Kayk Yazdi – cardamom and rosewater cupcakes

کیک یزدی

Kayk Yazdi is to Iranians what vanilla or chocolate cupcakes are to Americans! I have yet to serve this cake (“kayk” in Farsi also translates to cupcakes in English) without generating a twinkle in the eye followed by an ear to ear smile. For anyone of Iranian origin, this familiar little treat evokes a sweet and tender emotion, prompting nostalgic stories about a distant childhood eating Kayk Yazdi in Iran.

Kayk Yazdi comes from Yazd, a five thousand year old city of Yazd located in the center of Iran and one of the greatest adobe cities of the world. This desert provincial capital is known for its delectable sweets, silk textiles, Zoroastrian fire temples, mosques and windtowers. These fantastic structures create ventilation in buildings by capturing breezes from above while venting warmer air from below. The tallest wind catcher in Yazd is part of Dowlatabad Garden, inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

I have made this cupcake dozens of times and have actually taught it in some of my cooking classes here in Seattle. Recently I pulled out some of my old – I mean Roza Montazemi-old – cookbooks to see if there are easier or better ways to make them. For those not familiar with Roza Montazemi, she was a chef/author whose books date back to the early 1970s, and the food pictures scream that decade’s style!

After 6 different trials of this recipe with varying degree of success, I decided this was the best. I hope to evoke a strong emotion in you as you make these cupcake, and would love to know what stories they would prompt you to tell.



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Kayk Yazdi

Cardamom and rosewater cupcakes
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: cardamom, cupcakes, dessert, Rose water, saffron
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Author: Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef


  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, (300 g) or all purpose
  • 2 teaspoons cardamom, ground
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, (200 g)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, (245 g) whole fat
  • 4 tablespoons rose water
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron, ground and dissolved in 3 tablespoons of hot water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, (113 g) gently melted


  • 1 tablespoon pistachios, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon rose petals (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 375° F / 190° C.
  • Gently grease the muffin tins or use cupcake liners.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
  • Fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix.
  • Evenly fill the muffin tin or liners with the batter and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick test comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and place on a serving platter and sprinkle the topping while hot.
  • Store in an airtight container.


Different variety of Kayk yazdi will replace the pistachios with sesame seeds.
Also, cardamom and rose water can be replaced with vanilla for a simple vanilla cupcake. 
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4 thoughts on “Kayk Yazdi – cardamom and rosewater cupcakes

  1. Would this work as a layer cake? Also, what size muffin tins do you have? I only have 3oz ones and was wondering if i will come up with a dozen or maybe more, given the amount of flour in the recipe? Thank you!

    1. Hi Katherine. By layer cake, do you mean baking this as a cake instead and layering it with other cake batters? If so, I imagine that may work, except I only use one egg for this cupcake so it will not rise significantly as a cake. As far as the size of the muffin tin goes, I used a standard muffin tin which is roughly about 3 oz and it will definitely fit the entire batter and yield 12 cupcakes. Hope this helps!

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