Lavender-Lemon Almond-Semolina Cakes
When I'm having a rough week, I typically do some version of the following and usually in this order: call my mom, rummage through the cabinets looking for something sweet and delicious, bake something sweet and delicious (usually after an unsuccessful hunt), make some guac and eat a bag of have'a chips. Last week was a doozy of a week. We went up to Napa for a wedding. It was beautiful. Then we flew back down to LAX Friday night and on our way home were rear-ended in a hit-and-run. It was shocking, frightening, and honestly extremely upsetting. Luckily, no one was injured, and Moses and I walked away scot-free with exception to a pair of stiff necks and a couple of headaches. My car on the other hand, wasn't so lucky and right now all I can say is that I'm insanely grateful for car insurance. I'm also, admittedly, a bit miffed with the guy who hit us--I mean we made eye contact and he still had the nerve to reverse on the 110 and peel out, leaving us shaken (quite literally).
So when you have night like that, I don't care what age you are, you probably want to talk to your mom. Because she'll listen to you cry, rant, or make a bunch of frustrated sounds like hmmph, argggh, ackkkk, pffft, and errrrrr. Mom's kinda rock. Which is why, although I'm grateful for Mother's Day, I kinda feel like it's a bit redundant, cause isn't every day Mother's Day? My momma is a saint. I mean, honestly, I call her nearly every day, sometimes just to say, "OMG our apple tree's got blossoms and they're the prettiest" or "guess what's sprouted up in the garden... California Poppy!". And she always acts like she cares, even if I know she'd rather be gardening in her own garden, or watching Crusoe videos on Facebook. Anyway, this year, I'll be spending the calendar Mother's Day with my mom, right here in Los Angeles and I couldn't be happier.
To celebrate, and also grieve my rear bumper (on my car), I baked these almond-semolina cakes. They're light, zesty, and oh so calming thanks to the lemon and lavender (from Ali'i Kula Lavender on Maui) combo. And what's nice is that I can actually share them with my mom this Sunday thanks to the magic that is my freezer. I sealed up a half dozen in a ziploc bag and plan to defrost them the night before my mom comes in. That's about all I've got planned for the day, though I'm trying to figure out how to convince everyone that dim sum and a movie's a good way to celebrate... What's everyone else doing to shower the moms in their lives? If you haven't started thinking yet, maybe start here. Mother's Day brunch in is always a good call, or maybe bake some cakes or cookies, or even pickup a floral arrangement. Whatever you do, just know that your mom will love everything and anything you do, so the pressure is off. Happy Mother's Day to all you incredible mamas out there. You're the best and we love you.
- 1 1/2 c. finely ground almond flour or almond meal
- 1/2 c. semolina flour
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. dried culinary lavender, finely ground
- 3/4 c. (6 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 c. + 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
- 3 large eggs, beaten to blend
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
- 6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 c. granulated sugar
- 1 c. (8 oz.) heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 tsp. dried culinary lavender, finely ground
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- 4 tsp. granulated sugar
- Fresh berries, edible flowers, and/or sliced almonds
- Stand mixer
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Silicone spatula
- 12 cavity muffin tin
- Muffin liners
- Wire cooling rack
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup capacity muffin tin with paper liners and set aside. Whisk almond flour, semolina flour, baking powder, salt, and lavender in a bowl to combine.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, and lemon zest on medium-high speed, until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and gradually add eggs and beat until glossy, about 1 minute. Add dry ingredients, lemon juice, and vanilla bean paste (or extract) and beat until combined, about 1 minute.
- Divide batter evenly among muffin cups and bake until cakes are golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 23–30 minutes.
- Make the syrup while the cakes are baking. Bring lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan to dissolve sugar; reduce heat and simmer 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
- As soon as cakes come out of the oven, brush or spoon syrup liberally over the top (you may not need all of it). Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cakes cool completely before turning out.
- Freeze metal mixing bowl from your stand mixer and the metal whisk for 10 to 15 minutes. Whip heavy whipping cream, lavender, vanilla bean paste (or extract), and sugar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Top cooled cakes with a dollop of whipped cream, fresh berries, sliced almonds, and/or edible flowers.
- Serve and enjoy!