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« Tuesday Tip: How to Make Cake Flour | Main | Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream »
Sunday
Jan082012

Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes

Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes

When I lived in Montreal, my lovely roommate Jessa was the first to introduce me to the concept of baking and cooking with flowers. Until this point in my life, I reveled in the bold colors, soft lines, and sweet scents of buds and blossoms, but it hadn't occurred to me just how delicate they could become in food. The subtle aromas, the muted tones, the calmness they brought to a flavor storm of complexity—it was beautiful.

It opened a new door to how I perceive and interact with food.

Baking with Lavender

It started with a glass of lavender lemonade. Jessa brewed up a fresh batch in our small kitchen while I was away and greeted me with a tall glass when I arrived back home. I was hesitant at first. The scent of lavender reminds me of summer days and peaceful breezes, not sweet refreshments. However, after I took a sip, my opinion changed entirely. The subtle tones of lavender were the perfect match for a lemon's tart disposition.

[To this day, that lavender lemonade is the best lemonade I've ever had. When the weather gets warmer, I'll be certain to share it with you too.]

Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes

Later, Jessa introduced me to the small, quaint café Fuchsia, where I happened upon my first chocolate lavender cupcake. It was, undoubtedly, delicious, but deliciously simple. The cupcake wasn't covered in a sweet, buttercream frosting. It wasn't filled with lavender cream. A few lavender buds settled on top of the cupcake to reveal the secret within.

With a flavor so pure and effortless, it would be such a shame to cover it up.

Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes

These Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes have a delicate lavender tone that is not too perfumed or overwhelming. The chocolate and lavender complement each other well, creating a cupcake with a complex palate. Please be sure to use culinary lavender and not lavender labeled for another purpose, which may be sprayed with pesticides or coated in inedible solutions. Edible lavender can readily be found in most health food stores.

One Year Ago: Cranberry Chocolate Cupcakes and Fleur de Sel Caramels

Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes

Yields 12-14 cupcakes

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup hot water
8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lavender, crushed (use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a cupcake tin with baking cups.

In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and hot water. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs, mixing well between each addition. Add vanilla extract and crushed lavender.

Slowly add flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa mixture. Mix until smooth.

Fill baking cups 2/3 full of batter, sprinkle a few lavender buds on the cupcakes for decoration, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Reader Comments (21)

All my friends think I'm crazy, but I LOVE cooking with lavender! My all-time favorite is lavender shortbread. I also like tossing a little but into fruit salads!
01.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterZoe
These pictures are just amazing. I can't stop scrolling up! I even had to show them to my husband.

I've never had lavender anything and I somehow don't even know what it smells like, but those cupcakes look magical.
Your lavender cupcakes look so beautiful, I can only imagine how wonderful they smell with aromas of chocolate and delicate floral notes. You're so right - too much and it can completely overpower the flavour - but just a little lavender is gorgeous in baked goods. Lovely post :-)
01.9.2012 | Unregistered Commenterthelittleloaf
What a unique recipe! These sound lovely!
I have just starting baking with lavender add love the concept of pairing it with chocolate. Your cupcakes are very elegant with exceptional photos that are very appealing.
01.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeb
Zoe-- Mmm, lavender shortbread. I think I'm going to have to give that a try! :)

Erin-- Wow, what a compliment! Thank you. Lavender is a pretty easy scent to find. Try candles, soaps, or lotions. It's really quite lovely.

The Little Loaf-- Thank you! The smell fresh from the oven is really something to behold.

Deb-- Thank you! Chocolate and lavender taste so lovely together.
01.9.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I was wondering if the amount of lavender to use differs if you're using fresh leaves or flowers? We have a huge, gorgeous french lavender plant in our garden, and I like using it as often as possible, but I'm always wary about drying the lavender, because sometimes it turns out slightly rancid tasting. Any suggestions?
01.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMiller Murphy
When you mentioned the lavender lemonade, it reminded me of a lemon-lavender martini I once had in Key West, FL. Still by far one of the best I've had. I only wish my husband liked lavendar, so that I could make these cupcakes, because I don't doubt I would love them and then I'd have to eat them all by myself. On second thought, that's not such a bad idea ;)
01.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSamCyn
I cooked with lavender for the first time while working at the bakery. I was a bit unsure too, because to be honest, I am reminded of soap when I smell it, not baked goods. I made a orange lavender cupcake and actually liked it a lot!

Very creative, Kristin. Love all the photographs and light!
These cupcakes look so dainty and pretty and tasty. I've never even seen lavender in my grocery store, but as soon as I find some I'll know what to do with it! :)
Yummy recipe!
01.10.2012 | Unregistered CommenterEva
Wow! Never thought of the combination! Hmmm. I think I will have to go out and get some lavender today!
01.10.2012 | Unregistered Commenterginger
Hi! I noticed that in some of your recipes (like the one for the lemon scones) you say mix things with an electric mixer with certain paddles/settings.
When you say mix things together...does it generally mean with an electric mixer? I don't have one, so I was wondering if it made a difference when making batter/dough.

These look lovely! Can't wait to try making them. c:
01.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMo
Mo-- Typically, using an electric mixer would speed up the process, but it is not necessary. Mixing, whisking, or beating by hand will also work just as well (as long as you put in the elbow grease!). My comments towards electric mixers are simply for the convenience of those who use/have them. Every recipe on this website can be made by hand.
01.12.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Lovely looking lavender cupcakes!! I have not run across a recipe like this so I am anxious to try it out. I have you added to my bookmarks. I'll have to get all the ingredients, well many of them before I can make them.
02.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterElena
I loved these. I think they're best for breakfast with tea because the flavors go together so well. Next time, I'll probably add chocolate chips in to pump up the chocolate flavor even more. Also, I recently had a lavender margarita, so that is where my lavender is destined for next! http://www.wittyinthecity.com/2012/02/lavender-breakfast-cupcakes/
02.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPam
I've been excited to make this, and did last night. I was a bit concerned as my coffee grinder didn't pulverize the flowers as much as I had anticipated, but in the finished product I haven't noticed any large grains in the cupcakes ... they are light, chocolatey, with a hint of floral aroma. Thanks for sharing! I'm excited to see your lavender lemonade recipe!
05.31.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeth
I made these last night and they are phenomenal! Thank you!
06.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTracie B.
I just made these with some minor substitutions though. Instead of unsweetened cocoa powder I used raw cacao powder because that's what I had in the pantry. And I realized once I began making them that I didn't have any muffin cups (nor do I have a muffin pan - need to change that!) so I had to make it into a cake. It's still good. I didn't have a mortar and pestle so I ended up using my food processor which did okay but the chunks of lavender were still a little too big. I think next time I'll use a cleaned coffee grinder (I was too lazy, I admit). But the taste is fantastic. A+ recipe!
09.7.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaryle Marie
What a classy concept...chocolate and lavender. I will be making these for a pregnant friend of mine as part of her basket of gifts I am putting together for her babyshower. She currently craves all things lavender. Godbless you for sharing your talent with the world. Cheers!
12.27.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCamille
Great recipe -- I simply poured this into a larger pan to make a cake. I also used a lavender-infused simple syrup, which saved time but really brings out the flavor.
03.23.2014 | Unregistered CommenterAS

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