Monday, May 5, 2014

Banana Lavender Honey Cake

So, it happened again.

Against my will, a culinary worm entered my brain and refused to be ignored.  "Banana lavender honey cake," it whispered.  "Dooooooo iiiiiiiiiit."


We did have really brown bananas sitting on the counter...and lavender and honey in the pantry...so it was pretty much meant to be.



This is basically more of a quick bread than a cake, and it could work for breakfast or snack as well as for dessert.  However, I will warm you that it doesn't get better with age.  The lavender flavor is great in the fresh cake, but by the next morning, it starts to get a little bitter and overpowering as it sits.  There are worse things than having to eat a fresh honey cake while it's still warm.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a square baking dish or pan (or 2 loaf pans would work, if you wanted to go a bread route).

Take out a stick plus 2 tablespoons of butter to soften.

In a measuring cup or bowl, mix 2 1/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon each baking powder and baking soda, a half teaspoon of salt, and a tablespoon of dried lavender blossoms, slightly crushed up.  You can usually find them at natural food stores in the bulk spice section, just make sure that the kind you get are safe for eating, because some of the bath-salt-intended types are not.


In a large bowl, get out a mixer and cream the softened butter and a half cup of brown sugar.


Add the honey, and beat until smooth.


Add 2 eggs, and beat until smooth.


Mash up 2 overripe bananas, if you want to.  I usually just smush them in in small pieces.  Add a little vanilla into the batter.

Alternate beating in the dry mixture and the bananas until both are completely added and the batter is smooth.



Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.


Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.


If you want to be all fancy-like, you could top the warm honey cake with some whipped cream or a dusting of powdered sugar, or (super-duper fancy) some candied lavender or a bourbon syrup drizzle.  I go for it straight, with some tea on the side.  It's not an overly-sweet cake, which I kind of like about this recipe.


You could also up the ante a bit with a couple of tweaks, like adding some lavender sugared nuts on the top before baking it, or soaking the lavender in the honey beforehand for a while, but I was in a time crunch and needed it to be straightforward.  Experiment!  Have fun!