Normandy (one of the places I'm staying over the summer) has been sunny and really hot ;  and then rain, rain, rain!
With my grand-parents, my brother and some of my cousins,  we went to a Gospel concert organized in the village's church. After the concert, we had a "collation" for the artists. We helped out to make something for them, and it had to be a dessert. Good for me, I was up for it! My grandmother told me I should make a chocolate cake, but I thought it was too ordinary. I thought that maybe I could make a lavender cake. Since there is fresh lavender (and no chemicals on them!) in my grandmother's garden (yes lavender in Normandy!), I did not have to purchase any. 
It was a success - they all loved it! So I even made it again for a "goûter" (afternoon snack) and it got  eaten quickly! Hope you love it too! Bon Appétit!
For one pound cake
  • 200g flour plus some of the mold
  • 8g baking powder
  • 2 ts organic lavender buds and some for decorating
  • 100g butter + some of the mold
  • 200g sugar
  • 3 egs
  • 125ml whole milk
For the lemon icing:
  • 150 g powder sugar
  • 10 g water (more or less depending on consistency). .
  • 1 organic lemon

  • Infuse lavender in milk (I generally do it while we eat or a few hours before baking the cake; the milk should really taste like lavender)
  • Preheat oven to 360 F
  • Soften butter in microwave oven - it has to be soft but not melted
  • Mix sugar and butter together until white and double in volume.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time
  • Mix the flour and baking powder and add them to the sugar mixture
  • Pour the milk (with lavender buds) and mix well with a spatula (my mom calls it the indispensable tool (outil indispensable) in a kitchens)😘
  • Butter + flour the mold
  • Pour the mixture in it and bake 40 -45 min
  • Unmold the cake and let it cook on a rack 
  • While it cools down, prepare the icing

  • The icing has to be liquid enough to drip on the sides of the cake but solid enough to create an opaque layer.
  • In a pot, mix water and powdered sugar
  • Add a few drops of lemon and half of the lemon zest
  • Pour on the cake when the cake is cool and decorate with lavender sprigs

Personal Comments
  • You could use smaller individual molds - just adjust cooking time to 15 -20 min
  • Make sure to use organic lavender as you don't want to eat pesticides!
  • I use butter + flour even on a silicon mold
  • The cake tastes better cold but you could eat it warm as well

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


It's Summer again! Well, technically,  we are still a few weeks away from Summer but as I have come to realize "Summer time" is a very cultural theme.  For French people, l'été really means July and August - the time of year when everyone gets some time off. June is when everyone starts to think about their Summer vacations ; this is why I really like going to France in June. Days are really long, Parisians are starting to slow down, eating outside ,and easing into their Summer days....
In the U.S., Summer officially starts at the end of May with Memorial Day weekend and finishes early September with Labor Day. This is when plane tickets prices soar; this is when everyone starts barbecuing or, if in Philadelphia, talking about their weekend at the Jersey Shore....

So, it's Summer again in the U.S. and time to entertain outside. Since we only live in a two-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia, we can not entertain a lot during the cold months of Fall/Winter/early Spring.We are fortunate, though, to have a large roof top in our apartment building, which we use as an extra room everytime it's hot enough to sit outside.  This varies a lot -  we experienced a very hot Winter, which made it possible to eat outside in February! Most generally, we really start opening up the terrasse at the end of April. This spare open space with full view of the Benjamin Bridge enables us to host a few parties during the warm days of Summer in Philadelphia...

Since apéritif is one of my favorite meals, we tend to organize large "apéros" on our roof top. This makes it easy to organize and host: no back-and-forth with the kitchen downstairs : the food is already out. Everybody can help themselves with what they like (or want to try).... It's just a nice way to chill out and enjoy the company of friends.

Among all the things we make are the usual suspects : Guacamole, Hummus, white beans and fennel dip, salsa and chips, nuts, cake aux olives et au jambon, charcuterie and cheese, etc.  This year, I made a few variations of pissaladières. Pissaladières are from the South of France and traditionally involve caramelized onions, black olives, anchovies on bread dough. Since I know few people  who like anchovies, I tend not to make them with anchovies, especially when a lot of children are coming over. This year, I had extra feta cheese so I added feta instead of anchovies since we were having more than 12 kids over with their parents. I don't bother making my own dough anymore (my sourdough starter died a while ago) so I just purchase pizza dough at the local supermarket.
Really easy to make - and as usual, something you can improvise around to adapt to the palate of your guests. It's also very easy to bring Pissaladières to a Summer pique-nique or your next BBQ since it's officially in season!
Bon Appétit!


  • A ball of pizza dough
  • Onions (more than you think you need - I use 3 large ones for one Pissaladière)
  • Herbes de Provence
  • Anchovies, black olives, feta cheese

  • Pre-heat oven to 400F
  • Lay out the dogue in a square pan
  • Cook the onions in olive oil until translucide but not caramelized (although you could caramelize them)
  • Add herbes de Provence, salt, pepper to taste
  • Lay the onions on the dough
  • Add Anchovies/black olives, etc.
  • Bake in the oven for 25 minutes