(Summer Never Tasted so Good!)

As I enter my “green” kitchen and rummaged through my kitchen cabinets, looking for inspiration for the perfect summer dessert recipe, it occurred to me I had all the ingredients for the PERFECT summer cake recipe. I had been working outside planting fresh herbs in my courtyard garden all day, and my Chamomile was thriving. Since it is one of my favorite calming herbs for teas and other recipes, I remembered a special recipe I saw for a beautiful summer chamomile cake. Yes, CAKE! That’s it! That’s exactly what I wanted!

Heather’s Wildcrafted Chamomile!

Now I just had to find that recipe! So, I poured myself a tall glass of lavender lemonade (heavy on the crushed ice) and began to dig through my recipes, and finally found it. It was sent to me by a dear friend Heather and a wonderful herbalist. Since I don’t use sugar, I could easily substitute erythritol for the sugar and not sacrifice any of the flavor or texture of the recipe. And not sacrifice any of the taste (not to mention bypassing the sugar rush and inevitable crash that usually follows in its wake.What an excellent way to counter the “sugar crash” with a cake recipe that has tranquility and ease built right into the batter (and the honeyed icing!).

Herbing up classic recipes like this cake concoction is a fun way to put a therapeutic twist on traditional dishes and amplify their health-giving power, and who doesn’t need that right now? So let your food be your medicine (even…or perhaps especially…if it’s cake). I believe we call this “having your cake and eating it, too!”

Chamomile is a beloved medicinal herb that brings peace to the exhausted nervous system and vitality to the immune and digestion system. A traditional and proven remedy for anxiety, Chamomile is terrific for those who are on edge, depleted, or have the sensation of being ‘tired and wired.’ In addition, Chamomile has a positive effect on mood and mental health. One study even showed that Chamomile could shift one’s self-esteem to a higher level and lower one’s perceived stress levels [1].

Chamomile is so gentle in its medicinal qualities that it is safe for all ages and is considered ideal for children and elders with even the most sensitive constitutions. As a very potent anti-inflammatory herb, Chamomile aids fiery conditions and cools down the body.[2]

Its subtle sedative characteristics make it a wonderful part of the bedtime routine. Chamomile has been demonstrated to significantly improve the quality of sleep and usher in a restful, restorative night’s sleep. All that and NO blood sugar spikes…[3] So if you’re going to treat yourself to an after-dinner sweet, you have got to try this. I love to serve it cold – it slices beautifully and is the perfect recipe on a hot summer evening (and will make you famous at the family picnic!) Bon Appetite!

Calming Chamomile Cake Recipe
  • 1 cup milk (or dairy-free milk substitute)
  • 2 tbsp ground or powdered chamomile flowers
  • ¾ cup egg whites (from about 5 large eggs)
  • 2 ¼ cup flour (all-purpose or cake)
  • 1 cup powdered Erythritol or Monk Fruit (plant-based sugar alternatives)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 oz unsalted butter (1 ½ stick), softened and roughly cubed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray two 9 inch round cake pans with olive, coconut, or avocado oil and sprinkle with flour. Line pans with parchment paper.  Stir the milk and half the ground or powdered Chamomile together in a small saucepan and heat on low until about to simmer, then turn the heat off and lid. Steep this liquid for 20 minutes and then strain (only if using ground chamomile). Stir the egg whites into this mixture gently.   

Add the remaining ground or powdered Chamomile, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a stand mixer. On low, slowly begin to add the butter in until the mixture resembles a coarsely textured cornmeal. Slowly, over the course of a minute, pour the egg white and milk blend into the stand mixer bowl, scraping down the sides with a spatula so that it is thoroughly mixed. The beater should still be on low. Do not overmix.

Pour the batter into the greased and floured cake pans, so it is evenly distributed. Place the pans in the middle of the rack in the preheated oven and bake for 26 minutes. Once each cake layer passes the clean knife test, remove it from the oven and cool on a wire rack.  Cool completely before frosting.

Honey Buttercream Chamomile Icing
  • 10 oz unsalted room temperature butter (2 ½ sticks)
  • 2 tsp ground or powdered chamomile flowers
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cup Erythritol or Monk Fruit (plant-based sugar alternative)

Make the icing by placing the butter, Chamomile, vanilla, honey, and sugar in a clean mixing bowl and beating until creamy. Taste and add more sweetener if needed (it’s not overly sweet). Cool in the fridge until ready to ice the cake. 

When the cake is cooled, coat it generously with a good layer of buttercream icing.  Decorate the cake with the edible floral gifts of summer: fresh Chamomile, of course, roses (unsprayed only), red clover blossoms, daisies, blackberry flowers, nasturtiums, and calendula.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16628544/

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29154054/