Sunday, August 3, 2014

Vegan fudgy zucchini brownie cupcakes with lavender buttercream

vegan chocolate zucchini lavender buttercream brownie cupcakes

Whipping up these cupcakes has caused me to wonder: why haven’t I made anything with lavender before?

No idea.

Because it is mind-blowing. World-changing. Palate-arousing. “Ugh, can’t even”-inspiring.

And you can expect me to incorporate lavender into as many recipes as possible in the coming months, for better or for worse.

lavender fields wallpaper
Lavender fields / Nothing is real source

Before I started reading food blogs, I wasn’t aware of all of the incredible things you can do with seemingly ordinary, if lovely, plants and their products, like rosemary and olive oil and oranges and dandelions and, yes, lavender—but now it seems you can’t go a day without seeing some new and mouth-watering creation using these natural flavors.

And this, essentially, is why food blogs are so great: they are a never-ending fount of inspiration that opens your eyes to new aspects of the culinary world. Makes me weepy sometimes.

To highlight the beautiful flavors found in nature, here are ten desserts I’ve seen around recently:

Pineapple and orange, brought to the next level. By Twigg Studios.

Yes, olive oil in ice cream. From Pickles and Honey.

Roasted figs—you can’t go wrong. The View from Great Island.

Raspberries make almost every dessert better, IMO. Via Kitchen Heals Soul.

Gorgeous. And with thyme on top, just cuz. From Pastry Affair.

Cherries and meringue. If only egg whites were vegan. Top With Cinnamon.

With fresh figs on top. Inspiring the Everyday.

As if lemon bars weren’t awesome enough. From SugarHero.

Marcel Proust would be proud. From Fraeulein Klein.

And the last recipe, highlighting rosemary. Via Running to the Kitchen.  

Is your stomach grumbling yet? Are tears running down your face as you yearn to experience these culinary wonders of nature? Never fear, because today we have sweet, sweet cupcakes ready to alleviate your inner pain and open your eyes to these beautiful flavors:

vegan fudgy zucchini brownie cupcakes with lavender buttercream

These brownies were inspired by two things:

2) Food blogs.

After seeing The Live-In Kitchen’s vegan zucchini brownie recipe pop up on my reader, I knew I had to make it. But probably differently. Preferably with frosting. Something to make them more complicated, cos that’s how I roll.

And then I remembered the chocolate tahini cake I had made for Memorial Day this year, from My Name is Yeh—because holy shit, that rosemary buttercream was insane. I’d never tried using rosemary in a dessert before, but I was converted in an instant. The infused butter sounded fancy, but was actually dead simple: just melt a bunch of buttah and the herbs together, let steep for a few hours, drain out herbs, and then let it firm up to whip into frosting. Boom. Hallelujah. Rosemary (or whatever herb you used) buttercream.

But this year, we decided to grow a bit of lavender too. Obviously I had to try it. The smell of freshly grown lavender is just incredible; it practically begs to be put in every dish you make. So I subbed the rosemary for lavender, and whallah, we have a brand-spanking-new, fancy-ass lavender frosting for our vegan zucchini brownie cupcakes.

Literal. Perfection. (As Molly would say.)


Zucchini brownie cupcakes with lavender buttercream


Brownies (adapted from The Live-In Kitchen)

300 grams • granulated sugar • 1 ½ cups

110 grams • vegetable oil • ½ cup

125 grams • all-purpose flour • 1 cup

120 grams • whole wheat flour • 1 cup

20 grams • cocoa powder • ¼ cup

8 grams • vanilla extract • 2 teaspoons

425 grams • zucchini, shredded, excess moisture squeezed out • 2 cups

6 grams • salt • 1 teaspoon

6 grams • baking soda • ½ tablespoon

130 grams • chocolate chips • ¾ cup

Frosting (adapted from My Name is Yeh)

113 grams • vegan margarine • ½ cup

113 grams • coconut oil • ½ cup

Handful of fresh lavender, or to taste

450 grams • powdered sugar • 3 ½ cups

30 grams • nondairy milk • 2 tablespoons

Salt to taste


Start by melting vegan margarine and coconut oil in a saucepan with lavender. Boil gently for a few minutes, transfer to a bowl and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, melt down just until liquid and strain out lavender. Let firm up in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

To make brownie cupcakes, start by preheating oven to 350 degrees F and greasing / lining with paper liners about sixteen muffin tins. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine sugar, oil, and flour until the mixer resembles wet sand. With mixer on low, add cocoa powder, vanilla extract, zucchini, salt, and baking soda and mix just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Divide batter evenly between muffin tins and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the tops are dry and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting, place infused butter / oil mixture in the bowl and electric stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Add remaining ingredients under “frosting” and beat on low speed until combined, then whip once more until fluffalicious and frosting-like. Pipe / smear / dab on cupcakes. Nosh.

vegan fudgy zucchini brownie cupcakes with lavender buttercream
Wow. Fancy.

So how does this recipe compare to the other zucchini thingamajigs I’ve posted so far?

The best. By far. I mean, you can’t top anything with frosting like this. It’s incredible. 

brace yourself meme more chocolate lavender desserts are coming
You've been warned.


  1. Mmm! That lavender frosting on a chocolate cupcake sounds so good! I really like your recipe roundup too. I think my favorite one that on your list has to be that salted dark chocolate olive oil ice cream. : )

    1. Thanks! And I've always been meaning to try olive oil ice cream, that one is probably first on my list now. Glad you like it! :D

  2. Lavender buttercream? Now you're just showing off ;) These look fantastic though!
    When I was doing a few hours in a food trailer at a market yesterday, this one stall around the corner from us did pakora served topped with flower petals in vibrant colours, and I was mindblown - so pretty! And these cupcakes here look gorgeous as well June :) Hmmm I wonder if I could track me down some lavendaah *ponders* Merry Monday! x

    1. Thanks so much! I've never tried pakora but it sounds amazing, especially with flowers... mmm :)

    2. Add it to your to-eat list, it's worth a try for sure! I hadn't had it until I moved to Glasgow either, but since then I've loved it! (It was even the first thing I had when coming home after a christmas holiday in Norway.... Ha!) Perfect bits to share, I bet you could even whip up some badass vegan ones! x

  3. anything with zucchini is great in my book:) I would love to have you link it up to my Feature Friday Link Palooza!

    Danielle @ Blissful & Domestic
    Creating Beautiful on Less

  4. My goodness do these brownie cupcakes sound so amazing! Lavender buttercream?! I have to try that ASAP. I have small lavender plant that I'll finally put to good use :D

    1. Thanks! I hope you do try the buttercream, it would taste good on a lot of different things I think. :)

  5. I've seen so many delicious zucchini desserts lately and this one looks SO awesome! I love the lavender buttercream :)


    1. Thank you! Tis the season for zucchini I guess. :)

  6. I've honestly never baked with lavender either! It's on my bucket list though and it sounds totally lovely in that frosting!

    1. Thanks so much! It is quite wonderful in this dessert :)

  7. I'm so relieved to hear that someone else shares my inexplicable obsession with herby desserts. Keep 'em coming!

  8. Lavender buttercream? Yes, please!! :) So glorious sounding!!

  9. Thanks so much for linking up last week to What's Cooking Wednesday! You are our featured blogger this week! Hope you can come link up again!