Party or Picnic Lemon Lavender Cupcakes


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….

Lemon Lavender Cupcakes on Tray

Lemon Lavender Cupcakes on Tray

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. 

Lemon Lavender Cupcakes with Coffee

Lemon Lavender Cupcakes with Coffee

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.ll-cupcake-fancy-frosted

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.

Cupcake with lavender buds

Cupcake with lavender buds

So this year, I again signed up for “L” at the Picnic Game to give it another go.  Second time’s the charm they say.  (Or was that the definition of insanity…)picnicGame.Logo

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:

A-Angel Food Cake

B-Basil Leaves in Caramelized Prawns

C- Chicken Piccata

D-Darned Easy Potato Salad

E-Eccles Cakes filled with Leeks, Spinach and Blue Cheese

F-Fourth of July Picnic S’more Tartlets

G-Gluten-free & Eggless Chocolate Steamed Cake

H-Ham Cheesy Patties

I-Italian Frittata with Vegetables

J-Jelly Roll

K-Kahlua Zucchini Chocolate Chunk Bread

And at last, (ding, ding, ding) Lemon Lavender Cupcakes (recipe at bottom of post)!

Lemon Lavender Cupcakes Served

Lemon Lavender Cupcakes Served

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.ll-cupcake-making
Lemon Lavender Cupcakes
Serves 12
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153 calories
23 g
15 g
6 g
2 g
4 g
55 g
64 g
13 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 153
Calories from Fat 52
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 4g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 15mg
Sodium 64mg
Total Carbohydrates 23g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 13g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. • 2 tablespoons skim milk
  2. • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  3. • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  4. • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  5. • 2 tablespoons lavender
  6. • 1 cup all purpose flour
  7. • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  8. • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  9. • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  10. • Zest from a very small lemon or half a regular lemon (a scant 1 t)
  11. • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  12. • 3/8 cup skim milk
  13. Buttercream frosting if desired (actually good unfrosted...)
The night before (or earlier)
  1. Combine sugar and lavender in an airtight container.
To make the cupcakes
  1. In a small bowl, combine 2T milk, egg whites, and vanilla extract; whisk briefly to blend.
  2. 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.
  3. Add in the butter and mix on low speed until the mixture resembles wet sand, about 30 seconds.
  4. Mix in the remaining 3/8 cup milk, then increase the speed to medium and beat for about 2 minutes more.
  5. 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.
  6. Fill lined 12 count cupcake pan about two-thirds of the way full.
  7. 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.
  1. Calorie count is for unfrosted cupcake.
Art of Natural Living

Lemon Lavender Cupcake

Lemon Lavender Cupcake up close…

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  1. Hi Inger!
    Yipee you made them and they look so incredibly lovely. I almost don’t want to touch them they look so “purity.” However, I definitely will.

    I’m so glad they finally turned out the way you had hoped. I hadn’t realized the recipe was inspired by a post from Grace. Did you tell her? She would love to see them I’m sure. Unfortunately, she won’t be at the picnic unless she comes to the round-up:)

    I have teeny tiny buds on my new lavender plant. I can’t wait until it grows and I too can try my hand at baking these lovelies.

    I’m so glad you are “playing” the Picnic Game again Inger. As you can see, we have some delicious dishes to chow down. Yes, I will be putting my blanket real close to you because I’m not leaving without one of these beauties! Thank you so much for sharing, Inger…I’m off to pass your letter around:)

    • I can’t thank you enough for hosting again Louise. It wouldn’t be summer without your picnic. Just finished my “visit” to all the “blankets” and it is a most impressive collection. I may need to go on a diet after this!

  2. These are lovely! We have the lavender and we have a small lemon tree, so these are definitely on my must-make list. Thanks for hanging in there with all your experimenting so the rest of us can benefit from it 🙂

    • I like eating local but these are definitely not local for me. But I am very excited at the idea of you getting the two most significant ingredients right out of your yard!

  3. I didn’t know that about cake flour, love that tip as I’ve always bought cake flour at the store when a recipe required it.

    • I believe that the white/bleached cake flour (unlike the unbleached) is actually milled differently, though many people recommended using the cornstarch swap even for that. These turned out so nice and light that I’m definitely sticking with what I did.

  4. Hi Inger, such beautiful and yummy lemon lavender cupcakes. Guess I need to sit beside you, huh. Thanks for sharing and see you at the picnic. Warmest regards 🙂

    • I would be excited if you put your blanket next to mine–I’ll be nice and close to your wonderful food!

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  7. Look absolutely beautiful Inger!

  8. hi inger! i love the beautiful frosting you the people at the picnic game might just fight over them again..hehe…i was late and not able to participate in this year’s picnic but i’ll be over for the roundup!

