Easy and elegant. This dairy-free Lavender & Vanilla Buttercream Cake with blackberries and black currant filling will impress.
At the beginning of spring I baked this cake for our first gathering of the season in the back garden. The occasion was my mother in law’s belated birthday, and a celebration of the weather being amenable to al fresco dining.
If you can believe it (I barely can!), this was my first attempt at baking a cake, ever. Of course over the years I’ve whipped up many a simple sweet loaf in the form of banana breads, lemon loaves, and the like. A proper classic layer cake, iced and decorated? You’re looking at the first.
While it’s not meticulously ornamented with perfect piping and blooms of buttercream roses, this Lavender & Vanilla Buttercream Cake cake brings the pretty. Using simple toppings, you can make an elegant cake that is impressive and so delicious, yet easy, and without the need for elaborate cake decorating.
It’s all down to a sprinkle of edible dried lavender, fresh blackberries, Scottish black currant jam, and a sprig of thyme.
Lavender is known for its unforgettable scent and vibrant colour but have you ever tasted it? Culinary lavender has a unique and bold flavour that is very versatile, and can really elevate everyday cooking.
Take care to ensure you’re using culinary lavender, intended for consumption. (Not the bunches you find hanging upside at flower shops)! Any food shop worth their salt should carry edible dried lavender.
You can also purchase culinary lavender here:
Here in Ottawa I picked up a small bag from The Byward Fruit Market, a fixture in Ottawa, Ontario’s historic Byward Market that can always be counted on for fine specialty ingredients.
Treat your lavender just as you would any other herb. Keep it out of direct light, and store it in an airtight and dry container. Your lavender will stay flavourful and fragrant for 1-3 years!
Being vegan doesn’t mean settling for second rate desserts. The days of vegan cakes resembling in taste of plasticine are long gone. No one, and I mean no one, will know that this gorgeous fluffy Lavender & Vanilla Buttercream Cake is egg-less and dairy-free.
This recipe has no weird ingredients. I’m not going to ask you to pour the grungy-looking water from the bottom of a can of chickpeas into your beautiful batter (nor should anyone—chickpea water was intended to be discarded for a reason, but don’t get me started on that).
Soft, fluffy and made in only one bowl, this Vanilla Cake is made without butter, eggs or milk. You can throw together this batter so quickly, as it is just a mix and stir recipe. No electric mixer needed!
Before starting keep in mind cakes have to cool completely (2-3 hours) before icing them. If you prefer, you can bake the cake portions of your Lavender & Vanilla Buttercream Cake the day before. Simply let the cakes cool in their pans for 15-20 minutes, wrap each individually in plastic wrap and place in the fridge until the next day. I find it makes the process so easy. You can wake up the morning of your occasion and simply take the cakes out of the fridge to be iced and decorated. This means less rushing around the day of your celebration, and more time to work on your outfit.
Looking for more easy but elevated vegan dessert recipes? Check out my super quick 3-Ingredient Honeydew Sorbet!
How to Make your Lavender & Vanilla Buttercream Cake
Lavender & Vanilla Buttercream Cake
- 2 cups plant milk of choice (oat, soy, almond etc).
- 2 tbs white vinegar
- 3 cups all purpose flour, sifted
- 1.5 cups granulated sugar (I used Wholesome Organic golden sugar)
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 jar black currant jam (I used MacKay’s Blueberry & Blackcurrant Preserve which happens to be vegan)
Vanilla Buttercream Icing
- 2-3 tbsp culinary dried lavender
- fresh blackberries
- sprig of thyme
- Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C ). Grease and line two 8-inch cake pans with baking or parchment paper.
- Add together almond milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle for 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk briefly.
- Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients. Add oil, vanilla and all the milk. Whisk until combined. Your cake batter will appear thin – this is ok.
- Transfer batter evenly into two cake pans and place in the oven. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave 2-4 hours to cool (or in the fridge overnight, with each cake individually wrapped in plastic wrap).
- If your cakes came out with a bulging surface, using a knife, trim the top of one cake to even surface.
- Once cooled, add a layer of jam filling to the trimmed cake. You can choose to omit the jam, or add a layer of icing here instead. Then, carefully place your second cake on top.
Vanilla Buttercream Icing
- To make your icing, beat the softened vegan butter with an electric mixer until creamy. The vegan butter MUST be softened, but not melted. If it's melted at all, the frosting won't turn out and will be too runny.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, until all the powdered sugar is mixed in.
- With the mixer on low-medium speed, add the non-dairy milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Add the vanilla as well, and increase the speed to high. Beat for about 30 seconds, until light and fluffy. (If the frosting seems too thick, you can add more non-dairy milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the frosting is too thin and runny, simply add more powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached).
- Icing your cake.(You can store the frosting in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. It will firm up when it's cold, so let it soften at room temperature a bit before frosting a cake or cupcakes with it).
Decorating your cake
- Prior to serving, sprinkle the cake with a generous amount of dried lavender.
- Top your cake with fresh blackberries and a sprig of thyme. (Adding your fruit too far ahead of time will make your cake soggy, so take care to add them just before presenting and cutting your cake).
- Keep in mind cakes have to cool completely (2-3 hours) before icing them. It’s sometimes best to make your cake the day before you need it and simply icing and decorate it then next day.
- Or, you can choose to chill it in the fridge to hurry the cooling process but it will slightly effect the consistency of your cake.