Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Strawberry Rhubarb Cupcakes

Strawberry Rhubarb Cupcakes, Valentines Cupcakes, Strawberry Cupcakes, High Altitude Strawberry CupcakesIt may seem a bit early for a strawberry rhubarb recipe, but if you're lucky enough to be able to find frozen rhubarb in your grocery store, then these cupcakes can be made any time of year.  And although it's January, spring will be here before we know it.  We have a rhubarb plant in our back yard, and I love watching for it to start peeking through the dirt when the weather turns warmer, but thankfully, since I freeze rhubarb each summer, I don't have to wait until spring.

The cupcakes are soft, tender sour cream cakes that I flavored subtly with almond extract, which pairs so beautifully with strawberry and rhubarb.  Lemon or orange extract in the cupcakes would also be delicious.

Each cupcake is filled with creamy rhubarb custard, that I made by first simmering the fruit until soft, then cooking with milk, cream and egg yolks, and finishing with vanilla and a touch of butter.  The custard is incredible.

And then the strawberry buttercream, which I made with my own homemade jam whipped into the frosting.  I love decorating layer cakes the most, but these cupcakes are just so pretty and delicate.  And as my three-year-old says, everyone loves cupcakes.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cupcakes, Valentines Cupcakes, Strawberry Cupcakes, High Altitude Strawberry Cupcakes

Strawberry Rhubarb Cupcakes, Valentines Cupcakes, Strawberry Cupcakes, High Altitude Strawberry Cupcakes

Strawberry Rhubarb Cupcakes, Valentines Cupcakes, Strawberry Cupcakes, High Altitude Strawberry Cupcakes

Strawberry Rhubarb Cupcakes

Rhubarb Custard.
  • 6 ounces chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
  • pink food coloring (optional)
  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (vanilla, orange or lemon extract can also be used)
Strawberry Buttercream.
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup good-quality strawberry jam
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Rhubarb Custard.
In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar and water.  Simmer over medium heat until the fruit is softened, and the liquid is syrupy and nearly evaporated.  Scrape the rhubarb into a blender, and add the milk and corn starch; pulse several times until smooth.  Scrape the blended mixture back into the saucepan, and whisk in the cream and egg yolks.  While whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then boil for one minute until thickened.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and butter.  Stir in a few drops of pink food coloring, if you like, to enhance the color.

Transfer the custard to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap resting right against the surface of the custard, and refrigerate until well chilled.

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a cupcake pan with 24 paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sour cream and extract.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and whisk until well combined and smooth, with a few remaining lumps.  Divide the batter between the paper liners.

Bake the cupcakes for about 15-18 minutes, until the centers spring back when lightly touched.  Cool five minutes in the pan, and then carefully remove to a wire rack.  Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and cool completely.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter with 1/4 cup of the jam until smooth.  With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar, meringue powder, salt and vanilla.  Increase the speed to medium and whip for 4-5 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally, until very light and fluffy.  Add more jam, if needed, for extra strawberry flavor and for desired consistency.

Use a cupcake corer to remove the centers of each cupcake.  Spoon (or pipe) the chilled rhubarb custard into the centers of each cupcake.  Fill a piping bag with the strawberry buttercream and pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes.  Garnish with fresh strawberry slices, if desired.

Yields 24 cupcakes

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen

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