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Lavender Honey Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Locally grown lavender and locally harvested honey make these cupcakes extra sweet.

After visiting Moore Manor Lavender in nearby Newport, Maine to shoot an episode of my TV show Welcome to my Farm a couple of years ago and talking with Peggy, the owner, about all the ways to use lavender in cooking and baking, I just knew I had to bake something with the culinary lavender I bought while we were there.

Lavender Honey Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

I decided to make a batch of lavender cupcakes. And in addition to using lavender buds in the batter, I also wanted to incorporate some local honey as well, as a nod to all the hard-working bees that were flitting around the lavender farm pollinating all the plants. 

You can't go wrong with cream cheese frosting, so that's what I made to top the cupcakes. 

You can watch me make them in the Lavender in Bloom episode of my show now airing on public television or in this short video clip on YouTube. 

Note: I've decorated my cupcakes a bit differently this time when I wrote up this blog post to give you some different options if you decide to bake up a batch of lavender cupcakes yourself.


The Lavender

If you grow lavender, then by all means use some of the buds from your plants to make your cupcakes. I harvest and dry buds each fall to use for sachets and to make my lavender coop refresh spray, so I always have dried buds on hand. 

If you don't grow your own, you can find organic culinary lavender here

If you've never baked with vanilla before, you might want to add just 1 tablespoon of the buds to this recipe. Once you're comfortable with the level of lavender flavor, feel free to increase the amount to 2 tablespoons.

Or, you can even just leave the lavender out and you'll still have a really nice honey vanilla cupcake!

The Honey

If you raise honeybees, then you're all set! That's on my bucket list of things I still want to do one day. If not, try to find honey from a local beekeeper, at a farmers market or on the shelf of your grocery store. 

It's important to use local honey not only to support your community and reduce your carbon footprint, because it's thought that honey sourced from native plants to your area will help with allergies.

The Vanilla

I stopped using vanilla extract years ago, after I discovered vanilla bean paste. You can sub it in one for one in any recipe that calls for vanilla extract. 

In addition to not getting that slight alcohol taste you can sometimes get with extract, the paste has tiny flecks of vanilla like you get when you use a real vanilla bean, so I especially love using it in ice cream and other desserts where you can see the flecks.

If you don't have any vanilla bean paste, you can use an equal amount of vanilla extract in this recipe, but I highly recommend the paste. You'll find tons of uses for it.

The Food Coloring

In the years since we shot that episode of the show, I've found some really awesome natural, plant-based food coloring from Color Kitchen and like to use that instead of traditional food color or gel paste. So, I encourage you to look around for healthier options.

Just like I love to dye Easter eggs with plants, you could also color your frosting with vegetables or fruits. Or, you can leave it plain. Up to you. It will still be delicious! 

(scroll down for printable recipe card)


How to Make Lavender Honey Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 12.

1-2 tablespoons dried lavender buds

1/2 cup milk, room temperature

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup honey

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

To Make the Batter | Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake tin with papers. Pulse the lavender buds in a coffee grinder or food processor until finely ground. Stir into the milk and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk or sift the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition, then add the honey and vanilla. 

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and milk mixture, starting with the flour mixture, one third at a time, alternating between them and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix until just combined. 

Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake paper about 2/3 of the way full. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes, until the tops are golden-brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks while you make the frosting.

For the Frosting

8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

16 ounce box of confectioners sugar, sifted

Pinch salt

Purple food coloring or gel paste

Additional lavender buds or sprigs, nonpareils or sprinkles for garnish

To Make the Frosting | In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, then sift in the sugar and add the salt. 

With the mixer on low speed, beat until the sugar is incorporated and the frosting is smooth. Add food coloring until the frosting is the tint you desire.

Using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Garnish with additional lavender buds and sprigs, nonpareils or sprinkles.

I've included some still shots from the show as well as more recent recipe photographs I took showing a different way of garnishing your cupcakes.

And that's a wrap! 

Here are some stills from the Lavender in Bloom episode of Welcome to my Farm. 






And here's how you make the cupcakes.
















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