Rosewater and Pistachio Cupcakes… with a surprise inside!

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This is my first time hosting the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop and I wanted to set a challenge that was both fun and encouraged your imagination to run wild. I’ve always been a bit ambivalent towards surprises, but have to admit they always make life a little bit more exciting – especially when dessert is involved! From an unexpected cupcake filling or texture, to a surprise baked into a cake, I know this Sweet Surprises challenge will bring a huge amount of exciting desserts!

I’ve been wanting to experiment with the flavours of the Middle East for a while and knew a rosewater and pistachio cupcake would be a match made in heaven. The sweetly scented rosewater teamed up with the crunchy, savoury pistachios is a moreish flavour and a gorgeous colour combination.

I love hearts, you may have noticed. And when I set the challenge to create a dessert with a surprise in the middle, I knew I had to finally master the art of baking a heart into a cupcake! My initial problem with the concept is that you are essentially baking an already cooked piece of cake into the cupcake… it sounded dry and not overly tasty. My idea was to flavour this heart well with rosewater and it ended up being a welcome tasty burst inside the vanilla cupcake. Here is a brief pictorial guide to making the hearts:

Step 1: Make my standard vanilla cupcake recipe and put 1/3 of the mixture into a separate bowl. Tint this mixture pink and add 1 teaspoon of rosewater. Put the pink mixture into a greased square 20cm baking tin and cook at 180°C for 15 minutes. Allow cake to cool completely before cutting out small heart shapes with a cookie cutter.

Step 2: Once you have 12 hearts cut out we need to start arranging them into their cupcake liners (feel free to make the scraps into cake balls or just eat it!)

Step 3: Put a dab of vanilla cake mix in the middle of each liner and then stand a heart up in each one. Make sure they are all facing the same way, otherwise you’ll end up cutting them in the wrong direction and lose the heart effect.

Step 4: Once all the hearts are standing, spoon the remaining mixture around the hearts until the cupcake liners are 3/4 full before baking for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown.

Now that we have the technique covered…. Ta Da!

Rosewater and Pistachio Cupcakes... with a surprise inside!
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12
  • 115g butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup milk, room temperature
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup self-raising flour
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp rosewater (for the heart)
  • Pink food colouring (for the heart)
Rosewater Buttercream
  • 115g butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups icing sugar
  • ¼ cup milk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp rosewater
  • Pink food colouring
  • ¼ cup Pistachios, chopped finely (to decorate)
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake papers and grease a 20cm baking pan.
  2. Cream the butter with an electric mixer until smooth in a large bowl.
  3. Gradually add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes until fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Sift the 2 flours and salt into a separate bowl.
  6. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Do not overmix!
  7. Separate ⅓ of mixture to a small bowl. Add rosewater and drops of pink food colour and mix well.
  8. Pour mixture into greased baking tin and cook for 15 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Once completely cool, cut hearts out of the cake with a cookie cutter.
  10. Put a dab of vanilla mixture into each liner and stand the hearts up facing one direction.
  11. Spoon the remaining vanilla mixture around each heart until the cupcake liners are about ¾ full with mixture.
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown.
  13. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
  14. Make sure you keep them facing all the same way!
Rosewater Buttercream
  1. Place the softened butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. Gradually add in 2 cups of sugar, then the milk and rosewater.
  3. Beat for around 3-5 minutes until smooth and creamy.
  4. Gradually add the remaining sugar until it is thick enough to ice the cupcakes (you may not need all the sugar).
  5. Add a few drops of food colouring and beat until the colour is well distributed.
  6. Spoon the mixture into an icing bag with a nozzle attached and ice the cupcakes.
  7. Sprinkle chopped pistachios over the top to garnish.

Sweet Adventures Blog Hop – Link-up Instructions

Sweet Adventures Blog Hop - July 2013The Sweet Adventures Blog Hop, or SABH, is brought to you by 84th & 3rd, Dining With a Stud, The Capers of the Kitchen Crusader and occasional Guest Hostesses.

July 2013 hop is open for linkup from:

9am, Monday 15 July – 11:59 pm, Friday 19 July [AEST Sydney time].

IMPORTANT – The instructions below cover how to link up but if you aren’t sure of something don’t hesitate to ask! Remember, SABH is open to all food bloggers but only new posts published after the hop goes live can be linked up.

  1. Add a link to THIS POST somewhere in your post.
    * You can create a text link or add the blog hop tile to your post and link that.
    * Providing a link to this post means others can view the instructions and join in!
  2. Click here for the Thumbnail List code – Copy the code and add it to the bottom of your post, you will need to do this in HTML view.
    * Adding the code will create the thumbnail link list on your post so people can hop from one entry to the next.
  3. Click here to Enter the Hop – Make sure to do this step so you appear in the list too!
    * On the entry screen, add the link to your SABH post (NOT your homepage).
    * Your entry will be submitted when you click ‘crop’ on your photo.

If you are on Twitter use the #SABH hashtag to tell the world about your post! You can follow us on Twitter: @SweetAdvBlogHop and on Facebook /SweetAdventuresBlogHop for new hop announcements and general deliciousness. Thanks for joining!

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    • Swah says

      It fortunately worked out well with the addition of rosewater to the twice cooked cake, plus it’s fun not only having a hidden shape but a hidden flavour too!

  1. says

    Thank you so much for hosting!
    I loved participating in this challenge :) Pistachio and rosewater are a gorgeous combination and you cupcakes are just so pretty :)
    The heart in the middle is the perfect surprise :)

  2. says

    Hi Swah, these cakes are seriously adorable. Must remember your recipe for Valentine’s Day! Love that flavour combo of rose and pistachio too. Thanks for thinking up a cool idea for the hop. Larissa x


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