rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

Two years now. Two years of sharing recipes, dinners, photography, writing, and glimpses into my life with you all. And I’m so happy to tell you that right at that two year mark I had the shock & honor of winning the Saveur Best Food Blog Photography Award, both reader & editor’s choice. I couldn’t believe it. Slack jawed, no words, squealed at my cat couldn’t believe it (and that is not in character for me). There was so much talent in that category it honestly didn’t cross my mind that I would win at all. I owe you guys for that one. So thank you for your support. My life as I know it wouldn’t be possible without you. So, I figured I’d celebrate & say thank you a couple of ways: an exceedingly delicious cake (no brainer) and a few things you may or may not know about me  from reading this blog…

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

For one, I swear profusely. I’m essentially incapable of stringing together a sentence without an expletive (sorry, mom!) I twirl my hair incessantly, pathologically. And then I smell it and put it in my mouth like a weirdo. I’m doing it right now. I’m an obsessive Star Wars fan; I know what the stripes on Han Solo’s pants are called. I have a level 85 undead warlock in World of Warcraft named after a Baudelaire poem. I don’t currently play, but I was once the proud member of a serious raiding guild. That sentence will only make sense to nerds. I’m three years clean & sober in July. I’m bipolar, in the medical way, not a in a kooky self-descriptor way—I talk more about living with that here on Esme’s blog. I have a cat named Gremlin, but I mostly call her “Fat Lobster” these days. No reason. I had a fashion blog six years ago. It’s a secret. And has been destroyed so don’t even ask. I kind of suck at making coffee. I pick my battles. I’m a bit of a misanthrope. My biggest fear is mediocrity (not a healthy fear—working on it). I’m an INFP. Aaaand this, not some beautiful French chanson, is my current anthem. Though, if I’m feeling down, this is my go. Forget sharks & snakes. Ludacris & Snoop Dog are my spirit animals. So, hi, I’m Beth. Nice to meet you. And thank you. Thank you for reading, for cooking along, for coming to dinners, and for supporting this space. There are very few good decisions I’ve made during my party time on this mortal coil, and starting this website is one of them. Huh. So to celebrate the two year anniversary of Local Milk and all the friends & wonderful opportunities it’s brought along with it, I made you up a cake. As much as one can “make up” a cake. An incredibly moist Chocolate Lavender Cake with Mascarpone Earl Grey German Buttercream. Yeah? Ok!

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

Yes, I have a pathological need to put flowers, tea, and herbs in all the things; I don’t fight it, and it’s delicious. It’s my witchy prerogative; I’ve been this way my whole life. This is, dare I say along with the hordes before me, The Best Chocolate Cake Ever. Why? Because it’s constructed of the mean ratios of all The Best Chocolate Cakes Ever. Did I just ruin cake with maths?  No, I built this cake with maths. I spent an entire afternoon doing cake algebra after having baked three cakes that were acceptable. There is, in my opinion, nothing worse than a merely acceptable cake. Or a merely acceptable anything. Be awesome or burst into flames, that’s my general outlook (recall fear of mediocrity.)

Right, so…what is cake maths? Why do math to bake a cake? Because there’s a common denominator in all of these omfugawesome chocolate cakes; they’re all adaptations of essentially the same ratio. I wanted to distill that ratio to a few numbers and then use the simplest method possible  to combine them. With the ratio in hand, you can play around. You can adjust the amount you make as you please, and you can start experimenting with different flours, fats, sweeteners, and liquids. Once you have the numbers you become Cake God. And I, admittedly, wanted to be Cake God. At least to celebrate my “blogiversary”…which is a word that largely shouldn’t exist.

As to the frosting, I knew I wanted a buttercream that was really something else because I’m one of those that really can’t abide American buttercream, which is just powdered sugar whipped into butter. It’s grainy, pasty, and crusty; I just don’t like it. I once heard it likened to “sad sand”, and I agree. I like Swiss meringue buttercream (which I intend to make with the copious amounts of Cruze Farm’s buttermilk butter in my freezer….lord), and I’m also fond of Italian meringue buttercream because, as an avid marshmallow maker, I’m used to boiling pots of sugar. But I wanted something….different. That’s when I discovered, via one of my favorite baking resources Brave Tart, “German Buttercream” which I’ve also seen called “Creme Mousseline”. It is, in essence, pastry cream with a healthy amount of butter whipped in. Yeah, healthy. Though for this one here, I subbed half the butter with mascarpone. The result is an ice cream-like butter frosting with a wonderfully smooth, intensely creamy texture. I’m a fan. If you’re looking for something different, something you can make taste like anything you can imagine (pastry cream, being milk based, is incredibly easy to infuse with just about anything), then maybe it’s time to branch out in to German buttercream territory. It’s no substitute for a butter lovin’ Swiss or French buttercream, but it’s the ice cream of frostings. And therefore has it’s place. So about this cake equation…

