Rose and Pistachio Cupcakes

It’s always nice to try different flavour combinations when making something like the humble cupcake. In this recipe, I have paired the subtle nutty flavour of pistachios with the fragrance of rose water.

The pistachio, which is actually a seed rather than a nut, is a member of the cashew family and is often purchased with its hard shell intact although to save time it’s probably best to buy hulled pistachios. Also ensure that you buy unsalted pistachios.

Rose water is actually a by-product produced during the processing of rose oil for the perfume industry. Fortunately for foodies some genius realised it would make a great ingredient. Incidentally rose syrup is simply rose water with sugar added.

With a flavour as unique as rose water it is always a challenge to add just the right amount to keep everybody happy. My test audience for these cupcakes were a bunch of work colleagues and the feedback was very interesting. Those not acquainted with rose water felt I had added just the right amount to not overwhelm the pistachios, but those who had experienced rose water often felt that more could have been added. My advice would be add a small amount first, taste, then add more if desired.


Makes 12 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 40g (1.41ozs) pistachio nuts, chopped
  • 125g (4.4ozs) self raising flour
  • 125g (4.4ozs) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 125g (4.4oz) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon rose water
  • 2 tablespoons full cream milk

Buttercream Ingredients

  • 150g (5.29oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon rose water
  • 335g (11.8oz) icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons full cream milk
  • pink food colouring (gel)


Preheat oven to 170°C / 340°F. Place 12 cupcake papers in cupcake pan.

Beat butter, sugar, vanilla extract and rosewater with a stand mixer until light and creamy.

Add eggs one at a time mixing well between additions.

Remove from mixer, fold in flour and baking soda and mix to combine.

Add pistachio nuts and mix to combine.

Add milk and mix until fully combined.

Bake for approx. 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when testing.

Cool cupcakes on a wire rack.

To make buttercream place all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, start mixing on a low speed. Once ingredients are combined increase speed and mix until completely smooth. Add a small amount of pink gel food colouring, mix. Add more colour if needed and mix again.

Once cup cakes are completely cool pipe buttercream onto the cup cakes. I used a 1M Wilton nozzle.

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