Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

The Pioneer Woman

Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

Behold: an adorable cupcake made of flowers and fruit!

I’d always been super wary of lavender in dessert or food in general. I certainly never tasted anything with lavender it in when I was young. And then as I got older and discovered that food could be flavored with that lovely purple thing, I was pretty darn shocked. I think that I was always afraid that my food would end up tasting like flowers? Shows what I know.


Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

But! Two very distinct things changed my mind. Big time.

The first: a candle. Yes. A freaking candle. A few years ago, I worked at a candle store (I’m not a crazy cat lady, I’m a crazy candle lady) and one of my favorite scents was lavender vanilla. Seriously, it smelled like an ice cream shop. I don’t know how. It was so warm and inviting and sweet, but not headache-inducing sweet. It made me want to put lavender in some sort of delicious vanilla-infused dessert and consume it immediately.


Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

But that didn’t happen. I was still a bit too freaked out, wasn’t confident in my own cooking or baking yet, and decided I’d get my fill of delicious lavender things by … well, by buying and burning all the lavender vanilla candles. Let’s just say that I’m still getting through the hoard.


Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

Then. The magic moment. I watched what I can only describe as one of the most wonderful movies in the history of feel-good funny movies: It’s Complicated. And my spirit animal, Meryl Streep, made lavender honey ice cream in the middle of the night when she couldn’t sleep. And darnit, if Meryl (er, her character) was going to make lavender ice cream, then I was going to make lavender ice cream!

So I did. And I have never, ever looked back. Ever.


Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

I’ve done the ice cream thing. I even made a lavender vanilla popcorn (candle-inspired, obvi) and I’ve done doughnuts, too. I’ve even done a lavender cocktail. But frosting for bright and citrusy cupcakes? Sounded like the best ever.


Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

There a few ways to do this whole lavender thing. First, there is lavender extract. That makes things simple! Second, there is dried culinary lavender. This is what I use most often. I find it brings authentic lavender flavor to food. You can easily infuse milk and cream with culinary lavender but you can also just chop it up and throw it in the food.

Beware though: you only need a teeny bit or else your food WILL taste like flowers. Sort of.


Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

Oddly enough, I also had a lemon lavender candle back in the day. This combo wasn’t inspired by that (surprisingly), but it works. Both the cake and frosting are light with just a hint of flavor. I almost like to think of it as vanilla cake with a hint of lemon and vanilla frosting with a hint of lavender. Adorable and cute to serve, delicious to eat, pretty on the eyes. If you have some living lavender around, throw it on top! Be all fancy and stuff.


Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting




Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

25 Minutes
18 Minutes
12 Servings
  • 1-1/2 cup All Purpose Flour, Sifted
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 4 Lemons, Zest Freshly Grated
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 Large Egg Whites
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/4 cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 cups Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
  • 3-1/2 cups To 4 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Culinary Lavender, Finely Chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Milk Or Cream If Needed
  • 1 drop Purple Food Coloring (optional)
  • Fresh Lavender, For Garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a cupcake tin with liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Zest the lemons and set the zest aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add in the sugar and beat on medium speed, scraping down the sides if needed and increasing it to high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until the sugar and butter is fluffy. Beat in each egg and white until incorporated, then add the vanilla and lemon extract (you can also use a lemon baking emulsion) and lemon zest until combined. Beating on low speed, add in half of the dry ingredients until combined, then add in the milk and lemon juice. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and beat until combined.

Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measure, scoop the batter into the liners filling them 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 16–18 minutes, or until the tops are set. Let cool completely.

For the lavender frosting:
Add butter to the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until creamy. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar and lavender. Increase the speed of the mixer, scraping down the sides if needed, beating the frosting until fluffy and combined. Beat in the vanilla extract.

If the frosting seems too thick, beat in the tablespoon of milk. If it seems to runny or too thin, you can beat in more powdered sugar ¼ cup at a time. Once the frosting is a spreadable consistency, drop in the purple food coloring and mix until evenly colored. Frost the cupcakes and top with a few lavender flowers if you wish.