Wattleseed Cupcakes

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I think I first became curious about wattleseed because of the name. Wattleseed. It doesn't even sound like an ingredient I should take seriously, but more like a Lewis Carrol character ditched Alice and wandered off the pages and into a spice rack.

Some research was needed and wikipedia seemed to have a nice cohesive little entry:

Wattleseed is a term used to described the edible seeds from around 120 species of Australian Acacia that were traditionally used as food by Australian Aborigines and they were eaten either green (and cooked) or dried (and milled to a flour) to make a type of bush bread.

Acacia seed flour has recently gained popularity in Australia due to its high nutritional content, hardiness, availability, and low toxicity. Due to its low glycemic index it is also often incorporated into diabetic foods.
Vic Cherikoff (a significant pioneer in the Australian native food industry) developed Wattleseed as a flavoring in 1984 from selected species and this is now the major commercial product used because of its chocolate, coffee, hazelnut flavor profile. It is often added to ice cream, granola, chocolates and bread and widely used by chefs to enhance sauces, caramel, whipped cream and other dairy desserts.

The description of the flavor is accurate; chocolate, hazelnut, and coffee flavors. Nutella-esque but more subtle than that. As such I decided to put it to work in a cupcake.

The cupcake is adapted from the basic vanilla recipe over at Joy of Baking, but I took out most of the vanilla so I could let the wattleseed shine without competition from jealous undertastes. I just wasn't up for trial and error recipes, and I only have so much of the stuff, so her dependable (although a bit too bread-like in crumb consistency) recipe was just what I needed.

This cupcake was VERY well received at work. Honestly, I give it a few more years and wattleseed muffins will be in every frickin' coffee house. Hmm... maybe it's the next rockstar ingredient?

A special thanks to Judy as well for sending the delectible spice!

Wattleseed Cupcakes
Makes 12 / 350 F oven

What You'll Need...
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup of sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of AP flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of ground wattleseed
1/4 cup of milk

What You'll Do...
1) Preheat the oven to 350. Place butter and sugar in a bowl and cream on high speed until light and fluffy.

2) Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each for 30 seconds. Add the vanilla and beat for 30 more seconds. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom.

3) Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and wattleseed together in a bowl. Measure out the milk. On a low mixing speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Be sure to scrape down the sides at least once.

4) Fill into cupcake papers and bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Wattleseed Frosting
2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of ground wattleseed
2 tablespoons of milk

Put together in a mixer and beat to all hell, about 4 minutes on high. Spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Note on Purchasing Wattleseed: Wattlseed is still difficult to find in the U.S., still you can purchase it online. Keep in mind though that Wattleseed is like Saffron or Vanilla, an expensive spice since it has to be hand picked. Still if you can get your hands on some it's worth it.


  1. Hi there!
    Do you have a price range for wattleseed? My boyfriend loves to experiment with new exotic flavors (we recently purchased truffle oil and boy! is it tasty!!).
    Here in Montreal (Canada), saffron is about 8-9$ for a matchbox size box, and vanilla is between 3 and 8$, depending where it comes from, and the size and number of pods.
    Thanks a lot!

  2. Amelie - Please refer to the links at the bottom of the page to see various prices per weight.

  3. Wow, those looks good! I've never heard of wattleseed, but I'd love to try some!! Does anyone know if it is gluten free, by any chance?

  4. Wattleseed also comes in a variety of forms, including the superior grounds (from the company which developed the product as a food flavouring); a liquid extract for those fine desserts and as a beverage flavor; and just launched in a paste form.

    I recently received a waffle iron as a gift from my wife and we can certainly and highly recommend Wattleseed waffles with some whipped cream and maple syrup.

  5. I'm so jealous that I didn't get to try the cupcakes. And then Vic Cherikoff himself commented on your blog. I was looking at his site with all the different Australian spices and am intrigued. Wish I could fork out the $. I also am bad in that I tend to buy things and then never get around to trying them. I've got a bunch of rub varities still unopened. Sigh.

  6. Jess - Yes, it is.

    Vic - Wow, thanks so much for visiting and for the info! Really appreciate it and am honored. =)

    Catherine - A little goes a long way. Next time I see ya', I'll give ya a some.

  7. I'll admit the name "wattleseed" grabbed my attention as well. I had images from a past television show where a certain quirky male lawyer was obsessed with the neck wattle on older women.

    Thanks for the wonderful description of the origins and benefits of wattleseed. Definitely interesting stuff. I wonder when it will be more widely available.

  8. Thanks Garrett! I just purchased some two minutes ago. Can't wait to make me some gf wattleseed cupcakes!!!

  9. This is sooooo cool! I've never heard of wattleseed. Gotta try it!!!

  10. i love the name wattleseed. i made an avocado chocolate cupcake today & thought of you. Happy Thursday. ;)

  11. Wow, never hear of that ingredient before! I almost just skimmed over this in my feed but then my eye landed on hazelnut and I backed up. I'm embarrassed to admit I'm actually salivating over this recipe!

  12. I've never heard of wattleseed, but of course now I must have some. Thanks - I think!

  13. Cherikoff Wattleseed is also really good made into an extract (just boil some with 3 times the volume of water - a jar in the microwave is perfect for this) and folded through semi-soft ice cream or added to your favorite waffle recipe.

    The rule of thumb for the best quality Wattleseed (which is the only one I promote) is the richly roasted and artfully milled seeds should turn whatever you add it to, a pale brown color.

    You should also know that Wattleseed reduces the glycaemic index of the food it's used in so it makes it better for you. Just watch out with those high cal foods.

  14. That's so interesting and I totally love the name Wattleseed. I'll have to try some at some point - perhaps when it is in every coffee shop, but hopefully sooner!


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