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Lavender Honey Cake Recipe (Paleo, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free)

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Lavender Honey Cake

I was lucky enough to spend last week in beautiful, seaside Carmel with my boyfriend Z’s family (healthy travel guide for the California coast coming soon!), and, on our first night there, it was Z’s sister’s 40th birthday – and Z and I were in charge of the party.

Right away, we knew one thing: it needed to be as childlike as possible.  We hunted down a dinosaur-shaped piñata and stuffed it with the candies I haven’t eaten since my last trick-or-treating excursion.  We draped streamers from every conceivable surface, and scattered party hats and Kanye-esque plastic glasses about the living room.  There was only one thing left: the cake.

Lavender Honey Cake

I knew I wanted the cake to be elegant, to counteract the if-Barney-came-to-life-and-vomited-green-and-purple-everywhere vibe of the rest of the room.  I wanted to use beautiful, creative flavors that felt sophisticated but also accessible to the birthday girl’s three children under age 10.  But it wasn’t till later, when we took a trip to the nearby Earthbound Farms that I found my inspiration.  As we strolled through the herb garden, carefully trying not to disturb the bees as we snipped our choice plants, I found myself in a sea of fragrant, faintly sweet, calming lavender.

lavender Honey Cake

The Lavender Honey cake was born.

This cake is amazing, you guys.  It’s refined sugar free (sweetened with coconut sugar and honey!), and grain free (made with coconut flour and almond flour!) but it still has a light and fluffy texture.  I’ve never been able to find a natural food dye that’s effective, so I created my own solution to turn the cake a gorgeous purple.  The frosting uses cashews and honey to create a beautiful whipped buttercream.  The vast majority of people at the party could’ve cared less about eating healthy or grain free, and they gobbled the cake up in seconds (the children included!).


The base of the cake is the Vanilla Cake Mix, from Simple Mills.  Simple Mills is one of my absolute favorite companies – they have a number of mixes that use under ten whole foods ingredients to make beautiful baked goods, from pizza to cake to foccacia and muffins.  I’ve had amazing results with everything of theirs that I’ve tried – the textures and flavors are truly out of this world.  Blending dried lavender directly into the mix allows that lovely fragrant flavor to truly permeate every delicious bite.

To get the cake’s gorgeous purple color, I used blackberry juice (!!), made my simmering frozen blackberries and then straining them, resulting in an inky, wine-like liquid. You can’t taste it at all in the cake, but it gives the mix a beautiful lavender color, that bakes up into a slightly darker purple.

Lavender Honey Cake

If you’re interested in a stacked cake, like the one in these photos, you’ll need four 6″ cake pans, or a stacking cake set like this one (which I used).  One cake recipe is divided into the four pans to make four small cakes, which are then stacked for an awesome, rustic-chic look that I love.  This recipe would also work as a typical larger cake, or as cupcakes.

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Lavender Honey Cake Recipe (Paleo, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free)



Lavender Cake

  • 1 box Simple Mills Vanilla Cake Mix
  • 1 tbsp dried culinary lavender (available in the spice section at most supermarkets)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil (I used avocado)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup frozen blackberries (optional, if you wish to dye the cake purple)

Cashew Honey Frosting

  • 1 3/4 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour and drained
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Juice of 1 lemon (preferably Meyer, but normal works fine)
  • Sea salt


Lavender Honey Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. If you’re dying the cake, make the dye first. In a small saucepan or the microwave, heat blackberries with a few tablespoons of water until warm and beginning to fall apart. Blend up, then strain through a fine mesh strainer or nut milk bag to remove seeds and pulp. Set aside.
  3. In a blender or food processor, blend together the cake mix and the lavender on high, until lavender is well distributed with dry mix. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil, and vanilla until well-combined. If you’d like to dye the cake, replace the 1/3 cup of water with 1/3 cup of your blackberry juice; add water or blackberry juice to wet ingredients and stir until well combined. Mix together wet and dry ingredients, then pour into greased pan of choice and bake. My 6″ cakes took about 15 minutes to cook (way less than a larger cake, so watch closely). When a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the edges begin to pull away from the pan, remove from oven and transfer immediately to wire cooling rack. Stick them in the freezer to cool while you make the frosting (this helps avoid any crumbs when you’re spreading the frosting later).

Cashew Honey Frosting

  1. For the frosting, add all ingredients to a food processor and process until creamy, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add more honey if you prefer a sweeter taste. You can also add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to thin the frosting until you get your desired texture.
  2. Spread frosting on cake, layering upwards. Garnish with lavender, roses, or any edible flowers you desire.

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  1. Sara says:

    Absolutely delicious! Perfect cake for the Spring Equinox.

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Hi Sara, I totally agree! So glad you liked it. xo, Liz

  2. Caroline Maher says:

    Could I use a blender if I don’t have a food processor?

    1. Liz Moody says:

      I wouldn’t recommend it for the frosting – I think it will clump up in the bottom of a blender. If you tried it and it worked out please let me know!

  3. skillette says:

    Can the cake and/or frosting be made the day before? Would the cake be okay to freeze overnight and then that before icing, or what’s recommended? Thanks!

    1. Liz says:

      They should both be able to be made the day before, but I’d store them separately in the fridge and then give the frosting a good mix before putting them together just before serving. I’d also probably take the cake out of the fridge an hour before serving, and the frosting a half hour before even assembling, to give it a chance to loosen up.

    2. Sprouted Routes says:

      They should both be able to be made the day before, but I’d store them separately in the fridge and then give the frosting a good mix before putting them together just before serving. I’d also probably take the cake out of the fridge an hour before serving, and the frosting a half hour before even assembling, to give it a chance to loosen up. Let me know if that works, and if you run into any issues!!

      1. skillette says:

        Thank you so much for this recipe and for your reply! I’ve decided to make this amazing little thing for a special celebration for a women’s group this weekend. 😀

        Okay, so fridge- not freezer- for the cake, too, if letting it sit overnight? If I decide to make it the day of, it looks like your just putting it in the freezer to cool– any idea about how long will keep it from crumbing when frosting it? Thanks again!

        1. Sprouted Routes says:

          I think the fridge should be enough to keep it from crumbling if it’s overnight, but if you want to be 100%, I’d freeze for an hour or so right before you frost. I hope this doesn’t come too late; just got off an overnight flight!! Let me know how it goes!!

          1. skillette says:

            Just made the cake and will make the frosting and assemble tomorrow. I used chia seeds in place of eggs, which maybe be why the tops of the cakes are a little lumpier than smooth– no worries, it will be covered with frosting!

            Okay, important note here– I am already seriously regretting not doubling the recipe!!! The cake batter was A-FREAKING_MAZING and I want to eat all of the little cakes RIGHT NOW! Since this cake is to be split between 8 people, I think there will be *just* enough, but sadly without anyone getting seconds and without me getting pre-party-cake-eating-party-for-one!

            If anyone is reading this and you are serving 8 people, or even 6, and you think you’re going to want extra or leftovers, just do it! The cake– with the lavender (which, admittedly, I prepared myself instead of buying) and the blackberry dye and the chia eggs, etc– was pretty labor intensive. Now if I want more cake, I’ll have to do it all over again. I haven’t even made the frosting yet, but I can already tell you that this cake is WORTH IT!

            Thanks, Sprouted Routes!!! 😀