Friday 3 May 2013

Roselle Cupcakes

The past weekend had been a cupcake weekend - because I was baking batch after batch of cupcakes because most of them turned out less than desired. There were two reasons for doing so - firstly I was looking for a cupcake recipe for my daughter's birthday party in school and also so that I could make some cupcakes for the Bake Along's second anniversary. 

Bake Along is a bi-monthly blog hop hosted by Joyce of Kitchen FlavoursLena of Her Frozen Wings and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids. I remember starting out in blogging at around the time of Bake Along's first anniversary and can't believe how quickly time has gone by!

Back to my cupcake saga, after batches of deflated green tea cupcakes and chocolate cupcakes which were too dry because I forgot to add the oil, I finally decided to fall back on my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe but with a slightly different twist. I remember Ann from Anncoo Journal making these Roselle cupcakes recently and I thought it would be a great idea to use Roselle in my cupcakes and also make a Roselle buttercream to go along. 

I was feeling fairly discouraged after so many failed attempts at cupcake baking and started to wonder if its my baking skills or the recipe or if its simply not my day to bake! I held my breath as I watched these cupcakes rise in the oven. I heaved a sign of relief when I broke open one of the cupcakes to check. It was the moist and fluffy cupcake I know this recipe produces - this recipe has never failed me.

Anyway, here's just a little introduction to Roselle for those who have never heard of it. This is quite popular among Chinese, we called this 洛神花/玫瑰茄. Roselle is also known as Hibiscus Sabdariffa -a species of Hibiscus. Among the other health benefits of Roselle are its ability to lower blood sugar and cholesterol, prevent dental decay, slow down premature aging, prevent joint inflammation, improve concentration, reduce the risk of a stroke, stabilise blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack and cancer growth. Usually the Roselle is normally taken as a tea/drink or in jams, so I thought it would be interesting to try using it in cakes.  In this recipe, I'm using dried Roselle flowers seen in the picture below which must be soaked ahead. However, you can also use pickled Roselle flowers. 

The Roselle pieces in the cupcake tasted like pieces of dried fruit - the taste wasn't obvious in the cake but they added pretty red specks to the cake. However, the buttercream had a light aroma of the Roselle flowers. I would be better if there was Roselle essence to give the cupcake a stronger Roselle flavours but I don't think that exists. The Roselle flowers that topped the cupcake looked like rose petals and looked really pretty. However, I'm quite happy with my improvised Roselle cupcake! 

Roselle Cupcakes

Cupcake Recipe

Cake recipe by adapted from Glorious Treats
Yields- 15-16 cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup oil (vegetable, canola or extra light olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk plus 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice- add acid to the milk then set aside for 5 minutes before using)
  • 20 dried *Roselle flowers, soaked for about an hour, then diced or shredded
  • Preheat oven to 350*F or 175*C
  • In a medium bowl, add cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir together with whisk, and set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs and beat 10-20 seconds.  Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed about 30 seconds.  Add vanilla and oil, beat.
  • Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture.  Add half of the milk, then the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk.  Beat until just combined.  Scrap down the side of the bowl.
  • Stir in the shredded or cut Roselle flowers.
  • The batter will be thin. Pour batter into a muffin pan prepared with paper liners.  Fill liners about 2/3 full.
  • Bake cupcakes in pre-heated oven for 12-14 minutes.
  • Cool in pan 1-2 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan (carefully) and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Buttercream Recipe
Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking
This buttercream recipe enough only for 8 cupcakes

  • 2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted 
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk or light cream
  • 5-6 dried *Roselle flowers, soaked for an hour, cut into small pieces
  • In an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 
  • Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk or sugar, if needed (I added an additional 10 tbsp of icing sugar as I wanted to make a stiffer icing).
  • Add in the pieces of Roselle flowers and mix in well.
  • Tint the frosting with a small drop of pink colouring.

For decoration
  • 2-3 dried *Roselle flowers, soaked for an hour, shredded to top the cupcakes.
* In this recipe, I'm using dried Roselle flowers which must be soaked ahead. However, you can also use pickled Roselle flowers. 