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

The moistness of this cake cannot be overstated. You don’t need to pour simple syrup on it; it’s good for days. People often ask me how I develop my recipes. If it’s a savory dish “I’m making what’s on hand not trash” is usually the answer. If it’s baking, that’s a different matter. If it’s a thing I don’t already have a clear cut ratio for (usually from Ruhlman’s Ratio), I will crowd source the ratio from recipes I know and trust or that people I trust trust. To do that I create parameters like the maximum amount of fat people tend to use and the minimum in any given rendition of a baked good. Then I’ll either go with the average or choose the one I want based on how I want the thing I’m making to taste, i.e. if I want it rich, I’ll go with the max amount of butter. The three cakes I used to develop this ratio were a recipe from a 1999 issue of Gourmet posted on Smitten Kitchen, the chocolate cake from The Essence of Chocolate  by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg on Poires au Chocolat, and Walter Beatty’s chocolate cake from Ina Garten. They are all amazing in their own right.

Here are the cold, hard fudgy chocolate cake facts:

Flour 1 : Sugar 2 : Fat 0.5 : Hot Water Based Liquid 1.25 : Room Temp Dairy or Dairy Sub Liquid 1.25 : Cocoa Powder 0.4 : Egg 0.5 : Baking Soda 0.0375 : Baking Powder 0.0375

How do you use this? First, if you don’t have one, you buy a digital scale. This is the one I use because it isn’t ugly and was only $30. But Salter makes nice scales too. I don’t mean to command you in a baking snob sort of way, but it’s the only way to use this method besides being the only way to ensure consistent results. And as I always say, less dishes. I promise you’ll love it!

Okay, now that you have your awesome digital scale, decide how much you want to make. 250 g (about 2 cups of flour) yields a 3 layer 8″ cake or about 8 4″ cakes (for mini layer cakes). Okay, know how much flour? Now multiply that number (the weight of the flour in grams) by all the other numbers in the ratio (2, o.5,….etc) to get the weight in grams you need of each ingredient. Ta-da! Cake God. Subbing things will take a little finagling as different flours act in different ways, different fats can have varying water contents, and different liquids will have different fat contents etc, but this base will allow you to play around. For instance, instead of the cake here you could do an olive oil, orange, and lapsang souchong chocolate cake. You could even try subbing about a quarter of your ap flour with oat flour or rye…or or. You get the picture. Google substitutions to get the particulars. You could go crazy healthy and try out a combo of oat & whole wheat pastry flour with a flax seed oil and coconut oil fat combo, almond milk, and sweeten it with agave. Here’s some tips for subbing agave, oat flour, and here’s some for subbing brown butter to get you started. And for measurement conversions, I find PastryScoop to be invaluable. I can’t testify as to how any of it it would taste, but you could try it with this ratio as your springboard and those resources for adjustments. That’s how I make stuff up. Sometimes it fails. Fair warning. Others not, and the more research you do into the ingredients you want to sub and the ways in which they behave differently from the original ingredient, the greater your chances of success. Class adjourned.

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

As I mentioned above, I wrote a piece on living and working with Bipolar I  along with addiction and a fun slew of other maladies for Esme Wang. It’s essentially about how I learned to live and thrive with crazy in spades.

While the workshop is sold out, Rebecca of A Daily Something & I have tickets left to our August farm dinner in Virginia!

