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Strawberry Rhubarb Cupcakes

May 6, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Cupcake

Graduate school’s out for summ – er – three weeks! Ok so maybe it’s not as glorious a feeling as the last days of school pre-2005 but, a break is a break and I’ll take it. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore being a student again, especially when my classes consist of talking, debating, and analyzing all kinds of fabulous writing.

But having a career, a blog, a marriage, a home, homework, and an ever-growing list of things to bake and books to read can be pretty damn exhausting. So when the opportunity arises to have just one of those come off my plate for a little while, I celebrate. And then in three weeks, the mania will resume which, is perfectly ok. Frankly, I’d get bored without so many balls in the air. I live fast so much better than I do slow.

But, for now – a little relaxation. This weekend, we’re heading to Richmond for an extended family multi-event celebration that includes Zach’s birthday, Mother’s Day, my cousin’s engagement and a grad school graduation. There will be kabobs, Mom’s chocolate sheetcake, plenty of wine and beer, and a triple-layer cake version of these Strawberry Rhubarb Cupcakes.

I made these earlier in the week for my final class of the semester and they seemed to be a universal hit. This was my first time cooking or baking with rhubarb and to be honest, I totally winged it on the filling. I chucked a bunch of stuff in a pot, let it cook for a while, and prayed the taste and consistency would be right. Low and behold it was!

The cupcakes are more muffin than cake, with only a hint of sweetness. But paired with the tangy sweet strawberry rhubarb filling and the creamy punch of cream cheese frosting, the flavors meld wonderfully together. Note, though fresh berries are always preferred, I suggest using frozen in the batter unless you’ve laid your hands on some supreme fresh ones. You really need the strawberries to be full in flavor and perfectly ripe.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cupcakes

Cupcake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

For the Cupcakes

2/3 cup strawberries, either fresh or frozen (thawed)

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup whole milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 large egg whites

For the Strawberry Rhubarb Filling

1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped

3-4 stalks rhubarb, chopped

1/4-1/2 cup sugar (depending on sweetness of strawberries)

1/2 cup water

1 Tb lemon zest

Pinch of salt

1.5 – 2 Tbs cornstarch

For the Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

12 oz (1.5 packages) cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 vanilla bean

1 tsp vanilla extract

4-5 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with paper liners. Purée the strawberries in a blender or food processor – you want to have 1/3 cup of puree for the batter.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt. In another bowl combine the milk, vanilla extract, and 1/3 cup of strawberry puree.

3. Cream butter on medium-high speed until fluffy, then add sugar. Add the egg and egg whites, combine well. Add half of the flour mixture, then the milk and strawberry mixture, then the remaining flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin cups and bake 20-23 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

4. To make the strawberry filling, combine all ingredients – except for the cornstarch – in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce and simmer for 1 hour or until rhubarb begins to break down. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly then purée the mixture in a food processor, strain, and return to the saucepan. Sprinkle in the cornstarch, whisk to break up any clumps, and cook over low heat until thick. Allow to cool completely.

5. To make the frosting, cream together the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. Split vanilla bean in half length-wise and scrape the seeds – add to the mixer and beat until seeds are evenly distributed. Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Beat to combine well.

6. To finish, fill a piping bag with strawberry rhubarb filling, insert tip gently into cupcake and fill with about 1 Tb. Frost, decorate, and serve!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2010 3:16 pm

    The strawberry rhubarb filling looks delicious! Can’t wait to go back to the US for a month and get some rhubarb at the farmer’s market!

  2. Emily Bratcher permalink
    May 6, 2010 6:38 pm

    Oh, Martha, these look amazing. I’m thinking I’m going to have to try them out. xx

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