I visited The Hummingbird Bakery in Portobello, London last year for one of their infamous cupcakes - London's answer to The Magnolia Bakery in New York as made famous by Sex and the City. The cupcakes are delightful (as most cupcakes are!) and a recent gift from a friend of The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, means that I can now re-create the magic at home.
There is nothing better for me, than a rainy day outside with the comforting smell of home-made cakes inside. I enjoy baking cakes so much, measuring out all of the ingredients and the creativity involved in the icing. I don't get chance to bake that often though and once you've made beautiful cakes you also have to eat them - not good for your waistline!
So I thought I would share one of the recipes from the book, perfect for summer, if a Lavender cupcake takes your fancy at all.
120ml whole milk
3 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
12 small sprigs of lavender (optional)
25ml whole milk
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
250g icing sugar, sifted
80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
a couple of drops of purple food colouring (optional)
a 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases
Put the milk and dried lavender flowers in a jug, cover and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight if possible. Do the same with the milk and lavender flowers for the frosting, in a separate jug.
Preheat the oven to 170℃ (325℉) Gas 3.
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on a slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
Strain the lavender-infused milk (for the cupcake) and slowly pour into the flour mixture, beating well until all the ingredients are well mixed. Add the egg and beat well (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula).
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minuted, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
For the lavender frosting: Beat together the icing sugar, butter and food colouring, if using, in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Strain the lavender-infused milk and slowly pour into the butter mixture. Once all the milk is incorporated, tun the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.
When the cupcakes are cool spoon the lavender frosting on top and decorate with a sprig of lavender, if using.