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

rich chocolate lavender cake + mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons + 2 tablespoon lavender buds, divided
  • 250 grams (2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 520 grams (2.6 cups) granulated sugar
  • 105 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons (10 g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) baking powder
  • 320 g buttermilk (1 1/3 cup), shaken & room temp
  • 2 extra large (about 125 g) eggs, lightly beaten & room temp
  • 150 grams (2/3 cup) coconut oil, melted but not hot
  • 1 recipe of mascarpone earl grey buttercream (recipe below)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 325°F.
  2. Bring the water to a boil, remove from heat, add in 3 tablespoons of the lavender. Cover and let steep 30 minutes. When done steeping, strain and reserve 320 g (1 1/3 cup) of the lavender water, discarding the rest.
  3. Line your cake pans with parchment rounds and grease. I always grease, parchment, then grease again. Especially with this cake. It's wet. And that means sticky. I either use 8" pans or 4" pans (if making a mini cake and using my two 4" pans, I obviously have extra, which I usually use to make an additional couple of 8" single layer cakes to give to away.)
  4. Meanwhile, grind the additional two tablespoons of lavender in a mortar & pestle or spice grinder until you have a fine powder. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and lavender powder into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl if you're doing it by hand, which I do.) Mix on low or whisk until combined and a nice uniform brown color.
  5. In a small bowl or 2 cup measure, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk. It's imperative they be room temp, so don't cheat. If they're cold, your coconut oil will solidify. And we'd rather that not happen.
  6. Bring your reserved tea concentrate to a boil. Meanwhile, with the mixer on low, add the egg mixture and the coconut oil to the dry ingredients. Once just combined, scrape down the bottom with a rubber spatula to make sure there's no dry bits hiding. Then, with the mixer on low, pour in the hot lavender tea, and mix to just combine, scraping down the bottom once again.
  7. Pour into 8" cake pans, about half way up. I sit my pans on a scale and do about 20 oz per cake pan among three 8" pans or 7.25 ounces between seven to eight 4" to make oodles of mini layer cakes. If I have extra or don't want to make that many minis, I do a few cupcakes. Do not overfill. It will floff all over your oven. And be a big fat delicious mess. Note: I have never successfully gotten this cake out of a bundt pan. So if you try, you're braver or smarter than me. Or you have a better bundt pan.
  8. Bake for 20-30 minutes for minis and 30-40 minutes for 8" layers. The cakes are done when a cake tester (read: toothpick or wooden skewer or thin knife) inserted into the center comes out clean (as in no wet cake batter, a few crumbs are kosher).
  9. Allow cakes to cool in pans on a rack for about 10 minutes, then gently invert the cakes on the racks to cool completely.
  10. Before icing I wrap fully cool cakes in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge or freezer. If I plan on splitting the layers, I go with the freezer. If not, I chill them in the fridge. Earl Grey frosting recipe follows.
http://localmilkblog.com/2014/04/chocolate-lavender-cake-earl-grey-frosting.html
mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

Ingredients

  • 16 oz whole milk
  • 3 earl grey tea bags
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 280 grams (10 oz, about 1.5 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1.5 oz cornstarch
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 16 oz butter, completely soft at room temp
  • 16 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
  • juice of one lemon

Instructions

  1. Bring milk to a simmer in a sauce pan, add the tea bags, cover, and let steep 5 minutes. Try not to let it go too long or the tea will become bitter. Give it a good stir and remove the tea bags (I give them a squeeze to get all that good flavor out).
  2. Whisk the cornstarch, sugar, yolks, and eggs in a mixing bowl. Bring the milk to a simmer. Once the milk comes to a simmer, whisk a ladle of the hot milk into the eggs. I do about two ladles to temper the eggs and then pour the warm egg mixture into the hot milk, whisking constantly. Cook this mixture at a simmer until thick and bubbly sluggishly. Cook for a full minute to ensure the cornstarch is cooked out.
  3. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl. At this point you're either going to need to cool it in the fridge or cool it in a stand mixer. The latter is faster and is what I usually do. To chill in the fridge cover the surface of the pastry cream with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cooled. To cool in a mixer, mix constantly on medium until the bowl is room temp to the touch. It should not be at all warm. If it is, your butter and cheese will melt when you add them. And it will not be awesome. If you have put it in the fridge, mix for a few minutes on medium until creamy before proceeding.
  4. Once your pastry cream is cool, add the very soft butter one tablespoon at a time and then do the same with the mascarpone. Add the lemon and salt and whip to thoroughly combine. It should be smooth and creamy. At this point the frosting can be used, refrigerated, or frozen. Bring to room temp and whip until fluffy before using.
http://localmilkblog.com/2014/04/chocolate-lavender-cake-earl-grey-frosting.html

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

rich, moist chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

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120 Responses to 2 years of local milk | rich chocolate lavender cake + mascarpone earl grey german buttercream

  1. Sanda says:

    Congratulation !! Even you didn’t see it coming I really did, you sooo deserve it my dear

  2. Oh gorgeous gorgeous!!!! You won fair and square. Hands down. I’m so glad I lost to a contestant I admire. I think everybody should swear more, then keep calm…and carry on…

  3. Imen says:

    In a word: omfugawesome. Congratulations again Beth. I must make this cake…the german buttercream sounds quite nice. Thanks for the cake maths too. Imen (enfp) xx

  4. Congratulations on two years and on the awards (I knew you would win). This bit of the piece you wrote is so powerful: “A lot of my weaknesses are also my strengths; that’s how it goes, I think. I liken it to nuclear fission—it can either power cities or destroy them.” Needed that this morning. Finally, cake maths for the win. Emma (INFJ) xx

  5. awesome cake & photo. Congrats on the anniversary, may you will be 100some years old…!

  6. annemarie says:

    Congratulations on winning the award, I LOVE your blog and have been reading it for a while now, it is very well deserved! I live in a minimalist loft, reading your blog with its beautiful pictures of food styled on old wooden boards, tin spoons and vintage linen allow me to dream of a road that could have been but not taken….
    You made me go look for my Ruhlman book again, I had to dig it out from behind all my other cookbooks but because I bake sugarfree it will actually be a very good tool as I need to tweak a lot of recipes.
    And wow, what an article on Esme’s blog, it is an inspiration on so many levels.
    Good luck with the Kinfolk event, I am hosting one too in Antwerp!

