Lavender Trust Cupcakes
There was a fashion, some time ago, for lavender-scented custards and creams. I always resisted it. But I made these a while ago, for auction to raise money for the Lavender Trust, which is the British charity for young women with breast cancer, set up in memory of Ruth Picardie, and—you know—the lavender works: it immediately evokes the musky scent of summer without filling the mouth with soapy perfume. Of course, in Provence, lavender is routinely used in the most savory of cooking, much as rosemary is, but I have yet to embrace my inner Peter Mayle. This, though, may be my first small step. To make lavender sugar, just cut up a few lavender sprigs and keep them in a jar of granulated sugar for a few days. Or you can buy it, in jars, ready concocted.
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Mealbrunch, dinner, lunch, tea
Taste and Texturebuttery, herby, sweet
Type of Dishcake, dessert
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- ½ cup very soft unsalted butter
- 7 tablespoons lavender sugar, sifted
- 2 eggs
- Pinch salt
- Few tablespoons milk
- Approx. 9 ounces instant royal icing
- Violet icing color
- Handful of real lavender stalks
Preheat the oven to 400°F, line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners and get butter, eggs and milk out of the refrigerator in time to get to room temperature before you start.
Make the cupcakes as usual: put all the cake ingredients, bar the milk, into the food processor and combine, adding milk to bind. Using spoon and rubber spatula, fill the cake-cups equally and bake for 20 minutes or so, until cooked (see page 195).
Cool the cupcakes as for the lemon cupcakes, and slice off any humped tops. Make up the icing according to package instructions, dyeing the mixture a faint lilac with a spot or two of food coloring: I like to use the solid pastes, for which you may have to go to a specialist cake decoration shop, I’m afraid; the color you’ll want here is generally labeled “grape violet.” Go carefully, though: we want pastel serenity here, not seventies record-sleeve murk.
Top each pretty-pale cupcake with a little sprig of lavender before the icing’s set dry.
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2003 Nigella Lawson