Lavender Peach Coffee Cake

The mingling of lavender with fruit. Just as a backup singer adjusts her pitch to the tune of the lead vocalist, so lavender harmonizes beautifully with the peach. Maida Heatter, “the queen of desserts” calls this layered pastry a kuchen, which is the German word for cake. It is reminiscent of pie, with a cakey crust, a fruit filling and a crumby topping. It resounded the perfect coffee cake to me. Pondering that complementing duo, I flavored three of the layers with lavender, the sweet yeast dough, the crumb topping, and the icing but the taste still just peaks through because of how well the peaches balance it.

There is a tradition in Germany called Kaffee and Kuchen. Friends and families gather mid afternoon, especially on Sundays, anywhere for coffee and cake and conversation. Conversation! In my home with three teenagers who sometimes barely utter a hello as they immerse themselves in their own lives (totally normal I know), this sounds so good. The idea of a homemade cake to share with my special confidantes, inspired me to add the herb of attraction, lavender, to this kuchen, enticing them to my home for a good cuppa, a treat, and talking.

Adapted from Maida Heatter’s Great American Desserts

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Lavender Peach Coffee Cake
Servings Prep Time
8-10people 75minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
8-10people 75minutes
Cook Time
Lavender Peach Coffee Cake
Servings Prep Time
8-10people 75minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
8-10people 75minutes
Cook Time
  • For topping
  • ½ cup organic light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup organic unsifted all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup organic almond meal
  • 3 TBS organic unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • tsp lavender powder
  • For cake batter
  • 4-5 organic medium peaches* peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 cups organic unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup organic granulated sugar plus 1 extra teaspoon*
  • ½ cup organic unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • ¼ cup organic milk
  • 2 organic large eggs room temperature
  • 2 TBS warm water
  • tsp active dry yeast not a full packet
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 rind of large lemon finely grated
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips or raisins optional
  • For icing
  • ¼ tsp lavender powder
  • 1 TBS boiling water
  • 1 cup organic sifted powder sugar
  • tsp lemon juice
For topping
  1. In small bowl, cream butter with large spoon until soft. Add sugar and beat to mix.
  2. Add flour, almond meal, and lavender powder beating until crumbly. Set aside to top cake before baking.
For cake batter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
  2. Butter 13x9x2-inch cake pan and place in freezer until ready to use for batter. This will make it easier to spread bottom layer of cake in pan.
  3. In small bowl, combine warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, and yeast. Stir with a knife just to mix and set aside.
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and lavender powder. Set aside.
  5. In large bowl of electric mixer, beat butter until soft. Add remaining ½ cup sugar, beat to mix. Add yeast mixture, eggs, vanilla and almond extracts, and lemon rind. Beat on medium high speed to mix which may make batter look curdled, but this is ok and will change as soon as dry ingredients are added.
  6. Decrease speed of mixer to low, add ½ of dry ingredients, then milk, then rest of dry ingredients, beating to combine after each addition. Once well combined, begin cake assembly.
For icing
  1. Place lavender powder in small bowl and pour in boiling water, stir to dissolve.
  2. Add powdered sugar and lemon juice and stir with rubber spatula until smooth and thick and just barely thin enough to drizzle on cake.
To assemble cake
  1. Remove baking pan from freezer. Pour ½ of cake batter (approximately 1¼ cups) into pan and spread with rubber spatula into a very thin layer covering whole bottom of pan.
  2. Line sliced peaches in rows to cover bottom layer of batter. Peaches should be just barely touching each other. If using chocolate chips or raisins, sprinkle on top of peaches.
  3. Using 2 teaspoons, place the rest of the batter on top of the peaches, working to cover as much of the fruit as you can. Use one spoon to pick up a spoonful of batter, the second spoon to push off onto fruit. Once you have used up all of the batter, there may be some small spaces showing which is ok.
  4. Using your fingers, sprinkle the topping mixture over the batter to completely cover. Bake for 35-40 minutes until top is browned.
  5. While cake is baking, prepare icing. Do this right at the end, in the last 5 minutes of baking.
  6. As soon as cake is removed from oven, use a rubber spatula to drizzle icing in thin lines all over the cake. The icing will sink into the cake topping.
  7. Cool cake in pan on wire racks. Once cooled to room temperature, place pan in refrigerator for 1-2 hours until cold. Slice into squares. Store in refrigerator. Coffee cake slices can be individually wrapped and frozen.
Recipe Notes

If peaches are ripe, it may be easier to blanch them for peeling. To blanch peaches, bring a water to boil in a saucepan deep enough to cover two peaches at a time. Have a large bowl of ice water ready. Place 2 peaches at a time into the boiling water with a slotted spoon. Boil for 1-2 minutes depending on ripeness of peaches. Lift peach out of water with slotted spoon and if skin feels loose when you touch it with a finger, place in ice water until cool enough to handle. Starting at the stem, peel off the skin with your fingers. If needed, peaches can be returned to the boiling water. Slice peeled peaches into thin slices. If peaches are not very ripe, I think it is easier to use a thin, sharp paring knife to peel and slice them.

Using organic ingredients in your baked goods makes them all the more nourishing. For this recipe, use organic butter, sugar, flour, eggs, milk, and peaches if available.

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