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Hummingbird Bakery Lavender Cupcakes Recipe (Adapted for High-Altitude)
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“Many people can’t imagine eating a lavender-infused cake, but this flavor is very popular in the summer. Infusing the milk with lavender flowers makes the flavor subtle. The frosting can be left plain, or you can use a bit of food coloring to give it a light lavender color.“ – The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook […]
recipe developed byMichelle Lopezon April 28, 2012 (last updated Dec 12, 2021)
“Many people can’t imagine eating a lavender-infused cake, but this flavor is very popular in the summer. Infusing the milk with lavender flowers makes the flavor subtle. The frosting can be left plain, or you can use a bit of food coloring to give it a light lavender color.“
1/2 cupplus 1 tablespoon whole milk (decrease to 1/2 cup for sea-level)
3tablespoonsplus 3/8 (3 x 1/8) teaspoons dried lavender flowers (decrease to 3 tablespoons for sea-level)
a “scant” 3/4 cup sugar
1teaspoonbaking powder (increase to 1 1/2 teaspoons for sea-level)
3tablespoonsunsalted butter, at room temperature
1egg, at room temperature
For the Lavender Buttercream Frosting
1tablespoondried lavender flowers
2cupsconfectioners' sugar, sifted
5tablespoonsunsalted butter, at room temperature
a couple of drops of purple food coloring
For the Lavender Cupcakes
(Adapted for a high-altitude environment of approximately 5,000 ft)
Put the 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk and 3 tablespoons plus 3/8 teaspoon dried lavender flowers in a measuring cup, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight if possible. Do the same with the 2 tablespoons milk and 1 tablespoons lavender flowers for the frosting, but in a separate cup.
Preheat the oven to 375 (F) — this is a 50-degree (F) increase from the original sea-level recipe temperature of 325 (F).
Put 1 cup flour, a scant 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a freestanding electric mix with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
Strain the lavender-infused milk for the cupcake (the 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk measure) and slowly pour into the flour mixture, beating well until all the ingredients are well mixed.
Add the egg and beat well, scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Spoon the batter into paper cases in your muffin tin until two-thirds full, and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cake bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the center of the cupcakes should come out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Lavender Buttercream Frosting
(For All Altitudes)
Beat together 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, and a couple drops food coloring in a free standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
Turn the mixer to an even slower speed, and slowly strain the 2 tablespoons of lavender-infused milk into sugar and butter mixture.
Once the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed and continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy (at least 5 minutes).
When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the lavender frosting on top and decorate accordingly.
Adapted For High-Altitude
Tips & Addendums
Watch out! This recipe requires a few hours (or, most preferably, 24 hours) of prep time in advance to infuse the milk with lavender. Don’t get caught blindsided by the recipe!
To measure out 3/8 teaspoon of dried lavender flowers, use 1/8 teaspoon to measure out lavender flowers three times.
If you cannot find purple food coloring, simply use one drop of red food coloring and another drop of blue food coloring. Mix and continue adding drops until you get your desired shade of purple (more blue will lend itself to a deeper shade of purple, while more red will produce a pinker shade of purple).
Liquid and dry measuring cups are different; please make sure you use the appropriate measuring cup for each ingredient.
After adding the lavender infused milk to the flour/sugar/butter/baking powder micture, don’t overbeat as this will overwork the flour and make the cake dense — simply beat until the milk has just been incorporated. In my opinion, making sure you don’t overbeat the batter is one of the hardest parts about baking.
I like to use a 1 tablespoon-sized cookie scoop to divide the cupcake batter evenly between cases. For this recipe, I put 2 tablespoons of cupcake batter in each case.
Do not open your oven until at least the minimum time recommended has passed. Too much cold air coming from a frequently opened oven door causes irregular oven temperatures, which then affect the baking process.
The recipe for lavender buttercream frosting asks you to beat together confectioners sugar, unsalted butter, and food coloring until well-mixed. Do not panic if the resulting mixture does not change color and remains white from the sugar — the food coloring will only reveal itself once the milk has been added. Trust the recipe!
Frost your cupcakes immediately after you have made the frosting. If you let the frosting sit out too long, it will start to crust and you will have a hard time frosting your cupcakes. However, make sure your cupcakes are cooled completely before frosting, otherwise they will get soggy.