lavender tea cake

March 9, 2011

Tea time. Does the idea of it make you giggle a bit? Cos it does me and I’m British. I love how “tea time” is one of those things that people really think of when they think of Britain.

Here’s the thing about tea and the British: everyone drinks it (except my sister who is crazy) but historically it’s been separated by class. When I think of tea the way I drink it, I’m thinking of the builder’s cup of tea. I don’t want to go overboard in trying to explain that to non-Brits but suffice to say it just means your bog-standard, normal, no-frills cup of tea, made with a tea bag, served in a mug.

Afternoon tea, on the other hand is something you might get at the Ritz or if you’re well to do, maybe it’s something you have on a regular basis. In high society, tea time involves all sorts of sandwiches, cakes, biscuits, and high-falooting tea cups and loose leaf tea.

Lavender tea cake would be totally appropriate at a proper “afternoon tea”. Shall we all get together and have one? We can wear posh frocks, talk politely about the weather, nibble on cucumber sandwiches and munch (in a ladylike fashion) on this cake. I promise it will be awesome.

This cake is so lovely. I wondered about the lavender being overbearing or odd for people but it’s just wonderful. It adds a kick of spice and flavour that combines perfectly with the glaze.

I am often fine with omitting glazes and the like but here I’d urge you not to. It’s so easy to make anyway – just whizz some powdered sugar, vanilla extract and water together and drizzle all over – and it really adds the right amount of sweetness. If you’re lucky enough to have left the cake in the oven a few minutes too long like I did then you’ll get a gorgeous crunch to boot.

Lavender Tea Cake

from old fashioned living


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain or lowfat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lavender leaves


  • 1/3 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat granulated sugar, butter, and vanilla until well-blended.
  2. Add egg and egg white, one at a time, beat well after each addition.
  3. Sift flour and combine with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt; stir well.
  4. Add the flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with yogurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in lavender.
  5. Pour the batter into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until a sharp knife or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar and remaining ingredients. Spread on the warm cake. Cool in pan 20 minutes on a wire rack before removing from the pan.
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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie Meyer (Fresh Tart) March 9, 2011 at 9:13 am

How beautiful. I love high tea with all the sandwiches, scones, and cakes. Like this gorgeous cake. Which really, really makes me wish I could eat gluten :( So pretty, love the idea of lavender.


brandi March 9, 2011 at 10:08 am

I really need to get some lavender. This sounds so delicious! It would be great with some Earl Grey tea.


Angharad March 9, 2011 at 11:18 am

Ooh it would be perfect with Earl Grey!


Susan M September 15, 2012 at 11:59 am

I just found this great website – and as Brit who lives in ortugal, I can say that my daughter in the UK just gave me a box of Twinings Tea bags … Earl Grey and LAVENDER no less!! It’ sgreat ….. they also make Earl Grey and Blossom which is flaboured with orange blossom ! Both are very relaxing !!

Afternoon Tea Fan March 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Who could possibly not love that cake? It looks ridiculously over-the-top good.


Annie March 9, 2011 at 7:06 pm

I actually went to high tea today! It was accidental, but delicious. :) I heart scones in a big way.


Angharad March 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm

You’re kidding?! That’s awesome and I’m totally envious.


janetha @ meals and moves March 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm

this cake screams angharad to me!


Angharad March 11, 2011 at 10:33 am

That makes me happy :)


holly March 10, 2011 at 2:53 pm

ahhh, i love tea! it was one of my favorite things when i studied abroad in england. actually, it was the first time i ever really drank tea…and liked it!

and this lavender cake? so posh and lovely :)


sofia March 10, 2011 at 11:07 pm

so glad to hear the truth behind the british and their tea (in the afternoon or any time of day) from a true brit! i kind of want to bake this cake, drink some tea with milk and listen to the kinks’ “afternoon tea.” that would be perfection, no?


Angharad March 11, 2011 at 10:32 am

Utter perfection.


Amy P. March 11, 2011 at 9:05 am

Finally, another use for the lavender I have on hand. Thank you!

When I lived in England, I got into the habit of milk in my tea; I’m in the builder’s tea camp too. This lavender cake will definitely frill it up.


Angharad March 11, 2011 at 10:32 am

This would definitely frill it up! Although if you enjoy something like Earl Grey, I imagine that would taste beautiful with it too. Let me know how you like it if you make some!


Christina Smith July 11, 2011 at 8:08 am

I have been planning on making this recipe for a baby blessing coming up this Weekend and I can’t find fresh lavender leaves :( Would dry be okay? Would you suggest 2 teaspoons of dry if so? Thanks so much!! It looks delicious!


Angharad July 11, 2011 at 8:43 am

Hi Christina!
I’ve actually made it with dried lavender leaves before and it turned out great! I think I used the same quantity of lavender but I like things pretty fragrant :) If you want a less intensely lavender flavour, I’d opt for maybe 1 tbsp of dried. Hope that helps! Happy baking :)


steve November 28, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Im born and bread American and I love High Tea “Loose Leaf Kind”. Cant wait until my little kids get old enough so we can do it every sunday after church.

Please keep the British Frills coming.



Barb January 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm

When in England I bought a jar of “lavendar for culinary use”, the purple flowers. I also have 3 lavendar plants. My question is: Do you mean what I would call the leaves which are greenish, or the purple flower part?
I couldn’t really see them in the cake, so do you grind them?
I want to make the tea cake for my quilt group next week. I’ll definitely take along some Earl Grey.


Angharad January 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Hi Barb,
You can either use chopped fresh lavender leaves or the purple flower part – I’ve used the purple flower part with much success! It was sold at my local grocery store in the bulk section so I’m not sure how it would compare to the size of what you’re describing. If you’re unsure, I’d grind them a little. Good luck!


RecipeNewZ June 13, 2012 at 6:01 pm

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Ann September 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I made this tonight. It was *really* good. Definitely will make again, very easy too. Just used lavender from the backyard, I think I used 3Tbls but could have used more. Also added the zest of an orange for a little citrus, thanks so much for the recipe!!

P.S. It goes well with white wine too. ;-)


PJ September 1, 2016 at 7:58 pm

This wonderful recipe brings back many happy memories. I love high teas and will definitely make this. Both your oven recipe and one slightly modified for my cake-baking automatic bread maker.

I’m an American, but high teas with my British cousin’s cricket team are memorable. The most elaborate one was catered in a private room at Lord’s many years ago. He parked his car in Beatle Paul McCartney’s St. John’s Wood home driveway. Never got to meet Paul because he was away on tour.


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