No sooner had I posted a story about baking for Jasmine wherein I had complained that it is often very difficult to find specialized baking ingredients in Toronto, when a number of you contacted me to let me know several places where I could, in fact, buy lavender in Toronto.
There’s nothing quite so humbling as being totally wrong on the Internet! And yes, I was totally wrong.
As it turns out, there are a few places in Toronto where you can buy organic, edible lavender.
I’d like to thank the following people for pointing that out to me:
Lisa in Toronto left a comment for me pointing out that Grassroots Environmental Products has two stores in Toronto that sell natural products.
Aliza sent me a note suggesting that I try The Spice Trader, one of my very favourite stores in Toronto. While I’d never thought to look there, I’ll certainly take any excuse to visit such a beautiful store. (And you should too if you come to Toronto!)
And last but not least, Rob of Hungry in Hogtown pointed out that there is a flower vendor in St. Lawrence Market who would likely sell organic lavender, and sure enough, Allegro Flowers does indeed sell organic lavender!
To thank them for pointing out how wrong I was, I decided to try these adorable lavender cupcakes from Susannah Blake’s new cookbook called … you guessed it … Cupcakes. I am a marketer’s dream and my purchase of this book proves it. Strategically place a lovely cookbook anywhere in a bookstore and you can bet my eyes will find out. I’d never even heard of Susannah Blake and yet as soon as I saw this book, I picked it up, looked at the cover and marched straight to the cashier.
I didn’t even flip through it.
Not that I had to, mind you. It’s lovely. One word of warning, the recipes use self-rising flour, which can be difficult to find. I’ve adapted the recipe to use regular flour.
Toronto, these cupcakes are for you!
Adapted from Cupcakes by Susannah Blake.
Note: Self-rising flour is white flour that has already had leavening agents mixed in. You can easily make your own self-rising flour by adding 1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt to every cup of flour you need for the recipe that you’re baking. This recipe yields 12 cupcakes.
For the cupcakes:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. dried lavender (flowers only, no stems)
8 tbsp. butter (1 stick), at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. frated lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
Place the sugar and lavender flowers in a food processor and process for about a minute. The sugar will appear slightly finer.
Place the lavender sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the butter and combine on low speed (with the paddle attachment) until just combined. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat the two together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs and beat well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Sift the flour into the mixture and then add the milk, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Mix until just combined.
Spoon the batter into the paper liners and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. The cupcakes are done when a tester poked into the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting them.
For the frosting:
1-1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 egg white
1 tsp. lemon juice
purple food colouring (optional)
lavender sprigs for garnish (optional)
Place the egg white and lemon juice in a bowl. Slowly add the icing sugar to the egg white, beating constantly (you can do this by hand). Once the icing sugar has been incorpoated and you have a thick frosting, you can think it out a bit if you wish by adding a bit of milk. If you want to give the frosting a bit of colour, add the tiniest pit of purple or violet food colouring.
Put about a tablespoonful of frosting on each cupcake. Spreak it slightly with a spoon. Gently place a sprig of lavender on each cupcake and serve.