Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Rose Cupcakes – We Should Cocoa 12

Roses are a universal favourite, so beautiful and diverse in form and colour and often so sweetly scented. My grandfather was a keen rose grower and had the best rose garden I’ve ever seen – perhaps I’m a little biased here, but it was a long time ago that I last saw it and the memory just gets better and better! Anyway, because I loved my grandfather, roses hold a very special place in my heart and, I have to say, in my stomach too.

Having set the rose challenge, I really wanted to try and use roses to their full extent, but wasn’t sure I’d have time to make what I had in mind. The plum and rose traybake I made as a fall back was delicious, but only had rosewater in it. I’d set my heart on some ultra rosy cupcakes using rose in four different ways: rose sugar, rose water, rosehip syrup and crystallised roses. To complete the theme, I also had some rose paper cases hiding in the cupboard.

This was a day long process and here’s how I made them with a few disasters on the way:

  • First thing in the morning picked the one and only rose bloom in the garden, which had fortuitously opened at just the right time.
  • Painted the petals with egg white then dipped them in a bowl of caster sugar.
  • Put on a rack to dry and left in a warm airy place for as long as possible (ideally these would have been done the day before, but I just crossed fingers & hoped for the best).
  • Made a big batch of rosehip syrup with 1 kilo of rose hips that we’d harvested last year and had been taking up room in the freezer ever since.
  • Simmered them in 1.5 litres of water for a good half hour, mashing the fruit as it cooked.
  • Strained through a muslin cloth and left to drip for about six hours – overnight would have been much better, but I wasn’t that organised.
  • Simmered the juice with 500g unrefined granulated sugar for about 1/2 an hour until lightly syrupy.
  • Poured into bottles and sealed.
  • Made some rose sugar by blitzing, in a coffee grinder, 125g sugar with a handful of red scented roses I’d dried previously.
  • Melted 125g unsalted butter with 100g 35% milk chocolate (G&B) in a large pan.
  • Stirred in 125g rose sugar.
  • Beat in 2 duck eggs (one being the remainder of the one used to paint the rose leaves).
  • Sifted in 150g flour (half wholemeal and half white), 1 small tsp of baking powder and a pinch of bicarb.
  • Stirred in 2 tbsp no fat Greek yogurt.
  • Stirred in 1 tbsp of rosewater.
  • Spooned into 12 muffin cases and baked at 180C for 18 minutes.
  • Turned out on a rack to cool.
  • Creamed 50g unsalted butter with 100g icing sugar.
  • Decided it would be a good idea to use some of our homemade creme fraiche – big mistake!
  • Added 1 tbsp rose hip syrup and 2 tbsp creme fraiche and tried to beat into the butter cream.
  • This did not have the desired effect. I ended up making sweetened cultured butter and a load of sweet buttermilk – interesting, but not what I’d intended.
  • Drained the buttermilk from the butter and started again.
  • Creamed this second lot of butter with a further 100g icing sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in 1 tbsp of rosehip syrup.
  • Spread this over the cooled cakes.
  • Sprinkled with a small amount of pink sugar.
  • Topped with the few petals that had sort of crystallised.

The syrup was rather disappointing in colour but although fairly sweet, it had a lovely fragrant flavour. The last time I made it I’m sure it was orange rather than brown and it I’m pretty sure it wasn’t so sweet. However, the upside to this, is that it should last well and hopefully keep all those autumnal coughs and colds at bay.

Although the rose petals had lost their scent by the time I used them, I was hoping for a nice pink sugar, but as you can see from the picture, that didn’t really happen. I’ll know for future reference that more petals are needed.

Despite the various disappointments and problems encountered along the way, these cupcakes were truly delicious – chocolatey and definitely rosy. The cakes were light and moist with both the chocolate and rose flavours nicely balanced. They had a fantastic texture with a particularly smooth mouth feel. The creme fraiche topping carried the fragrance of the rosehip syrup nicley. Perfect cupcakes for summer and they kept well too.

Here are a few other things I’ve made using rose as a flavouring.


  1. Suelle

    25th August 2011 at 7:00 am

    Well done for the effort put in. The results look well worth it! Lucky you had the frozen hips – it seems impossible to buy rosehip syrup anywhere!

  2. A Trifle Rushed

    25th August 2011 at 7:33 am

    What truly rosy cupcakes, I am so impressed at all your hard work…. Scrumptious!

  3. Kath

    25th August 2011 at 8:10 am

    They look fantastic! I love the memories of your grandfather’s garden. I have been thinking about making rosehip syrup now you have inspired me some more. Sorry to have missed this challenge this month. Will try to be on the ball for next time.

  4. Dom at Belleau Kitchen

    25th August 2011 at 8:26 am

    they look so pretty and what a quadruple combo of rose marvellousness! I’ve not used rosehip before so it’s intriguing to see and learn how to make it. Lovely stuff!

  5. Please Do Not Feed The Animals.

    25th August 2011 at 8:47 am

    Mmmm – I’ll bet they were quite heady.

