Most of us are familiar with using lavender as an essential oil for relaxation or to ease headaches. A less well known use is cooking or baking. According to Wikipedia, lavender has “grown as a condiment and used in salads and dressings.Flowers yield abundant nectar from which bees make a high-quality honey. Monofloral honey is produced primarily around the Mediterranean, and is marketed worldwide as a premium product. Flowers can be candied and are sometimes used as cake decorations. Lavender flavours baked goods and desserts (it pairs especially well with chocolate), and is also used to make “lavender sugar”. Lavender flowers are occasionally blended with black, green, or herbal teas.”
Imagine the lovely scent of baking these beautiful cupcakes from Oh Sweet Day. Imagine, too, how wonderful it would be to find a quiet spot with a cup of tea to enjoy indulging in one. Or two. Oh sweet day indeed!
Note: infuse the hot milk with the dried lavender before adding it into the cake batter. This process is crucial in order to have the herb flavor in your cupcake, yet not too overwhelming.
Ingredients (12 regular sized or 36 mini cupcakes):
To prepare cupcake, heat milk in microwave until just start boiling. Put dried lavender in milk and let it steep for 30 minutes, or until the mixture is at room temperature. Sift the milk to remove the dried lavender. Reserve 3 tablespoons for buttercream frosting.
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease muffin tin or line with muffin liners.
In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well and set aside.
Add sour cream and vanilla into the milk and tea mixture. Mix well and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix canola oil and sugar on medium-high speed until well combined. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add eggs until just blended.
With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the liquid mixture, mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes for regular sized cupcake or 8 to 10 minutes for mini cupcakes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely.
To prepare buttercream, beat butter for a few minutes in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add powdered sugar and turn your mixer on low, beat until the sugar incorporates with the butter. Add vanilla, heavy cream and the reserved lavender infused milk, beat on medium speed for another 3 minutes, or until buttercream becomes light and fluffy. Add food coloring and beat until you get the light purple color.
Frost the cupcakes with the buttercream and sprinkle with dried lavender before serving.