Rosewater pistachio cupcakes with mascarpone cream frosting

By Nisha Thomas •

Pistachio and rosewater is a match made in heaven. Nisha shows how they make the perfect pairing for cupcakes.
I love baking cupcakes. For one, they are great subjects for photography and two, they somehow get consumed much faster than a regular cake. I have adapted almost all the cakes I’ve baked into cupcakes and the pistachio cake is no exception. Pistachio cakes are not really that common and the first time I tried it, I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it tasted. It was a little too greasy for my liking, but they were tasty nonetheless. This time however, I reduced the amount of butter used and it does make a difference.
Pistachio and rosewater is a match made in heaven. Be it a fruit salad, ice cream or however you try and pair it, it’s a winner. Both these flavours are generously used in these cupcakes and they compliment each other very well. I am not that big a fan of rosewater and was a bit apprehensive at how it would turn out, but this sure hit the right spot, with the rosewater not being overpowering, but still being present in a pleasant sort of way. If you are not a fan of rosewater, reduce the quantity to about 1 tsp and it would be almost non existent.
The frosting is a bit rich, so feel free to omit it, if you are making this for tea or so. But if you are a fan of frosting, then this is THE one to use for this cake. So go on, make some Mediterranean inspired cupcakes to celebrate National Cupcake Week and while you’re at it, pretty them up and make a party out of it :)

Rosewater-pistachio cupcakes



50 gms Pistachio nuts
60 gms Ground almonds
25 gms Plain flour
1/2 tsp Baking powder
100 gms Butter at room temperature
100 gms Caster sugar
2 small Eggs
2 tbsp Milk
2 tsp Rosewater
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 175C and line a cupcake pan with 8 liners
Grind together the pistachio nuts, almonds and plan flour in a spice grinder or mill. Make sure you don’t over grind it, or else you will be left with lumps instead of powder.
Add the baking powder to the ground mix and keep aside.
Beat together the butter and caster sugar in a mixing bowl till light and fluffy. You can do this using a hand mixer, or the paddle attachment of a free standing mixer.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, followed by milk. Pour in the rosewater and vanilla and mix well to combine.
Finally, fold in the ground mix till no traces of it is seen in the batter.
Pour into the cupcake cases (till about 3/4th full), and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the centre of the cupcakes come out clean.
Take them out of the oven and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack while you get the frosting done.
Mascarpone cream frosting
100 ml Double cream - cold
250 gms Mascarpone cheese - room temperature
2 tbsp Icing sugar
Vanilla extract - a splash
Red food colouring - a few dashes to get the rose colour (optional)
Whisk the double cream in a large mixing bowl, using the whisk attachment or a hand whisk, till stiff peaks form. Be careful and don’t overdo this or else the cream would split.
In another bowl mix the mascarpone cheese and icing sugar slowly till well combined.
Add this into the whipped cream, followed by vanilla and food colouring and continue whisking on low speed till they all come together and are mixed well.
Transfer into a piping bag and once the cupcakes are completely cooled, pipe them.
Store in the refrigerator till ready to use
Notes: The cupcakes are sweet so go easy on the sugar in the frosting.
Add a dash of rosewater in the frosting instead of vanilla to give it a twist
Sprinkle edible rose petals or pistachio nuts on the frosting to make it look more appealing.


Inspired? Great British Chefs have more delicious cake recipes from some of Britain’s finest chefs.


Just finished baking them and the texture is great but it is too much rosewater. Next time I would half the rosewater. I wouldn't put rosewater in the frosting.
3 February 2014

Nisha Thomas

Nisha is a freelance writer, avid food blogger and wannabe food photographer / stylist with plans to make it big in the food industry some day. When she’s not messing around in her own kitchen she’s busy learning the art of French macaron making with a top chef in London. Nisha also manages PR and social media marketing for the chef and her macaron business.

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