  7. Skye says:

    That buttercream sounds to die for – I’m a big fan of Italian meringue, but oh my goodness – mascarpone, butter, German buttercream. My life has been to date completely lacking. Heaven.
    Congratulations on the two year anniversary and on the double award – SO well deserved.
    And thank you for the chocolate cake lesson – will try playing around with it over the weekend. Need digital scales first.

  8. mmmm…..que rico, felicidades

  9. Christy says:

    Huge congratulations on your win, you so deserve it! I will be making this cake on the weekend-yay to cake maths-I’ve been doing that for years and thought it was just me. I frequently add lavender to my cakes (my friends have stopped thinking it weird -I think) but haven’t tried the Earl Grey-what a genius idea! Your writing on being bipolar has given me such insight and thought, I’m so glad I found your blog!

  10. I love this little insight into you – it’s what makes blogs so brilliant. Hugest congrats on the award, you 100% deserved it. Keep up the amazing work :-)

  11. Vicky says:

    Congratulations! I love Local Milk! your job is amazing! and this recipe mmmmm…:)
    xo from Argentina

  12. Lia says:

    You are such a beautiful writer… its all soul. Congratulations!

  13. Erika says:

    Congrats to you! This cake is one that I must try, especially since you have provided me with this cake math that I want go back and apply to several failed cake recipes. Thank you for sharing this…

  14. molly yeh says:

    happy birthday, local milk!!!!! what a yummy way to celebrate. i am bookmarking the bejeezus out of this because cake and math = two of my favorite things. and i am so in love with your props, holy smokes.

  15. Thursday says:

    Apologies, I meant to vote for you but I was in a rush, I’ll do it later, blah-blah-blah. Clearly, it didn’t matter as you won anyway and quite rightly so. Well-deserved.

  16. Catalina says:

    Congratulations!!!!! you deserve it! this place is plenty of inspiration, great recipes and great photography

  17. Rebekka says:

    This is so good Beth!!!

    And I’m an INFJ….we’re so close!

    <3

  18. Congratulations on the very well-deserved awards! And this cake looks just brilliant, the perfect celebration cake. Heck, it makes ME want to celebrate.

  19. Ashlae says:

    Happy two years, lady! I have a new appreciation for you now that I know I’m not the only one who considers Snoop their spirit animal. This cake looks divine and I use a similar mathematical approach to my recipes because I’m pretty sure that math conquers all. Except I reaaaaally need to take a page from your book and start using my scale more frequently.

  20. Diane M. says:

    Congratulations!!!!!!!!!! As always, beautiful photos and this cake recipe sounds yummy!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Have a Wonderful Day!

  21. Congratulations! I agree with everyone above, well deserved, I mean look at this beautiful cake. Your piece you wrote is very inspiring and I am sure that it will give hope to many people out there that are struggling with something and realize that they can over come it.

  22. congratulations!!! I have always admired your work and its nice to know a little bit about you. thank you for sharing math + cake info here.

  23. Kathryn says:

    Congratulations on everything that you’ve achieved over the last two years Beth. I know that you inspire me, and many others, every single day with your eye for beauty and creativity.

  24. Archana says:

    Congratulations!!! on the win. When I saw the list of winners, it was a no-brainer that your blog won both reader’s and editor’s choice. I thought you should have also been nominated in the writing category! Really admire your creative recipes and your inspiring-ly beautiful writing! I just read you piece on living and bipolar and I cannot exactly put into words how much I loved it….It moved me because I know someone who is going through a really rough patch in life for years now and the struggle just seems to continue on and on. Your story definitely gives hope to many I’m sure!

    Also, beautiful cake and photography!

  25. Christina says:

    This cake looks so delicious and gourmet! I’m sure the variety of the ingredients makes it perfect. Congratulations on your blog-anniversary, I love reading your recipes and following your inspiration!

  26. cynthia says:

    YAY BETH! So so so much congrats on all of the above — two years and Saveur and this absolutely mindblowingly gorgeous cake. Thank you for all that you do.

    Also, YES to compulsive hair-twirling and Star Wars-ing. Yesssss.

  27. Bec says:

    Cake maths. That’s so fantastic. I’m going to treasure these ratios… And I know there’s an amazing pun in there somewhere. Congratulations on the well deserved award :)

  28. Sarah says:

    Good Morning Beth! I am not at all surprised you won…Local Milk is one of my very favorite places to visit. I love the honesty in your writing, how everything feels so genuine and your photos…..they are absolutely stunning! I come back here many times just to look at them…you are talented in so many ways. So Congratulations!

    I keep a list of the recipes I want to try – I don’t eat dairy or meat, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on substitutions because there’s so many I would love to make.

