For National Cupcake Day (Thursday 14th June), we are sharing a delicious recipe from First We Eat by Eva Kosmas Flores. Showcasing Eva’s unforgettable, atmospheric photography style, First We Eat is a gorgeous reference on seasonal cooking that celebrates the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, Mediterranean influences, effortless and stylish presentations and simple preparations, all designed to share with friends and family. It’s available to buy now.

The following recipe is extracted from First We Eat by Eva Kosmas Flores (photography by Eva Kosmas Flores)

Lilac Cupcakes with Vanilla White Chocolate Buttercream
Makes about 14

Lilacs are my favourite edible flower. They taste exactly as they smell, which is absolutely incredible. Their slightly sweet floral quality pairs perfectly with creamy, milky flavours, which is why a white chocolate buttercream is the perfect home for them. I also infuse the cake’s milk with fresh lilac blossoms to impart some extra flavour to the cupcakes—please note, though, that the milk needs to infuse overnight. And if you want to make these guys really special, you can candy fresh lilac blossoms and use them as a beautiful and delicate garnish for this dessert. If you’ve never candied flowers before, I highly recommend it! You brush the petals with a light egg-white wash and then sprinkle them with superfine sugar and set them aside to dry. Once dry, they become crisp, sweet little flower candies and sparkle slightly in the light (so basically, they’re the cutest things ever, and you should definitely make them).


  • ¼ cup (8 g) lilac blossoms
  • 1 egg white, beaten until smooth
  • ⅓ cup (65 g) superfine sugar


  • ½ cup (120 ml) whole milk
  • ¼ cup (8 g) lilac blossoms
  • 1 ½ ups (195 g) cake flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon flake kosher sea salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick/115 g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste


  • 6 ounces (170 g) white chocolate
  • ½ cup (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (75 g) sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste

For the candied lilacs, lightly brush the lilacs with the egg white, then place them in a bowl with the superfine sugar and turn them to coat. Place on a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside to dry completely, about 2 hours. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight.

For the cupcakes, in a very small saucepan, heat the milk over low heat until hot but not boiling. Pour into a small bowl with the lilac blossoms and stir. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste and mix until combined.

Strain the lilacs out of the milk, reserving the milk. With the mixer running, alternate between adding the infused milk and flour mixture in three increments. Beat until just combined. Evenly distribute the batter among the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake until the cupcakes are golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, 16 to 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, for the vanilla–white chocolate buttercream, bring water in the bottom of a double boiler to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low. In the top of a double boiler, melt the white chocolate, stirring continuously until completely smooth.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the white chocolate in a steady stream and beat until the mixture is completely smooth, about 2 minutes.

Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until roughly incorporated, then increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vanilla bean paste and beat for 30 seconds more. If the buttercream is too thin to pipe out of a bag, cover and refrigerate it for 30 minutes, then beat on medium speed in the stand mixer for 30 seconds to smooth it out.

Scoop the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large flat leaf tip, or desired tip, and frost each cupcake, rolling the top of the pastry bag down as you squeeze out the buttercream. Decorate with flowerettes and garnish with the candied lilacs.

Happy baking and find out more about First We Eat here!

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