Rose water & pistachio cupcakes
I first made these cupcakes over 10 years ago for a friend’s wedding and they have been a firm favourite ever since.
Cupcakes enjoyed a lot of attention and glamour following the episode in Sex and the City featuring Magnolia Cupcakes. The UK saw Violet’s Cakes, Hummingbird Bakery and Lola’s Cupcakes as the UK’s representation in the delicious world of luxury cupcakes. For about 5 minutes, I considered the possibility of starting my own cupcake business until I did a few weddings and charity events for friends and realised I needed a holiday to recover from all the baking and decorating.
I experimented with many flavours but these were the favourite among my family. Not surprising really as they are flavoured with Rose Water and pistachio. Had I found a use for saffron in the recipe, then I would have had the holy trinity of Persian desserts! But I felt the pink and ivory tones were perfect for the cupcakes’ presentation and that the yellow effect of incorporating saffron would not have been as aesthetically pleasing.
If you are using the traditional fairy cake tin for your cupcakes, then the recipe below will yield 24 cupcakes. If you are using the deeper cupcake tins (like I do), which are also used for muffins, then the recipe below will result in 12 cupcakes.
For the decoration, I used crushed fresh pistachio slivers and edible rose petals, which are both available from Iranian and Middle-Eastern food stores. If you cannot get your hands on rose petals then crushed fresh pistachios are equally lovely for decorating the cupcakes. You can make more elaborate / delicate decorations for your cupcakes, the reel below which I posted on my Instagram account has the version I made for various weddings over the years.
Cake Batter / Sponge
- 225 g unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 225 g caster sugar
- 4 medium free range eggs (room temperature)
- 225 g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 tbsp rose water (depending on how floral you want it)
- 1 to 2 tbsp ground fresh pistachios
Buttercream Icing and Decoration
- 250 g unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 450 g icing sugar
- Pink food colouring (if you want your cupcakes to have a pink tint - I do a mix of ivory and light pink cupcakes)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 tbsp rose water
- 2 tbsp milk
- Ground pistachios and edible rose petals (for decoration)
For the Cupcake Sponge
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan) / 180°C (conventional) / Gas mark 4. Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with cases (deep fill cupcake tin).
- In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light in colour and fluffy.
- Crack the eggs one by one and beat each one in before adding the next.
- Add the vanilla extract and rose water. Then sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and gently fold into the mixture.
- Add your ground pistachios and again gently fold into the mixture.
- Divide the mixture equally into your cupcake cases and place in the oven for 20 to 25 mins. To check if the cupcakes are done, use a thin skewer to check one by gently poking to the bottom. It should come out clean of cake batter. Leave the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Buttercream Icing and Decoration
- Make the buttercream by beating the butter until light in colour and then sift the icing sugar gradually and beat until fully mixed.
- Then add the vanilla extract, rose water and milk and mix. I halve my icing mixture and add pink food colouring to one batch and leave the other half an ivory colour.
- Make sure your cupcakes have cooled and then pipe or spread your icing onto the cupcakes.