La La Lavender & Lemon Cloud Cupcakes

Lavender & Lemon Cupcakes via Sweetapolita

Today’s Weather Forecast: A sweet mix of sunshine and clouds. Probability of celebration is 100%.

Did I mention that I have a bit of a thing for clouds these days? Yummy ones, that is (you may remember these cloudy sweets). Maybe it’s a subconscious need to escape the everyday, or to float above reality to la la land for awhile, but every time I bake (it’s been known to happen) clouds are on my mind. A little while back I woke up with an undying need for something lavender & lemon, which has also been known to happen, so I made some Lavender & Lemon Shortbread cookies — these little things are so delightful. I love the kind of shortbread that just melts in your mouth with all of its buttery goodness, and the recipe I use is one I’ve adapted from Joy of Baking–it never disappoints. I cut little L&L clouds and felt that they were just too cute to be gobbled up and long forgotten. So I decided to create some cupcakes to perch them upon, to celebrate the awesomeness that is Lavender & Lemon even further.

Lavender & Lemon Cupcakes via Sweetapolita

And it’s to not say that these cupcakes need to be cloudy, because are pretty special all on their own–the cupcakes themselves are light, tender, citrusy Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes, topped with tangy homemade Lemon Curd and topped with Whipped Lavender Frosting. If you’ve never baked with culinary lavender before, you’re in for a real treat–the lovely flavour of the lavender doesn’t come across floral, but rather compliments the sweet vanilla and lemon flavours like a dream (you just don’t want to overdo it by adding too much — less is more).

I also thought it would be neat to make my own cupcake wrappers for these, because I wanted something pastel and lavender with a cloud-like scalloped edge. I found a scrapbook paper that I loved and went ahead and cut out some wrappers — this is so easy! For the template, you can check out this simple post from Skip To My Lou. I snipped the tops with the “cloud” style (I didn’t make that up) scallop scissors from the craft shop and secured the backside with a glue stick. Once you learn this simple trick of making your own wrappers, the possibilities are literally endless. Sometimes the liners that we bake the cupcakes in look so cute and, unless they’re really thick, they absorb a lot of the grease of the cupcakes and a lot of the colour is lost. I can see making these little wrappers becoming a wee bit addictive!

I think these cupcakes would make the cutest and yummiest addition to any spring or summer party, shower, dessert table, picnic, birthday or, of course, a lovely Mother’s Day treat. I just adore this flavour combination, and it’s always fun to watch someone’s face light up when you tell them that they just ate lavender–suddenly they feel pretty fancy. It’s hard to not smile when you take a bite of summer.

Even if you stopped at making the Lavender & Lemon Shortbread Clouds, well I’d be okay with that too. They are such a tasty little treat and look pretty darling alongside a cup of tea. With only a handful of ingredients, they’re also pretty quick and easy to make. To make this cutter, I used a simple small flower cookie cutter and gently squished it into a cloud shape — it works!

Lavender & Lemon Shortbread via Sweetapolita

Or you can always whip up some Lavender & Lemon Shortbread Unicorns and call it a day — the world will forgive you. (For those who will want to know more about this fancy cutter in particular, it’s made by Tovolo — I just don’t see it on their website anymore. Sorry!)

Or you can do as I do, and make the L&L Shortbread Unicorns, eat and share most of them before you can actually photograph and blog about it, then make another batch of the shortbread, turn them into clouds, make the following recipes, stack it all up and watch them beam . . .

Lavender & Lemon Cupcakes via Sweetapolita

Escape to La La Lavender & Lemon land . . .

La La Lavender & Lemon Cloud Cupcakes

Yield: 18 standard cupcakes

Moist, fluffy lemon buttermilk cupcakes topped with zingy lemon curd, whipped lavender frosting and topped with lavender sugar cookie clouds.


