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 |

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

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 |

Spiked Lavender Lemonade

Because spring is just around the corner!

Spiked Lavender Lemonade |
This post is sponsored by Sonoma Syrup Co. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

And that means everything should be pastel-hued and full of the brightest, freshest flavors. This Spiked Lavender Lemonade is just that. It’s a simple cocktail to make, but so perfectly balanced. It’s incredibly refreshing and just as fitting for a happy hour or welcome drink as it is for brunch. It’s also the perfect cocktail to kick off my birthday week!

We’re heading up to my parents’ house this weekend to start the celebrations (since they’re heading to Hawaii without me next week…how rude!) and a big Sunday birthday brunch is on the agenda. This Spiked Lavender Lemonade might just have to take the place of our usual mimosas, because it’s that good and, yes, spring is right around the corner! I’m pretty sure once our families taste this they may never want any other sort of brunch-y beverage ever again.

Spiked Lavender Lemonade |

Speaking of spring, the changing of the seasons always calls for a little reorganization of my pantry, and more specifically a rotation of all of my Sonoma Syrup Co. products. The winter-y products (like the Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup I used for this Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog) get pushed to the back, and out come the warmer-weather flavors such as Mint, Lime and, of course, the Lavender I used for this Spiked Lavender Lemonade. I love that there are so many different flavors to choose from, so I can always find something that will be a total game-changer in whatever cocktail I’m whipping up, no matter the time of year.

We’ve had a lot of rain this winter, which means our citrus trees are exploding with gorgeous lemons and oranges. I love having such a big selection of vibrant fruit right at my fingertips, no trip to the store required, so I try to use fresh citrus juices in my recipes as often as possible. Plus, it’s warmed up to the 80’s this week (is our California “winter” officially over?) so nothing sounds better than a tall, icy glass of fresh squeezed juice with a sweet hint of lavender. I don’t think I’m going to have any trouble using up our huge citrus crop if I keep making this tasty drink!

Spiked Lavender Lemonade |

I also love that this Spiked Lavender Lemonade has just four ingredients (another reason I’m such a fan of Sonoma Syrup’s products, all the flavors in one little bottle!) This is all you’ll need:

Fresh lemons
Club soda

Just pour everything into a glass over ice, give it a little stir and you’re good to go. And to make the drink look just as good as it tastes, try adding wheels of fresh lemon to the glass (tuck them on the sides between the ice and the glass before adding the liquids) and garnishing with a fresh lavender sprig. These little touches makes the drink look over-the-top and completely brunch-worthy.

Spiked Lavender Lemonade |

So what are you waiting for? It’s Friday and the sun is shining, time to turn lemons into lemonade!

Spiked Lavender Lemonade |
Spiked Lavender Lemonade
Prep Time
5 mins

Not your average lemonade - this refreshing cocktail gets a kick from vodka and a fresh, floral taste from lavender simple syrup. 

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces Sonoma Syrup Co. lavender simple syrup
  • 2 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ounces club soda
  • Lemon wheels and a sprig of fresh lavender for garnish (optional)
  1. Fill a highball (or large rocks) glass with ice. If using garnishes, tuck lemon wheels into the sides of the glass using the ice to hold them in place. 

  2. Add vodka, lavender simple syrup and lemon juice to glass and stir gently.

  3. Top with club soda and garnish with fresh lavender sprig, if desired.

Spiked Lavender Lemonade |