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Lavender Heaven Cupcakes

For my first entry for this month's Iron Cupcake: HERBS Challenge, I wanted to do something relatively simple and yet very tasty. After a little brainstorming with a fellow foodie, this was the result...

A lavender poundcake cupcake that has a sunken center filled with caramel. The Caramel is salted with Fluer De Sel. Petals of chocolate fudge frosting surround the caramel centers.
I have to admit, I wasn't sure what to expect from these cuppies. I didn't think they would really be anything that spectacular.... BUT boy was I surprised when I had a bite! This cupcake is beyond delicious! It is darn near heavenly! It's floral, aromatic, salty, dense, buttery, chewy, and fudgey... Does it get any better!? The flavors all accent and compliment each other in an unexpectedly amazing way... YUM YUM YUM!! You really do have to try making a batch of this bad boys!

One other admission, I did not actually intend to have the centers of the cupcakes sink... However, this turned out to be a very happy surprise. The sunken centers were very advantageous when creating the caramel centers and fudgey frosting petals. I think the reason I got this result was that I whipped the snot out of my butter, then my butter and sugar mixture, and then my butter/sugar/egg mixture when creating the poundcake. I did this because I wanted to create a good texture in the poundcake and because the Joy of Baking seemed to say that was the way to go. Well, if I had made a regular poundcake I probably wouldn't have been a happy baker, but as it is, this worked perfectly for what I had in mind!

1 3/4 cups cake flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup superfine Baker's sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 heaping tbsp of chopped dried lavender
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift together twice, the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of your mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until creamy and smooth. Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (this will take about 5 minutes). After about five minutes the batter should be light in color and fluffy in texture. Then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and lavender and beat until incorporated.

Add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for apx. 15 minutes or until you see golden edges. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
15-20 prepared caramel squares
2 tbsp butter
1 tibp Fluer de Sel
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the caramels. Stir often to keep from burning. When the caramel is just melted, spoon a dollop of caramel into the center of each cupcake. After the caramel has almost completely cooled, top each with a small amount of Fluer de Sel.
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup dark cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup plain soy milk
Melt butter and mix in cocoa by hand. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well by hand. Use a pastry bag and "leaf" pastry tip to decorate the edges of the cupcakes.


Joy said...

These are gorgeous!


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Englewood, Colorado, United States
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