You guys, I am so sick. I’ve been trying to get in the kitchen for two days now trying to bake something to blog about. And, well, I just keep ending up on the couch watching old Glee episodes. (Oh, so we just got Netflix and we’re streaming all of these TV shows we never saw since we don’t have cable or whatever. And everyone kept saying that I would love Glee, and I was all like “yeah, whatever”. But it turns out that, um, duh. It’s a show about queer (and queer-ish) kids who break into song to impress their totally hot teacher. OF COURSE I love it. But that’s neither here nor there.)
So anyway, I really want to be baking for you guys, but I am just exhausted. But I really need to post something, so I thought I’d share one of the recipes from the the Violet Candy Contest from a month or so ago. The winning entry was from Michael, and he wrote, “First, I would make a fresh lavender cupcake. For the top, I’d make a lemon buttercream frosting. To decorate them, I’d crush some of the violet candies together with some fresh lavender to make a shiny/sparkly Violet/Lavender dust to sprinkle on top of the buttercream and top each with one of the violet candies. Mmmm, my mouth is watering.”
So we came up with this:
And here’s how we did it. If you want to make Lavender Cupcakes with Fluffy Lemon Buttercream, you’re gonna need:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons orange extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
So then, you:
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line your muffin tin with the cutest, springiest liners you can find. We got ours here.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk this mixture together for about thirty seconds, to make sure it’s evenly mixed.
3. Place the dried lavender in a clean coffee grinder, and pulse once or twice until the lavender is in much smaller pieces, but has not turned to powder. This takes a lot less time than you may imagine, so be careful. Alternatively, you can just place the flowers on a cutting board and chop them carefully with a very sharp knife. Either way, add the chopped lavender to the dry mixture and whisk to combine.
4. Pour the almond milk into a glass measuring cup and add the vinegar to it. Let this mixture sit a few minutes, until the almond milk looks slightly curdled.
5. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar until very well combined. Add the extracts. Now beat in the curdled almond milk.
6. Slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and beat with a whisk until the batter looks very smooth. Don’t worry about over-mixing; it’s better to beat it until there are no lumps left.
7. Fill your baking cups two-thirds of the way full with batter (usually about a scant quarter cup of batter per cupcake).
8. Bake at 350ºF for twenty minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the biggest cupcake comes out mostly clean. A few moist crumbs on the toothpick are absolutely fine.
Now, let your cupcakes cool completely. Once they are totally cool (like you), start making your frosting. Don’t start it before your cakes have finished cooling, because the frosting doesn’t want to sit around waiting for the cupcakes.
Now let’s make some Fluffy Lemon Buttercream! You’re gonna need:
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/2 cup margarine
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
4-5 tablespoons soy milk
1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Drop of yellow food coloring (optional)
So now you:
1. Beat together the shortening and margarine with a stand mixer or hand mixer until it is just combined and all the same color.
2. Sift in your confectioner’s sugar (and yes, you have to sift it. I know, it sucks, but you don’t want lumpy frosting, do you? No, you do not).
3. Beat the sugar and fats until, miraculously, the combine to form small, pebble-sized crumbs. Keep beating, and the crumbs will start to disappear and the mixture will sort of homogenize. That’s what we’re going for. It takes a few minutes — maybe seven on the outside. Don’t be afraid to run your mixer that long, it loves it.
4. Once combined, drizzle in four tablespoons of milk and all the extracts, and beat for about a minute. Now scrape down the sides and assess. Does this frosting look really thick? If so, add another tablespoon of milk. Be careful not to make it too thin, though. Anyway, beat the whole thing for another 2-5 minutes, until it’s all nice and fluffy.
5. Taste your frosting. It should be slightly firm, but very creamy, with a strong lemon flavor. If it is not like that, add more lemon extract, about quarter teaspoon at a time until it is awesome. Now add a tiny, tiny bit of food coloring, if you want. Totally up to you.
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
Scant 1/4 cup violet hard candies
So you’re gonna:
1. Combine both ingredients in a clean, dry (!) coffee grinder or food grinder.
2. Pulse just once or twice to start to crumble the candies. Be very careful at this point, as the line between crushed candies and dust is really fine one. You can always pulse a few more times, if you need to.
3. Now transfer the mixture to a fine mesh sieve over a small bowl, and shake really, really well. You want to remove as much dust as you possibly can. Trust me on this, you guys. Dust, even candy dust, is not appealing on cupcakes.
4. Sprinkle the mixture really sparingly over the top of your frosted cupcakes before the icing has totally set.
5. If desired, you can top each cupcake with a single violet candy. Awwww.
Oh, and you know what these would be good for? Mother’s Day. I mean, doesn’t your mom like flowers and sugar? You know she does. And she especially loves anything you made. She told me that. So go bake for your mom. Or, if you’re a mom, make someone bake for you. You deserve it! Or that could just be the cold medicine talking.
One more thing: Michael lives locally, and we dropped off his cupcakes to him a couple of weeks ago. The next day, he posted this on our Facebook page: “THANK YOU FOR THE DELICIOUS CUPCAKES! They were fantastic. LOVED the lemon buttercream. I also LOVED the size of them. Just perfect!”
Well, you’re absolutely welcome, Michael. We’re so glad you liked them!