Lavender—just hearing the name is so soothing and relaxing. And baking with it is just that! I was super excited and ecstatic when one of my vendor friends, owner of BeauTeaBar, asked me to cater for her floral themed event with the organic vegan cosmetic company La Bella Figura. I immediately jumped the gun and made up a menu right on the spot. So what was one of the items that popped in my mind with the word association to floral? Lavender of course! So I was able to make these beauts again—Caribbean Vanilla Sponge Cake with Lavender Honey Frosting.
So you’re probably wondering how in the world do you cook and bake with lavender? Well to give you a little Sparknotes factorial about the multiple uses of this shrub, it is a cousin to the mint and rosemary family and has many medicinal and culinary benefits. Now I won’t bore you with the medical portion, but to cook and bake with it is just utterly amazing!
Since it does have a semi-high and soluble oil content, it is best to strip away the flavor and oil by using naturals fats found in dairy. So you know what that means—from ice cream to dairy based frostings and any other dairy product that you have in your fridge will be the best candidate for you to do so. And how you ask? I prefer the old school French technique of double boiling the loose leaves into the dairy product of choice. As for these cupcakes, I used mascarpone cheese for three reasons…
1. Since it is flavorless and lightweight, you have the ultimate control in how you want it to taste like (unlike cream cheese).
2. It replicates the same texture and body of cream cheese.
3. It’s still part of the dairy product line up since it comes from cows.
Got to love dairy! As a little random tidbit for your relaxing glass of tea, you can add a ½ teaspoon of culinary lavender to your sugar for that mug of relaxation tea. Just enough to give you a light lavender pick me upper if you’re feeling gloomy—and one of my favorite tea enhancers.