Dark Cocoa Cupcakes with Lavender Whipped Cream

October 24, 2009

dark cocoa cupcakes with lavender whipped cream

Lately, I’ve been a bit fixated on memories of Paris. Maybe it’s the rainy weather or the fact that I’ve been unable to shake this unending flu. Sometimes when I don’t feel well, it helps me to remember times when I felt better.

There’s something about Paris, the art, the architecture, its indescribable and inescapable beauty that mends and heals. One thing I remember clearly is the dessert cart at the
Hotel Meurice. Why? It’s the first time I ever tasted a dessert infused with lavender, the lavender eclair, in particular. Rich, yet light with just a subtle hint of purple-scented flavor and chocolate glaze. Delicious. Moreover, stopping by the Hotel Meurice for dessert is a probably the closest thing to dining inside of a cream puff itself. It’s most definitely an unforgettable experience.

It wasn’t until I returned home and sought out other lavender desserts that I learned just how important it is to have a light touch when working with the fragrance. Not enough – bland dessert. Too much – ruined dessert. Sadly, most lavender desserts I’ve experienced since the eclair fall into the latter category.

lavender cupcake collage

I was inspired to work with lavender in my own desserts after visiting the Cape Cod Lavender Farm this past summer. It’s twenty acres of fresh grown lavender was an incredible sight to behold and a wonderful treat to take home.

What I present to you today is incredibly simple. It’s not French and it doesn’t involve pate choux. It simply marries the wonderful favor of deep, rich chocolate with hint of lavender essence. I give you the dark cocoa cupcake with lavender whipped cream…

Now before you shrug and say, “oh another chocolate cupcake” keep in mind that this recipe involved my researching, studying, adapting and combining recipes written between 1952-2008 and more kitchen mess and failure than I care to describe. Let’s just say the effort would have made Julia proud. My only request is that you bake these cupcakes with love in your heart.

halved cupcake

Dark Cocoa Cupcake

12 tbs. unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs room temperature
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tsp. Valrohna cocoa powder
1 cup plus 2 tbs. milk
2 tsp. vanilla

350 degrees. Twenty minutes or until inserted toothpick has no crumbs.

Whisk milk and cocoa powder together in pan. Heat gently until well blended. Mixture should be warm but not hot. Turn off heat. Add vanilla and stir.

Whisk remaining dry ingredients together and set aside.

Beat butter in bowl fitted with paddle at medium high speed about 35 seconds. Scrape down bowl. Gradually sprinkle in sugar; beat until white and fluffy 3-5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time beating a full minute after each addition. Scape down bowl.

With mixer on lowest speed add 1/3 dry ingredients mix until almost incorporated. Add 1/3 chocolate mixture mix until almost incorporated. Repeat process until ingredients are added. Be sure to scrape down bowl. Beat until mixture looks satiny about 15 seconds.

Line with cupcake wrapper. Fill 2/3 full of batter. Frost lavender whipped cream.

Lavender Whipped Cream

There are several ways to add the lavender flavoring. Whichever method you choose, taste the cream frequently to make sure the perfume taste isn’t over powering – a little goes a long way.

Method 1

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp. – 1 tsp. lavender petals
1/3-3/4 cup powdered sugar

Heat heavy cream until simmering. Add a small amount to lavender petals and allow to steep like a tea. Strain when the cream is infused with desired amount of flavor. Cool and refrigerate. In a stand mixer, whip the cooled cream with the desired amount of powdered sugar. Pipe whipped cream onto cupcakes using a star tip. Decorate with lavender.

Method 2

2 cups chilled heavy cream
1/8-1/2 tsp. lavender extract
1/3-3/4 cup powdered sugar

In a stand mixer, whip the cooled cream with the desired amount of extract and powdered sugar. Pipe whipped cream onto cupcakes using a star tip. You can also fill the cupcakes with whipped cream. Decorate with dried edible lavender.

lavender choco cupcake

Note: This post is dedicated to my dear blog friend and pastry chef Zoe Francois whose new book, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients is scheduled for release on October 27, 2009. We can’t wait…Congratulations Zoe!