    Happy Spring and Congratulations again! ♥

  29. amy says:

    You so deserved to win, congratulations — I basically want a book of your instagram to take apart, frame, and hang all over my house. Yeah, I really like your photos. You live an inspiring life; you should be proud.

  30. Kathy says:

    You remain an inspiration to so many. Those you don’t know. Those in far away lands. Those struggling to get by. For awhile now I’ve been scared to admit my pain, my darkness. It’s even driven me from the one space that can too be my solace. Your honesty reminds me things can get better.

    So thank you. Your words mean more than you know.

  31. Two years freaking FLIES by. So happy for you! This cake is the coolest! ;)

  32. Laurel says:

    Love this post! I’m also barely able to string together a sentence without profanity.
    And congrats!!!

  33. ariyele says:

    your words and creations are food for the hungry soul. i’m so grateful that you’re doing and being all that you are. the piece you wrote for esme (thanks for turning me on to her :) says it all and beyond when it comes to living with illness (mine physical)—you’re a huge inspiration to me. sending you big purple asparagus love from sunny california, ariyele

  34. Elma says:

    Hello dear! I am totally in love with your posts. Gorgeous and delicious recipes!
    Take a look at my blog as I also do cooking and photography posts:
    http://elmarama.blogspot.com/

    Thanks doll and have a great day!

  35. Alia says:

    Congrats! Also, this might be my favorite Local Milk post ever (and that is saying a lot). I heart your style, I heart nerdiness, I heart getting to learn something (and also that you used the word maths), and I especially heart food things with tea and flowers in them so this recipe looks like the bomb! (do people still say that?) Anyway all those hearts add up to one fantastic blog post!

  36. carey says:

    Dude, I have been teased (ridiculed?) for obsessively twirling, smelling, and chewing my hair for my entire life. I thought I was weird and alone. Maybe it’s an INFP thing.

    Congrats, and happy two years!

  37. sandra says:

    Wow – Your award is well deserved. Your shots are fabulous. Very inspiring. And that cake looks so good too.

  38. Rima says:

    excuse me as i clean up my drool here *gross*.
    now that’s a frosting I would kill for. Yum. Gotta print and try this cake recipe out! Also I really love the baker’s ratio skill :)

  39. Cynthia says:

    I sent a note via your contact page the day the winners appeared on the Saveur site, but will take this second opportunity on your gorgeous post to congratulate you again. You coulad have been tops i so many categories – writing, regional, original recipes……and of course photography. Thank you for pouring your creativity into something we all get to share.

    I don’t make cake very often, but will have to try this one when the lavender comes on this summer in the garden. Congrats – and thank you – again.

  40. a chocolate cake flavored with tea?? you’ve chosen the perfect way to celebrate your award!!!! congratulations and thank you for this :)

  41. tara says:

    Hi Beth,
    I’ve been reading and loving your blog for about 6 months now, in my little wooden house on my little organic farm in the green foresty hills of northern new south wales, australia. I live very far away from you and yet I feel a real closeness to you. I hope you won’t think me overly familiar when I say… I love you, Beth. I mean that most sincerely. I really appreciate your honesty and your weirdness. Thank you for giving so courageously.

  42. tara says:

    I just did the personality test…seems I’m INFP too.

    • beth says:

      I love the myers briggs! I am very on the line in both the I and the F category…a smidge to the left and I read as an ENTP! I like how it accounts for the sliding scale of personalities.

  43. […] gorgeous spring flowers and produce. Check out this spring salad, it’s to die for! And the flowers on Local Milk – swoon! It’s Autumn here in Australia, and time to say goodbye to Summer. I […]

  44. Congratulations! I’ve been reading Local Milk for a while now, and really enjoy your writing, recipes, and your spectacular photography! I live in Dallas now, but used to live in Nashville; and Chattanooga was my favorite weekend getaway. It’s a lovely place! Thanks for your inspirational blog!

  45. Claire says:

    You just get more fabulous each new post I read. Your post on Esme’s blog puts into words what so many of us have a hard time articulating and explaining, in such a gorgeously artistic way that I cannot thank you enough. Your creativity is truly heroic. Thank you for sharing your words & yourself with your readers–it’s a blessing, and so is that cake.
    xo

  46. Ahhh, you just proved with this post once again that your photography is amazing!!! Love the LIGHT! Congratulations on the win, you so deserve it.

  47. Sarah says:

    This cake looks all kinds of delicious – is it okay to skip dinner and just have cake instead?! And congratulations on the Saveur win, most deserved.

    • beth says:

      Welllll…I’m pretty sure I just ate a cinnamon bun the size of my freaking face for dinner like a child. So…yeah! Once and a while won’t kill us.

  48. Ashley Denae says:

    Congrats on your two year mark! I know for one that I am a big fan of yours. Your photography and styling or absolutely impeccable. I look forward to reading your blog and trying out your beautiful recipes.

