Rose Water Cupcakes

Rose water is one of those flavors that always catches my eye. Whether I see a rose water cocktail on a menu, or a rose water tart at a patisserie, I always order it.

I’ve grown quite fond of rose water the past couple years. Slowly yet surely, I have started incorporating it into my own baking.

I’ve made a delicious rose water layer cake in the past, but I hadn’t played around with rose water and cupcakes yet. That’s where these rose water cupcakes come into play.

image of cupcakes decorated with buttercream rosettes

What is Rose Water?

Before we get any further, some of you may be wondering what exactly rose water is.

If you read the label of any rose water bottle, you’ll quickly learn it’s exactly what it sounds like – water soaked with rose petals!!

Rose water has been around forever, and has been traced back to the 7th century. It has a long history of being used for medical and cosmetic purposes, but it’s also a popular flavor.

Tons of middle eastern desserts use rose water, and rose hip tea is also quite popular.

I buy my rose water at Whole Foods, but you can also buy it at most large grocery stores (in the international aisle) or online.

Can You Make Your Own Rose Water?

If you are struggling to get your hands on rose water, or if you enjoy DIY projects, you can always make your own rose water.

My main advice if you make your own rose water is to use organic rose petals, and to consistently use the same ratio of petals to water.

Otherwise, you may end up with rose water that varies in strength from batch to batch. This could throw off the flavor of your desserts.

image of cupcakes decorated with sweetapolita sprinkle blen

Adding the Right Amount of Rose Water

Rose water is added to baking recipes just like an extract. The amounts I share in this recipe give these cupcakes the perfect floral taste, without being overpowering.

However, rose water can be quite a finicky flavor.

Add too little, and you’ll be disappointed when you bite into the cupcake and don’t detect delicate floral notes.

Too much? You’ll feel like you’re whiffing perfume as soon as you go to take a bite.

As someone who has been too heavy handed with rose water in the past, I believe it’s better to err on the side of adding too little.

image of unwrapped rose water cupcake

Adjusting as Needed

I highly recommend testing out what amount tastes right to you.

Some people prefer just a hint of rose water, other enjoy a more prominent flavor.

It’s ok to adjust the amount of rose water you add to suit your taste.

This is easier to do with buttercream than cupcakes. You can add a teaspoon at a time to your frosting, taste it, and add more if you think it needs it.

You can always add a bit more rose water to the buttercream if you want a stronger flavor. However, it’s harder to fix cupcakes that are as fragrant as your grandmother’s signature scent.

Just remember, while you can always add more, you can’t take it back.

The other factor besides the amount of rose water you add is the strength of the rose water.

Different brands have a stronger taste than others, so it’s good to find a brand you know and are comfortable using.

Like I mentioned above, this is my go to rose water brand. Most big grocery stores have rose water in the international aisle.

I know how strong of a flavor this brand has. This helps me know what amount tastes right in my recipes.

Decorating These Rose Water Cupcakes

Once I was happy with the flavor of these cupcakes, it was time to think about how I wanted to decorate them.

I wanted to decorate them in a way that matched the flavor of the cupcakes.

Image of piping a buttercream rosette onto a cupcake using a Wilton 1M frosting tip

I decided to frost the cupcakes with a simple buttercream rosette using my rose water buttercream and a Wilton 1M frosting tip.

Next, I carefully pressing a pretty sprinkle blend around the edges. The end result was beautiful!!

image of adding sprinkles to side of cupcake

If you need to refresh your sprinkle collection, or want to try out a fancy sprinkle blend, I highly recommend trying these!

You can also use the code ‘CHELSWEETS15’ to get 15% off your entire order from Sweetapolita.

Share Your Creations with Me!

If you try this rose water cupcake recipe, please let me know what you think! You can tag me @chelsweets, or use the #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations!

image of rosewater cupcakes, decorated with buttercream rosettes and sweetapolita sprinkles

Nothing makes me happier than when I get emails or DMs with photos of your amazing cakes. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your triumphs, or questions <3

Yield: 12

Rose Water Cupcakes

image of cupcakes decorated with buttercream rosettes

These rose water cupcakes are incredibly moist, and use the perfect amount of rose water! There are delicate floral notes in both the cupcake and frosting!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes


Rose Water Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (162 grams)
  • 1 cup sugar (200 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (6 grams)
  • 3/4 tsp salt (4 grams)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (127 grams)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (56 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp rose water (10 grams)
  • 1 large egg, room temp (57 grams)
  • 1/2 cup water (118 grams)

Rose Water Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (113 grams)
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar (220 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (1 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream (or whipping cream) (15 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (2 grams)
  • 1 tsp rose water (4 grams)


Rose Water Cupcakes

  1. Begin by preheating oven to 350°F (175°C), and place cupcake liners in baking pans.
  2. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large bowl, and gently combine with a large spoon.
  3. Add in the sour cream, and gently stir until just combined. The batter will be very thick, but that's how it should be!
  4. Next, add in the water, vanilla extract, rose water, egg and vegetable oil, and mix until the batter comes together.
  5. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 way full. Bake for 17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. If you want to accelerate the cooling process, pop the pans into your freezer for about 30 minutes.

Rose Water Buttercream

  1. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar in two installments. Alternate with the heavy cream.
  2. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla extract, rose water, and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 
  3. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tablespoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
  4. Place the buttercream in a piping bag fit with your favorite frosting tip, and pipe large swirls onto the fully cooled cupcakes.
  5. Garnish as desired, then enjoy!


This recipe makes one dozen cupcakes.

This recipe can also be used to make mini cupcakes! This recipe makes about 40 mini cupcakes, which only need to bake for 9-10 minutes.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 314Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 43mgSodium 268mgCarbohydrates 43gFiber 0gSugar 33gProtein 2g

20 thoughts on “Rose Water Cupcakes

  1. Love the concept, just a quick query:

    On point 3. You say to pour in “buttermilk” however I cannot see buttermilk in the ingredients list.

    Would this be sour cream instead?

    1. You are totally right!! I tested both buttermilk and sour cream in this recipe, and ended up settling on sour cream!! So sorry for any confusion, I’ve updated the recipe to reflect this <3 Thank you!

    1. Hi James,

      You can just double the ingredients, and follow the same instructions! I hope they turn out great for your cousin’s wedding <3

  2. Hi! If i wanted to sub the sour cream with something, what do you think would be the best way to go about that? I saw that you said you were thinking about using buttermilk early on… would that work? If so, do I use the same amount or something different? Thank you so much! I can’t wait to try this recipe (:

    1. Hi Chris,

      You can definitely use buttermilk in place of the sour cream in this recipe! It will change the texture and taste of the cupcake a bit, but it will still work! you can also use full fat yogurt in its place. Hope that helps, happy baking!! 🙂

  3. Hi ! I have a tasty cream cheese frosting recipe that I was thinking of adding rose water to, do you think cream cheese and rose water is too many flavors? I’m assuming your butter cream is the more tasteful rose-infused option!

    1. Hi Tia,

      I’ve never combined the two before, so I’m not quite sure! It sounds like a somewhat strange combination, but sometimes those end up being the best! I say try it and see how you like it 🙂

  4. Hey, if I don’t have a mixer to make the buttercream, would it be okay to use a whisk to mix ingredients for the frosting or would the consistency be different?(:

  5. i just tried this recipe, such a delicate flavour, just replaces 5 grs of water for 5 grs of rose water instead 🙂
    i wonder if the vegetable oil can be replace for melted butter, hope you could let me know based on your experience

Let me know what you think!