Hibiscus, Rose and Lime Cupcakes with Candied Violas

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Alright, alright, I know. I’ve been really bad about keeping up with recipes this last week. Fortunately, I have a pretty good excuse – the Kentucky Derby! A large group of our closest friends gathered in Louisville to go to Churchill Downs for our second annual derby trip. We had an incredible time, but it took a lot out of us! I spent the last week recovering from the awesomeness that is the most exciting 2 minutes in sports…

Luckily, despite my week-long hangover, I still had plenty of time to plan what I wanted to create for this week’s flowery challenge – and I decided upon hibiscus, rose, and lime cupcakes. But of course, no one actually knows there are flowers in the recipe if they can’t see the flowers, so I decided to candy up some of my edible violas from my freshly planted garden, for a sweet and fancy decoration.

First, check with your local nursery to ensure the flowers you are about to consume are pesticide free! Mine were grown organically.

I’ve been super anxious to get my garden started and when there was surprise snow shower at the end of April that killed all my flowers, it was pertinent that I got more flowers to decorate my balcony!

And since I was planning ahead for the challenge anyway, I decided upon some yummy violets and violas that would make the perfect candying candidates. You’ll want to thoroughly wash and dry the flowers, whatever kind you use. The stems aren’t edible either, but I leave mine attached so it’s easier to paint on the egg whites.

Use a pastry brush or a super clean, regular soft bristled paint brush to brush on the egg whites. Be sure to cover the front, back, and between the petals.

Then place the flower face down in the sugar and cover while you finish painting the rest of your flowers with egg whites.

Remove the flowers from the sugar after a few minutes and tap off any excess sugar.

I think the violets came out especially good looking.

Place each sugar coated flower face down on a cutting board, pop off the stems, and let dry for at least 12-24 hours.

While you’re waiting for your flowers to dry…

Make the cupcakes!

Begin by creaming together the sugar, butter, and eggs (beat in the eggs one at a time).

While you are mixing the butter and sugar, bring the cup of milk to a slight boil on the stove then remove to a measuring cup. Steep the hibiscus lime and rose teas in the hot milk for at least 10 minutes. The rose tea might cause the milk to turn slightly pink!

Did you know that you can essentially make your own buttermilk at home by combining lemon and milk? You can do the same thing with lime juice! Buttermilk adds a tangy flavor to cupcakes, and while not always necessary to use, it does make for a fluffier, melt-in-your-mouth kind of cupcake.

Next you’ll add a few tablespoons of wildflower honey into the batter. This honey is just about as local as it gets, without making my own hive. Always use local honey if you can – it won’t just help with your allergies, but it’ll taste so much better than it’s fructose bear-shaped counterparts!

Alternating with milk and flour, slowly mix together the remaining ingredients. Pop into the oven at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Top with your favorite icing recipe – and add a splash of lime juice for a tangy twist!

hibiscus rose lime violoa

Hibiscus, Rose and Lime Cupcakes with Candied Violas

The Starving Chef
Tea infused cupcakes with candied flowers on top!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Cool 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 55 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Backyard Cooking
Servings 12 cupcakes




  • Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a small pan, heat the cup of milk until just boiling, then remove to a bowl and steep the tea leaves for at least ten minutes.
  • While the tea is steeping, in a stand mixer cream together the butter, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the honey 1 tablespoon at a time.
  • Juice one lime and slowly add the juice to the milk and tea mix and let sit for about 5 minutes or until the milk has become thick.
  • Alternating between the milk mix and flour, slowly combine with the creamed butter, sugar, and eggs until blended and smooth.
  • Spoon the cupcake batter into a lined cupcake tin, filling each about 2/3 of the way full. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cupcake comes out clean.
  • Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, them flip out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Pick enough flowers to top the number of cupcakes you want to make.
  • Use a pastry brush or clean soft bristled paint brush to brush on the egg whites on the fronts, backs, and between the petals of each flower.
  • Place each flower face down in the sugar and cover completely while you prepare the rest of the flowers.
  • Tap off any excess sugar and gently remove each stem from the flowers. Lay face down on a cutting board or dry surface and let dry completely – about 24 hours.
  • Spread your favorite buttercream icing on the cupcakes and top with a candied viola. Enjoy!
Keyword cupcakes, dessert, flowers, tea
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