Everyone knows we Indians love our spices; but we have lot of secrets in our spice box other than curry powder and chilli powder! One such quintessential spice is cardamom. Cardamom has a strong aroma, a very refreshing taste and is highly versatile. Just a pinch of cardamom powder will elevate the taste and flavor of any dish; savory or dessert or even beverages. Saffron is another such spice; with its distinct taste and aroma. But unlike cardamom saffron is not consumed by itself, it needs to be soaked in warm milk or water to bring its distinct aroma and red-orange color. Both these spices have been in use for centuries. Very often these spices are used together especially in desserts and they add a wonderful color, taste and aroma to the dish.
For these cupcakes I used the vanilla cupcake recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction and then modified it to include cardamom and saffron. It tasted like a perfect blend of west and east!
Difficulty Level: Moderate
- 1 and 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup milk (any kind you prefer)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Seeds from 10-12 cardamom pods fine and freshly ground
- Pinch of saffron strands
- Preheat the oven to 350 ⁰C. Warm 2 tablespoons of milk in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds. Crush the saffron strands in the milk and let them soak. Open up the cardamom pods and grind the seeds to give finely ground cardamom powder.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a container.
- In another big wide bowl take the butter and add sugar to it. Mix until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, whisking between each addition. Then add vanilla extract and ground cardamom. Mix well. Add the saffron milk and the remaining milk to the cake mixture.
- Now add the flour mixture to the wet mixture slowly, whisking between every addition.
- Add the thick mixture to the cupcake pan. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes. Insert a toothpick in a cupcake to check for the doneness of the cake. Once done, cool them thoroughly and enjoy!