NYC Cupcake Crawl: Lower East Side and East Village

Prior to being a mom, I used to go to NYC with Crusaders Stacy and Elisa quite a bit. We have friends and family that live there, we love going to shows, and taking a day trip is so easy from our location. I ended up missing our annual spring overnight trip, which means that the last time I was there was when I was pregnant, a year and a half ago. Since I was craving a NYC girls’ trip and missing my friends, Stacy and I drove up for a day trip this fall.

Stacy did all the research and planned our very ambitious day…six cupcake stops, five of them in walking distance (5–15 minute walks). We arrived in the city and made our way to the East Village. Our first stop was Butter Lane Cupcakes.

Butter Lane Cupcakes:

The menu setup at Butter Lane Cupcakes was a little confusing at first. They offer three cake flavors (vanilla, chocolate, and banana) and then a long list of frostings to choose from. If they don’t have the combination you want already assembled, they will fix it up for you. When we first arrived there were people standing outside of the shop eating their cupcakes and it was crowded inside (always a good sign!), but it cleared out quickly with the quick service that staff provided. Stacy noticed a Foursquare offer on the first check-in for a buy 2, get 1 free, so we took advantage of it.


(Cupcakes from left clockwise: Chocolate with Chocolate Sea Salt frosting, Banana with Maple Pecan frosting, and Banana with Cinnamon Honey frosting.)

Banana with Cinnamon Honey frosting: Possibly one of my favorite cupcakes ever. I was really surprised because the frosting looked crunchy, but it wasn’t. After biting in I couldn’t believe how moist the cake was and it had the perfect balance of flavors.

Banana with Maple Pecan frosting: Stacy thought that the maple overpowered the banana cake (I didn’t think so), but she still loved the frosting. Same super moist cake that was on the dense side, because of the banana.

Chocolate with Chocolate Sea Salt frosting: Moist light chocolate cake with a rich, salty frosting and caramel drizzle. I would recommend this to anyone who loves the sweet and salty combination.

Prohibition Bakery:

Prohibition Bakery is a basement bakery with just enough room to order your cupcakes, and a small bench inside. Luckily it was a beautiful day and the ledge leading down into the shop ended up being a great spot for Stacy and I to try our cupcakes. Prohibition Bakery only offers mini cupcakes at $2 each or three for $5.


(Top cupcakes from left to right: Margarita and Beer and Pretzel. Bottom cupcakes from left to right: Shiny Apple, Mulled Wine, and Birthday Cake.)

Margarita: I was surprised by how strong the booze in such a tiny cupcake could be! But, it was definitely a cocktail in cupcake form. This cupcake stuck to wrapper a little more than I like for minis (since every bit of cake you can get is precious). But any margarita lover would appreciate this treat. The salt was perfect, like a salted rim.

Beer and Pretzel: This cupcake didn’t stick as much to the wrapper, but it had a weird taste. Maybe it was the beer that’s used? I usually like beer breads and cakes, but I wouldn’t recommend this cupcake.

Shiny Apple: Stacy said this cupcake tasted just like a Washington Apple shot  (whiskey, Apple Pucker, and Hot Damn—instead of cranberry juice). She gave me a bite and I thought it was like spiked apple cider. It became our favorite here at Prohibition Bakery and was perfect for the autumn season.

Mulled Wine: This mini treat was sweeter than the others, but definitely had a mulled wine taste. It was really good, but not a favorite.

Birthday cake: Stacy said the vodka in this cupcake was strong and that it tasted exactly like what it was, a vanilla cupcake with vodka. The cake was moist, but a little crumbly.

Sugar Sweet Sunshine:
After eating lunch at One More Thai (across the street from Prohibition Bakery and highly recommended), we met up with Guest Crusader Jen and her husband James and all headed to Sugar Sweet Sunshine. We were pleased to see that there was seating inside, although it was packed, because more friends, Joanna and Greg, joined us. It was nice to be able to find a few chairs to hang out for a little while. Sugar Sweet Sunshine offers more than just cupcakes, and is also known for their pudding trifles. We were all shocked to see that the regular size cupcakes were only $1.75 (especially our New Yorkers friends who are accustomed to higher prices).


(Cupcakes from left to right: Pistachio and Pumpkin.)

Pistachio: I got this cupcake out of curiosity, but was a little wary since I’ve never had a pistachio cupcake. I was pleasantly surprised by the fresh nutty flavor, and moist, light cake. Because of the uniqueness, this may have been one of my favorite cupcakes of the day (coming in behind the Banana Honey Cinnamon from Butter Lane).

