Before you start, pre-heat the oven to 350 F degrees and line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. To make the cupcakes, first in a large bowl sift together flour, cardamom powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Now to the steel bowl of your stand mixer (or any other bowl if using a hand mixer), add yogurt (room temperature) and sugar. Also add in the oil, vanilla and rose water.
Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer (or using a stand mixer), mix on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes until everything is well combined.
Start adding the dry ingredients, add in 2 parts, and mix after each addition. Remember to not over-mix the batter here, so mix until it's all just combined.
Fill the cupcake liners with the batter until 2/3rd full. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 F degrees for 15 to 17 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Oven timing may vary as every oven is different so keep an eye on them after 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let the cool completely on a wire rack before you frost them.
Make the frosting
Before you start making the frosting, heat 2 tablespoons of heavy cream in a small pan (not boil but warm it up), crush some saffron strands in your hands and add it to the warm cream. Remove pan from heat and let it sit for 10 minutes while you work on the frosting.
For the frosting, beat 1 stick of butter (at room temperature) using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer (or use your hand mixer) for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat until it's creamy and light in color.
Then add the room temperature cream cheese and beat 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.Add the prepared cream-saffron mixture, kewra essence and vanilla extract and mix.
Then add the powdered sugar (1/2 cup at a time) and mix until it's all well combined. The frosting should be thick and hold it's shape. Remember to mix at low speed in the beginning while adding powdered sugar else it will all blow up on your face.
Fill & Decorate
Now, take the cooled cupcakes and core it. I use a large piping tip that I had and use the open round end of it, pressed it into the center of the cupcakes, twisted it inside the cupcake a few times and then pulled it out. You can use a cupcake corer as well.
Now fill the center will around 2 tablespoons of the prepared thick rabdi. Make all the cupcakes similarly.
Pipe the frosting and then place a jalebi on top of the cupcake. You may garnish with edible gold leaves.
You can make these cupcakes without the rabdi as well. Even if you don't fill them, they are pretty good festive cupcakes. But the rabdi adds a lot of richness and flavor and takes them to the next level.
If you are not a jalebi pan, then you can even top these cupcakes with gulab jamun since rabdi also goes very well with gulab jamuns.
Make sure the rabdi that you are using for filling the cupcakes is pretty thick. If you are using my instant rabdi recipe, then that gets pretty thick as it cools down so you will be fine with that. But if using any other recipe or method, just make sure it's thick.
The prep and cook time does not include the time taken to make the rabdi. You should make that in advance before you start with these cupcakes.