Flowers Meet Flour
Straight from the garden to the kitchen, flower power is an understatement. From dainty cookies to frosted cakes to tarts and white chocolate bark—some of these are almost too pretty to eat. But do eat them—because these gorgeous recipes are blossoming with floral flavor. This is truly one of our most deliciously delicate galleries of all time. These recipes are a welcome guest at your next birthday party, baby shower, wedding festivity, or even just a weekend brunch. So put the petal to the metal, and let's get baking.
Cherry Blossom Thumbprint Cookies
These buttery thumbprint cookies offer a faint cherry flavor in the cookie itself and the most stunning pop of pale pink, along with a delicate taste of cherry blossom, in the jam filling. These elegant thumbprint cookies are almost too pretty to eat (although we’re sure you’ll find a way), and would make the perfect sweet finish to a bridal shower or dinner party. Cherry blossom jelly is a specialty product we ordered online, but we found it to be worth the extra bit of effort and expense for a special occasion. However, you could fill these cookies with whatever flavored jam you like. Alternatively, we also tested the recipe using chocolate kisses instead of a jam, and this is also a delicious option. The chocolate makes a very tasty companion to the subtle cherry notes in the cookie.
Confetti Flower Cake
It may be hard to believe that this stunning layer cake could taste as delightful as it looks, but trust us on this one… it’s well worth cutting into. We create an all-natural “fun-fetti” look for this Confetti Flower Cake with edible flower petals flecked throughout the moist and delicate vanilla layers. Covered in a light, fluffy strawberry frosting (and a few more garnishing edible flowers for good measure), this wow-worthy confetti cake is the perfect centerpiece for your next special occasion—be it a birthday party or a wedding shower.
Elderflower Pound Cake with Lemon-Elderflower Glaze
This delightfully floral pound cake is a super fun and elegant twist on the classic 7-Up pound cake—not to mention, a most delicious introduction to elderflower if you’re not familiar with its flavor. Easy to whip up and incredibly impressive, this elderflower dessert is a fantastic option for your next dinner party. The floral notes from the elderflower liqueur and tonic water, as well as the lemony tart glaze, perfectly balance the pound cake’s richness. You can find elderflower tonic water at grocery stores such as Whole Foods and Fresh Market, but you can also order it online if you have trouble tracking it down locally. You will have leftover tonic—but don’t worry, that’s just a perfect excuse to make yourself an elderflower gin and tonic to enjoy while your cake bakes. While the flower flavor in this fabulous cake certainly shines, it isn’t at all overbearing.
Orange Blossom-Thyme Scones
Light as a feather, buttery scones with a hint of orange and just the perfect touch of thyme. Ideal for breakfast or brunch, these delightful scones would be delicious split and topped with strawberries and whipped cream. You find orange blossom water at Whole Foods and other specialty markets, or order it online.
Rose Petal-White Chocolate Bark
Absolutely gorgeous and so easy to make, this white chocolate bark would make the perfect hostess gift or wedding favor. You can find white chocolate melting wafers in many grocery stores or craft stores, such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby. Just be sure to microwave at 50% in short increments as white chocolate is easy to burn.
Lavender-Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
These delicate, crispy shortbread cookies are incredibly impressive given how easy they are to make. With just the right balance of gentle herbaceous, floral flavor and saltiness, these not-too-sweet shortbread cookies are the perfect treat to pair with anything from coffee and tea to lemonade or rosé. While both have fairly potent flavors, when applied with an expert touch (i.e. knowing restraint), lavender and rosemary make an amazing team—delivering sophisticated personality to whatever they touch. Culinary lavender buds are readily available in many nationwide supermarkets, but you can also order them online if you have trouble finding them locally. One key baker's tip to remember when it comes to making shortbread, definitely don’t skip out on chilling your dough before baking. This resting period helps the dough relax (resulting in a more tender, delicate cookie) and helps the cookies keep their shape in the oven. If you plan to make these lavender shortbread cookies for a special occasion (or you just love them so much you want to keep them around), you can easily whip up a double or triple batch of dough in advance and keep the unbaked logs frozen; when you’re ready for cookies, just pop the logs out of the freezer, then slice and bake. If you wanted to dress them up even further, a simple lemon glaze would be a delightful addition drizzled over the baked and cooled lavender-rosemary shortbread.
Here, a crunchy cookie shell with a chewy interior sandwiches delicate, creamy, floral frosting. If it will help, you can print out a piping template online and place it under the parchment paper to pipe consistent size circles. You can, if you like, garnish the tops of the macaroons with fresh elderflowers, which are available from marxfoods.com. The macarons will keep, in an airtight container, for up to a few days.
Lemon-Vanilla Pound Cake with Lavender Glaze
Lavender Rice Pudding Tarts
In a stroke of pure genius, Darcy transforms homey, comforting rice pudding into pie. And why not? Rice pudding is a starchy, creamy delight, so it makes a perfect pie filling--especially when it's going into a pine nut-flavored crust. Some traditional rice pudding recipes use lots of sweetened condensed milk, but this one uses just 1/3 cup sugar for a not-too-sweet treat. Dried lavender, used judiciously, adds just the right amount of floral essence to lend an air of elegance, while blueberry jam spooned on at the end brightens with a tangy, fruity lift.
Corn Flour and Orange Blossom Chiffon Cake
"If cornbread were transformed into a sweet, moist, fluffy golden cake, this would be it," says Medrich. She tops it here with whipped cream and crème fraîche, and curls of candied orange zest, but she likes it plain too. You'll need a 10-in. (10 to 12 cup) tube pan with removable bottom for this recipe. For more about corn flour and rice flour, see "Power Flours," below.
Chez Panisse Sugared Rose Petals
At Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, spring desserts are often served with a seasonal flourish: a sprinkling of sugared rose petals. Chopped into colorful confetti or served whole on a cake or candy tray, the petals have a delicate crunch, inviting flavor, and subtle fragrance. We went to one of the restaurant's pastry co-chefs, Carrie Lewis, for a tutorial. Along with organic rose petals, she recommends using a small brush to apply the thin layer of egg white (it makes the sugar stick) so the petals turn out beautiful and delicate. At Sunset, we used the petals to decorate Butter's Vanilla Cake spread generously with Vanilla Buttercream.
Lavender Berry Crisp
Notes: Sharon Shipley uses the floral notes of lavender to complement berries in this delicious crisp. Use the minimum amount of lavender for a subtle accent, more if you love lavender. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Biscotti with Lavender and Orange
Fresh lavender, combined with freshly grated orange rind, gives these crunchy cookies an aromatic appeal that's better than any bakery fare.
Lemon, Lavender, and Poppy Seed Cookies
Simple homemade dough provides the ideal base for a cookie made with naturally sweet ingredients.