Last week I wrote about Made in Provence, a wonderful source of traditional and authentic handmade Provençal specialities that are perfect for Christmas giving. This is a recipe that the owner, Christine Vidal, shared with me. It makes about 40 mini cupcakes, lightly flavoured with Provençal honey and lavender. They are gorgeous for tea, or as a treat at a grown up birthday party.
Although you may be more familiar with lavender as a scent than as a flavouring, it is widely used in Provence for just that. The taste is much lighter than the scent, and is a wonderful addition to many dishes. However be sure to use culinary or cooking lavender. Other types may have been treated, and are not appropriate for cooking or eating.
For the cupcakes
280 grams plain (all purpose) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
110 grams unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of salt
200 grams sugar (vanilla sugar if possible)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
110 ml milk
½ teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
For the frosting
300 grams icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
50 grams unsalted butter, softened
25 ml double cream
1 teaspoon Made in Provence Lavender Honey
2 teaspoons Made in Provence Cooking Lavender
60 ml milk
Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).
Start with the cupcakes. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
In a larger bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and beat for five minutes until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each addition.
Mix together the milk and vanilla and add alternately with the flour mixture in three parts, beginning and ending with the flour. Just fold the ingredients in after each addition, being careful not to over mix.
Line mini cupcake pans with liners and add the batter to them by teaspoonfuls, filling the containers about half to three quarters full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for a few minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, gently heat the milk and the Cooking Lavender in a saucepan. Strain with a sieve, discarding the lavender, and set the infused milk aside to cool a bit.
Whisk the butter in a bowl until smooth. Add 200 grams of the icing sugar along with the milk, honey and double cream. Blend until smooth. Slowly add the remaining 100 grams of icing sugar a bit at a time, until you get a soft, spreadable consistency. (You may not need it all.)
Frost the cupcakes with the frosting, and decorate with a sprinkling of lavender buds or other seasonal decoration.
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