Lavender – Honey Cupcakes

March 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

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It’s been so exciting to already see the effects of spring –  flowers, particularly cherry blossoms, are blooming and more people are spending time outdoors as the weather becomes nicer. I’ve been enjoying sitting in the sun’s warmth, which almost feels therapeutic.

Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. 

I wanted to bake something that encapsulated the vibe of spring so I came up with these Lavender-Honey Cupcakes! Lavender was on my mind because I recently had a cup of lavender-hot chocolate, which struck a great delicate balance of flavors. These cupcakes were my first time adding lavender to food so I was a little nervous because it is such a strong flavor and using too much can cause something to taste more like soap than a delicious cupcake.

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However after taking one bite of these cupcakes, I knew these were definitely a keeper! I am so excited with how well these turned out! Even my picky 14-year old brother loved them and asked to pack one for school – that’s when you know it’s good.

I love how the honey in the cupcake batter gives the cake a slightly caramelized outside with an incredibly moist interior. The lavender-vanilla bean buttercream is luscious with a refreshing, floral accent. I also love the pretty pastel colors of the honey-yellow cake and lavender frosting on top.

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Because these cupcakes were such a success, I’m definitely inspired to incorporate lavender into other desserts and possibly savory dishes! Hope you give these cupcakes a try and share how you like them in the comments below!

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Lavender-Honey Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Honey Cupcakes [ Adapted from The Cake Blog ] 

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Lavender-Vanilla Bean Buttercream

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp lavender extract or 3/4 tsp finely chopped dried culinary lavender *
  • Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
  • Few tbsp milk, as needed
  • Purple (or red + blue) food coloring, optional
  • Fresh or dried lavender for garnish, optional

* Lavender is a strong flavor so a little goes a long way! You don’t want to feel like you’re eating soap or a candle. I recommend using a little less than the stated amount and tasting and adjusting as desired.

Directions:

Honey Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350°F and line cupcake tin with parchment liners.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-low speed until pale and fluffy. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. With the mixer running on low, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape sides down as needed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a liquid measuring cup, combine buttermilk, honey, and vanilla extract.

With mixer running on low, alternate mixing in the dry and wet ingredients; add dry ingredients in three parts and wet ingredients in two parts so that you start and end with dry ingredients. Make sure not to over mix or else you’ll end up with tough cupcakes!

Evenly pour batter into the prepared cupcake tin so you have 12 cupcakes.

Bake for 17-18 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Transfer cupcakes to wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Lavender-Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until pale and fluffy; scrape down sides with rubber spatula. With mixer running on low, gradually add confectioners’ sugar, lavender, and vanilla beans. Increase speed of the mixer until light and fluffy. If buttercream is too thick, beat in milk in small amounts until it reaches desired consistency. If buttercream is too thin, beat in more confectioners’ sugar.

If desired, gradually add food coloring until frosting reaches desired color.

To frost cupcakes, spread with a knife/off-set spatula or transfer to piping bag.

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