Lilac Lemon Cupcakes - a moist lemony cupcake with a floral backtone, brushed in lilac syrup and topped with a lilac cream cheese frosting. It's early Summer in one cupcake. These Lilac Lemon Cupcakes do not have an overpowering lilac taste, but just a nice hint of something floral.
And if floral is your thing, then you have come to the right girl. I love use flowers in cooking and baking and have used it in savory recipes like this strawberry arugula salad (lavender), and in drinks like this elderflower cordial and lavender bee's knees, hibiscus iced tea and elderflower lemon sorbet. It can also be used in baking like these cupcakes!
The pretty lilacs just stood there, blossoming, yet getting old and unused. The lilac season is pretty short, and I've seen tons of lilacs and lilac recipes online lately, and I just wanted my lilacs to take part in it.
Using flowers in cooking, is a relatively new phenomenon to me (when this was first published in 2018), and thus I was carefully treading into this new world. I know that you just need a tiny splash of rose water in a biryani and just a little bit of lavender in a salad for a sweet flavor.
These lilac lemon cupcakes are no exception. They are first and foremost lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, adding a sweet and citrusy taste of lilacs. But it is a great way to boost the longevity of your garden flowers!
Adding lilacs to simple syrup and just plain white sugar, you get that sweet and citrusy taste of lilac any time of the year. And we will continue to use it throughout the Summer. You can add it to tea as sweetener, or replace sugar with lilac sugar in any kind of cake really.
Lilac syrup would be great in lemonades and cocktails (still experimenting with that), and so there are a lot of choices for it.
Before you do any of the steps below, remember that you need to clean your lilacs. If you don't want to rinse them in water, because it takes forever to dry, just brush them. But check every one of the flowers to make sure there are no bugs.
I KNOW, this sucks. But that's the price to pay for being able to pick your food from the garden.
So, the kind of boring part about this. Making lilac sugar isn't done in a jiff. It takes about a week. But less than a minute in actual work time. Layer sugar and cleaned lilacs in a jar with a tight lid.
Place the jar in a dark and cool place, giving the jar a shake once a day. When the sugar is dry, it is done. You can then take the lilacs out of the jar and the lilac sugar is ready to be used.
Making simple syrup really is extremely easy. Take one part sugar and one part water in a small saucepan, and over medium heat, stir until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 10 minutes if you want to thicken it. Cool.
It's not much different with lilac syrup. Add sugar, water and cleaned lilacs in a small saucepan, over medium heat. Let the sugar dissolve and simmer for 10 minutes for it to slightly thicken (the simmer part is optional). Strain the syrup and discard the lilacs.
Stir in purple food coloring (or red + blue) if you wish. Let it cool before use. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.
How to Make the Cupcakes
We have our lilac sugar ready, we have our lilac syrup ready. Let's make some lilac lemon cupcakes!
Using a handheld mixer (or stand mixer, I just don't own one), mix butter and sugar in a medium bowl. Add in eggs one at a time, and then add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice. Lastly, add in the dry ingredients - flour and baking powder.
Pour the batter into 15 cupcake baking cups, fill about ⅔ up. This is small cupcakes, more muffin sized, but that's our standard cupcake size here in Norway, and I think it's perfect. Bake in the middle of the oven at 175C (350F) for 20 minutes. If you want to use larger size cups, just add a few minutes to the bake time.
I like to use a cupcake baking tray with cupcake baking cups in each. I guess most people own one now. But I remember in my early days when I made cupcakes, the batter was too heavy for the baking cups, either resulting in a doughy mess in the oven, or really odd shaped cupcakes. Get a cupcake tray if you don't have one!
Let the cupcakes cool on a wire rack. Brush lilac syrup on top.
Lilac Cream Cheese Frosting
I'm glad you couldn't see me while I made this frosting. I was stressing to get this done before the harsh lighting came into my photo studio, and I solely did the taste test, and forgot that consistency is key to frost a cupcake - this turned in to a frosting mess.
The frosting got everywhere - on the outside of the piping bag, the frosting was way too runny, I even got it in my hair, in my face and on my shoulder (but not on my clothes, is this even possible?)
So, this took a lot longer than it needed to, and I got the harsh lighting anyway. Realizing I needed far more powdered sugar, it went okay in the end. Beat all the ingredients together in a bowl. I had leftover frosting, but I don't like to add extravagant amounts, so maybe it's enough for those peaky frostings too. Frost the cupcakes.
Decorate with a few fresh lilacs, but remember that those aren't pretty for very long, in case you are not serving them immediately. Eat up!
Other easy to make cupcakes:
- Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Irish Baileys Frosting
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Banana Chocolate Muffins
- Blueberry muffins with crumb topping
- Cranberry Sauce Oast Breakfast Muffins
- Pumpkin White Chocolate Muffins with Streusel Topping
- Vanilla coconut cupcakes with chocolate orange buttercream
Hope you'll like it! I'd love to hear from you, either in the comment section below, or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don't forget to Pin it for later!
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