A Sweetly Sustainable Treat

Zigzag Black

This recipe comes from Cacao Sweets & Treats, an organic sustainable bakery in Grayslake, Illinois, forging a path of education and innovative deliciousness in the community. Photography and styling were done by Melissa Becker, and recipe by Candice Hunsinger, owner and master baker at Cacao. I turn it over to Candice now, for a delightfully refreshing spring treat that if you’re too far from Grayslake to make in inside this gorgeous little shop, at least you can try them at home!

Cakelettes are incredibly easy to make, much less intimidating than a full layer cake, yet, somehow more impressive. I highly recommend trying all of your favorite cake flavors as cakelettes – the perfect individual layer cake! This recipe is delightfully airy and fresh for spring. Blueberries, lavender, lemon, and honey are the perfect partners for these stunning little cakes.

Vanilla + Lavender Cake

Ingredients (as always, the better the ingredients, the more delicious your dessert. Truly, it really makes a difference. We don’t ever think skimping on dessert is worth it!). In addition, make sure that everything is room temperature for easy incorporation.

1/2 c. neutral flavored oil (ex. vegetable, canola)
1 ½ c. granulated sugar
1 tsp fine salt (I love Himalayan Pink Salt for the smooth flavor)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature (farm fresh eggs really shine in baked goods)
2 ¼ c. flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
2 ½ tsp lavender buds
1 ¼ c. buttermilk, room temperature

Method:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly butter a standard cookie sheet with sides and line with parchment. Butter the parchment as well (my secret trick is to butter the pan, place the parchment onto the pan, press it down and then flip it over, butter side up – voila! both sides buttered!).

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a regular mixing bowl if you choose to use a hand mixer or a good old fashioned whisk!), place the oil, sugar, salt, vanilla extract. Whip at medium speed, with the paddle mixer, until light and fluffy, about 2-3 full minutes (no cheating!). Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed, making sure every last bit is incorporated and that none of the ingredients are clumped on the paddle or the bottom of the bowl.

Turn the mixer to low, and incorporate each egg, one at a time. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue to whip at medium speed until smooth and ribbon-like in texture.

Turn the mixer off and sift in the flour, baking powder. Place the lavender in as well. Turn the mixer to the first speed, and slowly drizzle in the buttermilk as it stirs. Once the liquid is incorporated, turn the mixer to medium and whip until light, scraping the bowl as needed. This should take approximately 30-60 seconds.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Place in the middle rack of your oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Rotate the tray and bake for an additional 8-12 minutes or until done (the clean toothpick test is perfect).

Let cool completely. While you are patiently waiting, now is the time to whip up your buttercream!

Honey + Lemon Buttercream

1 cup (2 sticks) very room temperature butter
6 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 lemon zested
3 TBS honey
1/4-1/2 cup whole milk

Place the butter, powdered sugar, salt, lemon and honey in the bowl of your stand mixer.

Turn mixer on low speed and slowly drizzle in 1/4 c. milk.

Let it come together completely, and drizzle in more milk (you may need more than 1/2 depending on the day’s weather) until you reach your desired consistency (think whipped butter – smooth and silky, but firm enough to hold up).

Let whip at medium speed for 3-4 minutes.

Garnish:

1 pint fresh blueberries
2 TBS lavender buds

Assembly:

Once cool, carefully run a butter knife along all four sides of the pan, loosening the cake from the pan.

Invert the cake onto the back side of a cookie sheet, and then back over onto a large cutting board, or just your counter.

Using a 3″ cookie or biscuit cutter, cut rounds out of the sheet cake, cutting as close to each other as possible, so not to waste cake (and to make more cakelettes, of course!).

If your cake is even the slightest warm after you have cut the rounds, let them cool (you can even place them in the refrigerator or the freezer for a couple of minutes).

We are going to use 2 cake rounds for each cakelette, so organize them into neat little rows.

Place a round or star tip (whatever strikes your fancy) into a piping bag (or plastic bag, or parchment cone) and fill halfway with some of the prepared buttercream.

If you are feeling extra fancy, mini doilies are the perfect “cake plate”. If you don’t have any on hand, squares of parchment paper work well too. But, really, they don’t need anything if you are more au naturel!

Grab one cake round, pipe frosting around the top in a circle, inset 1/8″ from the outer edge. Doing this will make sure that by the time we get to the top of the tier, the frosting will not have seeped out too much.

Place 4-5 fresh blueberries on top. Place another cake round on top and repeat. Cake, buttercream, blueberries. Sprinkle a few lavender buds on top for garnish. I like to add a little drizzle of honey on top to make the blueberries glisten.

After all of your cakelettes have been assembled, place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to set.

Serve at room temperature. There you have it, a gorgeous little cakelette line up!