The flavors of chocolate, orange and lavender come together beautifully in this recipe. It’s the perfect ending or beginning to a romantic evening. The original recipe comes from a wonderful cookbook, Staff Meals at Chanterelle’s. Chef Kate McAloon has added her own twists and thinks you’ll really enjoy them! The lavender is optional, but try it because it adds a depth of flavor to the cake. Please use organic ingredients whenever possible. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Lavender Orange Cake

Ingredients

1 Pound semisweet chocolate (chopped or chocolate chips)

1 Cup butter

9 Large eggs (separated)

¾ Cup sugar (for egg yolks)

2 Tablespoons sugar (for egg whites)

1 Teaspoon orange juice

1 Teaspoon orange zest

1 Teaspoon culinary lavender (ground)

Powdered sugar (to decorate)

Lavender sprigs (optional for garnish)

Raspberries and blackberries (or other fruits in season for serving)

Whipped cream (for serving)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9 inch round spring form pan (or choose a heart- shaped spring form pan or 4 small pans. It’s great for setting a romantic scene!) with organic non-stick spray. Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or use a double boiler. Remove from heat and set aside. Then beat the egg yolks with an electric mixer until very thick. Then gently add the egg yolks to the chocolate mixture and combine well. Beat the egg white and 2 Tablespoons of sugar until they form soft peaks. Then gently fold the egg whites into the mixture. Add the orange juice, orange zest and culinary lavender. Mix gently until well mixed. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until edges are firm but the center still jiggles. Cool the cake on a wire rack. Remove the sides of the pan. Dust the cake with powdered sugar mixed with a little ground culinary lavender. Garnish with berries, whipped cream and a sprig of lavender.

Visit Chef Kate’s website www.chefkatealiveandcooking.com and the Kora Organics Blog (under Chef Kate) for more healthy organic recipes and articles.

*Organic culinary lavender and other products available at www.keyscreeklavenderfarm.com.