Lavender Honey Cupcakes

“Cupcake Wars” champion Karen Henderson’s
Lavender Honey Cupcakes


Editor’s note: Karen Henderson ’94 (Environmental Studies) used this unique recipe on her way to winning the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” last year. She is the owner of Lila and Sage Bakery in Murphys.

Yield: 18 cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups organic honey (or 1 cup baker's sugar plus 1 cup organic honey)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons whole, fresh, edible French lavender flowers
1/4 teaspoon organic lavender oil

Tangerine-Vanilla Mascarpone Cream:
8 ounces mascarpone
1/4 cup organic honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon tangerine juice
1/2 tablespoon tangerine zest

Garnish:
1 tablespoon sanding sugar
1/2 teaspoon tangerine zest


Directions

For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325°. Line 2 cupcake or muffin pans with 18 cupcake liners.

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Cream the honey, buttermilk and vegetable oil until they are immersed together, about 5 minutes, in the bowl of a stand up electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add each egg one at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the flour mixture about 3/4 cup at a time. Slowly add the lavender flowers and lavender oil to create a smooth batter.

Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full with the batter and bake until golden brown and baked through, about 30 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely.

For the tangerine-vanilla mascarpone cream: Blend the mascarpone, honey and vanilla by hand, until the cream is smooth and incorporated. Add the juice and zest. Mix for 15 seconds. Put the cream into a 24-inch pastry bag with half of the tip cut off.

Mix together the sanding sugar and tangerine zest.

Pipe the tangerine-vanilla mascarpone cream on top of each cooled cupcake. Sprinkle the top with the sanding sugar mixture.