I was inspired to create these cupcakes because of spring and the 'Made by Bees' Instructables competition. These are lavender cupcakes filled with lemon curd and frosted with a honey cream cheese frosting. I'm not accustomed to cooking with culinary lavender and am so pleased with this recipe. I love that these cupcakes are both made and decorated with flowers - how perfect for spring and for bees!
Each cupcake is decorated with crystallized flowers and cream puff bees. The cream puff bees are also filled with lemon curd. You'll notice that some of the bees are suspended above the cupcakes, as if coming in to land on the flowers.
This recipe would be perfect for a bee themed wedding or bridal shower. Perhaps a Winnie the Pooh birthday party or baby shower!
Step 1: Ingredients & Supplies
For this instructable you will need to following ingredients. The culinary lavender was the most difficult ingredient to find. I live in the Berkeley/Albany/Oakland, CA area and was delighted to discover that the Oaktown Spice Shop in Oakland sells some. This is an awesome store so any reason to visit here is great.
(makes 24 cupcakes)
¼ cup dried culinary lavender
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1⅓ cups milk
baking cups (I choose ones that were purple in order to complement the yellow of the bees and the cupcakes)
* Note: I halved this recipe since I only wanted to make 12 cupcakes
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
1½ sticks unsalted butter
3½ cups powdered sugar
¼ cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
Cream Puff Bees
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup flour
and for the decoration:
clear picks (I purchased them from a party supply store)
* Note: these amounts made about 32 small cream puffs. I selected the best ones for decorating these cupcakes.
1 egg white
1 tsp water
edible flowers (I purchased a packet of edible flowers from Monterey Market in Berkeley)
1/2 cup sugar
Here are relevant links where I found inspiration and recipes:
* Julie's "Lavender-Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting"
* Leigh Anne's "Lemon Curd Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting"
* Shellie Wendel's "Cream Puffs"
* Tyler Florence's "Crystallized Flowers"
Step 2: Crystallizing Flowers
Spread the edible flowers out on a plate covered in wax paper. Combine the water and egg white in a small bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Using the small paint brush, gently paint a flower with the egg white mixture. While it's still wet, gently sprinkle the flower with sugar. Tap the stem of the flower so that the loose sugar falls off. Place the crystallized flower on the wax paper to dry for 12 to 24 hours.
I watched this video before beginning:
Step 3: Baking the Cream Puff Bees
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
On the stove, bring water and butter to a boil. Stir in the flour and salt until the mixture forms a ball. Move the dough to a mixing bowl and using a wooden spoon, beat in the egg. Using a pastry bag, pipe the dough onto an ungreased baking sheet in droplets slightly smaller than the size of a quarter. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes for my batch.
Step 4: Decorating & Filling the Cream Puff Bees
Once the cream puffs have cooled, select the best ones and fill them with lemon curd. Melt some semi-sweet chocolate chips and pipe stripes over the cream puffs. Use the melted chocolate to make dots for the eyes and add a stinger to the cream puff bee.
To make the wings, I used sliced almonds. Pour out a handful of them onto a plate and pick out the best looking ones. Arrange them on a plate in matching pairs. Pipe some chocolate on top of the cream puff bee and add the wings, slightly overlapping.
Step 5: Baking & Filling the Lemon-Lavender Cupcakes
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside. You can see that I used both the purple and yellow colored liners. I especially wanted to use purple because it complements the yellow of the bees.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt together. Chop the lavender buds and add them to the mixture. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, about three minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat in vanilla. Add the flour and milk in alternate additions.
Fill muffin cups about ¾ full and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
When the cupcakes have cooled, use a knife to cut a circle from the middle of each cupcake. Fill the holes with about 1 tsp of lemon curd.
Step 6: Making the Honey Cream Cheese Frosting
To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until fluffy, about one minute. Then, add the butter and beat for another two minutes, until well-incorporated and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar a few tablespoons at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the honey (!) and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Fill a pastry bag with the frosting and pipe it in swirls on the top of each cupcake.
Step 7: Assembly
In this step, you will arrange the flowers and cream puff bees on the top of the cupcakes. First, sprinkle some of the culinary lavender on top of each cupcake. Then, select a few flowers that complement each other and place them on top of a cupcake, pushing the stem into the frosting to hold them into place.
Choose a bee and place it on top of the cupcake. Be careful when holding the bee that you don't knock off the wings or chocolate stripes. For some of the bees, I used the clear pick to suspend the bee over the cupcake, as if it's coming in to land on the flowers.
Step 8: Display & Enjoy!
I was really pleased with how these turned out. I arranged the cupcakes on a cupcake stand, topping the whole arrangement off with a cupcake covered in two of the nicest crystallized flowers.
Enjoy and bee happy :)