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Mulled Cider and Lavender Lemon Cake

Mulled cider is a great family drink, but you can use the same recipe if you want mulled wine for the big people! Lavender Lemon Cake is a change-up from the spiced and sugary desserts of the season, so it is a nice match.

Mulled Cider
1 L apple juice (or red wine for mulled wine)
12 juniper berries
12 whole allspice berries
12 whole cloves
2 whole nutmegs, crushed (with a hammer, inside a tea towel)

1 cinnamon stick, broken

2 tbsp dried orange and/or lemon peel OR 1/2 lemon and orange each, gently squeezed
Combine all ingredients and place in a cheececloth bag if you have one (this prevents the bits from ending up in people's glasses.) If giving this as a gift, attach instructions.
Place mix in a medium saucepan with 1 L apple cider or red wine. Bring to a simmer and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until hot. Ladle into mugs and garnish with a lemon slice and cinnamon stick.

Lavender Lemon Cake
1 cup cream cheese
1 cup butter
1-1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 tsp vanilla axtract
juice of 1 lemon
2 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp lavender buds
zest of 1 lemon

In a large bowl, cream the cream cheese and butter together until fluffy. Add sugar and mix well. Add eggs one at a time. Then add vanilla and lemon juice. beat in flour and baking powder.
Blend lavender and lemon zesst in a small bowl. Stir this mixture into the cake batter.
Pour batter into buttered 9 inch springform pan and bake at 350F for 55 minutes.Dust cooled cake with icing sugar before serving, if desired.


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