Lavender is not just a fancy garnish from Provence - when added to the right recipe, it can transform any basic baked good into a decadent dessert by adding depth and a unique note of floral sweetness.
Below is a recipe passed on to you with love from Wānaka Lavender Farm's matriarch, Corry Zeestraten. This Lavender Polenta Cake with Seasonal Fruit and Almonds is a tender and moist cake that will fill your home with an indulgent aroma.
Corry is owners Stef and Tim's mother and is a huge inspiration for them and the farm. She has always been passionate about cooking and has a talent for it that many would be envious of. As anyone closest to her will know, Corry can usually be found with her head in a cookbook, trying out new recipes on the stove, tending to her herb gardens or carrying out incredible DIY projects.
We love that after all the years of working hard outside on various gardens, Corry still deeply enjoys being inside whipping up delicious food and teaching us new ways of showing off lavender.
If you are a frequent visitor to the Wānaka Lavender Farm, you may see Corry tending to her herb garden or brainstorming new ideas in the tearoom with the rest of the family.
Lavender Polenta Cake with Seasonal Fruit & Almonds
Serves 12, Gluten Free Ingredients: 220g butter (softened) 1 cup (220g) raw caster sugar 2 tsp vanilla extract 3 free range eggs Zest and juice of an orange 200g ground almonds 140g fine polenta 1.5 tsp cinnamon 1.5 tsp baking powder 2 drops of lavender essential oil* (we used Pacific Blue) 4 nectarines cut in parts (you can use other stone fruit or tart berries) 1/4 cup flaked natural almonds 1 tsp lavender honey Lavender sugar for dusting Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C 2. Grease a 30cm tart tin and line the base with baking paper. 3. Using a handheld electric beater, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. 4. Beat the eggs, one at the time, into the creamed mixture, scraping down the inside of the bowl after each egg.
5. Add the zest and juice of the orange. Blend until well combined - it will curdle a bit but that is fine.
6. Add 2 drops of culinary lavender essential oil, and mix well.
7. In a small bowl combine the ground almonds, polenta, cinnamon and baking powder.
8. Add the almond mixture to the creamed mixture, beat until well combined. 9. Spread the mixture into the tin. Place the nectarine on top. (Do not press the nectarines down into the mixture otherwise the cake will rise up and cover them). Sprinkle the flaked almonds.
10. Bake for 45 minutes. When the time is up, check if the cake is cooked in the middle by poking it with a skewer, if it comes out dry, it's ready. Otherwise, a few more minutes in the oven is needed. 11. Transfer the cake from the oven and leave it to cool for 10 minutes before removing the cake from the tin. To finish, drizzle the lavender honey over the nectarines and dust with lavender sugar.
Best served warm with natural yoghurt, whipped cream or ice cream.
Perfect on the side of your morning tea, or as a treat after dinner, this Lavender Polenta Cake with Seasonal Fruit & Almonds is sure to be a hit. It is a recipe that demonstrates how useful it is to have lavender on hand in the kitchen.
*Culinary Lavender Oil should only be used as an added ingredient to food in small doses. A few drops is usually enough. Note: not all lavender is food grade.