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42 Comments

  • Reply BELLArt January 1, 2012 at 10:23 am

    mmm, just wanna bite into one right now!

    http://treatsanddesserts.blogspot.com/

  • Reply Julia September 21, 2010 at 4:35 am

    Thanks for this amazing recipe – I made them last night and they are the best cupcakes I’ve ever made! I topped them with a basic chocolate buttercream but will definitely try this elegant lavendar cream one time.

  • Reply Elizabeth Jarrard November 13, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    your photos are always sooo beautiful!

    I love community servings as well-they’re great! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  • Reply a tasteful garden November 5, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    hey there El, you’ve been tagged with an Honest Scrap award ๐Ÿ™‚ http://www.atastefulgarden.com/2009/11/honest-scrap-award.html

  • Reply anna November 1, 2009 at 11:07 am

    The cupcakes look gorgeous! I love lavender and chocolate. Heck I just love lavender. I have a reputation in pastry class as “lavender girl.” I really love the whipped cream, too – so much lighter and more delicate than frosting.

  • Reply a sweet concoction November 1, 2009 at 10:53 am

    i’m so happy i found this blog! your photos are so amazing! just wondering- what camera do you use?

  • Reply Fresh Local and Best October 31, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Oh you have such a lovely blog! The photos are amazing, you capture the essence of the ingredients and dishes superbly!

    Thanks for visiting FLB!

  • Reply Y October 31, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    What a gorgeous looking cupcake. I love a hint of lavender in baked goods such as this too.

  • Reply El October 31, 2009 at 6:23 am

    Nicole – Thanks for your comments. Much appreciated. To subscribe, simply click the subscribe link on the top left hand side of the page (under follow me). You can subscribe via e-mail and have new blog posts delivered directly to your inbox or sign-up for a feed reader like Google Reader – which gives you a separate inbox for all of your blog and news subscriptions. A reader is very helpful in staying organized.

  • Reply Nicole G. October 29, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Just found this blog and it’s jaw-dropping! I’m a photographer and I have to say that your photos are inspiring and the recipes look fabulous too! How do I subscribe?

  • Reply Delish Dish October 28, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    The pictures are stunning and the flavour combination is irresistible!

  • Reply Ash October 28, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    These are just gorgeous!! I’ve been wanting to make a treat with lavender. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply Anonymous October 28, 2009 at 10:13 am

    There’s something about your frosting on this cupcake that just scream “sweetness” to me! Beautiful shots!

    Thanks for sharing and for posting!

  • Reply Mimi October 27, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Your cupcakes looks so delicious. I grow a couple of different lavenders and have been comtemplating baking with them for some time. Maybe this is the recipe.
    Mimi

  • Reply Confessions of a Gourmand October 27, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    These cupcakes make me swoon!

  • Reply Tracey October 27, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Your photos are so gorgeous! These cupcakes look wonderful. I’ve never tried baking with lavender but this looks like a wonderful first recipe for me to try ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Anonymous October 27, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    I would love to sink my teeth into one of these right about now!

  • Reply Gen October 27, 2009 at 11:24 am

    I love fresh lavender! Good to know we don’t have to fly to Provence to get it. The cupcakes look yummy!

  • Reply Tartelette October 27, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Gorgeous! The combination is perfect!
    The first thing I planted when we moved to our new house here was seeds from my lavender back home in Provence. Now it spread to the neighbors’ yards!!

  • Reply Martha October 27, 2009 at 8:57 am

    It looks like a lavender cloud. I want one!

  • Reply Gala October 27, 2009 at 6:08 am

    They look so delicate and pretty….

