For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 24 regular cupcake liners.
ift the flour, instant pistachio pudding, baking powder and cardamom into a bowl. Combine the buttermilk, sour cream and oil into another bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar and butter until the mixture is lighter in color and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Add the vanilla, almond and pistachio flavors. Add one egg at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Turn the mixer to the lower speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture, alternating between the two, beginning and ending with the flour. Lastly, fold in by hand, the salted chopped pistachios.
Fill the prepared cupcake liners half full with batter and bake until golden and baked though, 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely.
For the date and honey filling: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the dates, honey, 1/4 cup water and cardamom together and cook until over medium-low heat until the mixtures becomes thicker, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a dish and cool.
For the orange cream cheese frosting: Whip the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment at medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the juice, orange extract, vanilla extract, salt and zest and beat until fully incorporated. Then lower the speed and add the powdered sugar incrementally and beat for 3 more minutes. Put the frosting into a pastry bag and cut 1/2 inch off the tip.
To assemble: Using an apple corer, remove a piece of the cupcake from the center. Fill the cupcake with 1 teaspoon of the date and honey filling. Using a large round tip #809, pipe the orange cream cheese frosting and garnish with the toasted pistachios
This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Ady Abreu, Cupcake Wars, 2011