  1. Hi Mich, I have 2 roselle plants in my garden now. Looking fwd to making some stuff with it soon ;)

  2. Hi Mich,
    Lovely cupcakes! A very creative idea of using Roselle! Your cupcakes looks very soft with delicious texture, and the Roselle buttercream sounds very good!
    Thank you for linking to Bake-Along and for all your wonderful and constant support! Bake-Along is glad to have you baking with us! Cheers! :)
    Enjoy your weekend!

  3. Oh yes, the roselle is a hit these days. saw friends making roselle jam too! Using them to decorate cupcakes is a great idea.

  4. I've never used dried Roselle flowers, and it was interesting to see how you made this beautiful cupcakes. I love fancy cakes!!

  5. I just picked a basket of Roselle flowers from my garden , I can consider to make this . Your cupcakes are very attractive !

  6. I had never heard of Roselle until I read your post, but it sounds like such a great thing to add to cake! GLad you persevered with the cupcake baking, your cupcakes look gorgeous!

  7. These sound amazing, lovely idea!

  8. lovely is that! Wish I can have one right now. Must be so lusicous.
    Have a lovely evening.

  9. Mich , I've got the same problem when baking my past cupcakes :P This attempt fared a bit better , they didn't deflate but it looks like a muffin :D Oh well , hopefully next time , it'll turn out better .....

    Lovely cupcakes , you got there ! The roselle flower sure adds an interesting flavor and such a great decor as well :)

  10. oh mich, it must have been so frustrating baking the cupcakes over and over again. I never tried or eaten anything with roselle but i heard that it tasted like ribena :) thanks mich for your support always, these are lovely cupcakes and have a wonderful weekend! Cheers!

  11. Gorgeous! What a great idea!! They look so feminine and beautiful!!

  12. Your cupcake look delicious. I have never heard of Rosella before, it sound like it is very healthy.

  13. Hi Mich
    Beautiful cupcakes.... the roselle looks great as Ive never use it for baking or anything.

  14. I don't think I have ever seen Roselle before - but sounds like I could do with some. I am trying to come up with the energy to bake my cupcakes.

  15. Such a pretty and elegant looking cupcake, Mich.

  16. So many cupcakes posts around! Not a fan but love looking at them! :D

  17. These could easily be displayed at a good bakery shop. I find roselles very romantic. A nice touch to this cupcakes. Beautiful!

  18. Very elegant and delicious looking cupcakes !!

  19. Hi Mich,

    Time has passed so quickly... I remember having you baking along with us one year ago and we met in last Nov. Now, I'm going back to Singapore again late this week...

    Seems like everyone has their baking saga every now and then... tell me all about it... LOL! Ultimately, your Roselle cupcakes look great! They are very elegant and beautiful.


  20. Hi Mich, your cupcakes looks so pretty especially with the roselle deco!

  21. Your little roselle cupcakes are so pretty and I am sure very delicious. I make roselle tea quite often. I bet this would be a lovely treat for high tea. Actually I have some roselle in my pantry...maybe I will make a batch this weekend.

  22. What elegant cupcakes & very speacial too with roselle! Love it ! ;)

  23. Hi Mich, sorry to hear about your other unsuccessful bakes, but it seems to me like the third time's the charm! The cupcakes look wonderful and delicious, happy birthday to your little girl!

    1. I forgot to mention that I've nominated you an award at

      Hope you'll like it! :)

  24. Mich, Your cupcakes look so beautiful with the simple frosting and thank you for the mention :)

  25. I love eating preserved roselle, they are so crunchy and delicious! I am sure this cupcake of yours taste delicious too! looks lovely! Glad you succeeded in baking these grand looking cupcakes:D

  26. i have nvr tried roselle b4..:-p u knw, Vivian Pang had recently posted how to make the jam or juice.. they looked as good as yr cupcakes:)

  27. I have never tried roselle until I saw Anncoo's blog. Your cupcakes are beautiful.

  28. Hi Mich, lovely and elegant roselle cupcake. The buttercream recipe look good. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe.

    Best regards.

  29. I love roselle! Lots of vitamin!

  30. Hi Mich, these cupcakes look delicious!! I know that feeling of frustration when failing several attempts at baking/cooking...Roselle??? I do not know this ingredient. Very interesting.