    -Ashley Denae

    http://ashleydenaexo.blogspot.com/

  49. Kate says:

    I just discovered you through the ‘explore’ page on Instagram, and I’m so very glad I did. Consider me your newest fan. I can’t wait to make this cake!! I will say (because “unsolicited advice” is my middle name and because I sell lavender at a farmer’s market) to your readers to make sure they’re using culinary (such as Buena Vista) lavender, as opposed to craft lavender that’s used for sachets and other things. Lavender is in the mint family and contains camphor, which can leave a rather bitter taste. The stronger smelling the lavender, the more camphor there probably is.

  50. Jen says:

    Congrats on two years! I love the cake math – I so hope there will be more math in the cookbook.

    And also, apropos of nothing I’m so grateful you linked to Iggy Azalea, I’d never heard of her before and that song is *awesome*.

  51. Millie says:

    Very nice job and a well-deserved prize!

    Best regards,

  52. Magda says:

    Happy birthday to your wonderful blog and thank you Beth for sharing a little more about yourself. I really appreciate it.
    Your chocolate cake looks divine and I can’t wait to try it!

  53. Oh Beth! I do hope I get to meet you someday. I’m so happy for you and so proud of you! Whenever I see someone so full of passion and love for what they do, it just makes me so hopeful and happy. Well done you!

  54. Bell says:

    No surprise that you won, your photography is stunning, beautiful! Love your blog :)

  55. Baby June says:

    This looks beautiful! Congrats on the anniversary.

  56. […] I love this post, its science, its tenderness, its incredible cake! (Local […]

  57. Happy Birthday to your blog! It is truly a thing of beauty. Congratulations once again on the Saveur win. So so awesome! Your photographs are out of this world but what always gets me, are your words. You weave them with magic! Much love and hugs to you from down under! Sneh x

  58. Congrats on 2 years of Local Milk and the win! The strength of your honesty goes beyond the beauty of your photography and words!
    Your cake looks great, my grandmother was the queen of buttercream, she would have loved it!

  59. […] rich chocolate lavender cake. these […]

  60. Congratulations, your blog is beautiful .. a lot of work for only 2 years :)

  61. Samantha says:

    Congrats on 2 years and on the awards, you deserve it!

    I lol’d at the undead lvl 85 undead warlock. I’m an 87 mage!

    WTB chocolate lavender cake. PST.

  62. Leigh Kramer says:

    The cake looks and sounds amazing! Congratulations on two years and on the Saveur award. Both are to be commended. Given you’re an INFP, I can’t help but wonder if you know your Enneagram type.

  63. […] Rich Chocolate Lavender Cake + Mascarpone Earl Grey German Buttercream – Wowza! I could probably eat this every day. […]

  64. Sofia says:

    When I was 12 I started a Star Wars fan club with my best friend, but when I suspected she wasn’t fanatical enough I started a second (secret) fan club with myself as the only member. Sixteen years later and quite a while since I’ve thought much about Star Wars and I reflexively said “corellian bloodstripes, duh” while reading this. I would ask you to join my club but it’s at capacity.

    As a fan (of yours) and a fellow Chattanoogan, I just wanted to say congratulations, this city is lucky to have you!

  65. Shivani says:

    Your blog is the only blog currently on my feed for which a post comes up and I smile. I absolutely love reading your words and seeing your photography – I love the stories, the herbs, the hints of spirituality, and of course the recipes – so really, it is we readers who should be thanking you! Congratulations on the awards, on two years, and on three years – I may not have any claim to be proud of you, but I am anyway. You are incredible, thank you so much for your witching and your ratios.

  66. Christina says:

    This my first time on your blog and it is immediately obvious why you won that award. Your photography is simply stunning. And I am so happy to find someone else that thinks about recipes the same way I do! I use excel to develop my recipes, in a similar way to yours. I thought I was the only one, lol! And this cake… wow! I can taste it from here. So happy to have found you.

  67. Tania says:

    You seriously are my food hero. I wish I could come and visit you so you could teach me your magic.. You need(/have to/please do it) write a book with all your wonderful recipes! You are one incredible soul! x

  68. […] And just one more lavender-flavoured treat, this mouth-watering Chocolate Lavender Cake with Earl Grey Buttercream from Local […]

  69. kristie says:

    These are the most beautiful photos, not to mention the inspiring words. Thank you for sharing. I hope one day I can make a witchy cake like this. Tell me the secret!

  70. Kate says:

    Where to begin? Congratulations on your award and your blog’s second anniversary. Hard work well rewarded. Second, I read your piece on Esmé’s blog and I am awed by your perspective on life and illness and your ability to translate all of that into words so eloquently. I also found it so damn relatable. I struggle with some slighter comorbidity myself. Hope we get a chance to meet someday, I imagine we’d have plenty to talk about (INTP here).

