One of the sure signs of spring is the blooming of all sorts of flowers. It seems in recent years blossoms have become sought after pickings for the table. They are aromatic, flavorful, and inherently beautiful.
While other areas of the country yield a super vast array of wild edible blossoms, the semi-arid desert here in Western Colorado has a bit less. There certainly are some, but we probably won’t get into the high county edibles this year till mid-may with all the snow. So for now I’ll be scrounging the low country for early spring goodies and if I’m lucky, perhaps a turkey.
A good spring blossom to keep any eye for comes from the Manzanita plant. Manzanita translates to “little apple.” This plant blossoms from the end of April to June depending on elevation, and is found in varying sorts across the west. The blossoms then turn to small “apple-like” fruits that are edible, tart, and slightly sweet. The blossoms are amazingly beautiful and delicate, and have a bright floral aroma. They are very popular blossoms for use in tea, jelly, wine, as they give a deep red to lilac color.
For this cake recipe I really just used a concentrated tea for flavoring. Removing the blossoms from stems to reduce any extra tannins that may come with them. Lightly simmering the blossoms in equal parts of water for 5 minutes, then letting them rest for 10. The liquid was then strained and the remaining liquid reduced to 1/8th original volume.
Feel free to use any blossoms you may choose, violets, elderflower, black locust would all be amazing candidates.
- 2 Cups AP Flour
- 1 C Sugar
- 2 Sticks Salted Butter
- 1/2 Cup Milk
- 2 T Vegetable Oil
- 6 Egg Whites
- 2 t Baking Powder
- 1/2 t Salt
- 2 T Concentrated Blossom Water
- 2 1/2 Sticks Salted Butter (room temp)
- 3 C Powdered Sugar
- 2 T of Concentrated Blossom Water
Pass all dry ingredients through a sieve into a mixing bowl.
Place softened butter into stand mixer and beat on high till light and fluffy.
Slowly incorporate eggs, milk, oil, and blossom flavor into the creamed butter.
On med-low add the dry ingredients one scoop at a time to the liquid ingredients.
Evenly distribute the batter into 2 greased 6″ pans, or 1- 8″ inch. Bake at 325* for 25-35 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let the pans cool for a few hours covered with a towel, carefully remove and set aside.
For the frosting add the butter into a stand mixer and mix on medium, slowly add powdered sugar. Milk can be added 1 teaspoon at a time if it seems a touch dry.
Evenly cut the tops off of the cakes and take 1/2 of the frosting to use as the middle layer and crumb coat. Set in the fridge for 1 hour to firm up, this will gather the crumbs of the cake and firm them up for a clean final coat.
Add flower concentrate to the remaining buttercream and beat to fully incorporate the color and flavor. It adds a subtle lilac color, and light floral flavor. Frost the chilled cake with desired technique.
Decorate the top with blossoms and enjoy!