    For the Cupcakes:
  • 1 cup (240 ml) (8 oz) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (230 g) cake flour, sifted
  • 1-1/4 cups (250 g) granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon (8 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon (2 g) salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) (115 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Finely grated lemon zest (rind) of two medium-large lemons
  • For the Frosting:
  • 3 sticks (340 g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 3.5 cups (400 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) whipping cream (35% cream), or whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon dried Culinary Lavender
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt


    For the Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two standard muffin pans with your favourite baking liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the eggs, 1/4 cup of buttermilk, and vanilla. Set aside.Sift the cake flour 3 times.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. Stir in the lemon zest.
  6. Divide the batter into your prepared liners, no more than 2/3 full.
  7. Bake until a toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center of the cupcake (~15 minutes). Be so careful to not over-bake. Place hot baking pans on wire racks, then carefully (they’re hot!) remove the cupcakes from the baking pans immediately to let cool. Let cool completely before frosting.
  8. For the Frosting:
  9. In a small bowl or glass, stir the dried lavender into the whipping cream (or milk); cover with plastic wrap overnight (or for at least several hours).
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Add a few drops of Violet gel colour (I used Grape Violet by Sugarflair and a drop of Americolor Electric Purple ) and mix until blended.
  13. Assembly of the La La Lavender & Lemon Cloud Cupcakes:
  14. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon curd on top of each cupcake and gently spread (be careful to not put more than this, or it will ooze).
  15. Fill a small pastry bag fitted with pastry tip of your choice (I used a plain large round tip) about 1/2 full with frosting and pipe a generous swirl on top of the lemon curd.
  16. Top with a Lavender & Lemon Shortbread Cloud. Finish with a scalloped cupcake wrapper or design of your choice

[cupcake batter recipe adapted from Canadian Living]

Here is the recipe for the Lemon Curd.

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Yield: 20 small-medium cookies


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) (227 g) good quality unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar/icing sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) good quality pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) dried culinary lavender
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) grated lemon zest (rind)
  • 1-1/2 cups (190 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) cornstarch (corn flour)
  • 1/4 (2 g) teaspoon salt


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed (I use #4 on my KitchenAid mixer) the butter until it is smooth and very creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat for another 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract, then stir in the dried lavender and lemon zest.
  3. Stir in the dry ingredients and mix until they are incorporated. Make a ball of the dough and seal in plastic wrap. Once in the wrap, flatten the dough into a disk and chill for one hour (at least--can be longer).
  4. When you're ready to roll and cut the cookie dough, preheat oven to 350°F and place the oven rack in the middle position. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or two baking mats.
  5. Roll the dough 1/4" thick on a lightly floured surface or between two sheets of parchment paper. Cut desired shapes, place on baking sheets and chill in the refrigerator or freezer for about 15 minutes.
  6. Bake until very light golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheets on wire racks.


Cookies will keep in an airtight container for about 1 week, or can be frozen.

[cookie recipe adapted from Joy of Baking]

Sweetapolita’s Notes:
  • Some of the items I used to make these cupcakes are Stainless Steel Scoop for measuring perfectly-even cupcakes, Culinary Lavender, and Nielsen-Massey Vanillas 8-oz. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract).
  • To get frosting super smooth (no air bubbles), use a silicone spatula and in an aggressive side-to-side motion, pushing the frosting back and forth against the sides of the bowl (you will hear a sort of paddling sound). Do this every so often while you use the frosting–it keeps it super smooth. You can also add a few drops (just a few!) of water for ideal spreading/piping.
  • Just a note about purple–all purple gel colours will yield a very different colour by nature, for example, Americolor Violet is much more blue than purple (when compared), and Americolor Electric Purple is more magenta than blue. Those differences in addition to the fact that you’re adding it to an ivory base (this butter frosting), can really alter the look of the finished cupcake, so you’ll want to play around with small frosting samples in bowls before tinting the entire batch. (I ended up making the frosting all over again to achieve the shade I liked best). Just be careful not to go too far with these concentrated colours, because it can get too intense quickly.
  • You can find a wonderful cupcake wrapper template at Skip To My Lou.

Good luck & enjoy!


Share the Sweetness!


  1. Karen Lawson says

    Oh Rosie, How I love to peak over at your website, so much dreamy cloud nine fun going on. I recently saw a stack of books Bakerella was looking at and I know its just a matter of time until you will have a book of your own among them all too . I wonder what you will choose as your cover?

  2. says

    saw culinary lavender plants for sale yesterday at one of the dc farmers market and this post is pushing me to find one of my own this weekend . . . adorable!

