This is a lavender, honey and lemon coffee cake. For quirky perfume-lovers like myself, I’d describe it as the dessert equivalent of Guerlain’s Jicky. So you can go ahead call it Jicky Cake if you like.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated or vanilla sugar
1/2 cup honey
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
Zest and juice of two lemons (a little more than 1/3 cup juice and about 1 tbsp – 1 1/2 tbsp zest, 1/3 cup of juice will be for the glaze below)
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal, finely ground (use blue cornmeal if you can find it – I did and it adds a little more color to the cake)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Saigon cinnamon
1 tsp dried lavender
1 6-oz container of fat-free or low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup lemon juice (from above)
1/2 tsp dried lavender (you can add more or less, depending on your preference)
Set rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour the Williams-Sonoma Honeycomb cake pan or 8-9″ springform pan. Zest and juice lemon. Set aside zest and 1/3 cup of juice for glaze. Any remaining juice can be tossed in the cake batter. Add dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest and lavender) in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. Set aside. With an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and honey together until fluffy, then add vanilla, and any remaining lemon juice. Add the eggs, a little at a time until all ingredients are combined. Then add dry ingredients a little at a time, alternating with the addition of the yogurt (dry, yogurt, dry, yogurt) until batter is incorporated. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth with a spatula. If you are using the honeycomb pan, make sure each well is full. The cake will take about 40-50 minutes to cook, depending on what style pan you use. Mine took about 40, but a springform might result in a thicker cake so it may take longer.
While the cake is in the oven put 1/4 cup of honey, 1/3 cup of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp of dried lavender in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce and stir until honey is dissolved and remove from the heat. When the cake is done (insert a toothpick in the center and make sure it comes out clean), remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes have passed, poke holes in the surface of the cake with a toothpick or skewer and brush with glaze, being careful not to let it get down the insides of the pan. Allow to rest for about five minutes, then invert the pan onto a serving plate and brush the top and sides of the cake with glaze and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.
Stare at your pretty culinary creation for a minute. Then take a chunk of that cake to your face and savor it as the bright, aromatic, and indulgent flavors of Provence explode in your mouth.