Pumpkin: Stacy picked this cupcake and said the cake was also moist and light, especially for pumpkin, which tends to be heavier.

(Cupcakes from left to right: Strawberry cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Banana.)

Strawberry with Peanut Butter frosting: James got this cupcake and really liked it. He was surprised and pleased that it tasted just like PB&J sandwich, even having a taste of sandwich bread.

Banana: Jen ordered this cupcake and thought it was good. She was expecting the cake to be moister for banana, but it had a good flavor and a tasty, light cream cheese frosting. Jen isn’t usually a fan of cream cheese frosting, so the fact that she liked this one speaks volumes.

Coconut (not photographed): Greg and Joanna shared this cupcake. Joanna isn’t much of a sweets person (I know, I don’t get it either!), but they both enjoyed how light and moist the cupcake was, and that it wasn’t overly sweet.

BabyCakes:

BabyCakes is a well know vegan bakery that uses spelt instead of wheat flour and doesn’t use refined sugars, but sweetens their cupcakes with agave nectar. They also make gluten-free vegan options, and all of their cupcakes are soy-free. The prices varied and were on the higher side. With the price and limited selection Stacy and I decided to share one. We were expecting it to be over $4, based on the price marked on the display, but it ended up being $3.75 (still the highest price of the day for a normal size cupcake). My guess is the specialty ingredients make BabyCakes cupcakes cost more, but it was our least favorite of the day and perhaps the worst cupcake we’ve ever had.

Vegan Lemon: Stacy recognized the texture of the cake was a lot like Sticky Fingers vegan bakery, which we tasted over the summer. The cupcakes at BabyCakes are served cold, which is always a downside. Our first bite did not make a good impression and we only took a second bite to try and pin point the flavors. Despite the lack of wheat flour, the cake tasted floury and also bitter, probably from the spelt. It was hardly sweet, almost like a sugar cookie that suffers from too much salt and flour and not enough sugar in the batter. The frosting, which can sometimes redeem a cupcake, just made it worse. It was sticky, like a runny fondant that solidified due to being chilled.

While we commend BabyCakes for their commitment to being all-natural and offering a healthier, non-processed option on the cupcake scene, it just doesn’t work for the normal cupcake lover.

Little Cupcake Bakeshop:

Little Cupcake Bakeshop was the biggest venue we visited during our cupcake crawl, with the most seating. Just like most of the bakeries, they were very busy, perhaps the busiest one we visited since people linger at the tables. They have a large display for their cupcakes and other confections, areas to watch bakers apply frosting and prepare confections, and a full service coffee shop. Although they were packed, they are also very well staffed. The selection looked amazing, so it was hard to choose. Their cupcakes range from $3–$3.50 for normal size cupcakes, but that’s average in NYC.


(Cupcakes from left clockwise: Mott Street, Peanut Butter and Jelly, and Luscious Lemon.)

Peanut Butter and Jelly: Stacy finally got a PB&J cupcake, one of her new favorites, and thought this one was delicious. She really liked how the jelly was swirled in the cake.

Luscious Lemon: I choose this cupcake, which had a vanilla cake and was topped with lemon butter cream and a meringue swirl. While this cupcake was well made and tasty, I think the name is a little deceiving. I was expecting much more lemon flavor, but the flavor was subtle. But after the previous lemon cupcake from Babycakes, I still thought it was refreshing and just what I needed.

Mott Street: I took the Mott Street home with me, because after hearing the description, I had to have it. It was a vanilla bean cake soaked in Illy espresso and topped with mascarpone cream cheese frosting, then dusted in cocoa powder. The girl who described it compared it to tiramisu. I thought this cupcake was really great, with a light, fluffy, and moist cake.

Baked by Melissa:  October Flavor of the Month

There was no way we could go to NYC without visiting Baked by Melissa, especially will all the locations they have now. Crusader Elisa even gave us her order before our trip, so we had to bring some back for her. We headed uptown, to Grand Central Station where there is a Baked by Melissa next door (a convenient location and also nearby to the restaurant our friend, Liz, works at and where we had dinner). The only new flavor we tried was the flavor of the month (read previous reviews here).

For October, Bake by Melissa offered a carrot cake with mini chocolate chips. Stacy’s thoughts were, “It was interesting because it tasted like carrot cake, but it had no visible carrots, or any of the other usual carrot cake fixings (like raisins or nuts). It was tasty, but the chocolate chips kind of overpowered it.”

