Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Orange-Flower Water and Cardamom


I must admit, I love making cupcakes with unusual ingredients.  They can be a pain in the neck to find, but the end result is usually worth the effort.  I found this recipe on Epicurious months ago, but was unable to track down orange-flower water.  I eventually stumbled upon it at Plum Market.  For those of you not in Michigan, it's available online here.  I have had good luck with past recipes that I have made with cardamom (like the rosewater pistachio cuppies and the Bollywood cupcakes) so I decided to give the cardamom and orange-flower water combo a whirl!


Orange-Flower Water and Cardamom Cupcakes - Adapted from Bon Appetit - Makes 2 dozen

  • 2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter 2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • zest from one medium orange
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp orange-flower water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners

  2. In a large bowl, cream together on low-medium speed until butter and sugar are well combined.

  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition on medium speed.  Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary

  4. In a separate medium bowl, add the flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk together.

  5. In a small bowl, add the orange zest vanilla, orange-flower water, and buttermilk.

  6. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the liquid ingredients to the butter-sugar-egg mixture.  Continue to beat until everything is combined.

  7. Fill the paper liners 2/3 full with batter.  Bake for 24-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the top of the cupcake comes out clean.

  8. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a cooling rack until they are completely cool.

These cupcakes were a hit with my team last month, and one of my roommates kept looking around the kitchen for more after I took them to the hospital.  The orange-flower water has a strong scent in the bottle, but wasn't overwhelming in the cupcake. 


I opted to top these cupcakes with a vanilla bean frosting, using my beloved vanilla bean paste in lieu of an actual vanilla bean.  Also, try to say vanilla bean buttercream three times fast.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream - Makes about 3 cups

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds (~4 cups) confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1-2 T milk
  1. Cream butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and creamy
  2. Add the confectioner's sugar 1/2 cup at a time to the butter.  Mix on medium-high speed until well mixed before adding the next 1/2 cup.  The mixture will look sort of dry after all of the sugar has been added.
  3. Add the vanilla bean paste and 1 T of milk.  Mix well.  You may need to add more milk in order to get the consistency that you desire.

I think that the vanilla bean frosting added some extra class to an already classy cupcake (you have to love those little black specks!).  It really complimented the orange flavor quite well.  These cupcakes were amaaaaaazing.  Several members of my team last month said that they were the best cupcakes that I made.  I will definitely make these cupcakes again in the future.  For now, I need to find other cake recipes with orange-flower water!


  1. I was lucky enough to get one of these, and they're great. I love cardamom.

  2. Mmmm. I saw these on my contacts on Flickr and was wondering what they were :) They sound great.

    Also: vanilla bean buttercream vanilla bean buttercream vanilla bean buttercream. Everything is easier on the internet! :D

  3. This looks amazing! I can't wait to try it out! What is orange-flower water though? can it be substituted? Is it necessary?

  4. Domestic sugar - orange-flower water is ... actually I'm not sure. But it smells very good. You can find it in specialty food stores or a middle eastern grocer (or online). You probably could just use orange juice, but I don't know if they would taste the same!

  5. I use orange flower water in the buttercream on my orange cupcakes and it is amazing. Be sparing (add to taste) but that way you get the full effect of the delicate floral aroma and flavour. For my money I think it gets lost in a baked cupcake, but I'd be willing to try out your recipe- for research purposes you understand.

  6. you have wonderful unique flavors...!
    so glad i found this blog :D



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