As we finish out this last week of August and head into the cooler fall months, I wanted to end my summer recipes with one that pulls together some of my favorite seasonal ingredients. And since I’ve had a craving for something sweet I thought a cupcake would be perfect for the occasion!
Now I know some people can’t get behind the idea of using lavender in cooking or baking, but I’m happy to say that I’ve changed the minds of a few after they devoured a few of these cupcakes. A base of sweet and citrusy cake made with fresh strawberries and lemon zest make you think of a tall glass of strawberry lemonade. I topped that off with airy and fragrant lavender buttercream frosting that adds subtle spice and floral notes. The three major flavors all compliment one another harmoniously in this sweet summer farewell dessert.
(makes 15 cupcakes)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1 Tbs lemon zest (1 lemon)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
1/2 cup milk (any kind will do)
2/3 cup (8 – 10) fresh strawberries, hulled and finely chopped
Lavender Buttercream Frosting:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp dried lavender, finely chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together melted butter and sugar. Beat eggs in one at a time, then beat in vanilla extract, lemon zest, and juice.
Alternate adding flour mixture and milk and beat until just mixed. Fold in diced strawberries.
Distribute batter into prepared muffin tin, filling about 3/4 of the way full (about 1/4 cup of batter per cupcake). Remember that this recipe makes 15 cupcakes so you’ll either want to use another muffin tin or wait until your first batch comes out to finish off the batter.
Bake for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cupcakes cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
While waiting for the cupcakes to bake and cool, prepare your frosting.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to whip the butter for 1 minute. Add dried lavender and vanilla extract. Slowly beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, until frosting is airy and smooth.
Transfer frosting to a pastry bag and frost cupcakes once they’re completely cooled. Garnish with a bit of fresh lavender and serve right away. You can also make them the night before and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Remove cupcakes from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.