Lemon Lavender Pound Cake

Lemon Lavender Cake

Baking with Lavender


“Samual went on, After we’ve visited Olive for maybe a month or two, there will come a letter from George. And his feelings will be hurt if we don’t visit him in Paso Robles. And after that Mollie will want us in San Francisco, and then Will, and maybe even Joe in the East, if we should live so long. ”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck


This pound cake is laced with floral notes from the dried, culinary lavender. There is just a hint of lavender which is nicely balanced with lemon and vanilla. It’s a wonderful snacking cake, every bite brings summer thoughts of lavender fields in full bloom. Making lemon-lavender sugar is how the recipe for Lemon Lavender Pound Cake from Bon Appetit begins. As the food processor whirls and chops a sensory experience unfolds. The explosion of aromas is divine. The combination of lemon, lavender, vanilla and sugar bring thoughts of boutique candles and fancy bath scrubs. My kitchen smelled like an upscale vacation spa. I couldn’t wait to bake with the sugar.

Lavender Arrangement

I almost didn’t try this Bon Appetit recipe. First a food processor, then the mixer, line the pan with parchment, I wanted a fast and easy recipe. Summer is happening and I don’t want to miss a thing. But the recipe comes together quickly and I’m not convinced the baking pan needs a parchment lining. The cake is on the small side which is not a bad thing. A standard 9” x 5” loaf pan could easily accommodate another half a recipe.


Making Lemon Lavender Cake

It was 108° in Paso Robles the day of this year’s Central Coast Lavender Festival. Which is way too hot for me. I kept navigating from one spot of shade to the next. Someone said it was 103°, not 108°. Still too hot. Didn’t take any photos or taste any local olive oil or honey. I headed straight to Central Coast Lavender to stock up on lavender oil and fresh culinary lavender. If you’re into aroma therapy I can recommend their products. Before the summer harvest, a visit to their farm is worth the drive. It’s right off the 101.

Like many other herbs and flavorings, a small amount of lavender is all that is needed when baking. The tricky part is to determine the type of lavender and its freshness. English lavender has a mellower, softer taste. It is more floral. French lavender is stronger with more of an essential oil presence. For baking choose English lavender. When the lavender is freshest it will have more color and a stronger scent. In baking, use less lavender instead of more. I opt for just a hint of lavender, not an overbearing presence. It’s just like wearing perfume, subtle is always best.

Lemon Lavender Cake


26 Replies to “Lemon Lavender Pound Cake”

  1. Oh Deb, thank you for this creation ! Edible flowers are my passion; and this combination of lemon and lavender is such an amazing idea ! I am your big fan ! Thank you !

  2. Such lovely photos Deb! Is there a difference between culinary lavender and the lavender sold at garden centers used in landscaping? I haven’t really used lavender much, except the occasional addition of herbs de Provence. I’m intrigued!

    1. Hi Mary! Any lavender could be used for culinary purposes, they are all edible. Organic and grown away from pets is best. I’ve only used dried for baking and cooking, not freshly harvested. There is such a range of lavender at garden centers, I’m not sure what exact, variety/name is best. The English varieties have a softer finish, with less of an essential oil flavor and aroma. Since the oil is muted, the floral essence shines in English lavender. I favor those in baking. The French varieties are bolder, which works for herbs de Provence and savory applications. These are the varieties grown for the manufacture of essential oils. The vendor I prefer, carries both English and French culinary lavenders. It’s a personal preference, similar to olive oil and honey varieties and blends. I hope my comment was helpful and you give baking with lavender a try.

  3. I’ve always been skeptical of baking with lavender but then I made some biscotti’s with lavender and changed my mind. I love lemon pound cake and bit of lavender added to the batter sounds heavenly. Thanks for sharing the link to this recipe and the lovely photos.

  4. I adore this flavour combination – it’s so feminine and reminds me of my grandmother (who happens to be visiting for the summer). A little envious of your lavender haul. 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful summer!

  5. Your description is so vivid, I can smell that sugar in the food processor. As always the journey in deciding on this recipe was so interesting.
    Can’t wait to try it.


  6. Beautiful cake Deb, love the lavender sugar I bet it would be wonderful in other baked goodies as well. Your presentation is gorgeous. Did not realize that your area got so hot in the summertime………

    1. Thank you Cheri! We drove south to Paso Robles for the heat. Your’e right it does not get that hot here, probably why I was melting!

  7. That is a beautiful looking cake Deb. It’s exquisite and I use lavender in my house because it smells good but I have never cooked with it.

    1. Thank you Gerlinde! Cooking with lavender is a wonderful way to enjoy all the floral beauty of the plant.

  8. This is a beautiful cake. I’ve always loved combining lavender and lemon — always seems to be both pretty and tasty. Your photos are lovely — so inviting, as always.

  9. Your images are just beautiful, Deb. We are way up in northern Scotland, island hopping in the Outer Hebrides, based on North Uist. If it gets above 75 it would be a miracle. Wild herbs of all description grow here in abundance and may inspire a pound cake.

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