Happy Shavuot to all who are celebrating!
Lavender Blueberry Afternoon Cake
Sweet and buttery with a slight floral aroma, this Lavender Blueberry Afternoon Cake is just the dessert for a 4:00 Afternoon Tea, a coffee break, a fika, as my Swedish friends call it or for the holiday of Shavuot,when dairy is traditional. I infused the batter with Lady Grey Tea, the aroma and taste complementing the vanilla and citrusy flavor of the cake and glaze. Blueberries are in season and work well with these not overly sweet cakes. I just can’t resist the romance of lavender, a pretty floral touch in this multi-flavored cake. I doubled the recipe, making a large loaf, 2 mini loaves and 6 cupcakes. Cupcakes always work with kids and are easy to pick up at buffet style meals. I love mini loaves to take to friends who are watching their weight—it’s just a bite for dessert that satisfies anyone’s sweet tooth with a bit of discipline! The recipe freezes well. Quick freeze on a tray for an hour and then place in a container or freezer bag for future use.
Not all is not going smoothly in Margaret Manning’s life. While her husband first claimed to have read her novels. now he says he didn’t, Margaret is not so sure. Plot segments from her mysteries are entering her life. Online negative reviews of her books are appearing with words that her characters spoke. Is her husband Carl responsible? Some of her favorite lucky totems have disappeared, including those from her mother, who disappeared when Margaret was 6. Who is taking them? Is Carl trying to drive her over the edge and then have her committed? Is she really like her father’s Aunt Rosie, who was certifiably crazy?!
Trust and love seem out of Margaret’s grasp and then come from unexpected sources. Redemption arrives but not in the way she, or we as readers, think!
Lavender Blueberry Afternoon Cake
Yield 1 loaf pan (8 1/2” x 4 1/2” x2 1/2”), 2-3 mini loaves (5 3/4” x 3 1/4”) or 1 dozen muffins. Double recipe and you will get a yield of all three.
3/4 cup milk
1 Lady Grey tea bag
1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender buds, chopped (see note below)
2 eggs, beaten
2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda 6 tablespoons butter softened
1/2 cup honey or sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces blueberries, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon flour
3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon water or milk
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
A few sprinkles lavender
Preheat oven to 350. Coat a loaf pan with vegetable or butter spray.
Heat milk, Lady Grey tea bag and lavender buds in a small pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add beaten eggs.
Mix together baking powder, baking soda and flour. Cream butter with honey, and then cut in with flour mixture.
Add one half of flour mixture to egg mixture, then ½ milk mixture. Repeat, using both mixtures up. Mix after each addition.
Stir in vanilla and salt. Toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour. This keeps them from settling to the bottom of the pan while baking. Fold into batter.
Add to loaf pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick when tested in the loaf’s middle comes out clean. Run a knife around the edges of the pan. Cool for 10-15 minutes and remove from pan onto a rack. Then turn carefully onto a serving dish. Drizzle with confectioner’s sugar glaze if desired. Time for tea!
1. Mix together confectioner’s sugar and water or milk. Stir until smooth. Squeeze in lemon juice and stir again.
2. Drizzle on top of cooked tea bread.
Dairy free: Use a nut-based milk such as almond milk. Use a non-dairy margarine.
Lessen the sugar: Use ½ cup Stevia in place of honey and Stevia Confectioners Sugar in place of Confectioner’s Sugar.
Try other sweeteners: Try maple syrup, agave syrup or white in place of honey.
Make it nutty: Add ½ cup chopped nuts, such as walnuts, almonds or pecans
Stronger tea flavor: Use Earl Grey Tea
Other berries: Try strawberries, blackberries or raspberries in place of blueberries.
Sensitive to caffeine?: Use Decaffeinated Lady Grey Tea
Culinary Lavender is not available in most grocery stores. I ordered mine on line. It keeps for quite some time
and isn't too expensive. If you can't find it, you can substitute nutmeg, not a floral flavor, but good nonetheless.