Meyer lemon - Lavender Pound Cake
with lemon glaze and sliced almonds
Back in college, I was told by one of my favorite people in the world that this lemon-lavender pound cake was hands-down the best baked good I made, out of a multitude of choices ranging from elaborate fruit tarts to multi-layer cakes. Since then, it's been my go-to cake for everything, from gift-giving to dessert for breakfast to days when I need a slice of therapy. It's the cake I turn to when I want to impress. I've even made mini petit four versions of it for this event, complete with hand-sugared lilac flowers.
Over the years, I've gone through several variants of the cake, finally arriving at what I think is the winning recipe. This cake started out as a semi-dry teacake meant for enjoying over a cup of darkly-brewed English tea with just a dash of cream. While I still like that version, I've since moved on to a pound-cake base, resulting in an extra moist cake that doesn't even require tea to enjoy (though it still goes excellently with tea!).
Then, a few years ago, I had a lemon pound cake home-baked in France and flown in to a conference by a French professor. That lemon pound cake had this super lemon sugar glaze on top that contributed an added dimension of lemon goodness. Though I don't remember in the slightest what the professor's talk was about, I've since adopted the lemon glaze for my pound cake, for that extra zing of flavor.
I must say that this cake indeed has a long history for me (rather, almost as long as I've been baking seriously). I have to give credit to my across-the-street neighbor who gave me the first version of this recipe (and, unrelatedly, who makes some of the best spaghetti sauce I've ever tasted).
The lavender flowers I also dried myself, having flown them home from the Santa Monica Farmer's Market when I visited my best friend this past July (yes, going through security was... interesting, especially when they swabbed the salmon-chive spread I'd brought with me from Joan's on Third for explosive residue). There's just enough lavender in this recipe to add the perfect flowery taste without being overwhelming, and the lemons and lavender are just such a great pair together. I can literally devour a whole loaf of this myself in one sitting (consider yourself warned!) if I'm not careful.
Anyways, I hope that the person I made this for this past weekend enjoyed it immensely and understands how special they are to have received it! :-D.
Read on for recipe...