I am beaming with pride as I write this post because I am quite pleased with my efforts today. Although I didn't get around to my list of things to do before Christmas arrives, I manufactured what I consider perfect little cupcakes.
The inspiration for my almond-rose cupcakes with white chocolate frosting came a couple of weeks ago when I sampled a very good rose syrup by Mymouné which unlike most commercially available has a natural flavour and light cloudy pink hue. Although I love the heady perfume of roses and find the idea of using it in cooking very romantic, I have often considered it a very difficult flavouring to incorporate in recipes because it isn't a very versatile or culture-neutral ingredient. Also determining the right amount to use can be rather tricky.
For my cupcakes I used dried rosebuds which are not unlike those you find in little pouches of potpourri for your drawer but these are organic and not treated with nasty chemicals (I purchased mine from Simon Johnson in Subiaco) and may too be used in a tisane, spice blend (such as ras-el-hanout) or a syrup infusion if you so choose. I find dried rosebuds and petals are a better alternative to rose syrup because you get the essence of the flowers without the added sweetness so you can simply add them finely crumbled or ground to your favourite cake recipe without having to adjust the quantity of sugar accordingly.
The essence of rose, sweet and floral like vanilla, has an affinity for ingredients with a high percentage of fat like cream, butter, milk and nuts like almonds and pistachios so it is not uncommon to find it combined with one or more such ingredients in desserts. Here, I have paired it with ground almonds in a cake with a toothsome and moist crumb. The recipe is as follows.