While the weather outside certainly doesn’t show it, spring is just 2 days away! And with the arrival of spring comes a whole slew of new recipes. As each season comes and goes, I always get excited for the recipes that I’ll make, but spring recipes just might be my favorite. We’re all coming out of hibernation and looking forward to a warmer, brighter and cheerier season. As such, for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I opted for a lighter lemon recipe, but one with a twist.
I’ve had a little jar of culinary lavender in my pantry for longer than I’d like to admit, and I’ve never once used it. I absolutely love the smell of lavender, and have always been intrigued by baking with it, but it’s just never come to fruition. Fortunately, Julie had this recipe for Honey Lemon Lavender Cupcakes on her blog White Lights on Wednesday, and I finally had the chance to give my lavender a purpose!
I did a bit of fiddling with this recipe, primarily cutting it in half so we wouldn’t have too many tempting cupcakes sitting around (hey, bathing suit season is coming up!), but ended up keeping the full amount of lavender in the recipe. I’m glad I did, because the flavor is very subtle. I was actually nervous about having too much of an herbal flavor from the lavender, but I think it hits just the right balance.
While I started out only planning to make a half batch, I ended up making TWO half batches – the first batch at 350 degrees, before I noticed that these were supposed to go in at 325. I only baked them for 18 minutes (recommended time was 20-25), but it was enough time to leave me with brown edges and a pretty dry texture throughout. Not wanting to throw them away, I repurposed those cupcakes and made them into lemon lavender cake pops – recipe coming soon 🙂 The second batch I was more careful with – baked at 325 degrees, and for only 15 minutes initially, adding an extra 3 to finish them (18 total), but they still came out darker than they appeared in Julie’s photos. Not sure what caused such a big difference in appearance, but fortunately – they tasted great!
This recipe yields a very dense cupcake – if I made them again I may try to remedy that – but fortunately, they are loaded with flavor. They have a really wonderfully buttery undertone, with pleasant notes of lemon, and a subtle touch of lavender. The frosting makes for a wonderful contrast. It’s super smooth and silky, and not particularly sweet. I added in some extra lemon zest to really make the lemon flavor pop, and also doubled the honey. It was really happy with how these cupcakes came out – they’re beautiful little things, but also kind of like taking a bite of spring. And since we can’t have spring outside, at least I can recreate it in my kitchen.
**Just to be clear with the recipe, I included instructions for a WHOLE batch (12 cupcakes). That said, it’s super easy to cut in half.