LAVENDAR AND APRICOT SPONGE CAKE

Serves 10

2 tbsp dried lavender, plus 2 lavender sprigs 

6 apricots (300g)

280g caster sugar

250g unsalted butter, softened

5 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

250g self-raising flour

175ml double cream

Halve the apricots and remove the stones. Place in a saucepan and sprinkle with 1 tbsp of sugar. Cover with cold water and add the lavender sprigs. Poach, covered, on a medium heat for 10 mins, then allow to cool with the lid on.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Grease and line
2 x 20cm sandwich tins. In a bowl, combine the remaining sugar with the dried lavender. Place in the microwave for 45 sec. This will help infuse the sugar with the lavender flavour. Stir, then set aside around a tablespoon’s-worth to decorate the cake with later. Add the butter to the remaining lavender sugar and cream into each other with the back of a wooden spoon. Beat in the eggs, one at
a time, then stir in the vanilla. Sift in the flour gradually, folding
it into the mixture. Stir in 25ml of the cream.

Divide the batter between the two tins and bake for 20 mins until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their tins then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

In a large bowl, whip the cream until thick. Whip in three tablespoons of the liquid from the apricots. Place one of the cakes on a serving plate and top with the cream, then layer on the poached apricot. Top with the other cake and sprinkle with the reserved lavender sugar. Serve.