Cupcakes, Food, Recipes

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!

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 12
Author: Swah



  • 115 g butter softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp rosewater for the heart
  • Pink food colouring for the heart

Rosewater Buttercream

  • 115 g butter softened
  • 3-4 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk room temperature
  • 2 tsp rosewater
  • Pink food colouring
  • 1/4 cup Pistachios chopped finely (to decorate)



  • Preheat oven to 170°C. Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake papers and grease a 20cm baking pan.
  • Cream the butter with an electric mixer until smooth in a large bowl.
  • Gradually add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes until fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Sift the 2 flours and salt into a separate bowl.
  • Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Do not overmix!
  • Separate 1/3 of mixture to a small bowl. Add rosewater and drops of pink food colour and mix well.
  • Pour mixture into greased baking tin and cook for 15 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Once completely cool, cut hearts out of the cake with a cookie cutter.
  • Put a dab of vanilla mixture into each liner and stand the hearts up facing one direction.
  • Spoon the remaining vanilla mixture around each heart until the cupcake liners are about ¾ full with mixture.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown.
  • Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
  • Make sure you keep them facing all the same way!

Rosewater Buttercream

  • Place the softened butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
  • Gradually add in 2 cups of sugar, then the milk and rosewater.
  • Beat for around 3-5 minutes until smooth and creamy.
  • Gradually add the remaining sugar until it is thick enough to ice the cupcakes (you may not need all the sugar).
  • Add a few drops of food colouring and beat until the colour is well distributed.
  • Spoon the mixture into an icing bag with a nozzle attached and ice the cupcakes.
  • 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!

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like


  • Reply 84th&3rd | Almond Croissants – the makeover edition July 15, 2013 at 9:01 am

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

  • Reply JJ - 84thand3rd July 15, 2013 at 10:04 am

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

    • Reply Swah July 15, 2013 at 11:45 am

      Thanks JJ it was great fun! :D

  • Reply Claire @ Claire K Creations July 15, 2013 at 11:02 am

    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.

    • Reply Swah July 15, 2013 at 11:45 am

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

  • Reply Lisa July 15, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    These are super cute! Love!!!

    • Reply Swah July 15, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Thank you Lisa!! :)

  • Reply Tara July 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Cute and clever! I need to try this.

    • Reply Swah July 15, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      Thanks Tara! Let me know how you go :)

  • Reply Tania @ The Cook's Pyjamas July 15, 2013 at 2:04 pm

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

    • Reply Swah July 15, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      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!

  • Reply Tina @ bitemeshowme July 15, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    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

    • Reply Swah July 15, 2013 at 5:01 pm

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

  • Reply Chris July 15, 2013 at 4:12 pm

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

    • Reply Swah July 15, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      Thanks Chris! :)

  • Reply Lemon Pistachio Dumplings July 15, 2013 at 4:44 pm

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

  • Reply Kyrstie @ A Fresh Legacy July 15, 2013 at 4:59 pm

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

    • Reply Swah July 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm

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

  • Reply My Kitchen Stories July 15, 2013 at 6:29 pm

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

    • Reply Swah July 16, 2013 at 5:20 pm

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

  • Reply Zebra Cake | the sticky and sweet July 15, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    […] 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 […]

  • Reply Lemon Meringue Cupcake — Gourmet Getaways July 15, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    […] 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: […]

  • Reply GourmetGetaways July 15, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    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 :)

    • Reply Swah July 16, 2013 at 5:21 pm

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

  • Reply The not so pretty Cup cake – Lemon cupcakes with a surprise filling | Just a girl from aamchi Mumbai July 16, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    […] 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 […]

  • Reply Deepa @onesmallpot July 17, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Lovely Swah! Clever technique as well as delicious flavours.

    • Reply Swah July 17, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      Thank you Deepa! :)

  • Reply Renee Dwyer July 17, 2013 at 1:27 pm

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

    • Reply Swah July 17, 2013 at 1:42 pm

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

  • Reply Steamed Chai Puddings for my first SABH | onesmallpot July 17, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    […] 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 […]

  • Reply Lemon Cup Cookies (and a blueberry surprise within each one) | Scrumptious and Sumptuous July 18, 2013 at 12:36 am

    […] 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 […]

  • Reply Larissa July 18, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    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

    • Reply Swah July 18, 2013 at 2:50 pm

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

  • Reply Prue @ The Culinary Library July 18, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    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!!

    • Reply Swah July 19, 2013 at 2:11 pm

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

  • Reply muppy July 19, 2013 at 10:29 am

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

    • Reply Swah July 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      I am sure she would love them! :)

  • Reply Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella July 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm

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

    • Reply Swah July 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm

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

  • Reply Martine @ Chompchomp July 22, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Naw gorgeous idea … I love them! So cute!

    • Reply Swah July 22, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Thanks Martine! :D

  • Reply Will August 13, 2013 at 10:01 pm

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

    • Reply Swah August 14, 2013 at 9:59 am

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

  • Reply Steamed Chai Puddings for my first SABH | OneSmallPot January 3, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    […] 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 […]

  • Reply Raspberry and Coconut Cupcakes August 26, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    […] And you may remember I always love a little surprise hidden inside cupcakes! Exhibit A and Exhibit B. […]

  • Leave a Reply

    Recipe Rating