Culinary lavender oil, buds in SF?
June 8, 2017 11:34 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to make lavender cake. Where can I buy these ingredients?

Here is the recipe in question. I am trying to make this cake by Saturday evening, so I'd like to be able to go Friday after work or Saturday morning, pick it up, and make the cake. Do you know where I can find these ingredients?
posted by wym to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know if they have lavender oil anywhere, but i'm 99% certain Rainbow Co-op's bulk spice section has dried culinary lavender buds. You'll have to pulverize them yourself, which, if it were me, would be a special treat. (I hardly ever get to pulverize anything)
posted by aubilenon at 12:00 AM on June 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

You can definitely just use lavender essential oil. It doesn't have to be labeled "culinary." Make sure it is essential oil, not "fragrance." I have seen lavender essential oil at whole foods and walgreen's, but the best quality I've had is Elizabeth Van Buren brand, which is based in Santa Cruz.
You can find the fresh herbs and the essential oils you are looking for at any herb store. Scarlet Sage in SF, or Lhasa Karnak in Berkeley, for instance.
You could call up Spun Sugar in Berkeley, which is a specialty pastry supply shop with all sorts of goodies, including many different flavorings.
posted by shalom at 12:16 AM on June 9, 2017

Okay well rainbow has essential oils too for sure. Though I'm not as convinced as you that they're awesome to eat.
posted by aubilenon at 12:24 AM on June 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

On further thought, I guess if they're okay to inhale, which is basically what you're supposed to do with them, then they're probably okay to eat.
posted by aubilenon at 12:29 AM on June 9, 2017

In the comments, the author of the post says they used this lavender oil, which appears to be an essential oil. I would still make sure that you're using food grade oil, though.
posted by cooker girl at 5:53 AM on June 9, 2017

In my local organic grocer, far from SF, bulk dried lavender buds are not with spices, but in the medicinal herbs and sketchy supplements section. (So are chamomile, hibiscus, rose hips, etc.—for me, choosing from herbs I recognize and understand, it’s simply the cheap and tasty homemade looseleaf herbal tea section.) So you might try the herbal medicine / supplement angle.

You probably could make a great cake without lavender oil by making a simple syrup with the buds, straining or not as you prefer, and using it as a sweetener in the cake.
posted by musicinmybrain at 8:42 AM on June 9, 2017

Best answer: SF Herb, 14 & Mission, has lavender by the pound and essential oil.
posted by you could feel the sky at 9:56 AM on June 9, 2017

Best answer: I agree with musicinmybrain - if you can only find lavender flowers, you can still make this cake, and it will have a lovely, distinctive lavender flavor! I make lavender treats frequently using the technique in this recipe:

Make a lavender "tea" of 1/4 cup hot water with a tbsp of edible lavender flowers. The longer you steep, the better (I steeped mine all day). Strain and use.

In addition, mince a tablespoon or two of edible lavender flowers using a food processor and add those directly into the batter. You don't want to use whole flowers, since they're hard to chew and make people wonder, "What fell into the batter while you were mixing?"

If there's a Sur la Table near you, they do sell lavender essence in ethanol, though I've found that that adds a subtle but still noticeable bitterness.
posted by aquamvidam at 1:15 PM on June 9, 2017

This French brand of "essential oil crystals" is made specifically for cooking, delicious, reasonably priced as you only need a pinch, and they keep their flavour for a long time. (If you like floral food, try the bourbon geranium variety...) Not terrifically helpful for an urgent request, but it does give you at least one more sort of box to look for on shelves (try health food stores and hippie drugstores).
posted by kmennie at 2:29 PM on June 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all! I was able to get both lavender flowers and essential oil, and the cake was delicious.
posted by wym at 7:40 PM on June 14, 2017

« Older Since I've got to pik with water, what's the very...   |   G-g-ghost pirates? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.