We had a great day, filled with cupcakes and friends, so what more could we want?  Stacy and I discovered a few new cupcake places that we now call favorites. It would be hard to choose just one place to visit. Super Sweet Sunshine had their amazing prices and above average cupcakes, Butter Lane had their unique menu approach that allowed for amazing flavor combinations, Prohibition has booze, and Little Cupcake Bake shop has treats that give the feeling of high-end cakes. So depending on where you are in the East Village or Lower East Side and what type of treat you are looking for, we recommend checking out any of these four great places. Then stop by Baked by Melissa for bite size cupcakes to-go. I can’t wait for our next trip to NYC, which will no doubt include cupcakes, but maybe next time we’ll also fit in a Broadway show!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)

Advertisements

Elisa’s “From Scratch” Baking Experiment: Grapefruit & Honey Cupcakes

After last month’s successful Strawberry Basil Cupcake, I was very nervous about finding an interesting recipe to try baking for our Westminster Cupcake Picnic.

After asking Jenn and Stacy what to bake, sending them recipe ideas, and scouring the internet for a couple of days, I stumbled upon this Grapefruit and Honey Cupcake recipe. Not only did this recipe sound amazing, it also gave me the opportunity to make curd for the filling, with my usual buttercream frosting. After making lemon and lime curd from this trusty recipe for previous fillings, I felt confident in my ability to make grapefruit curd – little did I know just how much you can screw up curd. But back to step one: the cake.

I followed the cake recipe, which included oil (a first for my baking experiments), and by the end of whisking my arm was exhausted but the batter smelled amazing. I put the pans in the oven and set the timer.

Oh the curd… I swear I followed the recipe and everything was going well, but when cooking it on the stove, it just didn’t thicken the way the lemon and lime curd had. There wasn’t too much heat or extra ingredients, and it didn’t curdle, it just didn’t smooth out. After letting it cool, it tasted fine but had an odd, grainy texture. Since it tasted fine, I decided that perhaps the cake and frosting would mask the weird texture of the filling. Just in case it didn’t, I filled half of the cupcakes with honey instead of the curd.

I then made the buttercream frosting, but substituted the vanilla extract for honey so that there would be a hint of honey in the frosting as well. Using a piping tip, I frosted the cupcakes. Jenn and Stacy are amazing decorators, I mean, have you seen Jenn’s hummingbird cupcake decorations or Stacy’s beach decorations?! It’s something I would like to get better at, but maybe I will save that challenge for next year.

Packed in air-tight tupperware, I was ready to present my cupcakes to the picnic crew. I tried one of each grapefruit cupcake, curd filled and honey filled, and my cupcake friends did too. Everyone’s reactions were very positive, and even Joel the “Cupcake King” liked them! While both cupcakes had grapefruit flavor, the honey filled cupcake really packed a honey punch. It was my favorite of the two. The cake was really moist and baked up beautifully, the fillings turned out to be fine, and the frosting was smooth and sweet.

The curd might not have turned out exactly as I wanted, but over all this baking experiment was a success, and is something I would make again.

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Elisa (Baltimore, MD)

Our Westminster, MD Cupcake Picnic Recap

Sunday’s Westminster Cupcake Picnic was another successful gathering, with help from Joel of Josie’s Confections. More cupcake lovers were able to make it out to the Westminster Community Pond and the cupcakes were plentiful! We scored a great spot under the pavilion, next to the playground, which worked out well for some of our youngest attendants.


(Crusader Elisa, Guest Crusader Beth, and myself hanging out while others arrived.)

Although sitting on blankets at our DC Cupcake Picnic made it really feel like an old-fashion picnic, it was nice to have the tables this time. The breeze felt great sitting in the shade. It couldn’t have been a better day for a picnic!

We were admiring the cupcakes that had already shown up, but holding off digging in. It seemed like it would be more polite to wait until some of the others arrived. But then our little niece Lylah said, “I want a cupcake.” With that, the cupcaking began and didn’t stop, as more people showed up with their picnic contributions.

