Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lilac Vanilla Bean Cupcakes for a Cupcake Couture Blog Party! PLUS Giveaway.

When Betsy over at Java Cupcake contacted me about participating in a Cupcake Couture Blog Party. I was so in. Cupcake posts have been lagging behind on this blog so what better excuse to get back to cupcake creating then a party? And Just look at all these talented bloggers who joined the party!

An American Cupcake in London
Bella Cupcake Couture
Chronicles of a Foodie
Crazy for Crust
Creative Food
Cupcakes Take the Cake
Diary of a Mad Hausfrau
Eat Your Heart Out
Hoosier Homemade
In Katrina's Kitchen
Inside BruCrew Life
Java Cupcake
Love From the Oven
Make Bake Celebrate
Not Just a Mommy
Sugar Daze
Sugar Swings! Serve Some
The Baked Equation
The Baking Cup
The Decorated Cookie

This is a party with great giveaway prizes! More about that later.

The bloggers selected to participate in the party were all sent a random package of beautiful cupcake wrappers from Bella Cupcake Couture. We were instructed to find inspiration from the wrapper design to create a cupcake and style the photos with whatever we already had at home. I received the Hannah Pink/Yellow style. Love them! They have some seriously beautiful wrappers over at Bella.

The Cupcake Couture Blog Party – Your Cupcakes Never Looked This Good!  is about showcasing how easy it is to not only make a delicious cupcake... but how simple it is to create a scene for any occasion, event or party that will WOW your guests without having to spend a lot of money or time.

My inspiration for this cupcake is the same one I have been blabbing about for the last days, the lilacpalooza that happened at our Pennsylvania house. The result of which has been an explosion of lilac desserts here. 

Using fresh flowers or greenery from your garden to help style your cupcake presentation is an inexpensive and elegant option.  I also used lilacs to flavor my cupcakes making lilac sugar and lilac syrup and using both in the recipe.

The shade of lilacs we have in our yard are more of a pink than purple and the bunches I brought back to our New York City apartment went nicely with the Bella cupcake wrappers. The yellow reminded me of vanilla and just like that, I had my flavor combination. In addition to vanilla bean paste, I used lilac syrup and lilac sugar I made last week (recipes included below), both take not time at all to make.  I also added some fresh blossoms and vanilla bean paste to the batter creating these lovely delicate tasting lilac vanilla bean cupcakes for the challenge.

Way back in a corner of the kitchen cabinet I found large round pink candy decorations. They matched the wrappers providing a little extra prettiness.

Usually I pipe frosting onto cupcakes using no tip at all using the open end of a disposable pastry bag. This time I rummaged around until I found a fancy tip large enough to pipe the buttercream. These pretty wrappers deserved an extra bit of effort.

We have a lovely terrace in our East Village love nest here in NYC. The weather has been cooperating lately. As spring creeps in, we've been spending more time on the terrace starting with morning coffee. I used the terrace location and the oodles of lilacs we brought back from the Pennsylvania house to create a vintage lilac cupcake tablescape for two.  All of the glassware are pieces I already had.  The white tablecloth is actually a bedspread. Shh. Don't tell anyone.  The espresso cups are vintage ones recently rediscovered after our move back to the State from Germany.  Long ago they lost their saucers but they were just too pretty to throw out.  

The owl vase is actually an antique Shawnee pitcher, a gift from my mother. It turned out to be the perfect receptacle for a spray of fragrant lilacs and blended well with the color scheme.

The fire king dishes are from a large stash I've been collecting  ever since I was a kid. These white ones with gold edges are some of my favorites because of their versatility.  Ranging from shabby chic to formal in style, They can be used for holidays, formal dinners or to brighten up a brunch table. We don't have a tremendous amount of room in our NYC apartment so I've chosen these multi-puposers to fill the limited cabinet space.

Oh and the little forks are a TJ Maxx clearance purchase.

All the colors and flavors I used were inspired by or used to accentuate the Bella wrappers. Aside from the lilacs, the wrappers remain the most colorful element. I used neutral items I already had to complete the look.

Now onto the Cupcake Prize Pack Giveaway!

Thanks to our amazing Prize Pack sponsors for their generous donations! Please, visit their websites to see more of their fabulous products!
Bella Cupcake Couture
Cupcake Stand
Java Cupcake
Lil' Punkin Creations
Sweets & Treats Boutique
To enter to WIN this Prize Pack, simply fill out the entry form below. Contest opens 21May13 at 0700 PST and closes 27 at 2359 PST. One winner will be chosen and announced within 24 hours of the contest ending. Winner will be contacted via email to claim their prize. This contest is open to residents of the USA and Europe only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One lucky reader of the Blog Party will win a prize pack featuring:
  • $200 store credit to Cupcake-Stand.com
  • A prize pack from Sweets & Treats Boutique
  • A set of every cupcake wrapper that was used in this party from Bella Cupcake Couture ($200 value)
  • Polish Pottery Cake Stand from Poland from JavaCupcake.com ($100 value)
  • Cupcake Vinyl Decals for your stand mixer from Lil Punkin Creations
The prize pack is open to anyone in the USA or Europe and a winner will be chosen May 28, 2013.

