Almond Rose Cupcakes with Strawberry Mascarpone Buttercream

If you are looking for a cupcake with a fun unique flavor this is a great one to try.  But don’t be frightened away by this uncommon flavor combination. These cupcakes have a light delicate crumb and can be made into an everyday almond or vanilla cupcake with the omission of extracts. The addition of mascarpone to the buttercream gives the icing a light whipped-cream like texture and the strawberry adds a fruity vibrancy to this noteworthy amalgamation.A-rose-double-web

My niece celebrated her birthday a couple of weeks ago and since she has a fondness for floral flavors I decided to try my hand at a rose cupcake.  About the same time, in serendipic fashion, my friend Renae mentioned that she had some rose petal paste from Pakistan and offered to give me a quantity to make these lovely little cakes with classic and exotic flavors.


If you cannot get your hands on rose petal paste, rose water would be a nice substitute to bring out this English and Middle Eastern flavor staple. I included mascarpone in the cupcake batter which gives it really light and moist texture but if you don’t want to purchase it or don’t have it on hand you can use half and half, sour cream or cream cheese in equal weight. If you use sour cream or cream cheese add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to neutralize the acidity.


For the buttercream, I added Strawberry Paste from Pastry Portal which gives an intense and bright fruity flavor with a small volume (I’m addicted!) but you can also use strawberry puree and strawberry extract for a similar taste.

I hope you enjoy this unique confection full of complex flavors!

Happy baking!


On a personal note; my daughter’s tenth birthday was this weekend and all of the party preparation kept me away from the blog for several days.  But I have lots of fun things to share with you soon from her Greek Goddess themed birthday party. I am so blessed by my smart, sweet girl full of beautiful character. God is good!

Maddie table

Almond Rose Cupcakes with Strawberry Mascarpone Buttercream


  • 6 ounces (170 grams) unsalted butter- 12 tablespoons or 1 ½ sticks
  • 6 tablespoons (90 milliliters) vegetable oil
  • 18 ounces (510 grams) granulated sugar- 2 ½ cups
  • 3 tablespoons (45 milliliters) rose petal paste or 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) rose flower water
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) almond extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 12 ounces (340 grams) all-purpose/plain flour- 2 ¼ cups
  • 3 ¾ ounces (106 grams) cake flour- 1 cup
  • 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon (8 milliliters) salt
  • 7 ½ ounces (213 grams) mascarpone or half and half- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons
  • For the Strawberry Mascarpone Buttercream:
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) egg whites separated from whole eggs or from a carton- 1 cup
  • 16 ounces (454 grams) granulated sugar- 2 ¼ cups
  • ½ ounce (14 grams) corn syrup- 1 tablespoon
  • 16 ounces (454 grams) unsalted butter softened but not warm- 2 cups
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) mascarpone softened
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (23 milliliters) strawberry paste or 1/3 cup (80 milliliters) strawberry puree and 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) strawberry extract
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C) and line standard cupcake pans with 30 paper liners.
  2. Combine butter, oil and sugar in a mixer bowl and blend on low for about 1 minute until combined but not fluffy or light; add flavorings and stir to blend. Add eggs one at a time and mix on low until just absorbed by the butter-sugar mixture about 1 minute.
  3. Sprinkle in the dry ingredients and mix on low until moistened, about 1 minute. Add the mascarpone or half and half in thirds with the mixer running on low then mix for 30 seconds on low until blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.
  4. Divide batter between the liners using a ¼ cup ice cream scoop filling 2/3 full and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean and the cupcakes spring back slightly when gently pressed. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then move to a cooling rack. Cool completely before icing or store in an airtight container. Can be frozen unfrosted.
  5. Makes about 30 standard cupcakes or 120 mini cupcakes
  6. For the Strawberry Mascarpone Buttercream:
  7. Whisk egg whites, sugar and corn syrup together in a microwave-safe bowl; make sure the mixture is well mixed so the sugar can protect the eggs from cooking. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 2-4 minutes on high in 30 second intervals whisking well after each 30 second heating. Heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches 160ᵒ F/72ᵒ C. (Alternatively this step can be carried out in a double boiler over simmering water). Pour the syrup into a cake pan or shallow metal bowl and chill in the freezer for 20-30 minutes until it is quite cool (45-60ᵒ F).
  8. Meanwhile, beat the butter and mascarpone in a mixer for 2 minutes on high until lighter in color and aerated. Add the cooled syrup in two additions to the butter beating 30 seconds after each addition. Add the vanilla and strawberry paste, or strawberry puree and extract and pinch of salt beat 30 seconds until smooth; can be used immediately.
  9. You can store this buttercream in the refrigerator tightly sealed for 2 weeks or in the freezer for 2 months. You will need to bring it to room temperature and rebeat it before using.


