The Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It provides us an opportunity to sink deep into ourselves to find what we want to create in the coming year. The eternal hope and nurturing power of The Star can help us to grow these dreams with the lengthening days as we begin our journey toward Summer. And what better way to celebrate the Earth’s New Year than with a little sweetness? Chef Courney McBroom and Tarot reader Melinda Lee Holm bring you a spoonful of year-end Kitchen Magick with their Winter Solstice Star Cake.
This cake is moist and delicious with a wonderful crumb. The addition of lavender gives it a lovely floral note that it goes perfectly with a warm cup of tea or an amaro on the rocks. I love to use Amaro del Capo, but if you can’t get your hands on that, use any liquor that runs on the sweeter side – Grand Marnier, Elderflower cordial, Amaro Nardini, even Campari or Aperol would work. You can also use whatever kind of citrus you like, as long as it’s sweet, like Cara Cara oranges, grapefruit or mandarin orange. Just don’t use lemon or lime, either of those would be too tart and overpower the delicateness of the lavender and olive oil.
STAR CAKE WITH OLIVE OIL AND LAVENDER
6-8 lavender springs, washed (calming, promotes serenity and peace)
1 ¼ cups whole milk
Chrysocolla (optional) (eases fearful thinking, encourages connection with Divine feminine)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespooncitrus zest
¼ cupcitrus juice (symbol of the Sun, draws in and celebrates its power)
¼ cupamaro del capo
1. Place the lavender sprigs in a medium bowl and pour the milk over them.
2. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge overnight to cold steep and infuse. Place Chrysocolla around the bowl if you desire.
3. When you are ready to bake the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a cake pan of your choosing and line it with parchment paper. This recipe will make two little cakes (6”-round) or one large cake (9-10” round).
4. Add the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder to a large bowl and whisk to combine.
5. Remove the lavender from the milk. Add the milk, along with the eggs, citrus zest, citrus juice and amaro to a small bowl and whisk to combine.
6. Pour one-third of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, use the whisk to mix slightly, add another third and mix slightly, then add the final third and mix until fully combined. If needed, use the whisk vigorously to break up any lumps that have formed.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking vessels and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check the cakes at 45 minutes – they should be brown on top and around the edges, just starting to pull away from the sides. When you press on the top, it should bounce back. If the cake doesn’t pass this test, leave it in the oven for another 10-15 minutes until it does!
8. Let the cake cool, then invert the pan to remove the cake from it. Serve at room temperature!
9. The cake will keep for up to a week, well wrapped. You don’t even need to refrigerate it!