My recipe for Lemon Lavender cupcakes is brand new on paper–but has a long history. I had my first taste at a favorite restaurant years ago, which left me slightly obsessed. Not that food bloggers are prone to obsession or anything….
After that first taste, there were initial baking attempts (which failed), attempts for the 2011 Picnic Game (failed), Lemon Lavender tea (failed), Lemon Lavender shortbread (3rd place in the 2013 Wisconsin State Fair–you can’t fail all the time) and finally success about a year ago.
My first good batch emerged from the oven for a big Mother’s Day brunch last year, and was based on a confetti cupcake recipe for from Grace of A Southern Grace. People practically fought over the leftovers, taking them home unfrosted, for another taste.
The euphoria was short-lived, however, and a couple days after Mother’s Day, my stepfather died. Between the mourning and the arrangements, I never wrote anything down–not even which of Grace’s (67) cupcake recipes I had started with.
What’s the Picnic Game, you ask? To participate in the picnic game, participating bloggers choose a letter of the alphabet, make something to “bring” starting with that letter, and list all the letters/foods that come before. Just like a real picnic you never know what new recipes you might go home with! A big thanks to Louise of Months of Edible Celebrations for hosting!
So…. I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing:
And at last, (ding, ding, ding) Lemon Lavender Cupcakes (recipe at bottom of post)!
I did learn some fun new food facts out of all of this…
- You can make your own cake flour out of regular (bleached or unbleached) all purpose flour and cornstarch. Just measure out 1 cup of flour, remove 2 tablespoons of flour and add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. It’s effective (in fact King Arthur unbleached cake flour is actually unbleached flour plus cornstarch), cheaper and takes less room in your cupboard. (Those adjustments are already built into my recipe below.)
- You can freeze egg whites. The whites I used were leftover from my recent strawberry curd, popped into the freezer to ensure freshness. The trick here is making recipes using yolks first since the yolks need added sugar or salt to freeze. (And invariably if you’ve got sugared yolks, you are making a savory recipe, or vice versa.)
- Lavender flavor will permeate a recipe better if mixed with the sugar in an airtight container the night before. If you try to increase the intensity of lavender by simply adding more, you risk bringing out the bitter undertones in it. Some people blend the sugar and lavender together in a blender to save the wait. I haven’t tried this, but I’ll let you know when I do.
- • 2 tablespoons skim milk
- • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- • 2 tablespoons lavender
- • 1 cup all purpose flour
- • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- • 1/4 teaspoon salt
- • Zest from a very small lemon or half a regular lemon (a scant 1 t)
- • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- • 3/8 cup skim milk
- Buttercream frosting if desired (actually good unfrosted...)
- Combine sugar and lavender in an airtight container.
- In a small bowl, combine 2T milk, egg whites, and vanilla extract; whisk briefly to blend.
- In a second larger bowl, combine the flour, sugar/lavender mixture, cornstarch, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt. Mix briefly on low speed to combine, about 30 seconds.
- Add in the butter and mix on low speed until the mixture resembles wet sand, about 30 seconds.
- Mix in the remaining 3/8 cup milk, then increase the speed to medium and beat for about 2 minutes more.
- With the mixture on low speed, add the egg white mixture in three additions, mixing for about 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
- Fill lined 12 count cupcake pan about two-thirds of the way full.
- Bake at 350F, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool in the pan briefly, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
- Calorie count is for unfrosted cupcake.