First of all, I’m not a fan of Indian fusion desserts. I can enjoy a bite or two. But it is not something I’d go in search of. Second of all, I’m so not a fan of stuffing cakes or cupcakes with gulab jamun, rasmalai and peda. I feel some classics are best left untouched. You give me a jamun flavoured cake or cookie, I will happily devour! But layering a cake with Indian sweets? Ummm… Not gonna work for me! One such cake I ate gave me nothing but a sugar headache. A sweet cake, brushed with sugar syrup, layered with gulab jamuns and frosted with sweet cream were too much to handle for my tastebuds. So I always try my best to stay away from these. But with festive season around the corner, and so many “fusion cakes” doing the rounds, I thought of creating something sweet, balanced, with flavours reminiscent of Indian Mithai!
Coming to these cupcakes, they are flavoured and coloured mainly with saffron milk. The only artificial colouring in this cupcake is a drop of pink gel colour in the frosting. Rose and white chocolate in the frosting complement the saffron flavour so beautifully & add a subtle sweetness to the cupcake. These cupcakes are pillowy soft, moist and one bite will remind you of… Peda? Ladoo? Halwa? That’s the thing with saffron. It is a key ingredient in so many Indian sweets that you can’t really put a finger on it. But the taste will linger for a long time! <3
I must accept, these cupcakes were a game changer for me! It’s too early to say that I’m a convert. But it has certainly made me think if I should explore fusion desserts a bit more. Fingers crossed!
Makes 6 standard sized cupcakes
100g All-purpose flour
1/2tsp Baking soda
A pinch of salt
1⁄4 tsp Crushed saffron threads*
50g Butter, melted
1/4tsp Vanilla extract
A drop of Almond extract (optional)
A pinch of finely ground cardamom powder (optional)
60ml Non-dairy whipping cream
15g White chocolate, melted
1/2tsp Rose syrup*
A drop of pink food colour (optional)
For the cupcake
Preheat oven to 180 deg C
Line a cupcake tray with paper liners
In a bowl, sift flour, baking soda, salt and set aside.
Bring milk to a boil, add saffron threads, cardamom and switch off the stove. Let it infuse for 10 minutes.
Strain the milk to remove the saffron threads.
To this, add melted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, vinegar and mix well.
Add saffron milk mixture to the flour.
Using a balloon whisk mix both until well combined.
Fill the liners till they are 2/3rd full.
Bake for 15 - 18 minutes or until the center springs back when pressed.
For the frosting
Whip non-dairy cream till you reach soft peak stage.
Add rose syrup, melted white chocolate and whip until stiff peaks are formed.
Pipe onto cooled cupcakes using an open tip.
I used Wilton 3M.
Garnish with rose petals and pistachios.
Measure crushed saffron threads, not the whole strands.
You can replace rose syrup with gulkhand or rose water. All three have different strengths of rose flavour, so adjust accordingly.
Add pistachios for some crunch.