  3. Mary says

    I love these!!! So pretty in pastel. And I think I forgot to mention that I loved the cookies when I had one! So delicious! xo

  4. Rebecca says

    I SWEAR you must have read my mind from afar I was just telling my mom this morning that I wanted to make lavander and lemon shortbread cookies I even went to our neighbors and picked some huge juicy lemons to make them with! See great minds do think alike!! :o)

  5. says

    Oh my! I love anything lavender flavoured. I never thought I would like it because I had heard other people refer to a shortbread as tasting like dish soap — but I think they had a bad batch because everything I have made with lavender is so lovely! These look delicious, would be super fun to make with my kiddos too! I hope you come out with a book Rosie…I will be first in line to buy it. :)

  6. Leslie says

    I have to be honest, I don’t care much for lavender in food. These however look so good I may have to try them anyway. Thanks for the info on the unicorn cookie cutter, that thing is adorable.

  7. Kylee says

    Do you photo style your gorgeous children or did she just *happen* to looking all adorable in purple (love the tiny painted nails btw, so squee) when you took the photo? :D

  8. says

    I’ve never worked with culinary lavender before because I was afraid that it would taste… well… plant-y. Glad to know that it pairs well with vanilla and lemon. Considering that lavender vanilla is one of my favorite scents on the planet (Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy… mmmm…), I’ll have to get my mouth in on the action and bake up some of these treats!

  9. says

    I really love lemon and I’ve made lemon cupcakes before. But I really really don’t like lavender. I have a recipe for cupcakes that use lavender and I’ve been avoiding it …. but these look so fab I might just try it! :)

  10. says

    These cupcakes lit my day, and made me really, really happy. They are so cute, and I’m always ok with some (sweet) clouds like these. A bit of summer is what I needed! Super lovely, Rosie! xo

  11. Nadia says

    I cannot believe the timing of this post! I plan to host a lavender/lime color scheme party for my daughter in June and am wondering how you think culinary lavender pairs with lime? I would love to do your cupcakes replacing all the lemon with lavender…or if not advisable maybe i’ll switch to lavender & lemon. Looking forward to your expert opinion.

  12. loreen says

    Rosie – another fantastic, delicious looking post! Glad I didn’t see that awesome unicorn cutter last month when I made cookies for m 4 yr old’s rainbow, unicorn, and princess party or I would of become obsessed with trying to get one! Your work is so amazing, I love it!

  13. Justine says

    Hi, I’m from Australia and love your website and posts. You have such creative ideas! Congratulations on a great job!

  14. Maya says

    These are so beautiful! Great shots for a great recipe! I can’t wait to try my hand at these :)

  15. Kelly says

    These look absolutely divine! I have been looking for a recipe with lemon and lavender and came across this one on Pinterest. As soon as I saw it, I went out and bought everything I needed to make them….I hope mine come out as beautiful as yours. The only thing is that your recipe for the shortbread cookies doesn’t include when to add the flour. It’s listed as an ingredient, but not as part of the directions. Keep doing what you’re doing, cause you are amazing at it!

  16. says

    Your cupcake taster has the most adorable purple fingernails! Okay, the lavender lemon shortbread made my sweet tooth do a complete somersault. The shortbread alone would be completely addicting, but coupled with one of those gorgeous cupcakes, I’d be in real trouble. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

  17. Tesei says

    These are lovely and I’ve finally decided I DO need to get some Culinary Lavander which I’ve seen around in many recipes but never thought I really needed… until now. Thank you for sharing!

  18. says

    I am soo into lavender right now as well! It’s so versatile- lemon, chocolate, vanilla, peppercorn… I love it in dark chocolate truffles, and I’ve been using a lavender simple syrup in hot chocolate. Absolutely delicious! Your cupcakes look fantastic- super fresh and Spring-ready!

  19. Natasha says

    I just stumbled upon your website today and I love it! I’m really curious about the reverse creaming method and had a question! I’ve been experimenting with substituting oil for butter in some cake recipes – not swapping the butter out completely though. If I wanted to try the reverse creaming method, when would I add the oil? Seems like I’d aerate the dry ingredients, then add the butter and some of the liquid. Would the oil go in with the rest of the liquid later?

    Thanks so much!

  20. Kaylin says

    So perfect! I would love to make this for Mother’s Day, where can I find the Lemon Curd recipe?

