August 22, 2010 § Leave a comment
It has been an unacceptably long time since I last posted. Life seems to have sped up when I wasn’t paying attention, and sadly, cooking was the first activity to go. I finally stole some time for myself today and made a batch of cupcakes – a pleasure that I have not had in some time.
As we’ve explored before, rose is an excellent ingredient for desserts, main courses and many beverages mainly in the Middle East but also in many parts of Asia. Its delicate taste and scent can transform normal desserts into regal treats. However, capturing the essence of roses is not as simple as using rose petals – the easiest way to cook with rose is to use rosewater or rose essence. Rosewater can even be made at home by steeping fresh rose petals in boiling water for a couple of hours, letting it cool and infuse overnight, then draining off the fragrant water for culinary use. Another method is to dry out rose petals and grind them into a coarse powder, which can then by used to flavour sauces and as a decorative addition to desserts.
We’ve used flowers in cupcakes before (lavender and chamomile cupcakes) with beautifully fragrant results, so I tried out rose for good measure and was not disappointed. These cupcakes are lovely and moist, but distinctly scented and have a delicate taste that would be an excellent accompaniment for afternoon tea.
To make 15 domed cupcakes you’ll need:
- 175g unsalted butter
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 3 medium eggs
- 175g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- ¾ tsp rose essence
- 1 tbsp dried, crushed rose
- 1 tbsp milk (optional)
Start off by preheating your oven to 180°C and line your cupcake tray with cases. Then cream together the butter and the sugar until they are pale.
Then add the eggs one at a time, beating each one thoroughly through the mixture before adding the next. You should have a smooth mixture forming at this point, but don’t worry if you have a few buttery lumps as they’ll smoothen out soon enough. After you’ve added all the eggs and beaten them evenly, add the vanilla essence and the rose essence and mix well.
At this point I measured out the self-raising flour and added it to the mixture in thirds, so that I could combine the mixture well. You can either do it this way, or add the whole lot in one go. Additionally, you could add the baking powder to the flour beforehand, or add it to the mixture afterwards.
Now add the dried rose and fold the mixture together gently, until combined.
If the mixture isn’t of a dropping consistency at this point, you can add1 tbsp of milk to loosen it a little. Then comes the fun part! Spoon out the mixture evenly into the cupcake cases – you will find that the batter leaves about 1 cm space at the top of each cupcake case. Then place the tray in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a skewer in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean.
Stand the cupcakes for about 5 minutes and then you can either enjoy them by themselves or with a freshly brewed cup of tea. If you’re feeling especially indulgent, enjoy them while they’re still slightly warm with a good helping of clotted cream.