Last week I made crystallized or candied flowers from my own home grown patch of violas à la Martha Stewart. Would I recommend this activity? Yes, if you have a few hours to spare. Do they taste like candy? Yes, they do. Was it fun? Yes it was in a Martha Stewart-ish kind of way. This time of year I’m noticing changes in the garden every day. When the lavender planted along the front steps starts to bloom with the bees swarming around the emerging flowers, I have to admit I feel inspired. Maybe it’s my love of chocolate and the color purple but the idea of a chocolate brownie cupcake iced with lavender felt right this weekend.
This is my first cupcake post in more than two years of blogging, I had to work up to it! Over the past few years I’ve seen many, many cupcake recipes and photos posted on many of my favorite blogs. So, I’ve had a lot of time to think about cupcakes and develop a few opinions about them. First off, I really like cupcakes, especially those mini one bite sized cupcakes, in my opinion they are just perfection in one sweet bite. I’m always impressed by fluffy thick swirled icing on top of a tender crumbed cupcake. Oh and all the flavors I’ve seen and drooled over. But, somehow I stop myself from baking cupcakes at home when I read the part in the recipe about the 3 sticks of butter in the icing. I just want to enjoy a cupcake and I don’t want to know about all the gory details. I don’t want to buy a cupcake in a bakery and have the counter person tell me as she wraps up my purchase, “You know that cupcake has 50 grams of fat”. I just want to enjoy my cupcake and think to myself, wow, this cupcake is so flavorful, just as light as air, must have no calories and certainly no grams of fat.. Well this brownie cupcake is certainly not light as air, it’s a dense’ fudgy wudgy’ chocolate brownie of a cupcake with purple frosting and sugary sweet candied flowers.
Yes, I did use this cupcake recipe from marthastewart.com, but I do want to pass along a few notes about the things I changed to make these Martha Stewart inspired cupcakes my own. I used the recipe for the brownie cupcakes exactly as written but I made one dozen larger individual cupcakes. I cut the sugar and the milk in the icing recipe in half but tripled the amount of lavender flowers. I like more lavender in my purple icing, it gets strained out anyway. I also like the contrast between the chocolate cupcake and the purple colored icing so I left a border of the chocolate cupcake showing. One important note about making the candied flowers is not only to hold the flowers by the stem with tweezers when painting with egg white but also to hold the flower down on a surface so you can press on the flower petal while painting with a small paintbrush. I also used a small wire strainer to sift fine sugar over the painted flowers. I made my own custom purple color for the icing as I did not want to use the exact color specified by MS and I felt that as long as it did not come out the same color as Barney it would be alright. I look at this cupcake project as something to do just for fun and that it doesn’t need to be, by any stretch of the imagination, an exercise in perfection. After all we’re just going to gobble these cupcakes up, aren’t we?