Cupcakes that were in attendance:
1) Joel brought some of his new Josie’s Confections’ boozy flavors, including Tiramisu with a Kahlua filling. Look out for a full review of Josie’s Confections coming later this week.
2) Josie’s Confections’ Mango Passion Fruit and Rum & Coke.
3) Josie’s Confections’ Ciroc Red Berry Lemonade.
4) Robin and Camille came with homemade marble cupcakes topped with chocolate ganache.
5) Beth brought an assortment from Fresh Bakery. We’ve reviewed Fresh a few times but this was the my first time tasting their Creamsicle and it had the perfect Creamsicle flavor.
6) Rachael brought her homemade Snickers cupcakes, which I also tried at her daughter’s 1st birthday and are always a hit!
7) Crusader Elisa made Honey Grapefruit cupcakes, two ways. One had a grapefruit curd filling and the other had a honey filling. Keep an eye out for a full recipe review soon!
8) I brought these store bought cupcakes that came from Walmart. Flavors included Lemon, Vanilla Bean, and Triple Chocolate. For those curious about how these full-size Walmart cupcakes tasted, I’ll be doing a review next week.
9) Crusaders’ Dad brought Golden Snitch cake pops, extras from a Harry Potter birthday party he hosted the night before. Guest Crusader Beth was very excited to see these there!
10) I think these Pink Lemonade cupcakes also came from Robin and Camille’s group. So many cupcakes, it was hard to keep track! After tasting and complimenting them, I found out that they were made with Pillsbury’s Pink Lemonade cake mix.
11) Another candy bar themed cupcake came from Guest Crusader Kim, who wrote about her first experience making these for her 30th birthday party.
12) Crusader Stacy made Lemon Blueberry cupcakes and jazzed them up for the summer with some fancy decorating. She’ll be featuring these in a post coming soon!


(With so many cupcakes, we learned that there would be a lot of cupcake-exchanging going on. This time the Crusaders provided a “to-go” option for our guests.)

At the last picnic we had a cupcake eating challenge and thought maybe we’d see if anyone wanted to take on “The King” and try to beat his time of 5 cupcakes in 3 minutes and 45 seconds. There was one brave lady, Simone, who stepped up to the plate (or in our case the picnic table…we ran out of plates that could fit all 5 cupcakes).


(Simone with the 5 cupcakes she selected. We admire her courage in taking on The King!)

She attacked those cupcakes with gusto, but in the end Joel gets to keep his reigning title as the real “Cupcake King.” We were very proud of Simone’s attempt and she left with a prize pack as a thank you for participating.


(My cupcake carnage…Those cupcakes didn’t see what was coming to them.)

We hope that everyone had a good time and thank our guests, especially those who drove over an hour from DC and Northern Virginia! It was great to meet other enthusiasts and enjoy the nice day talking about baking, cupcakes, and getting to know one another better. After two great Cupcake Picnics, we are even more excited for our final Baltimore picnic next month and are already getting requests to have a 2013 picnic series! If you are interested in attending the Baltimore Cupcake Picnic, check out more details and RSVP here.

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)

New York City, Center of the Universe…

Recognize that lyric? It’s from one of my all time favorite musicals, Rent, written by Jonathan Larson. By now you will have probably guessed that Jenn, Elisa, and I are total musical theater geeks. And as any musical theater geek will know, New York is not only the center of the universe, it’s the center of the musical theater world. So, several years ago we decided that while going up for one day trips to see shows a few times a year was great, it just wasn’t enough. We started organizing our “Annual Spring NYC Girls Weekend Getaway.” What could be better than a weekend full of good theater, tasty food, fabulous friends, and of course, cupcakes?

Unfortunately this year, Jenn wasn’t able to join us (it’s okay, we aren’t holding any grudges against baby Leah). Since it’s become our tradition, the three of us decided that Elisa and I should still go without her.

Other than cupcakes, our first day in NYC consisted of lunch, hanging out with good friends, attending the theater (we saw End of the Rainbow – I highly recommend it!), and post show drinks. We couldn’t have asked for a better day and we were happily able to sprinkle cupcake eating conveniently throughout.

Our first cupcake of the day was from Burgers & Cupcakes. Burgers & Cupcakes is situated just a few blocks away from Penn Station on 9th Avenue. Crusader Elisa and I have tried several of their cupcakes before, but we’ve never sat down to try their burgers so on this trip, we decided that needed to be remedied and went straight there for lunch after arriving in the city.


(As you can see, food makes me happy.)

We each ordered their homemade veggie burger with toppings of our choice and choose the Banana Vanilla cupcake to share. After savoring the delicious burgers and munching on some sweet potato fries we sat and chatted with a friend who met up with us before splitting the cupcake up for tasting.


(A table of yumminess!)

I’ll be honest, while we were chatting my eyes kept wondering back to the cupcake, but it was well worth the wait. The banana was the primary focus of this cupcake with the vanilla sitting in the background. The cake was moist and light and the frosting just sweet enough. It was our first cupcake of the weekend and it was a huge success!

