Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Honey, Lavender, and Crystalized Flowers

I made the above cupcakes for a "Spring into Cupcakes" cupcake party that I had back in March. What is a cupcake party? It's when I bake hundreds (literally) of baby cupcakes in four or five different flavors with a common theme, and invite my friends to come over dressed up according to the theme and sample different cupcakes. It's a TON of fun, but a lot of work. I ususally don't have the urge to bake for a while after doing that.

Anyway, the above cupcakes are one of my favorites. The recipe is honey and lavendar cupcakes and comes from the 500 Cupcakes book. What is especially great is that the cupcake is made using one bowl! I topped them with some crystalized edible flowers. I am sharing this recipe now because edible flowers are not easy to find in the winter, so this might be a good summer treat.

Honey Lavender Cupcakes - makes 18

For the cupcakes:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) sweet butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 cups self-rising flour (I just go with unbleached all-purpose)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the frosting
  • 1 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted (honestly, I never sift and it comes out fine)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • Blue food coloring (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. dried lavender flowers Tip: I found these both at Whole Foods and a local food co-op
For the crystalized flowers
  • 1 package of edible flowers (available at grocery stores in the produce section or specialty produce markets - call ahead as not all stores carry it year round) OR you can use organic roses. Tip: Don't use flowers from a flower shop! They are sprayed with lots of pesticides!
  • 1 egg white
  • superfine berry sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F (200C). Place 18 baking cups in muffin pans
  2. Combine all of the cupcake ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and pale, approximately 2-3 minutes
  3. Spoon the batter into the cups, filling them 2/3. Tip: I like to use an ice cream scoop to do this. It makes for an even distribution of cake batter
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, or when a toothpick is inserted and removed clean. Tip: My oven bakes... well... unevenly. I like to turn my cupcakes by 180 degrees halfway through the projected baking time as a result
  5. Remove muffin pans from the oven and cool for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes an cool on a rack.
  6. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and the confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer, until light and creamy.
  7. Beat in the honey and few drops of food coloring, if you desire, to turn the tops a pleasant teal color.
  8. Stir in the lavender flowers
  9. Spread onto cooled cupcakes with a knife or off-set spatula.
Cupcakes can be kept without frosting in an airtight container for 3 days, but taste best frosted the same day that they will be served.

To crystalize the edible flowers, add one egg white to 1/2 tablespoon of water and whisk the two ingredients together. Using a paintbrush, carefully paint each side of the flower or petal with the egg white/water mixture. You may wish to use a kitchen tweezer for this (I just had sticky fingers). Sprinkle each side of the flower with sugar. Set on wax paper to dry overnight. Crystalized flowers can be stored in an airtight container for at least a week (some sources say a month, but I don't tend to like to keep food that long).

Tip: If it's too difficult to find edible flowers, or you are not comfortable using raw eggwhites, simply omit the crystalized flowers and top each cupcake with some lavender flowers.

(PS - If you are wondering what crystalized flowers taste like... well... they don't really taste like anything to me, but they are certainly pretty and sure to impress your guests)

Enjoy!

4 comments:

  1. so pretty, and sound delicious. You must have a giant pantry: with all your superfine berry sugars, various flours, and decorating tools. Martha would be proud.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You could use piping gel instead of egg whites to adhere the sugar to the flower petals. Piping gel can be found in the cake decorating section of most craft/hobby stores.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I accidentally deleted a comment from Anonymous that said:

    "I have recently used this recipe and believe I followed the steps EXACTLY, ingredients and all. These are not good. I don't know if there are some missing ingredients, but the cupcake batter was very thick and the baked cupcakes were waaaay too dense and doughy. The frosting was a total disaster. So soupy it does not resemble frosting whatsoever. Bakers Beware!!!"

    Anonymous, I am sorry that the recipe did not work for you. Here's what I think happened as I have made this recipe several times and it was my former roommate's favorite:

    1. The cupcakes were baked too long. Do you have an oven thermometer? Sometimes we think that our ovens are being preheated to a certain temperature but the insides can be actually quite different. Also, the times that I give are an estimate. You want to avoid both overbaking and overmixing the batter.
    2. Did you make sure that the cupcakes were completely cool before you frosted them? If the frosting was not stiff enough to your liking, you can always add more confectioners' sugar. Alternatively, slowly add the honey until you get a consistency that you like.

    I hope that this helps and for other readers don't hesitate to try :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. i just joined your blog by searching for lavender cupcake recipes. I have been so excited to find dried lavender and now that i finally bought some today ...I REALLY want to start baking with it!
    I want to use your recipe, but can you suggest a frosting that is not cream cheese based?
    I am going to check out other recipes on your blog to see if I can use another frosting with this cupcake...
    Any tips are much appreciated! Thank you in advance,
    Michele ;)

    ReplyDelete

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