These vibrant yellow semolina cupcakes were inspired by many traditional cakes served throughout the Middle East. While studded with chopped apricots and pistachios, they aren’t overly sweet and are a nice morning or afternoon offering with a cup of coffee or tea. The batter includes coconut milk, so they are dairy free. (You can also use regular milk.) The coconut flavor dissipates in cooking unless you add a few drops of coconut extract to the batter.
Yield: 12 muffins
Prep time (including baking): about 45 minutes
Shelf life: at least 3 days
- 12 paper muffin liners
- 10 ounces semolina flour
- 2 ½ ounces all-purpose flour, plus a little to sprinkle on apricots and pistachios
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground star anise
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Grated zest of 1 orange, 1 tablespoon juice reserved for glaze
- 8 ounces coconut milk, or regular milk
- 7 ounces granulated sugar
- 5 ounces vegetable oil
- 1 ½ ounces finely chopped apricots
- 1 ½ ounces chopped pistachios, plus a few for garnish, if desired
- 3 ounces apricot preserves
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
- In a bowl, stir together the semolina and all-purpose flours, baking powder, turmeric, star anise, salt, and orange zest together.
- Using a handheld mixer, in a large bowl, stir the sugar into the milk to dissolve. Add the dry ingredients and oil and beat on medium for 5 minutes.
- Toss the apricots and pistachios with a little flour to coat, then gently fold into the batter. Fill the muffin cups and bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Remove and let cool while preparing the glaze.
- In a small saucepan, melt the apricot preserves over medium heat. Strain to remove the fruit solids, stir in 1 tablespoon of the reserved orange juice, and cool. Brush over the cupcakes, drizzle a pinch of chopped pistachios in the center, and serve.