Rose & pistachio buttercream flower cupcakes – the perfect bake for Mothers Day. Moist pistachio sponge and a delicate floral rose buttercream piped into beautiful rose petals.
A bouquet of flowers is a classic gift for Mothers Day, but an edible bouquet is muchh more my style. These super cute ‘roses’ are a pistachio sponge with delicate floral rose buttercream piped into a gorgeous rose complete with leaves. I think they are soo cute and look so impressive! But are honestly quite simple to create. You will need a special piping tip, but I promise you’ll get a lot of use out of it. As once you can create these roses theres no stopping you from putting roses on everythingggg!
Key Ingredients You’ll Need
- Pistachios – For the pistachio sponge you will need ground pistachios. You can buy pre-ground pistachios, but its mainly sold online and not in supermarkets. So instead you can buy shelled pistachios from any supermarket and then blitz them in a food processor until they’re a fine powder.
- Rosewater – Rosewater can be found in the baking aisles of large supermarkets, but can also be found (and usually much cheaper!) in the ‘world food’ section of supermarkets as it’s often used in Middle Eastern, Indian and Chinese recipes.
- Gel Food Colourings – For this recipe I used both green and pink gel food colourings. The pink is for the buttercream, and the green for both the leaves and the actual sponge. The quantity of pistachios used in this recipe isn’t enough to give the cupcake sponge the vibrant green colour I wanted, so I added a small blob of food colouring. This is totally optional though, and is purely for aesthetics!
How to make rose & pistachio buttercream flower cupcakes
The pistachio sponge is so quick and easy to make, is light and moist and it keeps well for days. The rose buttercream is a simple American style – with room temperature butter and icing sugar. You need a fairly stiff but pliable buttercream to pipe roses and I find American style buttercream works really well. Swiss meringue buttercream is another great choice, but theres a lot more faff involved to make!
Making the pistachio sponge cupcakes
The pistachio sponge is so simple to make and follows the classic creaming method. So you’ll start with your room temperature butter, and whip this together with the sugar. I like to use an electric hand-mixer, but you can definitely do this by hand too! Then the eggs and rose water are added – just a touch to add to the floral notes. Then the dry ingredients can be added; so flour, ground pistachios, baking powder and salt. Finally, a dash of milk and you’re done!
I do also add a little blob of green food colouring, justtt to make the sponge look super pretty when you bite in! But its definitely optional.
The sponge batter needs to be divided into cupcake/muffin cases and then popped into the oven for about 23 minutes. And you’re done! These cupcakes really are foolproof, and are so so tasty. I would eat them without buttercream too!
Making the rose buttercream
Rosewater is a very floral perfumey taste. So you absolutely need to be sparing when using it in baking. Otherwise your bake will end up tasting like soap. So don’t be tempted to add any extra into the recipe – I promise I have listed such small quantities on purpose!
For the buttercream, ideally you want to use an electric hand-whisk or a stand-mixer. You’ll get a much smoother and lighter buttercream, which is really important for an American style buttercream. The high-speed whipping helps to get rid of any graininess that may occur from the icing sugar. So get out your mixer, or get ready for guns of steel if you’re going manual!
So firstly I whip the butter on its own for a good 3-4 minutes until its visibly lightened in colour and is really smooth and light. Then I add the icing sugar in increments, whipping in between each. This helps to avoid a huge dust cloud and just makes it easier to combine. Once all the icing sugar is added, you can add the rosewater and then whip on a high speed for a good 2-3 more minutes. Finally, I separated out a small amount of the buttercream to add green food colouring too – this will be for our leaves! And the remaining buttercream I added a dash of milk and pink food colouring in and you’ll have the perfect light but stable buttercream to pipe your roses with.
How to pipe the buttercream roses
To create the rose petals I used the Wilton piping tip 103. Lots of other brands make the same piping tip too, and it’s usually called a rose/flower petal tip. It is tapered at one edge which is what helps you to create a thicker base, and thinner top petal edge. For the green leaves I used the Wilton piping tip 70. Again other brands do make the leaf tip too, and they’re quite easy to come by!
Once you have your pink buttercream in a piping bag fitted with the rose petal tip, the green buttercream in a piping bag fitted with the leaf piping tip and your cooled cupcakes, you’re ready to go!
