NIGELLA LAWSON'S LAVENDER TRUST CUPCAKES
- for the cupcakes:
- 125g/ 1/4 pound self-raising flour
- 125g/ 1/4 pound very soft unsalted butter
- 125g/ 1/4 pound lavender sugar, sieved
- 2 eggs
- pinch salt
- few tablespoons milk
- for the icing:
- 250g/ 1/2 pound Instant Royal Icing powder
- violet food colouring paste
- handful real lavender stalks
Preheat the oven to 200C/392F/gas mark 6 and line a 12-bun cupcake or muffin tin with paper cases.
Take butter, eggs and milk out of the fridge in time to make sure they're at room temperature.
Put all the ingredients for the cupcakes, except for the milk, into the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a double-bladed knife, and blitz till totally combined.
Process again, adding enough milk to make a batter with a smooth, flowing texture, then remove the blade and spoon and scrape the batter equally into the waiting cupcake cases.
Remember the cakes rise as they bake: there is enough mixture to fill each case adequately even if you panic when you first look at it.
Bake for about 20 minutes, by which time the sponge should be cooked through and springy to the touch.
Remove from the oven, leave for 5 minutes or so, then arrange the cupcakes in their paper cases on a wire rack to cool.
Once they're cool, you can get on with the icing. You want the icing to sit thickly on the cupcakes not run off them, and you can aid this by cutting off any risen humps with a sharp knife first, so that each cake is flat-topped.
Be careful if you're icing over any cut surface: you want no crumbs dislodged and left behind to besmirch the smoothness of the topping.
Make the icing according to packet instructions, dyeing the mixture a faint lilac with a spot or two of food colouring: I like to use the solid pastes for which you may have to go to a specialist cake decoration shop, I'm afraid; the colour you'll want here is generally labelled 'grape violet'.
Go carefully, though: we want pastel serenity here, not Seventies record-sleeve murk.
Top each pretty-pale cupcake with a little sprig of lavender before the icings set dry.