If you ask me, the element that makes a really great lavender cake is restraint. Most of the time it’s okay to double the amount of flavorings such as vanilla extract or citrus zests in batter recipes, but this is is not something you want to try with dried lavender buds. They are highly perfumed and require a judicious hand when it comes to adding them to recipes.
This batter formula uses a very specific method of beating the butter and dried buds together until the fragrance is dispersed into the fat. This removes any soapy taste from the lavender and what remains is lightly floral flavor, almost reminiscent of Earl Grey tea.
I’ve made this recipe many times as a loaf cake but it’s also lovely as cupcakes. It is a favorite of mine, especially in spring when flowers and trees are budding. I always feel like I’m at a garden party when I’m eating one, even if I’m just in my PJ’s reading a book which is most often the case.
I had some fun painting these little dollar store animals gold for DIY cupcake toppers. I found the paint at Target in the crafting aisle (20 Karat), and you may remember that I used it for this dinosaur topper last month.
I also had a new Ferris Wheel cupcake holder to try out which you can see in the pictures. Cute as it is, I can’t recommend it. It’s extremely difficult to get the cupcakes in and out of the carriages. I’d only suggest using it as a centerpiece, and if you don’t mind squished frosting.
I’m the biggest fan ever of these edible gold stars, so I decided to do an up-close-in-your-face picture of them. The lavender frosting is only lavender in color. I flavored it with lemon extract, and it is as fluffy and delicious as it looks!
If it’s warm where you live, I urge you to enjoy one of these in a sunny spot on your porch or picnic blanket. You might also bookmark these for Mother’s Day, if you have a mom that gardens and enjoys the outdoors as mine does.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1 tablespoon dried lavender buds
- 1/2 cup 100g granulated sugar
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons pure lemon extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup 120gall-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup 4 oz. full fat sour cream
- 1 cup 226g unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1/2 -3 cups 320 to 380g confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure lemon extract
- Milk or heavy cream
- Violet gel food color
- Edible gold star sprinkles optional
- Make the cakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners.
- Beat the butter and lavender buds in the bowl of an electric mixer for 2 minutes, or until well combined. Scrape down the bowl and beat for 1 more minute. Add the sugar and mix well. Beat in the egg and extracts.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the flour to the butter mixture alternately with the sour cream on low speed; begin and end with flour. Turn the batter over several times by hand with a large rubber spatula to make sure the lavender buds are well dispersed. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full. Bake for 17 minutes, or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Remove cakes from pan and let them cool completely before frosting.
- Make the frosting: In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners’ sugar. Begin on low speed until crumbly; add milk or cream a little at a time until the mixture is spreading consistency. Beat on high 3 minutes. Add lemon extract and beat again for another minute.
- Add the lavender gel food color a little at a time until the desired hue is achieved. Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large French decorator tip and pipe frosting onto the cupcakes. Immediately top with edible gold stars, if using.
Beautiful! I have always been apprehensive to try lavender in baked goods, but this recipe looks too good to pass up! Thanks for sharing.
I love using lavender in baked goods and am definitely going to try this recipe.
When you made this as a loaf did you also use the frosting? I'm thinking of making a nice lemon glaze instead.
I'm with you – I prefer a nice lemon glaze for the loaf version. My recipe is 1 cup confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and a splash of milk or cream all whisked together.
Have you made a vanilla lavender version? I love lavender and I love lemon, but I'm not sure I want them together. I tend to like really strong lemon flavor which would overpower the lavender here.
I have! I love that combination. You can omit the lemon extract in this recipe and use only the vanilla extract. It's even nicer with the seeds of a vanilla bean.
For the frosting, have you tried steeping the heavy cream with the lavender, letting it cool, then adding it to the frosting to get some of the lavender flavor?
I love that technique, and I've used it before in an Earl Grey cake I made previously. That's an excellent suggestion for people who are looking for lavender-flavored frosting with this cupcake instead of lemon. (I tend to favor the lemon frosting with this particular recipe.)
Awesome…I have some Lavender extract…I might try that too. Thanks for the response!
I brought some culinary lavender but have been to nervous to use it. But I love the sound of these, I think it's time to try it
I love that frosting closeup!!!! I want to dive right in and take a swim, lol. I made lavender cupcakes a few years ago and I could not find lavender by itself. So I picked through an earl grey tea blend I had and pulled out each lavender bud. Needless to say, it was very mild but it was wonderful nonetheless! I just need to bite the bullet and get a jar of it next time 🙂
I love lavender ice cream so I feel like I'd love these!
Beautiful cake. Would love to try it out.
This is the second lavender thing to pop up for me today – must be a sign!
Meant to be? 🙂
Is the flour measurement in grams correct? You have 240 grams of all-purpose flour…that is 2 cups of flour, not 1 cup.
Hi GiGi, 240 was a typo. It's 1 cup of flour. Thank you for asking so I could correct it!
These cupcakes are super delicious. I tried making some last weekend and oh my! So flavorful! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.
Just made these as a trial run for a function that I'm cupcaking. They are amazing. Didn't change a thing. The lemon comes through nicely and the lavender is very present but not overpowering. Definitely don't overdo the lavender. I'm going to core them and fill with lemon curd then replace lemon buttercream with lavender buttercream (just a hint of lavender). Can't wait for the final product, but the taste tests from removed cores are fantastic. For sure going in the "Keepers" folder.