Lavender cakes

  • For the cupcakes
  • 350g flour
  • 8 tbsp vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 0.25 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 5 whole eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 250ml milk
  • 60ml single cream
  • 165g unsalted butter
  • 300g sugar
  • 90g sour cream
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 25 drops lavender liquid herbal essence
  • 0.25 tsp star anise essence
  • 3 drops purple food colour gel
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 48 rice paper feathers, to garnish (see Cook's Note)
  • 24 fresh edible lavender flower petals, to garnish
  • 24 large candy pearls, to garnish
  • Edible glitter, to garnish
  • For the lavender buttercream
  • 2kg unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g shortening
  • 1kg icing sugar, sifted
  • 60ml vanilla essence
  • 30ml lemon essence
  • 0.75 tsp anise essence
  • 60ml cherry liqueur
  • 15ml vodka
  • 20 drops lavender oil
  • 3 to 4 drops purple food colour gel
For the cupcakes:
1) Preheat the oven to 150C/Gas mark 2. Prepare two 12-cup cupcake tins by lining each cup with a paper case.

2) Combine the flour, pudding mix, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Crack the eggs into a second bowl and add vanilla. Measure the milk and cream into a third bowl. In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides using a spatula.

3) Turn the mixer on first speed, add the sugar, and mix until fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time. Scrape down the bowl. Add the sour cream and mayonnaise and incorporate completely. Scrape down the bowl. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the wet, and starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix the batter until smooth and no lumps are present. Add the extracts and food colouring gel, mixing well using a spatula until all the colour is incorporated completely.

4) Fill each paper case using a 60ml scoop. Spray the cupcake pan with the cooking spray – this is done after the liners are filled. Bake until the cakes are golden brown and fluffy, 17 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool completely before decorating.

For the lavender buttercream:
1) In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening together. On first speed, add the sifted icing sugar to the bowl in 3 parts. Let each part incorporate into the butter mixture before adding the next. After adding all the sugar, put the mixer on the fourth (highest) speed and mix for 8 to 10 minutes.

2) The buttercream will begin to gain volume and look white and fluffy. Once you bring the buttercream to full volume, add the essences, liqueur, vodka and lavender oil and incorporate completely. Add purple food colour to the desired shade.

Cook's Note: The longer you let the buttercream mix, the more volume you will have. If the buttercream is airy and shows a lot of holes, add a small amount of warm water and mix well.

To assemble the cakes:
1) Fill a piping bag with buttercream and generously pipe onto each cupcake.

2) Garnish each cupcake with 2 rice paper feathers, 1 small fresh lavender petal, and 1 large pearl. Sprinkle with edible glitter.

Cook's Note: To make the rice paper feathers, cut out a 5 by 2.5cm piece of rice paper. Take each piece and individually cut a tear drop shape. Fray the edges of the tear drop. Sheets of rice paper can be found at specialty food stores.

This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

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