  71. Sandhya says:

    Many Congratulations Beth !! What a stunning set of pictures up there… My eye balls are popping out and saying Wow.. with each picture I scroll down..
    I m here for the first time.. and glad I landed here…

  72. Beth, you’re a gem to have around. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  73. Helen says:

    A well-deserved win. And right that you should get recognition for the heaps of inspiration you share with us all. Can’t wait to give your cake a go!

  74. Tasneem says:

    Congrats on the win! And this cake will be made in my kitchen soon. I love that you add tea and flowers and such to most of your recipes.

  75. kelli says:

    thanks for sharing
    today and all the other days
    there are a lot of words and sentences that popped into my head as I was reading this post
    I see lots of people had words for you today
    so to condense it all down to it’s essence
    YOU ROCK!
    and to elaborate…
    thank you for inspiration, knowledge and pretty textural pictures
    pat on the back for sobriety!
    me too, 8 years and never looking back
    once again,
    YOU ROCK!

  76. Christina says:

    Hi Beth! A belated congratulations to you! I voted for you. :) I was wondering if you would share how you get the darker backgrounds in your pics? Are you using a flash? I would love to try out that technique on my pillow pics. Thank you! Btw, I think you should have been in the best writing category as well. Love, love your writing. You’ve expanded my vocabulary! Lol

  77. Sylvia Riet says:

    Star Wars, WoW and Chocolate Cake with Earl Grey frosting, these are all my most loved things in life. And I have found it an awesome blog. Cant’ wait to make this cake. Thanks for posting!

  78. stephanie says:

    congrats on your win and happy cake day to your blog!
    ohmygosh, so much win with your music choices :)
    also, i bow down to your cake maths.

    xoxo

  79. Adonis says:

    This Food Blogging site is very beautiful – Keep up the good work

    P.S. pictures looks so awesome and hq, what program do you use to edit those photos, photoshop? or it’s just your camera makes so awesome looking photos? :)

  80. Charis says:

    Congratulations Beth! Your cake sounds absolutely divine! I’m going to hold my hand up here & admit that the cake math seems kind scary… and thanks for sharing more of the lady behind the cake :)

  81. Cheryl says:

    Congrats!
    You’ve created a beautiful blog which is:
    Luscious to look at,
    Full of helpful info (there’s nothing like a girl who can whip up a cake with some cake math), and
    An open and honest expression of yourself.
    WELL DONE.

  82. Lynna says:

    Happy 2 years!! I`m so glad I ran into your blog a few weeks ago. Gorgeous cake and stunning photos, as always! :D

  83. Marije says:

    Well done and congrats on your winning, Beth! I’ve been following you for a few months now and voted for you as I just LOVE your creativity, photo’s and stories!
    So happy you won!
    You are a big inspiration and definitely my no. 1 Food Blog to follow! :)
    Love from Amsterdam, NL.

  84. Congrats to you!! These pictures are so moody, and dark, I absolutely love them. This looks the perfect cake to celebrate the successful 2 year mark of your beautiful blog. Truly stunning!!

  85. […] of this recipe. I came up with it (FIRSTIES!) using the oh-so-helpful cake ratio Beth shared on her latest blog post over at Local Milk. I am not much of a baking genius. I feel I get lucky a lot (wink wink) but […]

  86. […] of this recipe. I came up with it (FIRSTIES!) using the oh-so-helpful cake ratio Beth shared on her latest blog post over at Local Milk. I am not much of a baking genius. I feel I get lucky a lot (wink wink) but […]

  87. Melissa says:

    I’ve been thinking about this cake a lot since you posted it, and finally made it today! I made two 8″ layers plus 12 cupcakes, which was awesome. Due to lack of availability, I omitted the lavender. Everything turned out great and the cake/frosting tastes amazing.

    German buttercream is my new hero. It’s so forgiving! Due to my own folly, the buttercream broke on me (I refrigerated it and then tried to whip it as soon as it came out out of the fridge, instead of waiting for it to get to room temperature). However, I saved it by quickly warming the bowl in a hot water bath and then whipping it furiously for a few minutes.

    Anyway, this cake is great. You’re great. I can’t wait to experiment with your cake ratios (and perhaps distill some baking ratios of my own!). Thank you, Beth. Your blog is such a pleasure to read.

  88. Lauren says:

    I made this cake for a dinner party this evening and I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it is! That buttercream-
    Heaven! And the cake was so moist and had the perfect hint of lavender :) I absolutely adore your blog and all of your recipes!

  89. Congratulations on 2 years of Local Milk, wishing you the best from Guatemala!

  90. Cintia says:

    Congratulations, your blog continue to grow and your photos are every time more and more beautiful, I love that light and the mystique mood. I really love it.
    http://www.cintiasoto.com

  91. […] Local Milk | 5. Adventures in […]

  92. HUGE congrats on you amazing, amazing blog. It’s such fun to read!

  93. Anna says:

    Two years and I only discovered you a few months ago via Pinterest! You are so inspiring, than you for cooking, baking, writing, taking photographs and sharing all these lovely posts! I’m in love with your blog!

