It has rained every single day in Birmingham for the last two weeks straight. Some days it was just really annoying mist, and some days it was thunderstorms and flooding. Pretty sure I ruined a pair of black heels I wear to work like every day.
But yesterday was GORGEOUS. And today is gorgeous too, so I feel like I can finally get back to celebrating spring. The local farmers market started back up, I bought some peaches, and I finally found some fresh lavender!
If you are as obsessed with cake as I am, you’ve probably seen Katherine Sabbath’s cakes. I decided it was about time I make one of these Willy Wonka/Alice in Wonderland cakes, and we’re having our Birmingham Bloggers birthday bash on Wednesday. What a perfect time to make a ridiculous cake! I didn’t make any shards of chocolate bark, but I did make a boatload of meringues.
There are two main ways you can get the lavender flavor into these little things. Option A is making lavender sugar. You can buy small jars of lavender buds in the spices section at Williams-Sonoma. Add about a tablespoon of the buds and 2/3 cup sugar to a large bowl and use your fingers to rub the lavender into the sugar. This works, but I think it’s harder to get a strong, clear flavor this way. Also I’m guessing you can do this with fresh lavender too. Honestly, I just bought some because I really wanted to have it.
The other option is something I’ve talked about before–lavender extract! It is a thing that exists and you can find it at Sur la Table.
Aside from figuring out which flavoring method you’re going with, meringues are SO incredibly easy to make. I honestly don’t know that I’ve ever made them before, but I’m kinda obsessed with them at the moment.
To continue with the lavender theme, I tinted some of these a light purple and some of them I added a thicker purple swirl. To get the swirly look, just use a paint brush to paint a line of purple food coloring up two sides of a piping bag. Then add the meringue to the bag and pipe away.
Star tips and round tips are great for these. I love the look of all the shapes mixed up together. I even added some sparkly sugar sprinkles to some of them. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing the cake I made and I CANNOT WAIT for y’all to see it. My kitchen was a purple mess afterwards, but totally worth it!
- 3 egg whites, at room temp
- ⅛ tsp cream of tartar
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ⅛ - ¼ tsp lavender extract
- (or you can go the lavender sugar route, but make sure to sift the buds out of the sugar before mixing if you do this)
- purple food coloring
- purple sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
- Add the eggwhites and cream of tartar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on low speed until frothy. Then increase the speed to medium and beat for about 1 minute, or until soft peaks form.
- Turn the mixer up to medium-high and add the sugar one spoonful at a time. Once all of the sugar has been added, rank it up to high speed and whip for about 3 minutes. During these three minutes, I added the lavender extract and a tiny drops of food coloring until it was the shade I wanted.
- Once stiff peaks form, turn off mixer and had half of the meringue to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. If you're making the swirled meringues, use a clean paintbrush to paint to stripes of purple food coloring up the side of a piping bag. Then add the meringue.
- Pipe meringue onto the prepared baking sheets and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the meringues cool completely.
- Enjoy or use them to decorate a cake!