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
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!
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 to350*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.
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.
- 2-3 dried *Roselle flowers, soaked for an hour, shredded to top the cupcakes.