The aromatic bitterness of dried lavender, combined with soft vanilla flavours and toasted almonds give these cupcakes an intensity of flavour that is also very delicate. A lot of lavender sweets can taste soapy or too bitter. The milk base of these cakes, combined with the almond, balance it perfectly and the flavour is subtle and delicious. It’s a good tip to crush lavender buds with a pestle and mortar before adding whole to anything, it releases a gentler flavour and does away with the unpleasant texture of a full flower bud.IngredientsMakes 13Marriages or other good plain flour, sifted280gBaking powder2 tspPinch saltUnsalted butter, softened113gCaster sugar205gLarge eggs, at room temperature2Lavender milk4fl ozGood vanilla extract1/2 tspMethod1. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder.2. Beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the caster sugar and beat for 5 minutes until very light and fluffy.3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each addition. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla, beginning and ending with the flour. Be careful not to over-mix.4. Using an ice cream scoop, spoon the batter into cupcake liners about 3/4 full.5. Bake for 15 minutes in a 180C oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.6. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for a few minutes then remove and cool completely.Lavender icingIngredientsSoft butter50gIcing sugar approx 300g, depending on the consistency you want to achieveLavender milk (see below)3fl ozDouble cream1/2 fl ozHoney1 tspFlaked almonds and a handful of lavender budsMethod1. Toast flaked almonds on a baking sheet in a hot oven for 5 mins until lightly browned.2. Crush the lavender buds with a pestle and mortar.3. Whisk butter in a metal bowl until smooth for about 3 minutes. Then add 300g icing sugar, milk and double cream. Blend until smooth and slowly add remaining icing sugar until you have the consistency you want.4. Ice cupcakes and dust with a sprinkling of lavender and cooled toasted almonds.For the lavender milk1. Measure out around 1.5 times the milk your recipe requires and add lavender buds at a ratio of 2tbsp to 1 cup milk to a small pan.2. Heat the ingredients to a scald stage (just before boiling), then turn off heat and leave to cool completely. Strain the flowers with a sieve and re-measure milk before adding to your recipe.