Light and fluffy cupcakes filled with the delicate flavors of lavender and vanilla, perfectly contrasted by a tart blood orange glaze.
Happy birthday to me! That’s right, it’s my birthday! The big 3-2 to be exact (ugh) but hey, at least I’m celebrating with Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze! And for someone that didn’t even plan what she wanted to do to celebrate until, ohhhhh, last week (thanks to lots of pressure from my hubs and friends,) I’d say we’re off to a pretty good start.
(I’m clearly on a big lavender kick right now – did you catch the Spiked Lavender Lemonade I posted on Friday? So refreshing and tasty!)
Is it just me, or is your 32nd birthday just sort of “meh?” I mean, I certainly went all out for the big 3-0, and might find some inspiration when I hit number 35, but it seems like all of the birthdays in between those milestones kind of just come and go without much pomp and circumstance. Especially when your birthday falls on a Wednesday, how un-fun is that?
So, after I kept getting nagged about what I wanted to do to celebrate, and after avoiding the question for as long as I could, I finally decided I wanted to keep it casual with Happy Hour at our local waterfront bar/restaurant, and let friends and family stop by whenever they wanted. We celebrated with our parents this past weekend, and if you ask me, that’s all this gal needs to celebrate another trip around the sun!
To be honest, I first made these Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze a few weeks ago, when I decided it was high time for me to add another cupcake recipe to this here blog. It has, after all, been almost exactly one year since I posted the only other cupcake recipe on this site – these Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream – which BTW would be perfect for you to whip up for St. Patrick’s Day on Friday!
I was trying to decide what flavor I wanted to make my cupcakes this time around, and remembered I had a big jar of culinary grade lavender that my parents had given me a while back. We all know that culinary grade lavender isn’t exactly something you reach for in your pantry on the reg, so it had been sitting in there practically untouched ever since I got it. I knew it would be perfect to integrate into a spring-friendly cupcake, but that it might need a little assistance from some other amazing flavors to keep it from tasting too much like soap (side note – this can easily happen if you use your lavender in the wrong context, like adding lavender syrup to your brewed coffee, don’t do it.)
Lucky for us, vanilla is a great complimentary flavor for lavender, and also perfect in cupcakes! I’ve talked about it before, but I swear by this creamy vanilla bean paste that I order on Amazon. It’s a little pricy, but you get a HUGE bottle and it lasts for such a long time! I highly recommend you order some if you bake nearly as much as I do.
With all of the soft, floral notes I was going for in the cupcakes, I knew I wanted a stark contrast in flavors for the frosting. I happened to still have quite a few blood oranges on hand from my winter stockpile, so instead of a buttercream or whipped cream frosting, I decided to top the cakes with a tart, blood orange glaze.
Turns out, my instincts were spot on and these cupcakes turned out perfectly balanced yet full of flavor. They’re also not overly sweet, which means you could totally get away with calling them muffins and eating them for breakfast. It’s my birthday after all, so I give you full permission. Cheers to another year and thanks for celebrating with me!
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Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze
For the cupcakes:
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup milk
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons culinary lavender, ground (I used a mortar and pestle for this)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the glaze:
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 cup fresh blood orange juice
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a cupcake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, milk, butter, eggs, yogurt and vanilla until combined.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, lavender, baking soda and salt, then add this mixture to the wet mixture, beating until just combined.
- Using a 1/3 cup measure, scoop batter into cupcake pans. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before topping with the glaze.
- While waiting for the cupcakes to cool, make the glaze. In a medium mixing bowl, beat together all of the glaze ingredients until smooth and no lumps remain.
- Once cupcakes are cool, spoon glaze evenly over cupcake tops. Let glaze dry completely before serving.