I think you know by now how I feel about lemons, berries and seasonal foliage. This past weekend, I noticed that I may have missed the lilac boat because of a myriad of things that have kept me busy (including getting over what seems to have been a 100 day cough and cold). I noticed that the trees on the street had an abundance of pink blossoms last week and yesterday they were barren from all signs of flowers. Big fat ugh.
How did I not notice this? Each year since I started blogging, I create a few signature flower infested photos prior to the summer season beginning. I absolutely love incorporating them with food. Now I was staring at trees, just trees.
I thought by some miracle there would still be some hanging around. With that in mind, I donned my “flower stealing incognito outfit” and set out the local park to see what I could find. My ensemble included dark glasses, a plastic bag and a pair of scissors. No one would ever recognize me in that get up right?
I made my way into the park and walked alongside the fence that separates the school playground from the houses. Along the way, there are tons and tons of lilac trees that festoon the length of the pathway. Only issue is, the festooning was long over by the time I got there this week. I was late for the lilac parade. There were a few dangling around, half dead but still partially usable and definitely going to be stuck inside my fancy plastic bag.
So the question remains………is this considered thievery when technically these flowers are dead? I believe I did the City a favour by maintaining the integrity of the park. And besides that, I pay my taxes, so when I need flowers, I’m sure as heck going to get em’. Let’s call it the act of “foraging”. It works for mushrooms, so why not flowers as well, and as far as I know it’s not illegal.
And then there are these cupcakes. Lemon pudding infused for an extra punch of moistness, all topped with a swirl of blackberry lavender buttercream. They baked up beautifully and I couldn’t even taste them. Why? Because gosh darn it, they were not gluten and sugar free. Waaa waaa waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Nonetheless, my peeps here at the office got their Monday morning fix and I received their thumbs up review on this little treat. The only thing I could do was smell them, which wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but was good enough for me.
- 16 oz box lemon cake mix
- 3.4 oz box Hershey's white chocolate pudding mix (or lemon pudding mix)
- 1⅓ cups almond milk
- 3 extra large eggs
- ⅓ cup oil (I used jaxcocoglobal coconut oil)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line two 12 cup muffin tins with 24 paper cups. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, place all ingredients in the bowl and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Change setting to medium speed and mix for 2 minutes.
- Using an ice cream scoop, divide batter into 24 muffin cups. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. Cool completely and frost with buttercream.
- 2 tablespoons milk (I used almond)
- 1 teaspoon dried organic lavender flowers, optional but interesting
- ¾ stick or 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup fresh blackberries, pureed and strained (approximately ¼ cup)
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- Combine milk and lavender in a small bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours to infuse the milk with lavender flavor.
- When you are set to make the buttercream, strain the lavender from the milk and set the lavender milk aside.
- *NOTE: If you're not in to doing the lavender, simply skip this step and add in the milk when you are whipping your butter in the next step.
- Beat together butter with the milk and add ¼ cup of blackberry puree. Beat until combined. Add 4 cups of powdered sugar and beat on low first until combined then switch to high and continue beating until fluffy, about 5 minutes. If the icing is still too runny, add another cup of powdered sugar, a little at a time, until the buttercream reaches the consistency for piping. You want a nice thick buttercream for decorating.