  21. Heather says

    Hello! I am only a novice baker…Im only 17! Other than that this may be a funny question but how did you get your frosting looking like that? How did you make the frosting swirl so beautifully? Could you possibly post a tutorial on different ways ti frost? Thank you, I love your site!

  22. Shannon says

    I just made these as a test run because I am making them for the mayor and they are quite possibly the best cupcakes I have ever made. I followed the recipe exactly and they were perfect, I will make these again and again! Thanks Rosie :)

  23. Larisa says

    Hi Rosie! I love your site and have learned to love to bake thanks to your informative and beautiful posts. I am head over heels with swiss meringue buttercream (thanks to you) and wondered if you thought a lavender version of SMB would work as well in this recipe? Thanks!

  24. Ally says

    Hi Rosie!

    My name’s Ally and I’m from Syd, Aus. I came across your blog the other day when i was looking for a good vanilla cake recipe (I made the classic vanilla birthday cake for my best friend and it was a success) and am slowly trawling through the pages of your gorgeous recipes.

    I made these lemon cakes today and they are divine. Your website is providing me with endless hours of entertainment while I’m on my uni holidays! Baking your cakes are so much better then researching for my Honours thesis haha. Thank you thank you

  25. Ally says

    Hi Rosie!

    My name’s Ally and I’m from Sydney. I came across your site when I was looking for a good vanilla cake recipe (I made your Classic Vanilla Birthday Cake for my best friend’s 22nd and it was a huge success). I’m slowly trawling through all your gorgeous recipes and I made this one today. The lemon cakes were absolutely divine. Instead of lavender icing (unfortunately I had no lavender) I made a cream cheese icing which worked well.

    Just wanted to say thank you for providing me with endless hours of entertainment! I really should be spending my time researching my honours thesis but this is just so much more fun. Thanks again for sharing all your recipes (and pictures of your beautiful baby girls!)


  26. says

    rosie, i tried making this recipe twice (using whole milk the first time and heavy whipping cream the second time) and it was delicious! however, i was not able to get my frosting to be piping consistency like yours! :( any ideas what i may be doing wrong?? (i didn’t want to keep adding more confectioners sugar as it was getting too sweet…) thanks!

  27. Selene says

    Thank you so much for the wonderful recipes. I made these and my family went crazy. My husband, who is not a sweets lover, said these are his new favorite dessert.

  28. MLB says

    I made these for 20 women at a quilting retreat and they were raved over! I absolutely loved them and can’t wait to make them again! Divine!

  29. Allie says

    I just made these tonight for Easter and they are GREAT (I may have snuck one, just to “make sure they were acceptable for guests”). However, I did substitute regular all-purpose flour for cake flour, and it made them more muffin-like than cake-y. However, the combination of the lemon curd (which is pretty much my favorite thing ever) and the lavender buttercream was just awesome. The lavender is very subtle in the frosting, but it adds a lovely spring-time note. I didn’t make the shortbread because, good grief, I had enough to do! Maybe next time, now that I have some left-over lavender! Thank you for the recipe(s)!

  30. Jennifer says

    I just finished with the cake part of the lemon lavender cupcakes! They are perfect! Not to sweet but amazing flavor…I can’t wait to finish them off with the lemon curd and lavender buttercream. My mom and grandmother are going to love them….I’m putting them on the cupcake bouquet I’m making for them,!

  31. says

    These cupcakes are so lovely. I love the smell of lavender but I actually never thought about incorporating them in food. Thank you for this amazing idea!

  32. May Brown says

    Hi Rosie, I tried this recipe twice and followed to the T but the cupcakes shrank and pulled away from the liner. I even tried with different liners thinking it could be the quality but had the same results. Wondering if the batter was overbeaten? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.

  33. Michelle says

    Hi there, do your cake/cupcake recipes work in high altitude?? I’m in Colorado where the altitude is 5280 :) Thank you!!

  34. Jamie says

    I made these yesterday, got distracted and mixed up the butter portions on the 2 recipes. So my cupcakes were made with 3 sticks of butter! Suprisingly, They turned out soooo good..the edges were just a little crispy. Can anyone tell me if its just a fluke or can I do that with all cupcake recipes?

  35. Marcelle says

    This recipe looks phenomenal! I want to bake these asap! Do you think I could use the milk and vinegar concoction instead of buttermilk? I have used it before for other recipes and it always worked.


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