Popular Indian flavor profile in a new form – Kesar Pista Cupcakes!
This recipe is for from scratch kesar pista cupcakes. Kesar means saffron and pista pistachio. So the base cupcake is an eggless pistachio cupcake made from ground pistachios. It is then topped with a saffron cream cheese buttercream frosting.
Kesar pista is a popular Indian flavor ice cream. The two are also used in many sweets so I thought it would be fun to make it in a new form for an Indian fusion dessert. Pistachio is a versatile ingredient and goes great with the flavor of saffron.
Note: If you’ve worked with saffron you know it takes some time for the flavor to be absorbed. I recommend making these the day before you serve them to give a more pronounced saffron flavor.
Saffron was once highly sought after and the ingredient of royalty. I think saffron is totally under utilized. It has a lovely floral taste and gives a beautiful color to sweets. A little goes a long way when it comes to saffron. The saffron cream cheese buttercream frosting tastes a bit like shrikhand because of the tang!
These pistachio cupcakes also taste great as Pistachio Cupcakes with Rose water Buttercream
Ingredients for Pistachio Cupcakes
- All purpose flour
- Roasted ground pistachios
- Unsalted Butter
- Baking powder
- Whole milk
- Vanilla and almond extract
I recommend sifting the dry ingredients (except sugar) together to make the cupcakes lighter and fluffier.
How to make the Kesar Pista cupcake batter
Saffron Cream Cheese Frosting
Tastes a bit like shrikhand because of the tang of the cream cheese!
If you’ve worked with saffron you know it takes some time for the flavor to be absorbed. I recommend making these the day before you serve them to give a more pronounced saffron flavor.
Kesar Pista Cupcakes (Saffron Pistachio)
- Cupcake pan
- Cupcake liners
- Mixing bowl
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup sugar sifted
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened (room temp)
- 1 cup roast pistachios ground finely, some chunks ok
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar white vinegar can be substituted
- 2 tsp baking powder
Saffron Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 generous pinches saffron crushed
- 2 tbsp milk warmed in microwave 20 seconds
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 stick
- 3½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- extra chopped pistachios for topping
- few strands of saffron
- Roast pistachios and grind into powder. Use 2 tbsp of the flour while grinding to prevent pistachio mixture from becoming pasty.
- Mix milk with vinegar.
- Sift together all dry ingredients except sugar.
- Beat butter on medium until creamy. Slowly beat in sugar until all is incorporated. Beat in extracts.
- Alternating between dry ingredients and milk, slowly beat into butter/sugar mixture until all is combined.
- Heat oven to 350F and line cupcake tin with liners. Pour cupcake batter into liners to about 3/4 full.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes. Check with toothpick to ensure fully baked. Let cool completely before icing so they set up properly.
Saffron Butter Cream Frosting
- Mix milk and crushed saffron. Let sit to bloom 10 minutes.
- Beat sugar, butter and cream cheese together
- Beat in bloomed saffron milk until fluffy. Spoon into piping bag and top cupcakes.