Lemon, Poppy Seed & Lavender Cake
Life is a curious occurrence, but then that’s because we’re a curious species. We love and feel and fear with such ferocity, striving with perseverance at times for intentions and ideals that define us in the moment. Confusion rains though as our circumstance, experience and mindset changes. Be it from loss, hardship, enlightenment, discontentment or newfound happiness, the fact remains that seasons are just as true for our lives as they are for the skies and the wind and the rain.
Many people in their short lifetimes witness immeasurable change outside of themselves so I don’t think it’s frivolous of a young generation to take ownership of change that’s within our means. In so many ways you’re taught by expectation who you ought to be. By that which the world needs, by the thoughts and advice of others and by who you think you are at any given point in time. I’ve come to think it quite foolish though that we expect to discern our ambition from these influences and often at young and impressionable age. It leaves you in the predicament of reconciling who you thought you were becoming with who you want to be once you discover who you are.
The Japanese have a concept called ikigai (生き甲斐) which translates loosely to a “reason for being.” In other words it’s that which a person is compelled or consumed by, innate in themselves and born of their purpose. Although some people have a clear sense of themselves early on, for most it requires self-discovery and reflection. Those seasons of your life bring with them slow revelation. No one alive is easily defined even those who think themselves most simple so in that sense I doubt the notion of ones ikigai is something small. It might be a common thread that weaves together your happiness or a series of work that brings contentment. It will likely transform and reveal itself in different ways but I think if you can grasp the undercurrent it will serve to ground your direction.
Of course it’s simple to understand the notion but difficult in it’s execution. Our daily state is driven by carnal motivations and limiting means. We have to live for necessity at times and accept that beauty occurs on the fringe. Keep in mind though that no state is ever permanent so patience is an unfortunate and uncomfortable obligation - take it from someone who is infrequently so. My unease is sheltered in the knowledge though that each small move, choice or decision I make in favour of myself brings more sustenance and exotic to the everyday. Whether or not we understand why I believe we all serve a purpose. However there’s an art that comes in being gentle enough with yourself to allow it’s emergence and a reassurance in knowing that most others live their lives in the exact same way. To put such contemplations aside though and simply be merry in the present for now, cake is an obvious answer. Is not all life’s goodness found in such modest pleasures after all.
There’s little rhyme or reason to this one, it was born of procrastination and too little time spent in the kitchen of late. It channels childhood memories of a similar flavour and marries the well worn combination of lemon and poppy seed. It’s dense and filling, made sweet by the yogurt glaze and slightly floral with the addition of lavender. Perfect to tip back on a chair and savour.
Lemon, Poppy Seed and Lavender Cake
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup of coconut oil
1 cup of natural yoghurt
3 lemons, juice and zest
1 cup of plain spelt flour
1 cup of wholemeal spelt flour
1/4 cup of poppy seeds
2 tsp ground lavender
2 tsp baking powder
Before beginning, grease your baking tin and preheat an oven to 200º celsius. Following this gently heat the honey and coconut oil over low heat in a small saucepan. Whisk them together until melted and well combined. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly before whisking in the yoghurt, lemon juice, zest and eggs. In a seperate bowl sift both flours together before folding through the poppy seeds, lavender and baking powder. Gently pour the wet mixture into the dry and carefully fold together until you have a smooth well blended batter. Pour your mixture into the prepared bundt tin and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the crust is dark and a skewer comes out cleanly. Set the cake aside to cool entirely before you glaze and decorate.
6 tbsp of powdered sugar
4 tbsp of natural yoghurt
1 vanilla bean, scrapped
If required, milk of your choice
To prepare the glaze simply combine the powdered sugar, yoghurt and vanilla in a small bowl stirring until well combined. If your glaze is too think to pour add a tablespoon of milk at a time to loosen the liquid.
Seasonal guide / temperate climate
Lemons, annually though the best are from mid summer through late autumn.
Lemons are an absolute staple in most kitchens and while commonly kept at room temperature in the fruit bowl (mine included) they are actually best stored in the refrigerator for their preservation. When selecting lemons choose the brightest and heaviest, those with smooth shiny skin.
To serve; honey and maple syrup. To decorate; as I have chopped pistachios and macadamia nuts, both dried and fresh kiwi fruit and strawberry and coconut or alternately chopped almonds and walnuts, fresh blueberries and torn mint leaves. Fresh berries also make for a good addition to the batter before you cook.