Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze

Happy birthday to me!

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze |

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!)

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze |

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!

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze |

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.

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze |

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!

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze |

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Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze |
Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins

Light and fluffy cupcakes filled with the delicate flavors of lavender and vanilla, perfectly contrasted by a tart blood orange glaze. 

Course: Dessert
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
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
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a cupcake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. 

  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, milk, butter, eggs, yogurt and vanilla until combined. 

  3. 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. 

  4. 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. 

  5. 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. 

  6. Once cupcakes are cool, spoon glaze evenly over cupcake tops. Let glaze dry completely before serving. 

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze |

Blood Orange Margarita

It’s been a long week so we’re taking it back to the basics.

Blood Orange Margarita | CaliGirl Cooking

Well, as basic as a Blood Orange Margarita can get. I wanted to hustle and share this recipe with all of you because the end of blood orange season is rapidly approaching (waaaaahhhh), which makes this all the better cocktail to whip up this weekend since blood oranges should be super sweet and delicious right now. The other bonus? You probably already have all of the other ingredients on hand in your kitchen. Plus, I realize that my Recipe Index is seriously lacking in tequila-based drinks…Sorry to all my tequila-lovers out there!

Before I get to the recipe, let me tell you a little bit about what inspired it. These past few months (okay, maybe six months) have been more than a little hectic. Between traveling up to Northern California for wedding planning and other family duties, working full time, doing my best to get a workout in every day, saving money for, well #life, and trying to be more dedicated to this blog that I love, I have had to put a lot of little things on the back burner. Don’t get me wrong, I have LOVED making a more serious commitment to CaliGirl Cooking , but I don’t want to lie and make it sound easy. It’s hard work, but its work that I love.

Blood Orange Margarita | CaliGirl Cooking

Anyhow, I digress. One of these things that I have put on the back burner is (insert monkey covering eyes emoji here) going to the Farmer’s Market. Yes, something as simple as that. As a big proponent of recipes for a balanced life, I try to use as many fresh ingredients I can, but with the limited time I have to work on the blog and get out to purchase my ingredients, sadly my grocery-shopping window and Farmer’s Market times have not been jiving. This has been a huge disappointment to me since I LOVE going to Farmer’s Markets, checking out the local, in-season produce and supporting my local peeps.

BUT! But, but, but…I’m so happy to say that I made it to the Farmer’s Market not once, but twice this week already! Until this week I really hadn’t realized how much I’d been missing it. Maybe it’s just that this time of year is one of THE best times of the year for Farmer’s Markets (hello, spring!), but I soaked it all in, bought a lot of produce, and am definitely going to make more of an effort to get to at least one Farmer’s Market a week. We’re so lucky to live in Santa Barbara where there’s a market almost every day in a different location (year round! Sorry, had to rub that in) that this really should not be a hard goal for me to accomplish.

I have more posts scheduled to highlight some of the other delicious items I found on my forays to the Farmer’s Market, but amongst the bounty that I brought home this week was a lovely little pint of fresh-squeezed blood orange and tangerine juice from one of the local citrus vendors. Now, I know it is SUPER easy to make fresh-squeezed blood orange juice on your own, but I was a sucker for the sign on the table that said “Only for a limited time, when in season.” I know, I know, what great marketing. I figured if nothing else the juice would be a great addition to our morning mimosas. Who knew the rest of it would turn into Blood Orange Margaritas? I’ll tell ya, we do what we can to avoid any waste by turning any and all leftovers into a cocktail 😉

Blood Orange Margarita | CaliGirl Cooking

Now, I know you’re thinking, you just said you BOUGHT the blood orange-tangerine juice and didn’t make it yourself? But guys and gals, that’s the beauty of the Farmer’s Market, someone else (yes, a human, not a machine) made this juice with their own two hands. And it is fresh, and it is delicious, and by golly I am going to make something of it.

And make something of it I did. This Blood Orange Margarita is soooo simple and only requires four ingredients. That’s right, just four! (Well, five if you count ice.) We take white tequila, Cointreau, our fresh-squeezed blood orange juice, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Mix these all in a margarita glass (or whatever you have on hand) with ice and you are good to go!

Our Blood Orange Margarita has the perfect balance of tang and sweetness, and the white tequila comes through beautifully with every sip.  As a huge fan of margaritas, that’s a definite win in my book. Even better, it takes only five minutes (or less) to make!

Blood Orange Margarita | CaliGirl Cooking

Now, I don’t know about you, but I think I’m going to go raid all of our Farmer’s Markets, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods for the last of the blood oranges because I plan on making myself some Blood Orange Margaritas to sip on for as long as I can make them last. Care to join me?

Blood Orange Margarita

Yield: Makes one cocktail

A perfectly balanced margarita utilizing a favorite seasonal fruit.


  • 2 ounces white tequila
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 2 ounces fresh-squeezed blood orange juice
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice (about ¼ of a lime)


  1. Add all ingredients to a margarita or rocks glass filled ¾ of the way with ice. Stir to combine and garnish with a lime wedge.
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Blood Orange Margarita | CaliGirl Cooking