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Cardamom Cupcakes (Cake Yazdi)

Just as banana nut and blueberry muffins are the staples of any coffee house and bakery in the US, the smell of hot cardamom cupcakes fresh out of the oven in bakeries and pastry shops can be sensed from blocks away in my hometown of Tehran, Iran. The cupcakes are locally known as Yazdi cupcakes attributing them to Yazd, a province located southeast of Tehran. As for why they are called Yazdi cupcakes there is not any direct explanationrather than the very first documented confectioner was known to have come from Yazd 100 years ago and perhaps the cupcakes resemble the dome-shaped roofs of wind-catchers that is part of  centuries-old architectural design in Yazd.These aromatic cupcakes are light in texture and make for a great guilt-free morning bite sans the frosting that usually comes with cupcakes.


Prep time: 15 min.

Baking time: 25 min.

Ready in: 40 min.

Level: easy

Yields: 12 cupcakes


Cardamom Cupcakes (Cake Yazdi)



2 large eggs

1 ¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup plain yogurt

1 ½ cup all-purpose flour (I used half unbleached flour)

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

? teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed

1 tablespoon orange zest

2 tablespoons rose water

½ cup canola oil

Sesame seeds, ground pistachio, slivered almonds for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add crushed cardamom seeds and orange zest. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. With an electric mixer, beat the mixture until it turns light and the batter doubles in volume.



4. Turn off the electric mixer. Add yogurt and mix well with a spatula.

5. Fold in the flour mixture with the spatula until the flour has disappeared. Make sure to scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl as you go.



6. Add the oil and rose water. Stir until mixed completely.

7. Fill the muffin liners with the cake batter. Dip the tip of a knife or spoon in a bit of oil and create plus signs in the center of the cupcakes. This will crack the top of the cupcakes nicely. Drizzle your choice of garnish on top. Place the muffin tin on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted tooth pick comes out clean.



8. Remove the tin from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool before serving.

The heavenly smell of cardamom combined with rosewater makes these cupcakes an absolute delight to be enjoyed with a hot cup of tea. Noosh-e j?n!