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 |

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream

It’s time.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream | CaliGirl Cooking

Last week I flooded your news feed with tons of healthy options (see exhibits A, B and C) so we could balance out the more indulgent recipes I’m about to share with you this week. It is a double whammy of holidays after all, since it’s both my birthday and St. Patrick’s Day! I think this is a great example of how I believe eating should be: clean, healthy and fresh foods the majority of the time so we can indulge on special occasions such as these and then get right back on track.

I speak from experience, completely depriving yourself of one thing or another (unless you have a legitimate allergy, that is) just leads to diet disaster. When you think you “can’t” have something, you only want it more. When you have set in your mind that you can have said “thing” whenever you want, it becomes all that less special and you don’t crave it nearly as much. If you’re really in tune with your body and listen to how it feels after you eat fresh, healthy food as opposed to sweets and treats, you’ll soon realize that you don’t need much of the latter to quell a craving and you’ll feel so much better when you don’t gorge yourself on something more decadent.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream | CaliGirl Cooking


But now it’s time for me to step off of my soapbox for a minute and tell you about these amaze-balls Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream. You guys, these absolutely MUST make an appearance on your table no matter how you are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day later this week. I know there are a lot of recipes out there that are similar, but I must say I really think I nailed it with this one.

First of all, since my SO is an avid craft beer fan, I don’t think we’ve EVER had something like Guinness on hand here at the house. Instead, we’re always trying out the latest porters and stouts from various microbreweries, especially now in the winter months when we want that extra oomph and body in our beers. So, instead of using mainstream Guinness (as most St. Patty’s Day-themed cupcakes do), I instead used the Stone Coffee Milk Stout….Bomb diggity! Seriously, this turned out so good. It might also have been that I added some sour cream to the batter, or that I used a high-quality cocoa powder, or a combination of all of the above. Whatever it is, I really don’t care because it’s just that amazing.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream | CaliGirl Cooking

The other thing I love about these cupcakes is that they are not SUPER sweet. You mostly get the chocolate flavor and there is a very minimal amount of added sugar. We’re saving all the sweetness for the Irish Cream Buttercream! That’s right, folks, I added our favorite weekend coffee creamer (cough, Bailey’s, cough cough) to a classic buttercream frosting to slather all over the tops of these puppies. The stout-flavored, chocolatey, minimally sweetened cupcakes and the sweet, creamy and boozy frosting balance each other out beautifully! We’ll see if you can stop at just one.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream | CaliGirl Cooking

Oh! And did I mention they’re super easy? The hardest part about making these is remembering to put the butter out for the frosting a few hours before you make it so it can come to room temperature. Everything else is so simple! You can easily whip these up in an hour or two, so totally doable on a weeknight.

Obviously, these may not be the best choice for a crowd of young ‘uns. Although the alcohol is minimal, the frosting is not cooked in any way so the alcohol will not “bake off.” But for any adult-centric St. Patrick’s Day party you may be attending, Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream are for sure the way to go!

Now, do yourself a favor and whip up a batch (or two) of these in the next couple of days. Once made, they keep well in the refrigerator for a few days (and up to a week.) Once you taste ‘em you’ll never turn back! Stay safe you all and keep it green!

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream | CaliGirl Cooking

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream

Yield: Makes one dozen cupcakes

Stout-laced chocolate cupcakes topped with a sweet Irish Cream buttercream...Perfect for St. Patrick's Day!


    For the buttercream:
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup Irish cream (such as Bailey’s)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste


  1. First, make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a one-dozen cupcake pan with cupcake liners (or spray with nonstick cooking spray.)
  2. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, beer, melted butter, eggs, sour cream and vanilla bean paste. Set aside.
  3. In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, stir to combine.
  4. Using a ¼ cup measure, scoop batter into prepared cupcake pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Place on wire rack to cool.
  5. While cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, powdered sugar, Irish cream and vanilla bean paste. Mix on high speed for 2-3 minutes, or until ingredients are combined and buttercream is nice and fluffy.
  6. Remove cupcakes from cupcake pan. Finish cooling if they’re not completely cool already. Using a piping bag (or large resealable bag) fitted with a large star frosting tip, frost cupcakes starting in a circle on the outer edge and working your way in.
  7. Store in refrigerator if not serving immediately.


Beer Pairing: Enjoy some of the same beer that you used in the cupcakes while you’re eating them!

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Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream | CaliGirl Cooking

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