Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pistachio Cardamom Cupcakes with Rosewater Icing for Holi

Today we celebrated Holi (the Indian Festival of Colours) at work, with FOOD of course! We love to eat at work. I was going to make Gujiya (deep fried, mini empanada-like things), but I’m not big on deep frying at home and it would take time to fill and seal all those little bundles of goodness. So I decided I needed to go with something easier.

I found a recipe for pistachio-cardamom cake with rosewater frosting, but frosting with egg whites is not my thing, so I decided to make the icing from another recipe (Raspberry Cakes with Rosewater Icing). One day I’ll have to make those raspberry cakes as well, but for today, just the icing.

I kept the decoration simple by using coloured paper muffin liners and adding a Smartie on top of each cupcake. Use all one colour if you want to use this cupcake to celebrate a different holiday, or use all the colours like I did. It’s the Festival of Colours after all!

36 mini cupcakes

1/4 cup shelled pistachios (mine were salted)
2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cardamom pods, ground (less than 1/4 teaspoon ground)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup 2% milk, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon rosewater
1 tablespoon milk
Something to make them look pretty (see tips below)

Preheat the oven to 350F and line your muffin tin with paper liners.

Finely chop the pistachios in the food processor until ground, but not pasty.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom and set aside.

On medium speed, beat the the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes until fluffy.

Add the egg and beat again on medium speed for another 30 seconds until smooth.

Add half the flour mixture and beat on low just until combined. Then add the milk, vanilla and almond extract, beating again on low until combined. Add the rest of the flour until it’s barely combined. You still have to stir in the pistachios, and the time to do that is now. Fold them in just until combined.
Divide the batter among the muffin cups (I used my small cookie scoop) and bake for about 18 minutes or until lightly golden and a tester comes out clean. Adjust the cooking time if you’re making larger cupcakes. Allow them to cool completely before adding the icing.

To make the icing; mix confectioners sugar with butter, rosewater and milk to form a paste. I just used a fork for this. Make sure the butter is soft or it will be lumpy. Adjust the sugar or milk until it's the consistency of toothpaste. Top the cupcakes with the icing then decorate. You can use an offset spatula or butter knife to spread it. I found the recipe for icing was just enough but if you're putting it on a little heavier just whip up a bit more. Add the decorations before the icing dries.

Tip: To decorate I used smarties but you can use sprinkles or reserve 2 tablespoons of the ground pistachios and sprinkle them on top. Or how about a single shelled pistachio? That would be pretty. You can purchase tiny dried rosebuds as well from tea shops or even some Asian grocery stores (in my area at least, that’s where I’ve seen them).

Adapted from Food52 and How to Cook.

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