Jul 15, 2013

Rosewater and Pistachio Cupcakes… with a surprise inside!

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!


  • [...] This post is part of the July Sweet Adventures Blog Hop – Sweet Surprise – hosted by guest hostess Love Swah. [...]

  • Not only are these gorgeous but they are so perfectly Swah! Thanks for being a guest hostess ;D

    • Thanks JJ it was great fun! :D

  • What beautiful photos! I surely wouldn’t mind biting into these and getting a little love.
    Thanks for hosting. I’m about to link up too.

    • Thanks Claire, can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

  • These are super cute! Love!!!

    • Thank you Lisa!! :)

  • Cute and clever! I need to try this.

    • Thanks Tara! Let me know how you go :)

  • They are stunning. I have wondered what the twice cooked cake would taste like. Good to hear that it works well.

    • 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!

  • I love the rosewater and pistachio flavour combo. And love that little heart in the middle. I made these for the boy for valentines day and he didn’t even notice. LOL

    • Oh I would be SO frustrated going to all that effort and then him not notice the heart! Haha!!

  • Great and lovely cupcakes and … I like the flavours, too.

    • Thanks Chris! :)

  • [...] This month’s Sweet Adventures Blog Hop (SABH) is themed “Sweet Surprise” and hosted by Love Swah.  [...]

  • Gorgeous! Love the little hearts, they are so pretty and of course rosewater and pistachio are such a beautiful combo

    • Thanks Kyrstie! I am in love with this flavour combination :)

  • These are perfection. Really beautiful and I would love one ….or two!

    • Thank you :) I have to admit I have eaten 5 of them already, help!!

  • [...] month’s Sweet Adventure’s Blog Hop theme is hosted by the gorgeous Love Swah who chose the theme – Sweet Surprise. A sweeter surprise is probably easier for this [...]

  • [...] month Swah from Love Swah chose our theme and will be hosting when the hop opens. Head on over to read more about the theme at her site. #gallery-2 { margin: auto; } #gallery-2 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: [...]

  • 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 :)

    • I am glad you enjoyed the challenge! Thank you for participating :)

  • [...] this month was Sweet Surprise’ – desserts with a surprise inside hosted by the amazing Swah of Love Swah. Now I could have gone for a simple Indian dessert with a stuffing but because of the Daredevil [...]

  • Lovely Swah! Clever technique as well as delicious flavours.

    • Thank you Deepa! :)

  • Oh how these look GORGEOUS!!! I adore them xxx

    • Thanks Renee, I can’t stop eating them!! Hehe xx

  • [...] well, tea.  When I stumbled across the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop event with its current theme of Sweet Surprise, I knew I had to come up with something that incorporated the tea and pushed my boundaries in the [...]

  • [...] Adventures Blog Hop for desserts with treats hidden inside. Very cool entries. Check it out at Love SWAH. Parbake the dough, then press wells into each cookie After making wells in parbaked dough, drop a [...]

  • 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

    • Thank you Larissa! These cupcakes would indeed be perfect for Valentine’s Day :)

  • These look amazing… love a good rose cupcake. Your icing is a bit neater then mine, I always seem to be in a hurry when piping!!

    • Thanks Prue! Yes whenever I rush my icing it turns into a lopsided mess!

  • these are sooooo gorgeous, i must make one for Evie :)

    • I am sure she would love them! :)

  • Swah they are just darling! I love the matching cups too-they add to their beauty! :D

    • Thanks Lorraine! And would you believe my cups were from Coles?! :)

  • Naw gorgeous idea … I love them! So cute!

    • Thanks Martine! :D

  • Wow!this kind a new to me and it looks so delicious. Pistachio is actually my favorite food.

    • I think pistachio cupcakes might fast become your favourite dessert Will! :)

  • […] well, tea.  When I stumbled across the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop event with its current theme of Sweet Surprise, I knew I had to come up with something that incorporated the tea and pushed my boundaries in the […]

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