After checking into our hotel we headed to our second cupcake stop, Donna Bell’s Bake Shop found on 49th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue. Lucky for us, Donna Bell’s is right next to the courtyard in which Blockheads and Mother Burger are located. For those who don’t know, Blockheads (and their sister restaurant, Mother Burger) makes a fierce drink called the Pink Bulldog with a Coronarita flipped upside down into it. It is basically a frozen vodka pink lemonade with sangria on top and then finished with the Corona. It may sound strange, but it is so good and went PERFECTLY with the Coconut cupcake I purchased from Donna Bell’s.


(Donna Bell’s has some of the best cupcake-to-go containers I’ve seen!)

Being the red velvet Crusader, Elisa had to get the Red Velvet , but based off her reaction it wasn’t nearly as good as my choice. The Coconut cupcake had a thick layer of sweet frosting and was then coated in coconut shavings. The edges of the cupcake were a little crisp, as if they had been touching the pan during the baking process, and this gave the cupcake a toasted coconut flavor, which I loved. Between the fruity frozen drink and the Coconut cupcake I felt like I should be sitting on the beach, not in the center of busy Manhattan.


(Elisa enjoying her Red Velvet cupcake in her signature fashion: sandwich style.)

So far, I was two for two on day one.

The day continued on with more food, more time with good friends, and finally, our main reason for being there, some theater! Before leaving Baltimore, I had already decided where we would be getting our post-show cupcake from: Crumbs Bake Shop. Even though Crumbs is a chain cupcakery, it has been a favorite of ours for a long time. Their jumbo cupcakes have always been moist and full of flavor. Last week I saw that their flavor of the week would be Apple Honey and I knew I had to try it.

Elisa and I decided to go to Crumb’s new Time Square location on 42nd Street since it was on our way to meet up with another friend. I usually try to avoid 42nd Street at night, but we were on a mission so decided we had no choice and had to tackle the crowds.


(Crumb’s Times Square location on 42nd Street. Love the signage, hate the crowds.)

After weaving through the mob of people we were shocked to see that Crumb’s display was still packed with cupcakes. And sitting in there waiting for us, was the Apple Honey cupcake which had made me drool at my desk just a few days earlier. We took the cupcake to go and ended up sharing it in our hotel room later that night.

I’ll be honest, it’s not easy having a “cupcake photoshoot” with the sweet aroma of apples in the air, but I managed and we finally cut the cupcake in half to share, only to discover a delightful surprise: apple pie filling!

This cupcake was every bit as good as I expected it to be. The honey flavor was a bit hard to detect, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying each bite. Normally the Crusaders are okay with splitting Crumbs cupcakes since they are so large, but on that night, I think I can speak for Elisa and myself when I say, we both wish we had each had one whole cupcake to ourselves.

Happily full on cupcakes and great memories we made that day, we turned in for the night ready to continue our adventure the next day…

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, MD)

We are working to help end childhood hunger!
Together we can make a difference!

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

Pink Rhino Cupcakes, “Cocktail Cupcakes for the Kid at Heart”

My friend, Devon – owner, baker, decorator, and all around creator of tastiness for Pink Rhino Cupcakes, located in Baltimore, MD – makes the most delicious boozie cupcakes, or “cuppies” as she likes to call them. She decided to start up Pink Rhino Cupcakes after spending years in the advertising world and deciding she was ready for a change. And trust me, the world is a happier, better, and maybe slightly more tipsy place because of this choice.

This past weekend I was lucky enough to indulge in one of her recent cuppycake creations: Bärenjäger Cupcakes. Mmmmmm….

This super moist vanilla cake brushed with Bärenjäger Honey Liquor, topped with a honey flavored frosting, and then drizzled with more honey is the perfect happy hour cupcake. At first you may think all the honey would be too overpowering, but the vanilla cake mellowed the honey flavor to create a well balanced and tasty treat.

I’m lucky enough to have such an amazing and creative baker in my circle of friends, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have them too! Pink Rhino Cupcakes’ menu includes cupcakes with names like Girl’s Night, John Daly, Smooth + Sexy, and The Dude. Prices range from $25 to $30 per dozen (which I think is an amazing price!). She can also create custom recipes based on your favorite cocktail or liquor, but prices will vary depending on your request.

If you are interested in ordering cupcakes for your next party, girls’ night, or just your own personal happy hour, click here.

You can also find Pink Rhino Cupcakes on Facebook.

