Here, the lavender flowers are used to infuse milk for making the cupcake batter and the tops are decorated with lavender flowers. Lavender has a strong smell and taste which can be subtle and interesting if not over used.
This is a very interesting cupcake recipe and the lavender flowers lend it a fascination flavour.
Lavender CupcakesServes: 12
For the Lavender Milk:250ml (1 cup) milk
2 tbsp culinary lavender flower buds
For the Cupcakes:280g (2 cups) fine plain flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
115g (4 oz) butter, softened
200g (1 cup) caster sugar
2 large eggs
120ml (1/2 cup) lavender milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Lavender Icing:50g (1/4 cup) butter, softened
300g (2/3 lb) icing sugar
6 tbsp double cream
1/2 tbsp honey
1 tsp flaked almonds
a handful of culinary lavender flower buds
Method:Begin by making lavender milk. Combine the milk and lavender flowers in a pan. Gently heat the milk until it reaches the scalding point (just before boiling) then take off the heat and set aside to cool completely. Once cold, strain and discard the lavender.
For the cupcakes: sift together the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Cream together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly to combine after each addition. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla (begin and end with the addition of flour). Mix lightly and thoroughly but be careful not to over mix, you just need the dry ingredients to be moistened.
Spoon the batter into the wells of a 12-hole muffin tin lined with cupcake liners (fill them no more than 3/4 full). Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mark 4) and bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre emerges cleanly.
Cool the cupcakes in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the topping, lightly toast the flaked almonds either in a dry frying pan or in a hot oven for 5 minutes. Crush the lavender flower buds in a mortar. Beat the butter in a metal bowl until smooth and creamy then add the icing sugar and double cream. Work in enough of the lavender milk to give a smooth, spreading, consistency. Finally work in the honey.
Use this mixture to spread over the tops of the cupcakes and dust with a sprinkling of lavender and the toasted almonds.
Allow the icing to set before serving.
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