Lavender and Coconut Layer Cake with Lavender Italian Meringue Frosting (aka My Favorite Birthday Cake!)

a My Favorite Birthday Cake!)
 

I am slightly obsessed with lavender. I love to wear it as a perfume, I love to keep pots of it at home, and I love to eat it! I even have a secret desire to name my future daughter Lavender (I just have to get my husband on board...). So for my last birthday, I decided to treat myself to a lavender birthday cake. I was inspired by Ina Garten's Coconut Layer Cake, though I've made a fair number of tweaks. I was also inspired by Someonewhobakes' recipe for Vanilla/Infused Italian Meringue (http://someonewhobakes.com/2011/03/03/hell-hath-frozen-over/), though I again make some tweaks. The end result is a delicious, big, lavender-heaven cake.

What you will need

170 grams / 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the cake pans

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender

5 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla sugar, or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons coconut extract (optional)

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup coconut milk (full fat is best)

110 grams / 4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Some sliced strawberries (optional)

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon lavender

1/2 cup water

6 egg whites, slightly warmed (in a bowl of water for a minute or two)

Pinch of cream of tartar

340 grams / 1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature, cubed

Sweetened shredded coconut, for dusting

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