Sunday, 29 May 2011

Rhubarb and custard cupcakes

It seems a shame to waste the garden rhubarb while it’s still growing, so this week it had to be rhubarb and custard cupcakes. While garden rhubarb will never yield the glorious pink of its forced cousin, it has its own tart beauty and, as I didn’t want these cupcakes to be overly sweet, it was the perfect ingredient.

I left the cooked rhubarb on the tart side – obviously this is a question of taste so I recommend you don’t add too much sugar at the start.

This is my version of the rhubarb and custard cupcakes featured in the Love Bakery cookbook. My ‘tweak’ is to add some of the rhubarb’s poaching syrup to the buttercream – perhaps I should’ve added more to increase the flavour as it did work well; first you got the rich custard taste then an acidic tang, not dissimilar to a rhubarb and custard boiled sweet.

After ‘coring’ the cupcake I filled it with my cooked rhubarb....

....topping this with some custard:

Definitely one of the most popular cupcakes I’ve made in recent times! By the way, if you’re thinking my photos look better this week I owe it all to Mr CC who generously bought me a new camera (an Olympus XZ-1). I’m not the most technologically minded person and cameras panic me a bit if I’m required to do anything other than point and click but I am slowly learning how to get some stunning photos...such as this one (the brilliant ‘food’ setting on the camera should take some of the credit):

Thank you Mr CC!


For the rhubarb (this will be used in both sponge and buttercream):
2-3 sticks rhubarb, washed and chopped into 2-3cm chunks
4 tablespoons water, but add more if the mixture looks dry
2 tablespoons caster sugar (if you’re using forced rhubarb use less sugar initially; I used garden rhubarb which is much tarter)

For the cupcake sponge (this will make 12 cupcakes):
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
125g self raising flour
2 tablespoons milk

To fill the cupcakes: cooked rhubarb (recipe above), if you wish, you could also fill with some of the ready made custard

For the buttercream (enough for 12 cupcakes):
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
250g icing sugar
1 tablespoon rhubarb poaching syrup
1 tablespoon ready made custard


Start by cooking the rhubarb: place the rhubarb chunks, water and sugar in a saucepan and simmer gently – with the lid on – until the chunks are tender and have released a lot of juice. You don’t want them to collapse completely, although most probably will. Taste, and add more sugar if you think it is too tart.

If you hear the rhubarb sizzling, add more water to the pot.

Strain the chunks from the syrup making sure you retain the syrup.

Put to one side and leave to cool.

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.

Line a cupcake pan with paper cases.

Beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs, flour and milk.

When the mixture is well combined, spoon into the paper cases.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean. Mine took 15 minutes.

Leave to cool on a wire rack and remove from the tin when cool enough to handle. (You can make up to this point a day before serving – simply store the cupcake sponges in an airtight container. Make the buttercream on the day you wish to serve the cupcakes)

On the day of serving, core the cupcake sponges and fill the cavity with the cooked rhubarb (and custard, if using).

Now make the buttercream: whip up the butter until it is light and fluffy.

Beat in the vanilla and icing sugar.

Beat in the rhubarb poaching syrup and custard.

Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes. You can use up any leftover rhubarb chunks by either hiding them under the buttercream i.e. place on top of the cupcake and pipe over them, or by using them as cupcake toppers.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.



trash said...


Gloria said...

Your cupcakes look awesome and delicious!!! gloria

Anne said...

Ooh what a yummy idea - love the picture showing the filling, looks delicious!

C said...

I love the idea of filling the cupcakes with fruit compote - delicious and so adaptable. And you can't go wrong with custard, ever, so they're a winner in my books!

Helen said...

These look delicious - what a lovely idea.

SumaiyyahAbidah said...

They look yummy!!! I think I've probably read every single recipe you've posted ever since I came across your blog, but this is my first time commenting.

What I like most about your cakes is that they don't look too 'dolled up', which is good! They look like good, honest, down-to-earth cakes who I can be friends with (as well as eat!!!) without being afraid of ruffling their feathers! It's like seeing friends in real life as compared to seeing actresses on television- and I mean it in a good way.

Btw i've never eaten rhubarb- wonder what it tastes like...

Victoria said...

your buttercream looks so light! yum yum yum :)

Kate@katescakesandbakes said...

I loved rhubarb and custard sweets when I was kid- I used to work in a sweet shop and could barely serve the customers as my mouth would be so full of rhubarb and custards! I love the idea of a cake version!

Lisa Shannon said...

Oh my these look delish, photos look lovely too. Going to make these tomorrow. Thanks CC
Best Wishes
Lisa xx

Jacqueline said...

Those look and sound divine CC. I do so love rhubarb. These would definitely be my choice.

The Glamorous Gourmet said...

I adore rhubarb and your cupcakes look divine! Congrats on the new camera - your photos are fabulous:)

Kim said...

Oh YUM! I love rhubarb and custard. I tried to make rhubarb and custard muffins a while back and they were on the disastrous side and I was put off from trying them again. Your way is so much better, definitely need to give these a go!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

I love the combination of custard with rhubarb. A perfect balance of tart and sweet!

Maria♥ said...

Those cupcakes look divine!


At Anna's kitchen table said...

What a great idea for cupcakes!
Lucky you getting a new camera! I like the 'food' setting on mine too :-))

Beth (Jam and Clotted Cream) said...

Your piping puts mine to shame. Great combo of flavours

The Bibliophile said...

Must admit I'm not a fan of either custard or rhubarb, but you make these cakes look delicious!

Nom! said...

what a great twist to a cupcake with something a lot of people see as a bit 'old school', also, where did you get your piping bits? Mine done come out as big as that and struggling to find any!

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Nom

It's a set from Tala - it contains one reusable bag and three metal nozzles. I'm not very technical about my piping, some people know the names of the nozzles or the size...not me! This one looks like a star tip but with the pointy bits bent in to give a domed end.

Happy baking!

Baking Addict said...

When I saw the title I wondered if it's the recipe from the Love bakery. It's still on my to bake list. Looks absolutely delicious. Great pics!

Cakelaw said...

OMG - I can see why these were popular! Rhubarb and custard together in a cake is a heavenly idea.

Jo said...

Oh wow! "Yum" doesn't even cover it!

Maggie said...

I am definitely sold on this idea. Such a great cupcake combo CC. Piping looks really good and photo's are looking great.

Hazel said...

YUH-HUM! I think I've only ever had rhubarb and custard in sweets... but that's not even real rhubarb and custard! What a great idea for a cake flavour combo!

Sarah said...

Looks AMAZING. Great pictures too. You do an awesome job showing your delicious foods.


Roda said...

I agreed with every word on your blog. Great work. If you do have the time do pop over to mine at

Choclette said...

What fun, rhubarb and custard - great idea. Congratulations on your camera - the photos do look fantastic.

FJK said...

Yes. I must make these. Thanks for the inspiration.

Lisa said...

Okay, kick me for being so lax in catching up with you. How did I miss these?! This is crack in a wrapper and I must make them. You keep outdoing yourself!

therealandrew said...

The cakes look amazing. I think this is a great combination of fruit. I ought to try this recipe out! Thanks


[cooking contests]

Jo said...

Loving the look of these! Think I will have a go at making a batch.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy someone's finally made these! I'm going to try tonight. Thanks for the tips!

Sue said...

I made these cupcakes a few weeks ago ... they were a SMASH hit & I blogged about them here. Thanks for the inspiration!