The first step is to create the centre of your rose, or the ‘bud’. To do this you want to hold the piping bag at a 45degree angle to the cupcake in your writing hand, and hold the cupcake in the other. The wide base of the piping tip should be touching the cupcake, with the thinner end of the piping tip pointing up and slightly inward. Turn the cupcake slowly in your hand, whilst squeezing the piping bag with the other hand, to create a ribbon of buttercream that creates a cone like shape. Once the ribbon of buttercream has overlapped, release the pressure and pull the piping bag away. That is your centre petal!
PRO TIP: Don’t place all of your buttercream into the piping bag at first. When piping decorations or flowers, it’s easier to handle the bag if theres less buttercream inside it.
The next step is to add the surrounding petals. Hold the cupcake in one hand and the piping bag in the other like before, but this time pipe small curved strips, starting and ending with the piping tip touching the cupcake. You want the strips to curve into the centre petal a little, almost like piping little stand-up rainbows. Continue this pattern all the way around, gradually getting bigger/longer as the petals stack up.
Finally, switch to the leaf piping bag and pipe a few leaves on the edge of the rose petals. You can be creative with this, and pipe as many or as few as you want. You can also pipe thicker or thinner petals to create different effects.
Watch my Instagram reel here to see how to pipe the buttercream roses in video form.
Tips & Tricks
You could replace the ground pistachios with ground almonds in a 1:1 ratio. They will still taste delicious!
This could be because the buttercream has got too warm inside the piping bag from the heat of your hands. If so, pop the piping bag into the fridge for 20 minutes or so and it should firm up a little. If the buttercream is too runny in the mixing bowl, there may not have been enough icing sugar added. Add a little at a time until you get the right consistency.
I would recommend making them the day before you intend to travel. The cupcakes will still taste fresh and delicious, but it will give the buttercream time to crust over, meaning they’ll be a little more robust for travelling.
These pistachio & rose buttercream flower cupcakes will make the perfect gift for Mothers Day….or any other day really! Who doesn’t want edible flowers?! And they are so so delicious. Pistachio and rose is a classic combination where the saltiness from the nuts blends perfectly with the delicate floral rose notes. The cupcakes last so well too, making them a gorgeous display in your home while they wait to be eaten!
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Rose & Pistachio Buttercream Flower Cupcakes
- 170 g unsalted butter room temperature
- 170 g caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp rosewater
- 3 large eggs
- 130 g plain flour
- 50 g ground pistachios
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp table salt
- 1 tbsp milk whole or semi-skimmed
- green food colouring optional
- 290 g unsalted butter room temperature
- 475 g icing sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp rosewater
- pink gel food colouring
- green gel food colouring
- For the cupcakes: Firstly preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake/muffin cases. Place the butter and sugar into a large bowl and using a hand-held electric whisk, beat together until well combined and light. Then add the rosewater and the eggs one at a time, whisking well between each addition. Then add the flour, ground pistachios, baking powder and salt and beat together until just combined. Finally add the milk and a small blob of green food colouring and beat together again, until just combined. Divide the mixture between the 12 cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 23 minutes until springy to the touch.
- For the buttercream: Place the butter into a large bowl using a hand-held electric whisk, beat for 3-4 minutes on a high speed until visibly lightened in colour and very light. Then add the icing sugar in increments, beating until well combined with each addition. Finally add the rosewater and milk and beat the buttercream again for 2-3 minutes until well combined and light.
- Scoop out about 2/3 tablespoons of the buttercream and place into a small bowl. Mix green food colouring into this to create the buttercream for the leaves. Then place into a piping bag fitted with a leaf piping tip. Then in the remaining buttercream mix in the pink buttercream for the rose petals, then place into a piping bag fitted with a rose petal piping tip.
- To decorate: The first step is to create the centre of your rose, or the 'bud'. To do this, hold the pink buttercream piping bag at a 45degree angle to the cupcake in your writing hand, and hold the cupcake in the other. The wide base of the piping tip should be touching the cupcake, with the thinner end of the piping tip pointing up and slightly inward. Turn the cupcake slowly in your hand, whilst squeezing the piping bag with the other hand, to create a ribbon of buttercream that creates a cone like shape. Once the ribbon of buttercream has overlapped, release the pressure and pull the piping bag away. That is your centre petal.
- Then, to add the surrounding petals, hold the cupcake in one hand and the piping bag in the other like before, but this time pipe small curved strips, starting and ending with the piping tip touching the cupcake. You want the strips to curve into the centre petal a little, almost like piping little stand-up rainbows. Continue this pattern all the way around, gradually getting bigger/longer as the petals stack up.
- Finally, switch to the leaf piping bag and pipe a few leaves on the edge of the rose petals. Repeat the process with all the cupcakes.