  9. These look SO delicious! In fact I am now so hungry my stomach is growling! Time for lunch…

  10. These are lovely!They will be wonderful on our pic-nic! You have made them perfectly and I love the lemon and lavender combination. Delicate and delicious.

  11. What beautiful cupcakes – perfect for a picnic.

  12. very lovely flavor combo!

  13. These cupcakes look terrific, and I’m not surprised to hear that the recipe came from Grace. I’m so glad you managed to recreate them after losing the recipe.

    • Thanks Beth. It took two tries (too much lemon zest the first time), but I’m so glad I finally have it written down!

  14. Your cupcakes are just so lovely! And I like your pretty swirls. Lavender and lemon sounds so sweet citrusy fragrant to me. I’ll be coming over to your blanket for cupcake or two! 🙂

  15. Beautiful cupcakes…they sound and look luscious!! Love the addition of lavender…one of my favorite flavors! I just bought two lavender plants for my yard…hoping to harvest the lavender for wonderful treats like these! I will be looking for you at the picnic!!

    • Thanks Kathy. I didn’t have a lot of luck growing lavender, but I really need to try again (now that my kids are older). I will be looking for you to get a taste of that delicious sounding quinoa salad of yours.

  16. These look absolutely beautiful! Definitely love the story of how these came about too, it’s nice to hear the progression of how a recipe came about! I’ll have to try these!!

    • Thanks Phi. I was amazed myself when I started writing down the history. I guess I’m as stubborn as my husband says after all 😉

  17. Hi Inger, so nice to meet you, and to find your blog through Louise! I’m also joining the picnic, and bringing my Vegan Mango Salsa. You’re the only one bring cupcakes…and not just any ordinary one. Lemon, and Lavender; even sounds so fancy and elegant! I’ll have to make sure that I could get a piece of yummy creation, so light, and the frosting is amazing!

    • Looking forward to your salsa Elisabeth. I think we have a great combination of healthy and fun treats at the picnic!

  18. These are a joy to have on a picnic!

  19. Hi Inger, Happy Picnic Day! Nice to meet you, I love your cupcakes. They are beautiful and must very tasty. I can imagine how the aroma must be, between the cupcakes and then the lavender. Wonderful Job…Enjoy your day! Dottie 🙂

  20. These sound delicious, and your frosting is beautiful!

  21. Amazing looking cupcakes, Inger. Those flavors are wonderful and I bet every single one was gone the minute you opened your picnic basket!

  22. yep, i do have quite a few cupcake recipes, and i’m so glad you found a winner! these are beautiful! so sorry about your stepdad though–my sincerest condolences!

  23. Hi Inger , lovely , I don’t think I could eat just one nice meeting you see you at the picnic

  24. Love these cupcakes. I love what lavender does for food. Thanks for sharing this great recipe.

  25. As eager as I am to try your recipe, I’m MOST excited about the cake flour conversion. I’ve always been cranky about cake flour for the very reason you gave – it takes up too much room in my cupboard!

  26. How did you create that beautiful icing effect?!

    • It’s really not hard–and in fact I plan to do a post on buttercream frosting in the next month or so that will have pictures of this technique, so stay tuned! Basically you put a large star tip on a piping bag (or cut a hole in the corner of a gallon sized zip loc bag and insert the tip), then half fill the bag with white frosting, keeping it on one side, add 1/4 yellow frosting and 1/4 purple (also trying to keep them divided). People who are really pros will actually take separate bags and pipe the different colors into the bag which makes the colors come out more even but I find it still works (though a little less perfectly) if you spoon it in carefully. Then I just start on the outside of the cupcake and pipe it out in a spiral moving to the center. When I try something new, my first couple cupcakes are always bad, and I just scoop off the frosting, drop it back in the bag (or give it to the kids to eat) and start over ;-). Thanks for commenting!

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  29. Hi,
    Planning on making this for the thanksgiving . Could you please send me the recipe for the butter cream frosting?.


    • Hi Sashi–

      I just emailed you the recipe for the buttercream frosting. I hope you enjoy these. If you get a chance I’d love to hear how it goes or see a picture on facebook! Have a great Thanksgiving!

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  31. Made these with a lemon cream cheese frosting from They were a huge hit. Absolutely delicious and not too sweet either. Also, I ground the lavender in a coffee grinder before mixing with the sugar for a smoother texture. Thank you for the great recipe!

    • So happy you enjoyed these Maggie! The frosting sounds wonderful. I have never tried grinding my lavender (despite having a coffee grinder I use just for herbs), so I guess I just need to find another lavender recipe so I have a good excuse to try that! Thanks for commenting–I am always excited to hear my recipes worked for someone else!

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