  94. Bening says:

    This is my first comment in your blog. Oh, Beth, I love your blog so much. I love the pic, the receipt and love your writing style as well. Congratulation, you and your blog deserve to be a winner. Congrats!!!!! with love from Indonesia

  95. […] 1. Local Milk; 2. Anne Of Carversville; 3. Oh Joy; 4. Apartment Therapy; 5. Vegetarian […]

  96. Your wiriting+pics+food = perfect weekend reading for me! Congrats on being 2!

  97. Erica says:

    Did you know that you are also a Better Homes and Gardens Blog winner?? THat is what brought me to your website. Congrats!!

  98. Dore says:

    I am inspired by the soulful beauty here. Loved my visit and will return soon.

    Thank you for the beautiful share.

    Xx
    Dore

  99. Just read every word of this post & loved every little bit of it. I am so, so unbelievably happy that I came across your blog through the Saveur awards. I love getting to know the bloggers I read on a more personal level, so thanks for sharing!! And I think all of us bloggers have our own little idiosyncrasies ;) love, love it… and yes, your photography is out of this world!! Xox, Jordan

  100. Susan G says:

    This cake is absolutely amazing! I made it for my Brothers Birthday last week, and we all loved it. So incredibly moist, and perfect with that amazing texture in the german butter cream icing! I also love love love ratios! I’ll be keeping this super moist ratio going for a while! Thanks!

  101. […] breakfast of not quite stale muesli, eyes widening in truly cartoonish fashion at the thought of lavender chocolate cake and fennel orange olives. Mornings, incidentally, are my hungriest time of […]

  102. Tre says:

    Beautiful writing with beautiful photography!

  103. Wow – just came upon your site for the first time (where have I been?? Clearly under a rock) and am massively in love with your writing, photographs and recipes. Am thrilled to have discovered this site….

  104. jody says:

    come on!!! seriously? you’re actually doing this to me right now! i want to get up and bake. it is after midnight and i am naked in my bed. sheesh! i don’t even have an apron befitting of this cake in this hour. amazed.

  105. Julia says:

    Lovely post and recipe! Quick question: could I make the water into tea and use that instead of the lavender, and do more flour instead of cocoa to make a black tea cake?

  106. Thanks for talk about, Your post is awesome and its really helpful

  107. Stephanie says:

    Your blog is amazing. I would have chosen you for best writing, as well. Your words have such a beautiful rhythm & flow to them. Is that being greedy? :)

  108. gmarie says:

    Boy what a following you have! Just happened to come across your site (your pics of cake lured me in!) and guess what? 1 more fan! Congrats on the awards!

  109. […] and lots and especially try this Chocolate Lavender Cake from Local Milk […]

  110. […] are so many incredible recipes that use lavender (like Lavender Shortbread Cookies or Rich Chocolate Lavender Cake) but I decided to pair it with honey and use it to flavor one of my favorite summertime drinks […]

  111. Julia says:

    Hello Beth. I wanted to thank you for this lovely and unique cake recipe. My boyfriend has been on a lavender kick after trying some of my homemade herbal tea blends with lavender. He’s also a chocoaholic. Obviously, this had to be made as his birthday cake. He absolutely loved it. I cannot wait to try some more of your recipes. Your blog has such a cozy, refined and good natured spirit – it’s always a pleasure to visit. As a side note, I’m also an INFP who played MMORPGs. I don’t twirl my hair, but I constantly grab several strands of my short hair and then incessently press up against the bunched tips with my thumb.

  112. Jane says:

    Love your site and photos. I use lavender a lot, lavender lemonade is a favorite as is a recipe I have for lavender chicken. Keep up the beautiful work. I definitely will be back to visit.

  113. […] craft of cooking and developing recipes.  I especially appreciate her baked goods.  I made her Chocolate Lavender Cake with Earl Grey Buttercream Frosting for a friend’s birthday, and it was probably the most delicious thing I’ve ever made. […]

  114. I’ve been studying and enjoying your blog, it’s a decent blog for getting the awesome lavender cake.It is a outstanding aid for relaxing and winding down before bedtime, yet has balancing properties that can also boost stamina and vitality . Thannks for sharing this article.

  115. […] documenting the cooking process.  And while it might not be easy for a college student to make chocolate lavender cake with mascarpone earl grey buttercream or honeysuckle biscuits with sea salt peach butter, we can certainly drool over the […]

  116. Oni says:

    This cake is EVRYTHING to me!!!!!
    I’m having my coworker make it for my birthday it is my screensaver at work and will be my profile pic soon on Facebook!

    I would likve it if YOU baked it for me…is that possible?

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