Monday, May 20, 2013

Lavender Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting

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I really enjoy making birthday treats for family and friends, especially if I have a good idea of something new they might like. For example, my mother-in-law is a lover of lavender, so I knew I wanted to try to make a dessert with lavender for her birthday celebration the other weekend.
I had never cooked with lavender before, so it was a new experience for me. I allowed the buds to sit in the milk for a few hours to soften up and flavor the milk. The aroma coming from the oven while these were baking was delightful, and the lavender flavor in the cupcakes afterwards was mild, yet noticeable. My favorite part was probably the frosting. Using a fresh vanilla bean gave it a strong vanilla flavor, while the buttercream practically melted in our mouths. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tbsp. dried edible lavender
  • 1 1/3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp. agave nectar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. blue food coloring
  • 1/4 tsp. red food coloring
Vanilla Bean Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor, combine milk and lavender and pulse about 1 - 1 1/2 minutes until lavender is well chopped, scrapping down inside of processor once during processing. Pour into liquid measuring cup (be sure to scrape out all of milk and lavender from sides and lid), and allow to sit for at least one hour or overnight in the refrigerator.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, whip butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Blend in agave nectar. Add eggs one at a time and mix just until combined after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Working in 3 separate batches beginning and ending with flour mixture, add dry ingredients alternating with milk mixture, mixing just until combined after each addition. Mix in the blue and red food coloring just until combined.

Fill paper lined muffin cups 2/3 full and bake in preheated oven 19 - 21 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Allow to cool several minutes in muffin tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely then frost with Vanilla Bean Frosting. Store in an airtight container.

For the Vanilla Bean Frosting: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter and vanilla bean seeds on medium-high speed until nearly white and very fluffy, about 7 - 8 minutes, frequently scrapping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add in powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until blended, then increase speed to medium and beat until very light and fluffy, about 5 - 6 minutes, frequently scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Pipe or spread over cupcakes. For best results use the day prepared.

Source: Adapted from Cooking Classy

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