• Vanilla sponge with lavender syrup


    • Syrup

    • 60ml (¼ cup) white sugar
    • 45ml (3 tbsp) water
    • handful lavender leaves, crushed
    • thin rind of 1 lemon
    • Sponge

    • 160g butter
    • 150g castor sugar
    • 5ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
    • 2 large eggs
    • 280g (2 cups) self-raising flour
    • 125ml (½ cup) milk
    • 250ml (1 cup) fresh cream, whipped
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) icing sugar, plus extra to serve
    • fresh lavender flowers, optional, to serve



    For the syrup, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved and you have a lovely hot syrup. Add a spoon of water if it needs thinning, and set aside to keep warm.


    Preheat the oven to 190°C. Grease and line 2 x 20cm round or heartshaped tins.


    Cream the butter, castor sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately fold in the flour and milk.


    Pour the batter evenly into the prepared tins. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for a few minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.


    Prick the cakes evenly all over with a toothpick, pour over the hot syrup and leave to cool.


    Whip the fresh cream and icing sugar and refrigerate until needed.


    To serve, spread the cream evenly over one cooled cake. Sandwich the cakes together, dust with icing sugar and garnish with lavender flowers if they are available.