Languishing Lavender?

 Baking is one of my favourite things. I like the process (usually) and I like the end product (more often than not). My mother didn't bake so I definitely didn't pick it up from her. I can remember the first time I tried to bake a cake. Was I nine? Ten? Did I need a recipe? No. Intrepidly I gathered ingredients and mixed them all together willy nilly: flour, sugar, margarine, dried fruit, glace cherries, milk. No weighing, no measuring, no recommended temperature setting. There must have been a baking tin in the house because I remember putting the mixture into a round tin. I probably kept opening the oven to check the progress. The cake was edible and I thought I'd try baking again.

In those days certain shops gave out Green Shield stamps with purchases, the quantity depending on how much you spent. My mother would distribute her stamps between my siblings and me, and when we had each had filled our first book, she brought us off to the nearest depot where we exchanged our stamps. I got myself a cupcake tray and I think I might have persuaded one of the siblings to get a pair of sandwich tins!

Let's return from Memory Lane. My latest baking venture was lemon and lavender cake from a recipe by Corinne Micallef. The ingredients included plain flour, caster sugar, lavender, lemons, eggs, full-fat natural yoghurt and unsalted butter. (If you can't find the recipe at the link above, try the BBC's website.) Everyone seems to like lemon cake and there were two pots of yoghurt in the fridge that needed to be used up. Also, the lavender was blooming on my depleted stock planted three years ago. I needed three and a half tablespoons of lavender "stripped off the stems". I wasn't quite sure what that meant until I tentatively started to pluck the buds and flowers off the stems. Eureka moment!

Batter made, I spooned it into the prepared loaf tin and put it in the pre-heated oven. As the timer ticked down to the last minute I called the spouse and older offspring down to be in attendance when I opened the oven. Oh, what aromas! Lemon faintly tinged with lavender. The final stage involved piercing the cake, pouring lemon syrup over it and sprinkling it with granulated sugar and lavender. What a summertime treat. 

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