Pistachio Cardamom Cupcakes with Rose Buttercream Frosting

I am in love with these beautiful elegant cupcakes topped with a wonderful rose flavored buttercream icing. The delicious combo of pistachio cake with rose flavored buttercream frosting has been in my to do list from the day I heard about it from a friend. But I have a soft corner for cupcakes and always I end up baking cupcakes. Do you know why?

Cupcakes are more sturdy, well portioned and easier to serve to the kids. In our family, they are the ones who enjoy frosted baked goodies the most. And for serving cupcakes, there is no hassle of making slices, cleaning serving plates, spoons and so on. A big pile of bowls, spatulas and so on waiting their turn for clean up!!! This is something unavoidable to an extent in baking and frosting. So I go for the most convenient and easiest way!

I have come across many pistachio cupcake recipes using pudding mix. Personally I prefer to make it with real pistachios not the flavored ones. So pudding mix was not an option for me. So I came up with my own version using roasted pistachios. A hint of cardamom and nutmeg gives a wonderful flavor to these cupcakes. They are so fluffy and soft and has the right amount of sweetness. They reminds me of the pistachio flavored kulfis that we get from the Indian groceries here.

Pair it with a rose flavored buttercream and they look beautiful. These cupcakes are not extremely sweet. So a sweet buttercream frosting give a perfect balance in sweetness to each bite.Grind the pistachios in a food processor or a mixer. Always make sure not to over process the nuts as they may turn in to a paste. Few coarse crumbs of pistachios are okay. I have not added any food coloring in these cupcakes. They get a greenish shade from the ground pistachios . But if you prefer a more profound green shade, add a drop of green food coloring. You can use rose water for flavoring buttercream and a drop of red food coloring to color the buttercream. Check the Notes section for more tips and tricks.

Aren’t they real beauties😍

If you want another option for frosting, try cream cheese frosting. Get the recipe for my cream cheese frosting from here

Ingredients:(Yields 15 to 16 cupcakes)

Pistachio Caradamom Cupcake:
  1. All purpose flour 1½cup ( 210 gm)
  2. Pistachios unshelled about 1 cup ( 90 gm)
  3. Granulated sugar 1 cup(200 gm)
  4. Unsalted butter softened to room temperature ½ cup (113 gm)
  5. Baking Soda  ​14 tsp
  6. Baking powder 1tsp.
  7. Salt  ​14 tsp.( optional. Skip this if you are using salted pistachios)
  8. Cardamom 5 to 6 pods
  9. Nutmeg grated 1/4 tsp.
  10. Granulated Sugar 1 tbsp for powdering spices
  11. Eggs at room temperature 2
  12. Whole Milk Yogurt at room temperature ½ cup( 120gm)
  13. Whole milk at room temperature ½ cup(120 ml)
  14. Pure Vanilla extract 1½ tsp.
  15. Green food coloring a drop(optional)
Rose buttercream:
  1. Unsalted butter softened to room temperature 1 cup(226gm)
  2. Powdered Sugar 3.5 to 4 cup(420 to 480 gm)
  3. Milk 3 tbsp
  4. Rose syrup or rose water 2 to 3tsp.
  5. Salt a pinch
  6. Red food coloring a drop(optional)


Pistachio Cardamom Cupcake:
  1. Pulse pistachios in a food processor in to fine crumbs. Few coarse crumbs are okay. Do not overprocess it. Use 3/4 cup of this ground pistachios in the cupcake batter. Reserve the rest for garnishing.
Pulse pistachios in to fine crumbs
  1. Preheat oven at 350 degree Fahrenheit, 10 minutes before baking. Line one 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line 4 more cupcake liners in a second muffin pan. This yields 16 cupcakes.
  2. Powder cardamom pods and grated nutmeg with 1 tbsp sugar in a mixer.
Powder spices with 1tbsp sugar
  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, powdered cardamom and nutmeg, salt and 3/4 cup of ground pistachios. Dry ingredients is ready.
Whisk all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, spice mixture, salt and grounded pistachios
  1. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer beat softened butter on high speed for about 1 to 2 minutes until it’s creamy and soft.
Beat butter on medium to high speed until creamy
  1. Add sugar and beat on medium to high speed for 2 minutes until it is creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula in between for even mixing.
Add sugar and beat well
  1. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula when needed.
Beat eggs one at a time
  1. Add vanilla extract and beat again until combined.
Add vanilla extract and beat again
  1. Add yogurt and beat well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula when needed.
Add yogurt and beat until combined
  1. While mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients and beat until just mixed.
Add dry ingredients while mixer running on low speed
  1. While mixer is still running, add milk and beat until batter is just combined. Now switch to a spatula and fold the batter once again to break any lumps. Do not overmix the batter.
Add milk while mixer running on low speed. Add green food coloring( if using).
  1. Spoon the batter in to cupcake liners until 2/3rd full. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the muffin pan.
Pour batter in prepared muffin pan and bake for 20 to 22 minutes
Rose Buttercream Frosting:
  1. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer/stand mixer, cream softened butter on high speed for about 5 to 7 minutes until it is soft, creamy and lighter in color.
Cream butter
Butter is creamy and lighter in color
  1. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time and beat well at low to medium speed until well combined. Increase the speed to high and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add milk and beat again. Add rose syrup/rose water, red food coloring (if using) and beat again for 3 to 4 minutes until the buttercream is soft and fluffy.
Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and beat well
Add rose water/rose syrup, red food coloring(optional), salt and milk and beat well

Frost the rose buttercream frosting on the cupcakes as you wish.


  1. You can use roasted or unroasted pistachios for making this cupcake. While using salted pistachios, use only a small pinch of salt.
  2. For grinding pistachios in to fine crumbs, pulse it in a food processor. Do not over process it. We don’t need a nut paste.
  3. Instead of freshly powdering cardamom, you can use 1 tsp. of cardamom powder.
  4. Do not pour more than 2/3rd of the cupcake liner as it may cause batter to overflow in the oven.
  5. I baked above mentioned quantity of batter in to 12 cupcakes and a 4 inch cake. If you want to bake cupcakes only, you get a maximum of 16 cupcakes with above batter.
  6. I have baked muffin sized cupcakes. For smaller cupcakes reduce the baking time by few minutes.
  7. While making buttercream if it is very thick, add a tbsp more of milk.
  8. I have used 2 tsp of rose syrup called Rooh Afsa to flavor buttercream. So I skipped red food coloring. You can use kewra water as a substitute for rose water.
  9. Frost cupcakes only when it is cooled.
  10. These cupcakes stay fresh in room temperature for two days. If you want to store it for more days, keep refrigerated well covered in an air tight container.
  11. I used a Wilton 2D tip for decorating the cupcakes.