Spring almost has a tantalizing pull to be outside. The few months nestled in between the winter and summer months are soft and comforting. The mild weather is soothing and inviting, calling one to enjoy the beauty of nature and its many delights.
I love food that truly highlights the ingredients used, that evokes the excitement of Spring and calls you to pick fresh from your garden. As I sit and look out at the garden, the lavender buds are beginning to bloom beautifully and fill the air with their fragrance. Recently, I have had the pleasure of discovering a wonderful combination for baking cakes…lavender and lemon.
I am always on the hunt for a delightful cake. It is seemingly hard to find a good cake or cupcake on a menu, but when I do, it makes my day! On a recent road trip, I stopped at Wild Flour Bakery Cafe in Abingdon, VA (a WONDERFUL stop while traveling on I-81). To my delight, the dessert menu had a lavender and lemon cake. I simply could not resist the wonderful sounding combination and was not disappointed! They layered white cake with lemon cream and a whipped icing and then finished with lavender buds on top. The flavor profile had such depth and was simply delightful. I was convinced that I was going to go home and create my own interpretation of this cake.
However, before I could make my own cake back home in Tennessee, I went to try a new cupcake store that had just opened in Bethesda, MD called Fraiche Cupcakery. (I have to try all the new ones to find the best in town.) How excited I was to see that one of their specials for the day was a lavender and lemon cupcake. Although the same in flavor profile, theirs differed by having a lemon cupcake with a buttercream icing and lavender buds on top.
I dreamt of making my own all the way home and came up with my own interpretation. I ended up making mini cupcakes…
To make your own lavender and lemon cream mini cupcakes…
Start with a basic vanilla cake recipe. (I used the Primo Birthday Cake recipe from Dad’s Own Cookbook substituting regular flour for the cake flour. The recipe ended up making 6 dozen mini cupcakes.) While they are baking, whip up a buttercream frosting and set aside. I like this recipe from Epicurious because it is light and creamy and much less sweet than the classic buttercream. The icing flavor combines well with all the other components without being too overpowering. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely. Next, whip 8 oz of heavy whipping cream and then fold in 1/2 c of Bella Cucina’s Preserved Lemon Cream until combined. Using a Wilton #230 tip, fill a piping bag with the lemon whipped cream and pipe into the mini cupcakes. When piping the cream into the cupcakes, insert the tip into the center of the cupcake and squeeze gently until you begin to see the cupcake rise ever so slightly. You do not want to over fill the cupcakes or they will crack on top. Some of the whipped cream will come up from the whole, but it will be sealed in by the buttercream icing. You should have a little of the whipped cream left over even with 6 dozen cupcakes. To finish them off, use a Wilton #1M tip and fill a second piping bag with the buttercream icing and pipe a small star on top. Sprinkle with lavender buds and enjoy!…Virginia
Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of days at least.