  • Reply Lucy October 27, 2009 at 5:52 am

    OH these cupcakes look gorgeous – I love that whipped cream! I’m still plucking up the courage to try some lavender baking, but these look so delicious I’m feeling rather inspired ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Fahrenheit 350ยฐ October 27, 2009 at 3:24 am

    You had me at whipped cream! That cream looks so incredible,… and then you peeled back the cupcake wrapper! AH!

  • Reply Lisa October 26, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    OMG!!! This looks AWESOME!

  • Reply Danielle October 26, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    The first taste of lavender is always memorable isn’t it? I had lavender candy many years ago and could never forget my surprise at its taste. Recently made lavender filled cupcakes too and they brought back great memories ๐Ÿ™‚

    Where did you get those white cupcake molds? I’ve been looking all over for them.

  • Reply Shwetha October 26, 2009 at 6:33 am

    I am in love with your blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Anonymous October 25, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Geez El…keep this up and I’m going to have to roll myself to the grocery store to buy more chocolate…as with the cookies (your last post) I can’t wait to try these. Lovely pics.

  • Reply Kristin Summerlin October 25, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Ravishing. Never thought I’d use that word to describe a cupcake, but yours certainly is. I so wish you could bake, sell & ship them to me in Alaska. I have no functioning oven. ๐Ÿ™

  • Reply kellypea October 25, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Just gorgeous! I love to use lavender, but sparingly. I’ve never tried it with chocolate.

  • Reply foodandstyle October 25, 2009 at 9:13 am

    El, this is a GORGEOUS dessert (Lavender is a favorite of mine, how can it not?!)… I bought a whole lot of dried lavender flowers from a small farmer in Provence a couple of years ago and I’ve been using it in all kinds of dishes – never thought of putting it in whip cream! Fabulous idea.

    Thank you so much for the inspiration! And I love your beautiful blog… ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply El October 25, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Thanks for the feedback everybody. It inspires me to continue learning.

    Sharon – Yes, just walk in. As w/ any good hotel dining, dress well, enter confidently and ask for dessert!

  • Reply Sharon October 25, 2009 at 6:36 am

    They look beautiful! This might sound weird but can anyone eat dessert at the Hotel Meurice or do you have to stay there? I have a conference in Paris next month!!!

  • Reply Mowie @ Mowielicious October 25, 2009 at 4:39 am

    I love anything and everything lavender infused! And those cupcakes look absolutely divine. Gorgeous, gorgeous photography, so delicate and dreamy… beautiful!

  • Reply Megan Gordon October 25, 2009 at 1:35 am

    Oh my! It looks some major love and attention (and research!) went into these. I love the addition of lavender to the buttercream. I’ve got these bookmarked!

  • Reply Eliot October 24, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    I love your stories and your pictures. Absolutely stunning.

  • Reply Karine October 24, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Your cupcakes are stunning! And the lavender whipped cream is a wonderful idea.

  • Reply Irene October 24, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Such a beautiful dessert, I’m definitely going to try these! Thank you for doing all that research (I’m sure it was a great hardship eating all those test cupcakes ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). But really, thank you!

  • Reply Frenchie October 24, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    I love whipped cream topped cupcakes, I find that whipped cream is the only topping that doesn’t make them feel overly rich. I would have never thought to combine lavender and cocoa, but I imagine it would be delicious.

  • Reply cindy* October 24, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    i love lavender! i’m actually getting married at a lavender farm in june ๐Ÿ˜‰

    the cupcakes look delightful!

  • Reply Rawmazing October 24, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Your site is beautiful! Love your photography. It is nice to meet you through the blogosphere!

    Susan

  • Reply a tasteful garden October 24, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    GORGEOUS!!! i have to definitely check out that lavender farm next time i’m down visiting family because it sounds wonderful. but what wonderful tasty treats presented so very beautifully. i especially love your prep shots of the lavender and empty cups.

  • Reply veron October 24, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Oh yum! This looks so good! I haven’t tried lavender in desserts yet, but I can’t wait to try this. Lovely pics!

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