Make sure to check them out because there’s no better addition to a gathering than cupcakes with booze in them!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, MD)

Elisa’s “From Scratch” Baking Experiment: Lavender Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Filling

Let me start by saying that I am not a baker. In fact, prior to this recipe, my “from scratch” experience with baking cupcakes was completely nonexistent. I love to cook, but have not baked much because, frankly, it scared me. Baking is a science that requires precision, while cooking is more like art – you can deviate  from the recipe and still have it turn out tasting great. With that said, I decided to face my fears and really go all out with my first cupcake “baking from scratch” experiment.

I follow a fantastic blog, YummyMummyKitchen and saw Marina’s post about Lemon filled Lavender Cupcakes. Lucky for me, she included an easy-to-follow recipe! While YummyMummyKitchen called for purchased or homemade lemon curd filling, I knew I had to go the homemade route and make it from scratch, as it would be one more test of my baking/cooking know-how! One of my favorite places to look up recipes is FoodNetwork.com, so I went in search of a lemon curd recipe and settled on this recipe by The Barefoot Contessa.

First things first, I had to find lavender that was for human consumption, and not potpourri. After searching the traditional grocery stores to no avail, I sought out a natural food store that might have just what I was looking for and is right around the corner from work. Located on Preston Street, OK Natural Food Store boasts organic everything and a wide variety of herbs sold in bulk! Sure enough, they had lavender!! (I highly recommend stopping in next time you are in the Mount Vernon area.)

Once I gathered the rest of my ingredients, it was time to bake!

The first thing I did was make the cake batter. I was so excited to be working with lavender! It is something I have always wanted to bake/cook with. Following the cake batter recipe was easy, but it surprised and worried me that the batter seemed very thick. I trusted the recipe and trekked on, placing baking cups into my vintage Muffinaire pan (thanks goes to my wonderful Nona, who gave me this many years ago) and popping it in the oven. I set the timer and moved onto making the lemon curd.


Again, an easy enough recipe to follow. Removing the zest of the lemons was no small feat, but the real nerves came when I cooked it. Having made homemade pudding (one of the very few things I have experience with) I knew I could cook the egg too fast and end up with lemon scramble instead of lemon curd, so I watched carefully and made sure to keep my heat on low. One problem: I had my heat on too low. Instead of the curd thickening in about 10 minutes, I stirred constantly for 25 minutes. Having a gas stove may have something to do with that, as gas heat on low translates to almost NO heat at all. After 15 minutes I turned it up slightly, wondering if the semi strange curdling looking lemon concoction would ever even out and become smooth. Another 10 minutes later, with a little more heat, it did and looked like lovely translucent lemon goo. I promptly put it into my vintage Pyrex mixing bowl (have you sensed a trend? I love vintage kitchen stuff, and this mixing bowl happened to be a Christmas gift from Stacy!) and into the fridge for cooling.

In the middle of making the lemon curd, I took the cupcakes out of the oven, out of the pan, and onto a cooling rack – all with one hand because the curd needed constant stirring. (What had I gotten myself into!?!)

Frosting was the last item on my list to make, so I followed the directions, using flower honey instead of lavender honey because I couldn’t find it anywhere (not even at OK), but I figured flower honey was better than plain honey. I didn’t add all of the confectioners sugar right away, I wanted to watch because I really felt like three cups would be too much and make the icing too sweet – as we all know, I do not like my cream cheese frosting too sweet. I only used two cups of sugar, and still achieved a stiff enough frosting to work with.

After using a pairing knife to cut out small “plugs” from the cupcakes, I used a ziplock bag with one of the corners cut off to fill the cupcakes with the lemon curd.

I then used the same technique to ice the cupcakes, as I have not invested in pastry bags/tips/etc.

For decoration, and an added hint of lavender, I sprinkled a couple of lavender buds on top. And voilà!

I ate one that night and while the cake was a little dry, overall I thought it had amazing flavor. The lemon curd really added a whole other level of flavor and texture, and the icing had the perfect hint of honey and cream cheese. While this cupcake may not be for everyone, as lavender is not something everyone wants to eat, it is a perfect cupcake for me – sweet, tangy, and savory. Even with the drier cake, I count this as a very successful baking experience! And now, not only do I have experience baking with a rarely used flower, I have baked from scratch, survived, and can’t wait for the next recipe! (And stay tuned, I’ve decided I love filled cupcakes so much that I plan on all of the recipes I try being filled as well!)

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Elisa (Baltimore, MD)