22 Jul 2010


The inspiration for these cakes came from the wonderful lavender bush in my garden. I looked for recipes using lavender but as I am on a 'flowers and cupcakes' mission at the moment, Nigella's recipe in her book Forever Summer was perfect.

Nigella created these lavender cupcakes to raise money for the Lavender Trust, which is a charity for young women with breast cancer and was set up in memory of Ruth Picardie.

Whilst in the garden on a glorious hot and sunny day, I gained an unexpected 'new friend', a butterfly no less. As I started to cut a few lavender sprigs, he settled on the bush. He was a little camera shy and the photograph, unfortunately, doesn't show all of his markings.

For this recipe you will need to make some lavender sugar first. Simply put a few sprigs of lavender into some caster sugar for a few days and hey presto, lavender sugar.

For the cupcakes you will need:

125 g self-raising flour, 125g very soft unsalted butter, 125g sieved lavender sugar, 2 eggs, pinch salt and a few tablespoons of milk.

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C /Gas 6 and line a 12 bun muffin tin with paper cases.
2. Put all of the cake ingredients, except the milk, into a food processor and whizz, now blend in the milk.
3. Fill the cake cases and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked.

For the icing:
250g Instant Royal Icing, violet icing colour, twelve sprigs lavender

1. Cut the peaked tops off the cooled cupcakes.
2. Make up the icing with a little water to a thick double cream pouring consistency. Put some food colour paste onto a skewer and dye the icing to a pastel violet.
3. Spoon some of the icing over the top of the cupcakes. Top each of the cupcakes with a little sprig of lavender before the icing sets.

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3 Jul 2010


Australian Women's Weekly books are always a source of inspiration and this recipe came from The Complete Book of Cupcakes. I seem to be in cupcake mode again............

The flowers are made from thinly sliced pineapple slices which have been coated in sugar syrup and dried in the oven. I think the flowers are really pretty.

The pineapple carrot cake recipe they gave for the cupcakes wasn't great and I think a lemon sponge cake recipe to fill 12 cupcakes would be a better option, then simply top with lemon cream cheese frosting.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

30g unsalted softened butter, 80g softened cream cheese, 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind, 240g icing sugar, lemon juice

1. Beat the butter, cream cheese and rind in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, gradually beat in the sifted icing sugar. Add enough lemon juice to make a soft frosting.

Pineapple Flowers:

1 tablespoon caster sugar, 1 tablespoon water, 12 wafer thin slices fresh pineapple

1. Preheat the oven to 120°C/100°F Fan. Stir the sugar and water together in a small saucepan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, boil 1 minute.
2. Brush both sides of the pineapple slices with the sugar syrup. Place the slices in a single layer on wire racks over oven trays.
3. Dry pineapple in oven for about 1 hour. Immediately remove the slices from the rack to prevent sticking.
4. Carefully shape into flowers by pinching the centre of each slice, dry over an upturned egg carton.

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