Creamy vanilla lavender buttercream frosting is beautifully fragrant with a delicate floral flavor. This adds extra delicious flavor to vanilla, lavender and lemon cakes, cookies and cupcakes too. With only 5 minutes of active time, this is done in a snap! (V, GF and DF option)
The most romantic and inspired flavor for weddings, bridal and baby showers, aromatic lavender frosting is heavenly. Use this on regular cakes, as the filling for sandwich cookies or top lavender cupcakes for the ultimate sweet treat.
This American buttercream recipe is quick, easy and made with basic ingredients. I made this especially to pair with my Lavender Earl Grey Cake.
Just 5 main ingredients and optional lemon juice and zest whip up into this extra special lavender buttercream recipe.
- Culinary Lavender - Using fresh lavender flowers or dried lavender buds steeped in milk makes for a more natural lavender flavor than using lavender extract (a decent second choice) or lavender essential oil (not recommended). Culinary grade simply means it's kept clean of dirt or other contaminants. Lavandula angustifolia, aka English lavender is the most commonly used cooking lavender, though many other species are edible and delicious too. If you grow your own lavender without herbicides or pesticides, your own lavender is culinary grade.
- Milk - I've used whole milk and recommend that but you can use cream, 1% or 2% MF milk if you prefer.
- Butter - Unsalted butter is the baking standard. If you use salted butter, do not add any extra salt to the frosting.
- Optional Lemon - Adding a small amount of fresh lemon zest and lemon juice really wakes up this frosting and is excellent when paired with the lavender earl grey cake. A hint of lemon really goes well with vanilla and lavender cakes.
See recipe card for quantities.
How To Video
Start by steeping the lavender flowers in milk and letting cool to room temperature. From there, everything gets beaten thoroughly into a silky smooth, creamy frosting. Easy, right?!
Place milk in a small saucepan and place on medium heat until steaming, stirring occasionally. (Be careful not to scorch/burn the milk.)
Remove from heat, add lavender and let steep until milk comes back down to room temperature.
This can be expedited by putting it in the refrigerator after the lavender has steeped for at least 5 minutes.
Strain milk through a tea strainer or fine mesh sieve into a small bowl to remove lavender flower from the milk.
In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, add lavender steeped milk, butter,
powdered sugar, vanilla and salt.
Beat with stand mixer and paddle attachment or electric handheld mixer until smooth and sit forms stiff peaks. Add lemon zest and juice if using and beat again.
(If you don't have a hand mixer, you can make this in a food processor instead, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.)
Keep covered until ready to use to retain the smoothest frosting texture - icing will dry and form crust quickly.
If you are going to decorate the cake by piping, place ½ of frosting into a pastry bag (aka piping bag) fitted with your desired piping tip.
How To Frost A Cake
- Spread a thin layer of icing on your cake plate. This will help the cake stick to the plate without sliding around (or off!)
- Level first cake layer by slicing any high parts off horizontally as needed and place top side up the cake plate.
- Apply a few small dollops over the top of the cake and spread into a thin layer of frosting on the first layer of cake.
- Level the second layer if needed, and place on top of the frosted layer, top side down.
- Frost with a thin layer of crumb coat and let it dry slightly to form a crust.
- Finish by icing with a thicker layer of top coat, smoothing with an offset spatula dipped in hot water if you like.
- Decorate as desired!
Real butter gives excellent creamy flavor to buttercream. If you are vegan or don't tolerate milk well, you can make the following substitutions.
- Dairy Free and Vegan - You can use your favorite, unsweetened plant based milk and vegan hard margarine in this frosting to make it DF and Vegan. Choose the best quality margarine you can as this will greatly affect the flavor of the finished frosting.
- Lemon Extract - If you don't have a fresh lemon, you can substitute ¼ teaspoon of lemon extract if you like.
- Color - The lavender used doesn't impart any color. If you would like, add in a few drops of food coloring to achieve a pale lavender color. If it looks too blue, add a drop or two of red or pink food coloring too.
A stand mixer with paddle attachment makes this easy but an electric hand mixer and sturdy bowl will work just as well.
You can use a food processor for this too. Just combine all ingredients into the bowl of the processor and process until frosting consistency is creamy and smooth.
Lavender buttercream frosting will easily last a week in the refrigerator if kept covered. It may keep longer but if you plan to keep it longer, I recommend freezing it.
To freeze frosting, place it in an airtight container in the freezer. It will keep for 3+ months this way.
To thaw, remove from freezer, keep loosely covered and let thaw 2-3 hours at room temperature. Beat it or give it a good stir to ensure it's smooth and use as normal.
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Easy Lavender Buttercream Frosting (Icing)
- ½ cup Milk 1%, 2% or whole milk
- 1 Tablespoon Lavender Buds
- ¾ cup Butter, Unsalted
- 4 cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- ¼ teaspoon Salt (Omit if using salted butter)
- 1 teaspoon Each: Lemon Zest and Juice Optional
- Heat milk to steaming, being careful not to scorch. Add lavender and steep until milk comes back down to room temperature, then strain to remove lavender flowers.
- Beat butter, powdered sugar, lavender milk, vanilla and salt in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add lemon zest and juice if using and beat again. Keep covered until ready to use - icing will dry and form crust quickly.