Lavender Honey Tea Cakes (FAIL)

As a student of the kitchen, you sometimes have to admit your mistakes. Not everything will go as you planned, but at least you can learn from it. The philosopher and poet George Santayana once said, “Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Apparently, I did this mistake before, and I’m doing it again. Where did I go wrong? I’ll let you know in a minute.

½ cup milk
2 tbsp lavender honey
1 tbsp + 1 tsp dried lavender leaves

2 ½ cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

1 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter (1 stick at room temperature)
3 eggs

1 cup powdered sugar
purple food coloring
½ tsp lavender extract

Original Recipe:

Lavender is one of those ingredients that I’ve always been curious about using. I am usually not big on florals as ingredients but somehow, lavender peaks my interest. So I went lavender crazy! I got myself some extract, a honey, and dried petals.

The stars of the show.

I start by creating the lavender honey flavoring for the cake. This is where I had my first fail. Lavender petals, milk, and lavender honey went in here. Simmer this to infuse the lavender into the milk. It failed because the milk separated to curds and whey, which was NOT what I wanted. I actually don’t know what went wrong, I think the addition of honey caused this, or I was using lowfat 2% milk. It looked a little disgusting so I opted not to take a picture of it.

I whisked together the “milk” and the sour cream. And then…

Bam! Fail again! Every baker who makes bread-like items should know that you cream together the butter and sugar before putting any other ingredients together. Here, you can see that I put the sugar in directly. *Facepalm*

Then I added in the room temperature butter. Ugh! My pictures are just ruining it for me as I write this…

Add the 3 eggs. After beating the mixture for a while, I was wondering why it never turned light and fluffy. So the lesson here is to fully read and understand the recipe before getting started. I didn’t do this and just went straight to putting everything together. *Shake my head*

After putting in the flour/baking powder/baking soda/salt mixture into the wet ingredients, the batter turned into that familiar batter consistency. Maybe all was not lost.

I poured the batter into my mini loaf pan. Mini loaves will have a faster baking time so I had to adjust accordingly.

The original recipe says to put it in a preheated oven at 300 degrees F for 45 minutes. In my mini loaf pan, it only took 20 minutes. There was no set adjustment time, just watch it until it gets golden brown and poking a toothpick through the middle comes out dry. It smelled wonderful, however a taste test on one of the loaves ended up very bland and dry. I’m suspecting the dryness of the bread was caused by the missed step of creaming the butter and sugar together. What can I do to save this? I decided to make icing for the bread.

Icing is very simple to make. Basically you need just need powdered sugar and water for the base. In my particular icing, I crushed dried lavender petals into the powdered sugar before adding water. It doesn’t take much water to make the icing. I used 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and 1 tsp of dried lavender leaves, and maybe 2 tablespoons of water. I added a little water at a time while whisking until the sugar dissolved. It should have a thick consistency while still pourable.

The lavender pedals didn’t provide much taste to the icing. Luckily, I had lavender extract and I added 1 tsp of extract to the icing. Now it had the floral taste and I was satisfied with it. Lastly, food coloring. Lavender is a purplish color, so I added purple food coloring since I thought it would make an interesting contrast to the yellow bread.

And here is the final product. Carefully drizzle the icing on top of the bread and it’ll run down by itself. Let it sit for about 30 minutes and the icing will solidify and you can transport it or slice it. So even though I failed, it was still editable! Yay!

*Writer’s Note: Looking back at the original recipe website, I neglected to take note of the reviews. One user had exactly the same assessment as I. Well, that’s what I get for not paying attention to details.

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