Lavender-Lemon Pound Cake—serendipitous Palm Springs souvenir

For Orange Coast’s May “Weekend Road Trips” issue, senior editor and wine blogger Anne Valdespino visited Palm Springs during Modernism Week. Fortunately for ToOC, mid-century design was only part of her takeaway for the weekend. A hauntingly fragrant Lavender-Lemon Pound Cake at Copley’s on Palm Canyon, a restaurant housed in what was Cary Grant’s Palm Springs estate, especially lingered in her mind, and such things are, of course, relevant to our interests. 

Chef Andrew Copley was kind enough to downsize his recipe for the home kitchen, and Anne and I both made it for our respective Easter Sundays. Unusual and good, it boasts a fine interior crumb and slight sandiness reminiscent of British-style cakes. And that aforementioned fragrance—it lingers memorably, all right, in a very good way. 

Lavender-Lemon Pound Cake from Copley’s on Palm Canyon

(Makes 2 loaves)

At Copley’s this floral- and citrus-scented cake is served with basil ice cream that kicks up its herbaceousness. Buttery and light, it goes with chardonnay as well as the restaurant’s signature grapefruit martini.—Anne Valdespino

2 cups unsalted butter

2 teaspoons dried lavender, or 2 tablespoons fresh lavender, finely chopped

3½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2¼ cups sugar

9 large eggs, beaten

½ teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Zest of one lemon, optional

Melt butter with lavender and refrigerate until set.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter or spray with cooking spray two small Bundt pans or 9-inch loaf pans; dust with flour, tap out excess.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth, add eggs a little at a time until smooth. Add vanilla and lemon juice (and optional zest), then gently mix in flour mixture until evenly blended.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, gently tapping on counter to release any air bubbles. Bake for about 30 minutes, until skewer or knife comes out clean and tops are golden brown. (Start testing at about 20 or 25 minutes.)

Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes before removing to cooling rack.

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