Our warm weather has produced a bumper crop of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and after making medicine we found ourselves looking for more ways to use this fabulous herb. Viola, this wonderfully flavourful tea cake that is infused with lemon balm and is great served with fresh berries and whipped cream or ice cream.
Lemon Balm Cake
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup light oil (such as sunflower, grape seed etc)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp Tilia’s Organic Lemon Extract
1/3 cup yogurt or sour cream
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup packed fresh lemon balm leaves (save the stems and flowers)
Confectioners sugar for dusting (optional)
Directions: Heat oven to 375F. Grease a cake/bundt pan and dust it lightly with flour.
Chop up the stems & flowers of the lemon balm into small pieces (you want about 1/2 cup). Place your chopped stems/flowers in a heat-proof cup or bowl and pour 2/3 cup boiling water over top, then cover. Allow to cool so it is just warm to the touch. Once cool strain and whisk the lemon balm tea into the yogurt and set aside.
Combine the lemon balm leaves and the sugar in a food processor and whirl until the leaves are finely chopped and incorporated into the sugar. Cream together lemon balm sugar and oil with an electric mixer until it is fairly light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time and beat to combine with the sugar and oil mixture. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.
Add the dry ingredients alternating with the yogurt mixture into the sugar mixture and then whisk in the lemon juice and lemon extract. The batter will be quite thick and this is normal!
Transfer batter to the cake pan and bake for 25 minutes or until the top is light golden brown and a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool on a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes after removing from the cake pan. Dust with confectioners sugar once cooled (makes one 8 inch cake). Note: The flavours infuse best when left until the next day but if you can’t wait that long to dig in, don’t worry, it still tastes scrumptious.
This cake is easy to make and is perfect for everything from picnics to afternoon tea. It also freezes well, so make a few extra cakes to use up your lemon balm and have the fresh flavour of this delicious cake even in winter. Enjoy!