  6. Karen S Booth

    25th August 2011 at 9:52 am

    FABULOUS! And what a lot of effort you put into the challenge too…..I love anything with roses in it, on the cooking front, as well as looking at them in the garden too! The cupcakes look divine darlink!!
    Karen ~ Lavender and Lovage

  7. Janice

    25th August 2011 at 10:36 am

    Wow, you put me to shame with your homemade rosehip syrup! The frosted rose petals look lovely.

  8. Brownieville Girl

    25th August 2011 at 11:35 am

    I made rosehip syrup last year (nobody liked it here) I neven even thought to use it for this challenge – doohh!!!!!!

    Well done for putting so much work into these cupcakes – delighted they turned out so well. I particularly love the rose sugar, it looks so pretty.

  9. Hanna

    25th August 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Wow! I love how much rose you’ve managed to incorporate in beautiful looking cupcakes! Cant wait to see the round up..!

  10. Chele

    25th August 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Gosh! You really did push the boat out on this one, I didn’t realise there were so many ways to use rose in cupcakes! You have truly put my effort to shame! LOVE your cupcakes, they look superb and I can imagine they must have tasted pretty darn good too ;0)

  11. C

    25th August 2011 at 7:06 pm

    They do look beautiful – worth all of the effort you obviously made with them! Glad you enjoyed them!

  12. PeaSoup

    25th August 2011 at 7:23 pm

    I’m crazy about anything rose flavoured – you’ve just given me a great idea for some vegan rose water cupcakes. Thank you!

  13. Ananda Rajashekar

    25th August 2011 at 9:06 pm

    sugar petal rose is pretty thanks for the tip had been wanting to try for long time

  14. Phil in the Kitchen

    25th August 2011 at 9:22 pm

    That’s a serious amount of rosiness. Great sounding cakes. I’ve never made rosehip syrup but I was recently chastised by a fellow forager for ignoring a fine crop of rosehips, so I think I may try.

  15. Baking Addict

    25th August 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Wow amazing effort! They look and sound fantastic, wish I could have one to try! Thanks again for a fantastic challenge.

  16. Gloria

    26th August 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Look georgeous!! gloria

  17. Johanna GGG

    27th August 2011 at 10:38 am

    I am impressed at all your forward planning – you really had to get your roses lined up to get this done – and they sound wonderful – am sure your grandfather would have been interested to see how his garden inspires your cooking

  18. Choclette

    28th August 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Suelle – good point. I’m sure rosehip syrup used to be available in chemists many years ago, but I would be completely clueless as to where to get it now.

    A Trifle Rushed – thank you. I think it had something to do with the fact that holidays were fast approaching.

    Kath – thank you. Granddad always brought a rose when he visited us in Cornwall, but my mother didn’t quite have his knack and roses generally don’t fair well down here anyway.

    Dom – the good news about rosehip syrup is it’s meant to be good for you, so plenty of licence there 😉

    Please do Not Feed the Animals – heady indeed, now why didn’t I think to put some rose liqueur in there too :-S

    Karen – thank you. Setting the challenge is a good excuse to roll out the carpet and make something a bit more unusual.

    Janice – thank you. Considering the rush I was in, the petals didn’t look too bad in the end.

    BVG – I can see that it might be a bit of an acquired taste, but really it is one of the nicer health foods 😉

    Hanna – thank you. I will get around to doing the round-up soon, I promise!

    Chele – luckily for me, it was an experiment that worked.

    C – thank you. I’ll go with beautiful 🙂

    Peasoup – let me know how your cupcakes turn out if you get around to making them.

    Ananda – you’re welcome.

    Phil – a teaspoon of this in the late autumn and winter is very welcome as it a slug in some hot water too.

    Baking Addict – it would be such fun to be able to try each other’s bakes.

    Gloria – thank you.

    Johanna – this one did take a bit of thought. My grandad used to make all sorts of hedgerow wines but would never have thought of having them in cakes – I think he’d be delighted.

  19. Nic@Daydreamaboutfood

    28th August 2011 at 9:27 pm

    these look brilliant. Love the combinations of the different types of roses.

  20. Choclette

    29th August 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Thank you Nic

  21. Carla Sento

    30th August 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I would never have thought of using flowers in cupcake recipes, but whilst doing my regular hunt about on the web for interesting new ideas, I’ve come across this. I can’t wait to give it a go!
    I also love your very detailed method – I’m seeing all too many recipes without enough detail and therefore giving reason for lots of errors. Thank you for being so thorough!

  22. Kamagra UK

    16th February 2012 at 10:08 am

    Wow, nice post,there are many person searching about that now they will find enough resources by your post

  23. Maya Russell

    19th March 2013 at 7:30 am

    Interesting post. I’ll be able to make rose sugar or surup now.

  24. Tracy K Nixon

    16th August 2013 at 3:48 am

    These are so pretty and sound yummy too. It is my mum’s birthday shortly and I think these would be lovely to bake!

  25. Maya Russell

    19th December 2013 at 9:38 am

    I bet these taste lovely. Might try making rosehip syrup one day, looks easy.


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