Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Honey Lemon Lavender Cupcakes

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!

Honey Lemon Lavender Cupcakes

Honey Lemon Lavender Cupcakes

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.

Honey Lemon Lavender Cupcakes

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!

Honey Lemon Lavender Cupcakes

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.

Honey Lemon Lavender Cupcakes

Honey Lemon Lavender Cupcakes

Thanks, Julie, for a great recipe. I also flagged a couple extra recipes from your blog (Chocolate Black Bottom Pie and Sweet and Salty Cookie Cups) for the next time I need a serious sweets fix!

Honey Lemon Lavender Cupcakes

Yield: 12 Cupcakes


    Honey, Lemon and Lavender Cupcakes
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender flowers (culinary lavender)
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Honey Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 12 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: yellow food coloring


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
  2. Place sugar and lavender into a food processor, and pulse until combined. The lavender should break up a bit, but visible pieces will remain, and that's okay.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter, lavender sugar and honey until pale yellow and light, about 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add in the vanilla and lemon zest, and beat until incorporated. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in 2 additions, beating just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. The batter will be very thick.
  5. Scoop the batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in tins for about 5 minutes, then remove from tins and cool completely.
  6. Frosting
  7. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and honey until completely combined and smooth. Be sure to scrape down the sides while mixing.
  8. Add the vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest and food coloring if using, and mix to incorporate.
  9. To decorate, you can either pipe the frosting onto your cupcakes, or spread casually with a knife. Keep in mind the frosting is soft, so it won't hold a very rigid shape. Garnish with sanding sugar, sprinkles or a few extra lavender buds!

**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.

15 Responses to “Honey Lemon Lavender Cupcakes”

  1. Debra Eliot says:

    Wow—you are psychic! We had the most wonderful lemon and lavender cupcakes on vacation last weekend in Hot Springs, AR. I was dying to start experimenting for a recipe. Now I don’t have too. (Yours look better actually—-the ones we had had purple frosting! )

  2. I think I have no excuse but to try these, but with lime 🙂

  3. Rhonda says:

    I have some culinary lavender that need to be used, I’ve only used it for lemonade. You cupcakes look beautiful and I bet they go with a cup of tea perfectly.

  4. Megan says:

    These look beautiful and sound so perfect for spring!

  5. Yum, your cupcakes look and sound gorgeous!

  6. So so pretty! I have some dried lavender too that I used for a milk steamer last year but haven’t done anything with it since. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Lacy DeVeney says:

    I’ve never used lavender before but these cupcakes look so fantastic I might just have to try it. Yum!!

    -Lacy @ NYCityEats

  8. Beautiful little cupcakes. I love the lemon-lavender paring!

  9. Denise Browning says:

    Absolutely gorgeous!!!!!!!!!! I love these cupcakes…Lemon and lavender make a great pairing.

  10. The flavor profile on these is outrageous (in a good way)! So pretty too. Welcome spring!

  11. Veronica Gantley says:

    This looks wonderful. My mouth is watering.

  12. Karen Grabowski says:

    I have always been intrigued by lavendar desserts- love the idea of combining it with honey. Cupcakes look amazing!

  13. I’ve never baked with lavender before, but I would like to soon! These look incredible!

  14. Joe says:

    Can you apply the same recipe for cake pops if you have the cake pop molds & sticks?

    • Taryn says:

      I don’t see why not! I haven’t tried it myself, so I’m not sure about the cake-to-frosting ratio, but you could start with less frosting and continue adding slowly until you reach your desired consistency. If you give it a try, let me know how they turn out!


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