I found great culinary lavender on Amazon. The 4oz. bag has lasted me through several iterations of this recipe.
These cupcakes are even more amazing when filled with homemade lemon curd. The best (and easiest!) recipe I use can be found here: Sunshine Sweet Citrus Curd
To achieve the perfect shade of lavender, I combined two drops of pink with one drop of blue gel from Wilton's Color Right Performance Color System. Americolor also has great shades of purple -- just add slowly so you don't oversaturate the lavender color.
LEMON LAVENDER CUPCAKES
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour, sifted
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Finely grated lemon zest (rind) of two medium-large lemons
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
3.5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1 tablespoon dried Culinary Lavender
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350F; line cupcake pan with paper liners
In a medium-to-large bowl, combine eggs, 1/4 cup of buttermilk, and vanilla. Set aside. Sift the cake flour 3 times.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients, including the sugar, together on low speed (I use the “stir” setting on my mixer) for 30 seconds.
Add the butter and blend on low speed for about 30 seconds, then add remaining 3/4 cup of buttermilk, and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1 1/2 minutes.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg/milk mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition.
Gently stir in the lemon zest.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full
Bake 15-18 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean)
Remove from oven and transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool
In a small bowl, stir the dried lavender into the whipping cream and cover with plastic wrap overnight (or at least several hours)
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use “4″ on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.
Strain the lavender cream and add to butter, along with all remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy.
Add a few drops of purple-tinted gel color and mix until blended.