Rhubarb & Custard Cupcakes

Over the Easter weekend I celebrated my 23rd birthday and (not surprisingly) I received a lot of baking related presents which was great! Until recently I had been doing most of my baking at my parents house as their kitchen is like Lakeland! I’m not joking – my Mum owns every piece of baking equipment and every possible size cake tin you could ever need and since I have recently moved out I am still in the process of acquiring my own bakeware.

One of the presents I was most excited to receive was my own Kenwood electric hand mixer because I have been restricted in the recipes I can make without one. So I was eager to test it out straight away! 

For my first bake I decided to take advantage of the beautiful fresh rhubarb my sister grows and combine it with the custard flavouring she bought me and bake rhubarb cupcakes with custard flavoured cream cheese frosting. 

Ingredients (for the cupcakes):
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (I only added a pinch)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 cups rhubarb stalks, cut into small pieces 

I decided to try two different methods for incorporating the rhubarb into the cake batter. The first method was one I had seen in many recipes online, whereby the rhubarb pieces are simply stirred through the cake batter in the final step before dividing into the paper cases. 
However, I was interested to see what would happen if I cooked the rhubarb down to a soft consistency (similar to making rhubarb crumble) and then stirred it through the batter. 

I followed the following method but after step 5 I divided the batter in two – one half for each of the different types of rhubarb. 

1. Preheat oven at 180ºC. Line standard muffins tins with paper liners.
2. Whisk together flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt.
3. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low.
5. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until combined after each.
6. Stir in the rhubarb.
7. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full (I made 15 cupcakes)
8. Bake, rotating thins half-way through, for approximately 30 minutes.
9. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

Here are the cupcakes before baking – the 6 on the right contain the rhubarb pieces and the 6 on the left contain the cooked rhubarb. 

And after 30 minutes this was the result – 

Now I know why I didn’t find any recipes for cupcakes made with cooked rhubarb – it just doesn’t work! They didn’t turn a nice golden brown on top like the others, they were very dense on the inside and the centres collapsed once they had cooled.

However, the cupcakes with the rhubarb pieces were amazing – moist & fluffy with great rhubarb flavour.

While they cooled I had time to make the custard frosting. I used a basic cream cheese frosting recipe to add the custard flavouring to- 

Ingredients (for the frosting):
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
220g cream cheese
2 cups icing sugar (to taste)
Custard essence (to taste)

1. Cream the butter on a medium speed before adding the cream cheese. Mix until well combined.
2. Add icing sugar
3. Add custard flavouring and fold through with a spatula 
4. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes

and finally 5. EAT ALL THE CUPCAKES!! (or share them if you are feeling generous!) 
So it was a partially successful bake! One thing I need to work on is the presentation and decoration of my bakes. This is something I hope will develop throughout my blogging.

Hannah xx


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