26 thoughts on “Almond Rose Cupcakes with Strawberry Mascarpone Buttercream”

  1. I have rose extract that I bought at Sur La Table…not rose water. How much rose extract would you use in this recipe?

    1. I can’t give you a super definitive answer since I don’t know about the concentration. Usually extracts are formulated to work in the teaspoon range. I would start with a teaspoon and taste the finished batter. If it tastes a little weak stir a bit more in at the end. 🙂

  2. Hi Summer. I love your blog and have made with great success your sour cream cake with sour cream buttercream. I was wondering if you had any favorite science of baking books or references/resources? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jennifer, I’m glad you liked the Sour Cream Cake. If you are looking for a good overview of baking basics the book How Baking Works by Paula Figoni is a good reference. If you want a more in depth look at food science in general, On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee is the gold standard of resources on practical food science; it costs less than Ms. Figoni’s paperback so I would push for Harold’s encyclopedic volume. (Plus I think I have a sort of nerdy science crush on Harold McGee 🙂 ). If you get one of these let me know what you think!

    1. Yes! U.S. half and half is a light cream which can vary in fat from 10.5% to 18%. It is often used as cream for coffee. I usually don’t have half and half on hand but use 2/3 cup low fat milk (1-2% fat) and 1/3 heavy cream (36%), or 3/4 cup whole milk (3.25%) and 1/4 cup heavy cream for the equivalent of half and half. My substitutes run right about 12.5%.

      1. Thanks Summer! I got another question though. I don’t have/use rose petal paste nor rose essense. But I do have dried rose buds that I use for tea brewing and last week I used that to make a rose tea chiffon cake. Do you think I can use that for this cupcake as well? Perhaps brew the tea in half and half before using? Thanks again for answering

        1. I think that would definitely work. You could also try brewing in water with a portion of the sugar to create a syrup and reduce that a bit. You will have to play with concentrations but I like a somewhat subtle floral element anyway. 🙂 Let me know how it goes!

    1. Hi Victoria, you can use glucose syrup or skip it. If you don’t use it just be sure all of your sugar granules dissolve and you should be fine. 🙂

  3. Hi Summer Thanks again for the great recipes ! And all the helpful advice and tips! Yes I agree – we are the ones who are blessed. As mentioned previously we don’t get All purpose flour here – you did recommend using a portion of bread flour to cake flour, which I did (choc cuppies) with great success. How would I change this recipe? Shower of blessings Kathy

    1. Thanks Kathy! I would try a 3:1 ratio of cake flour to bread flour by weight. It will depend a bit on your protein content but I believe that should work. 🙂

  4. Hi summer,unbleached plain flour or bleached flour which flour do you use for all your cakes.can you please tell me which is best flour to use for cakes thank you summer.

  5. Hi Summer, good afternoon. I have been searching everywhere online for the rose petal paste with no luck. Was this homemade from your friend? If so, would you be able to post the recipe? Also, does the paste have specs of rose petals like a vanilla bean paste? Sorry for so many questions today. Have a great day!

    Sean Elliott

    1. Hi Sean! I believe it came from Pakistan. And unfortunately I do not have a recipe. Yes, there were specs of rose petal. It is similar to crystallized ginger almost, that was crushed into a paste. I believe you could slowly reduce dried rose petals in a sugar syrup and end up with a similar effect. If not rosewater would work fine too. 🙂

  6. Hi Summer,

    If I use strawberry puree rather than paste, do you suggest a fresh puree or cooked? If fresh, how long will the buttercream last?


  7. Ambitious as it may be, how would you suggest scaling the buttercream recipe to generously frost a 4-layer, 9″ round cake? Thanks.

    1. Hi Ryan, I would double this recipe unless you are going to do extensive piping. In that case, I would go 2 1/2 times the recipe. Better safe than sorry! No one likes to have to make more buttercream in the middle of decorating. 😉

      1. Thanks! I made 2.5x the recipe and it was more than enough to frost the layers with a small amount of piping. I used the Quintessential Chocolate Cake and Vanilla Cake recipes to make a checkerboard cake with this frosting. Delicious!

  8. Do you have a favorite almond extract? I haven’t cared for the few that I’ve tried.

    Everyone seems to love almond cake for weddings, I’d love to create one using a ratio of almond paste/flour. I remember hearing of an upscale bakery that used almond paste (maybe marzipan actually-it was The ButterEnd Bakery) in their chocolate cake, it was one of their ‘Specialty’ flavors, which is what got me thinking about it initially but I’d also like a vanilla-almond as well (picky, picky). I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the idea…

    I’d also like to thank you for sharing all your recipes! I adore your approach towards baking, learning about how different ingredients interact and behave so you can tweak or build a recipe; I had NO clue quite how difficult it all can be! I have a newfound appreciation for recipe development and people like you who so generously share their knowledge 🙂 I especially enjoy the articles comparing different types of flours, the consistency a scale can give you, oven temp, etc. Things I’d never even considered before!

    Forgive my babbling, I just wanted to say thank you and I’d appreciate any feedback, if and when you happen to have the time. Thank You!

    1. I make an almond cake often for weddings and special events and I use amaretto instead of almond extract and soak the cake layers in an amaretto syrup. It tastes warm, almond-y and slightly nutty without the severe, burning scent of some almond extracts. The cake itself is has a 2:1 ratio of APF & almond flour.

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