Thursday, May 24, 2012

lemon lavender cupcakes

Moist lemon cupcakes, filled with lemon curd, with a big swirl of lavender buttercream, topped off with a lemon-lavender shortbread cookie. These cupcakes came together beautifully with layers of these subtle, refreshing summer flavors.
In America, lavender is something more commonly found in a bar of soap than in a cupcake; however, the familiar taste of simple lemon cake pairs so beautifully with the slightly unfamiliar, yet pleasing taste of lavender (which is frequently used in French cooking).
These cupcakes were so much fun to bake, and my kitchen was filled with the sweet, calming aroma of lavender as well as the energizing aroma of lemon zest for hours after these finished baking- it was like free aromatherapy!
I brought these to my cupcake tasting contest, and they were a huge hit (although the lavender was a bit tricky to guess!)
With love,
Erica
filled with lemon curd



lemon cupcakes
ingredients
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour, sifted
1-1/4 cups  sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon  baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon  salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
Finely grated lemon zest (rind) of two lemons

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Prepare two standard muffin pans with baking liners.
In a medium bowl combine the eggs, 1/4 cup of buttermilk, and vanilla. Set aside.
Sift the cake flour
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir the dry ingredients, including the sugar, together on low speed.
Add the butter and blend on low speed for about 30 seconds, then add remaining 3/4 cup of buttermilk, and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for two minutes.
Begin to add the egg/milk mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition. Stir in the lemon zest.
Divide the batter into your prepared baking cups, filling each one about 2/3 full.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center of the cupcake.
Carefully remove the cupcakes, place on wire racks and let cool completely before frosting.

frosting
Ingredients 

3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 tsp cooking lavender
purple food coloring (I just used pink and blue)

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, beat together butter and shortening until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Gradually add in the powdered sugar while beating until fully incorporated.
Add vanilla, lavender, and coloring and beat for another minute or two. Add cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for desired consistency.

lemon lavender shortbread cookies
Ingredients
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dried Culinary Lavender
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (rind)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth and creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat for another 2 minutes.
Beat in the vanilla extract, then stir in the dried lavender and lemon zest.
Stir in the dry ingredients and mix until they are incorporated. Make a ball of the dough and seal in plastic wrap. Flatten the dough into a disk and chill for at least one hour.

When you’re ready to roll and cut the cookie dough, preheat oven to 350°F and place the oven rack in the middle position. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
Roll the dough 1/4″ thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut desired shapes, place on baking sheets.
Bake until very light golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheets on wire racks.
*Cookies will keep in an airtight container for about 1 week, or can be frozen.

Assembling the cupcakes
1. Core each cooled cupcake (I use my handy cupcake corer!) and fill with lemon curd (you can make your own, but I used store bought).
2. Fill a small pastry bag fitted with pastry tip of your choice with frosting and pipe a generous swirl on top of the cupcake.
3. Top with a lemon lavender shortbread cookie.

Inspired by Sweetapolita

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