Now onto the cupcakes!
Lilac Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

For the Lilac Vanilla Bean Cupcakes:

  • 2+1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup lilac sugar (recipe follows)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons lilac syrup (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup fresh lilac blossom (rinse well and pat dry with paper towels)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place liners in two cupcake pans.
  • Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
  • Beat butter until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add sugars until combined.
  • Add eggs one at a time.
  • Beat in vanilla bean paste and lilac syrup.
  • Add flour mixture and milk alternating a bit at a time.
  • Add in fresh lilac blossoms and incorporate thoroughly.
  • Place a disposable pastry bag (or ziplock bag with a corner snipped off) in a large drinking glass. 
  • Fill the bag with batter and fill the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in one of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and  let cool completely before frosting.

For the Lilac Syrup:

  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • One cup Water
  • 1+1/2 cups fresh lilac blossoms
  • A few drops of purple food coloring (optional)

  • Rinse the lilac blossoms well and gently pat dry with paper towels.
  • Place the f lowers sugar and water together in a saucepan and heat on low.
  • when mixture starts to boil turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 10 minutes until the mixture thickens.
  • Stir in the food coloring if desired
  • Remove from heat, strain out the flowers and let cool completely.
  • Place in sealed jar  and store in a cool dark place.

For the Lilac Sugar:


  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup lilac blossoms rinsed and patted dry


  • In a canning jar or a jar fitted with a tight lid layer the sugar and lilac blooms one after another in the jar until almost full.
  • Place in a cook dark place.
  • Remove and shake the jar occasionally until ready to use.

For the Lilac Vanilla Buttercream:


  • Two sticks (1/2 pound) butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups confectionary/powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup lilac syrup
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • Cream together the butter, 2 cups of the sugar the syrup and vanilla extract.
  • Add the rest of the sugar one cup at a time.
  • Add the cream and blend throughly.
  • You can add more syrup or cream a little at a time if the buttercream seems too thick.
  • Place a disposable pastry bag fitted with the tip of your choice in a large water glass and fold the edge over.
  • Load the buttercream into the bay with a rubber spatula.
  • Clip the end or seal with a rubber band and frost the cupcakes


  1. I love how you incorporated lilac into the cupcakes and the display! They are both gorgeous!

    Thanks so much for being a part of our Blog Party!

    <3 Betsy

  2. The flavors going on here sound amazing!

  3. Hmm, I never thought of putting lilac into a cupcake. I can't wait to try it.

  4. These are lovely and I love how you have used the fresh lilac. The pictures of the unadorned cupcakes where you can see the lilac in the batter are just stunning. Very pretty table and they sound delicious!

  5. I've never used lilac in food, but I bet it's yummy and smells so good! These are so pretty!

  6. Gorgeous Blog Lora! I gained ten pounds just LOOKING at all those beautiful desserts!

  7. I don't think I've head lilac syrup before it sounds delicious.
    Love you set it up. Thank you.

  8. I love these pink holders.

  9. I love that you incorporated lilacs into the cupcakes - so unique! they look great!

  10. I've baked with lavender but never tried lilac. What a great idea!

  11. I love the Dorothy polka dots!

  12. i need to try this flavor it sounds so interesting! love that you did syrup and sugar in the recipe and goes great with your wrappers!!

  13. oh and same as kelly, I've used lavender before but never lilac! love the syrup and sugar in them!

  14. G'day! What a GREAT idea re a blog party, TRUE!
    Your cupcakes all look amazing too!
    Cheers! Joanne
    What's On The List

  15. Lilac cuppies sounds exotic. If I ever find Lilac, this is what I'll do. Thanks for hosting this awesome giveaway. I shall pray to all Gods on earth to win this one. That will make me a happy person.
    I'm glad to have found Bella Cupcake Couture. I love the lu lu Damask wrappers. It looks grand :)

  16. Gorgeous! Can't wait to try these!

  17. Those are so pretty!!! I love that you used lilacs in your cupcakes and display!!!

  18. Your cupcakes sound amazing! I am going to have to give lilac a try. Your display is beautiful as well.

  19. ooo I've never tried making any cupcakes with lilac before-- these look amazing! :)

  20. Wow- I never knew you could cook/bake with lilacs. It's my favorite scented flower. It must be so amazing in a cupcake. Our lilacs have all turned brown now or I would so try this. Perhaps someone in the neighborhood still has some though.

    Thanks so much for participating in the cupcake couture blog party. Love what you created!

  21. Elegant looking and sounding cupcakes. Your lilacs are the perfect accompaniment to these lovely wrappers.

  22. I never would have thought to bake with Lilac, Thank you! I am now inspired!


Thank you for your comments and feedback. I love hearing from you!