With a sugary glaze and full of citrus zest, these Meyer Lemon Lavender Cake Donuts are a bright and beautiful treat worth indulging in.
[Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Torakand Adventures LLC and is part of a series of recipes developed for the fictional fantasy setting of Lost Colonies, an immersive live-action roleplaying community in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. This post also contains affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links.]
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Lemon Lavender Cake Donuts
It should be no surprise by now how much I love miniature baked goods – especially pretty ones. From pies to cakes, little versions are so much better than full size ones. Made with a light batter of flour, egg, sugar, oil, and a bit of sour cream, the resulting donut is super fluffy and incredibly moist. A large dose of fresh Meyer lemon brightens each bite, and a sugar glaze seeped with lavender leaves adds a lovely refined floral note.
Enjoy these decadent Lemon Lavender Cake Donuts with milky tea or refreshing cocktails for an indulgent brunch or dessert.
This recipe is part of an ongoing series inspired by the fictional cultures and traditions of Lost Colonies, a live action role playing experience based in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. (You can learn more about this collaboration in the first post of the series.)
Celebrating the Imperial Wedding Anniversary
Every fall, all of Sobukand comes together to celebrate the Imperial Wedding Anniversary of Empress Landra Cadmar and Empress Helene Lovantra. Over the years the commemoration of these joyous nuptials have evolved from humble acts of appreciation to grand displays of pageantry, with many towns and villages hosting special parades and festivals in honor of the Empresses’ union. A particularly beloved tradition stems from stories of the Imperial Couple’s childhood, in which the young girls would find ways to discreetly pass eachother notes. They’d hide messages in wood piles, tea pots, and even tucked inside cakes and pastries with the help of faithful nursemaids and attendants. Lemon Lavender Love Cakes were a particular favorite of the girls, and this traditional recipe has become a staple of the holiday. —Excerpt from A Traveler’s Guide to Sobukand by Donla Pheinkuk
For many reasons, the Imperial Wedding Anniversary is a significant moment in the history of the fictional Empire of Sobukand. Accordingly, special traditions (and foods) would take root in the years since the union. In particular, Lemon Lavender Love Cakes are baked as a tribute to the love shared between Empresses Cadmar and Empress Lovantra. Batches of decadent tea cakes are made each year, with little notes or tokens hidden inside. It’s said that whoever finds the note will have luck for a year and that love will find them soon. At the most grand celebrations, mounds of these little Lemon Lavender Love Cakes are piled artfully high, loosely held together with sugary vanilla glaze.
Edible Love Letters
Baking notes, fortunes, and even magic spells is a practice seen throughout real world cultures, and I wanted to capture this concept with the recipe for these miniature Lemon Lavender Cakes.
Rather than fully bake the notes in the little donuts, I suggest rolling up thin strips of parchment paper and tucking them in the bottoms of the cakes. Make sure to do this after applying the sugar glaze, as the fresh sticky liquid might not mix well with your paper and ink. When creating this recipe for yourself, use natural, non-toxic paper and non-toxic ink (or even crayon), and remove the notes before before consuming.
Like this fictional tradition, I hope this recipe will bring you good luck and good health this season. Stay safe out there.
Meyer Lemon Lavender Cake Donuts
With a sugary glaze and full of citrus zest, these Meyer Lemon Lavender Cake Donuts are a bright and beautiful addition to any brunch or afternoon tea.
Lemon Cake Donuts
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons meyer lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons meyer lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup low fat sour cream
- 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Lemon Lavender Glaze
- 3 tablespoons meyer lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh lavender, dried
- 2 cups powdered sugar
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a donut hole pan (or mini muffin pan) with nonstick spray.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the egg, sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and meyer lemon zest and juice together with the paddle attachment until fully combined (about 3 minutes). Mix in the sour cream.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture into the wet mixture a cup at a time until fully combined.
Fill the cavities of the donut hole pan with the lemon batter, about two-thirds to three-fourths full. Wipe off any drips. Bake the cakes in the oven for 10-15 minutes until cooked through. You’ll know the donuts are done when you can tough the sponge and it quickly bounces back in place. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake donuts sit for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan to a rack to cool.
As the cakes cool, make the lavender lemon glaze. Combine the lemon juice and lavender flowers in a small sauce pan over medium low heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Remove the pan from heat and let cool, allowing the lavender to seep.
Whisk together the lemon-lavender juice with the powdered sugar, half a cup at a time, until the glaze is about as thick as molasses. Roll the cooled donuts into the glaze until fully coated, and then let them dry on a cooling rack. When all the donuts are coated, drip any remaining lavender buds onto the tops of the cakes for a final elegant touch.
Store in an air tight container at room temperature and eat within 3 days. The donuts can also be frozen for 1-2 months, and taste delicious straight from the freezer.
Meyer Lemons: Meyer lemons are smaller and rounder than regular lemons, with a smooth, thin rind that ranges from deep yellow to light orange in color. Meyer lemons also have a sweeter, less acidic taste that makes them especially perfect for sweet treats and baked goods.
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