Recently I stumbled across the perfectly delightful Sweet Paul Magazine and wondered quite simply how I ever lived without it. An online magazine, it is also published for sale at Anthropologie stores and it is really that fantastic. It's full of beautiful, easy ideas that anyone can create, most with minimal effort. I strongly encourage you to check it out.
Displayed prominently on it's cover is a variation of this delightful cake. A beautiful impressive cake does not need to be time consuming to create, and while this dessert may be slightly challenging the definition of "cake", I've always believed if it looks like a cake, tastes like a cake, it's cake. Icebox cakes like this one are time honored old fashioned desserts that I simply adore. Martha Stewart also has a similar recipe that involves making your own lemon cookies that you can find here.
This recipe calls for using thin lemon cookies so using that as my inspiration I decided to candy some lemon slices to add as garnish. Lemon and lavender have always been indelibly linked in my mind so a sprinkling of culinary lavender in the filling and over the cake was a given.
I used Trader Joe's Lemon Thins, but if you can't find those any other thin cookie would work just as easily. Anna's Ginger Thins would be a lovely substitution and taste just as phenomenal. I would recommend that you make this cake the day you intend to eat it. The whipping cream in the filling does not retain it's integrity with age. The sky is the limit with this cake. Change up the flavor of the filling by adding some delicious liquor, add fresh berries on top with mint and you have a delightful summer dessert.
Lemon Lavender Icebox Cake
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 eight ounce container mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. culinary lavender, divided in half
100 think lemon cookies
Candied lemon slices (recipe below)
Whip the cream in the bowl of a mixer until soft peaks form. Fold in the mascarpone, sugar and 1/2 tsp of lavender.
Line a cake plate with 7 cookies in a circle, placing one additionally in the center for a total of 8. Spread with a thick layer of cream. Continue layering until you've used all the cookies or run out of cream which ever comes first.
Refrigerate the cake for a minimum of 3 hours. Just prior to serving place candied lemon slices or other fruit on top. Sprinkle liberally with the remaining 1/2 tsp. lavender.
Candied Lemon Slices
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 Meyer or other lemon cut into thin slices
Prepare an ice water bath and bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Blanch the lemon slices for 20 seconds in the boiling water, drain and place in the ice bath immediately.
Pour the water and sugar into a heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat the mixture slowly over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Avoid stirring the pan, swirl it gently to help dissolve the sugar. Increase heat slightly to medium low and place the lemon slices in the pan in a single layer. Simmer the slices for 1 hour. Avoid letting the syrup boil, just keep it at a low simmer. You don't need to hover over the pan, just check it periodically to make sure it's behaving. Once complete, remove from pan and place on a cooling rack with parchment beneath. Let sit at room temperature until cool and ready to use.