Saffron and Cardamom Cupcake with Rosewater Frosting


To me, Valentine’s Day is about love, but not only romantic love, but just as much about special friendships too. So I thought, what better way to celebrate today than with a SWEET recipe from my best friend B? 🙂 She posted about these cupcakes that she had made and I literally could not resist trying to make them. She sent me the recipe and I am including it below. Boy, are these were delicious!! I have NOT, however, adjusted the recipe at all since it is my understanding that it was passed to her by other friends of hers and I do not want to change their recipe just out of respect 🙂 The bold flavor of cardamom against the subtle creaminess of the saffron is incredible! These truly Indian flavors are completely transformed in this ‘American’ dessert and make for a winning recipe.

Do take the time today to tell your loved ones you appreciate them, and fill your mouth (and theirs!) with something sweet (like these cupcakes!) 😉



2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cup milk (preferably whole), room temperature
1/2 teaspoon of saffron threads
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 teaspoons ground cardamom


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a cake pan or 12 cupcake molds.

Add almond extract and a pinch of saffron to the room temperature milk. Set aside for 5 minutes then stir. If milk does not turn golden, add an additional 2 threads. Stir again after another few minutes.

Mix flour and baking powder together in a bowl using a fork and set aside.

Beat butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.

Slowly add the sugar and beat on medium speed until the mixture is fluffy, about 2 minutes. Now, add eggs to the batter one at a time, beating for an additional 2 minutes.

Beginning and ending with the flour, mix 1/3 of the flour into the wet mixture at a low speed, then half of the milk, alternating until all ingredients are mixed. Add lemon zest, lemon extract and cardamom.

Transfer batter to cake pan filling until cavity is about 3/4 full and bake about 25-40 minutes (depends on your oven!) – until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon rosewater
1 drop red food coloring

Place the cream cheese, butter, rosewater, and food coloring in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed just until combined. Add the sugar and mix until smooth. Top your cooled cupcakes with this delicious frosting and serve! 🙂

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