Cupcakes and Roses

5 Nov

I ordered a bottle of rosewater to make loukoumia, or Turkish Delight, as the sweet is known outside of Greece.  But I quickly discovered that just a few drops of the extract go a long way.  And so I was faced with the challenge of finding more uses for the stuff.  Sachets?  Aromatic diffusers?  Martinis?

After much pleasant but idle thought, I hit upon cupcakes.  Surely someone somewhere had made rosewater cupcakes.  And so they had.

But the first recipe called for lemon icing. Promising, since lemon and rosewater get along so well in loukoumia.  This time, however, the lemon was loud and overbearing, drowning out the rosewater.

The second recipe called for ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg – a party too crowded with flamboyant guests for the shy rosewater to stand out.  I wanted a cupcake whose flavors mingled companionably, a quiet yet memorable affair.

And so I closed my eyes and auditioned a parade of flavors: almond, orange, pistachio, bergamot, cardamom. Cardamom.  That ancient spice from southwest India, traded by Greeks since the 4th century B.C.  Known as the “queen of all spices,” and still one of the most expensive.  Surprising, enticing, assertive – and never too loud.

I set to work.  Cardamom cupcakes with Rosewater glaze.  Perfect. Perfect for breakfast or with a cup of tea in the afternoon, or as a light dessert after a spicy meal. I ate seven in two hours – the first one hot from the oven.  Guess I’ll be making a double batch next time!

Cardamom Cupcakes with Rosewater Glaze (makes 18-24 cupcakes)

  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, brought to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup milk, brought to room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Place paper liners in muffin tins.

In a bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and cake flours, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda.

In a stand mixer with a paddle, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixer in three batches, alternating with two batches of milk, beginning and ending with the flour.

Pour the batter into the prepared tins, filling each cup halfway.

Bake about 20 minutes, just until a toothpick comes out clean. Check the cupcakes after 15 minutes.  Do not overbake.

Place tin on a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes.  Remove cupcakes, place on a wire rack, and let cool completely.

When the cupcakes have cooled, make the rosewater glaze. Place 1/4 cup whole milk in a bowl.  Whisk in confectioners sugar, a 1/4 cup at a time, until the glaze is thick enough that it falls slowly from a spoon.  Whisk in 1 teaspoon rosewater.  Taste.  If you like, you can add more rosewater, a 1/4 teaspoon at a time, until you are happy with its intensity.  Use a spoon to pour glaze over each cupcake.

You can decorate your cupcakes with sugared rose petals, or sprinkles — or enjoy them as they are!

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8 Responses to “Cupcakes and Roses”

  1. mike November 5, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    How do you dream up a use for Cardamom, a spice I have never heard of. Are you sure your not a chef instead of a journalist. I look forward to tasting one of these cupcakes at Christmas :)

    • KuZina November 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

      I will make a special batch just for you! And I’ll make a batch of solid, reliable chocolate cupcakes, too, just in case!

  2. Brian Borchardt November 5, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    I assume you’ll be making these for brunch on Sunday? :-)

    • KuZina November 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

      Oooh. Hadn’t thought of that! It’s on the menu!!!

  3. Styli November 6, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    I recently brought back (from Greece by way of Cyprus) a bottle of rose syrup. Any suggestions for how to incorporate this in the above recipe instead of rose water? I’m guessing to simply dilute. The cupcake recipe sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing.

    • KuZina November 11, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

      That sounds wonderful! I have never used it, but I bet you can add a bit of the syrup right into the glaze — or skip the glaze and add a teaspoon right into cake batter (when you are mixing the wet ingredients). Then you could simply dust the cake or cupcakes with powdered sugar. I will look for rose syrup on my next travels and try it myself!

  4. Tea And Scandal, Canada November 10, 2013 at 6:11 am #

    Such a lovely recipe. I had never thought of combining those ingredients into a cupcake. You have inspired me!

    • KuZina November 11, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

      Thank you. By the way, I love Agatha Christie, I’m beginning to love tea — and so I love how you bring together tea and mystery (and scandal!) on your blog!

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