I based this recipe after two recipes I found online, using exactly the ingredients listed on the package of Wholesome Chow’s cake mix of the same name. I would have simply bought the cake mix, which I used to enjoy frequently in my San Francisco days in the Mission district, but the company has apparently gone out of business! In fact, I made this cake from the mix for my 25th birthday where I drizzled it with chocolate ganache and served it at a tea party for family and friends. I decided that my 30th birthday would not be complete without a small celebration with my husband that included this cake. The lavender is just heavenly. Rub it between your hands as you’re adding it to bring out the oils and smell your palms afterwards.
Gluten free, vegan, dairy free if you use alternative milk.
Makes 12 cupcakes or 1 nine-inch round cake.
A note about the sugar: The recipes I looked at when I was concocting this one called for about half as much sugar as flour, in other words, 1 cup sugar per 2 cups flour. I follow a low-sugar diet and my taste buds have adjusted accordingly, so I halved the sugar. I find it to be enough. Even if you eat plenty of sweet things, I suggest you try it this way. None of us needs more sugar in our diet.
A note about the milk: I’m not quite sure how much milk I ended up using, as I started with 1 1/3 cup and then added more. The batter was quite thick at first and cake batter is supposed to be more liquidy. I used soy, but I’m sure it doesn’t matter. I’m guessing 1 ½ cups is enough but it could have been 1 ¾… I don’t want to tell you too much and then have it be watery, so see for yourself. The batter will look rather gelatinous in any case; I’m guessing this is due to the xanthan gum.
A note about the flour: For the gluten free flour, I used a mix I bought at Trader Joe’s that contains rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch, which are the same flours used in the Wholesome Chow mix. It makes for a very soft texture that I love. In fact, I think you will love the texture even if you are not avoiding wheat. I avoid mixtures containing garbanzo bean flour because I am afraid of experiencing a digestive upset from it, but if you’re not worried about that it would probably work fine here. I recently saw a cake mix made from almond flour and coconut flour, and if you don’t have a problem with coconut like I do, then that might be good, but I fear the almond flour would be drier and coarser than the mixture I used.
Preheat oven to 350°F
Grease cake pan, possibly line bottom with parchment paper cut to fit and grease parchment paper
Combine dry ingredients (crush lavender flowers with your hands before adding them)
Combine oil and milk
Add liquid mixture to dry mixture and mix until combined (add extra milk if the batter seems too thick)
Pour batter into prepared pan
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick or knife comes out dry or with a few crumbs sticking to it
2 cups gluten free flour
½ cup sugar
6 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 ½ tsp dried lavender flowers
¼ tsp salt
6 Tbsp oil
1 ½ cup milk
I served this cake recently without any icing and I quite liked it. I do have very fond memories of the light chocolate ganache I topped it with five years ago. Whatever you do, make sure it tastes low-key enough not to overwhelm the delicate lavender scent. Perhaps a dusting of powdered sugar. Or I was thinking a leman glaze might be delightful. But then again, any icing will add more sugar and so perhaps it’s better off without it.