I made an impromptu decision on a Thursday afternoon to make cupcakes for a party on Friday afternoon. I knew I wanted to make pistachio cupcakes, my homage to Indian sweets. I didn’t have a lot of time or options, so I ran out at lunch to the Ferry Building, conveniently located across the street from work. I managed to find some pistachio cream (at $19.99 for 8 ounces! Ouch!) at the Village Market and rose petal jelly and small, edible rose buds at Boulettes Larder.

I decided on a chiffon style cake this time around. I want to make an important point outright. This is a far trickier method than the creaming method that I use for most of the recipes in the blog. Many things can always go wrong in baking; this is even truer with this style of cake. It shouldn’t stop you from trying, but if there is one thing I learned from the professionals that I took classes with, the key is being able to work with whatever the outcome is.

In this case, I made quite a bit of batter. As such, my oven was packed with cupcakes and they were baking unevenly. Did I risk opening the oven to shift them around? Opening an oven too early in the process can cause a draft and result in fallen cupcakes. Or did I leave them be and deal with some cupcakes being over done? In the end, I waited until about halfway through the baking time, then opened the oven and shifted the cupcakes around. In the end, I would say about 8 of the 36 cupcakes fell. I used the good ones for the party and covered the others with a bit of frosting and saved them for the family.

The pistachio cake was an experiment. I was happy with the outcome. Despite the baking issues I had, the cake was tasty, and in my opinion very pistachio-y. It was light and airy, just like chiffon should be. I went light on the frosting so it wouldn’t overpower the cake. I didn’t get much of a rose flavor from the jelly, but the color was nice and I could definitely smell roses (most likely from the buds). If I had planned ahead, I would have order some rose water or syrup to help liven the frosting some.

Pistachio Cupcakes
36 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

2-3/4 cups cake flour
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup grape seed oil (or vegetable oil)
8 egg yolks (approximately 6 ounces)
1/2 cup water
4 ounces pistachio cream (approximately 1/3 cup)
10 egg whites (approximately 10 ounces)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter

1. Sift flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2. In a medium bowl, combine oil, egg yolks, water, and pistachio cream. Stir to combine.
3. On a low setting, start to beat the dry mixture and slowly add the wet. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until pistachio cream is incorporated.
4. Transfer mixture to another bowl. Wash and dry mixer bowl.
5. Whip egg whites with whip attachment on medium-high speed until foamy. With the mixer on medium speed, add cream of tarter and slowly add sugar. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.
6. Scoop a cupful of the stiff egg whites into the batter and stir to combine. This should lighten up the batter.
7. Transfer the egg whites to the batter and gently fold until there are no more streaks of egg white.
8. Scoop into cupcake cups and bake at 350 F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Tip: Cake flour is a must for chiffon. All-purpose won’t give you the same delicate texture.

pistachio cream

Rose Petal Buttercream Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup rose petal jelly

1. Beat butter until creamy, scrape bowl.
2. Add 3-4 cups of sifted powdered sugar and jelly, beat until combined.
3. Add more powdered sugar as needed to get to whatever consistency/sweetness you wish to acheive.

rose petal jelly

1. Frost cooled cupcakes lightly with buttercream.
2. For pistachio garnish, grind up pistachios in a small food processor. take up some of the ground nuts into your hand and press the edges of the frosted cupcake into the mixture.
3. Otherwise top with edible rose bud or edible rose petal.

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