Thursday, August 6, 2015

Rosy Rhubarb Cupcakes - Not Quite a Cupcake

While I was looking through a Taste of Home cookbook,cupcakes For Every Season, a recipe for "Rosy Rhubarb Cupcakes" caught my attention. The title caught my attention and took me back in time to my Grandma Pansy's house outside of Rolla, Missouri on V Highway. 

My Grandma Pansy had a rhubarb patch. In the Ozarks, a patch can be a postage stamp size area or up to an acre in size. Grandma's rhubarb patch was small but she harvested enough rhubarb to make several pies and still be able to freeze three of four quarts for winter pie use.

Eating rhubarb pie at Grandma Pansy's house was a treat, but I never seem to get around to making a rhubarb pie. Cupcakes, on the other hand, are baked regularly at the Bonham house. I was intrigued with the idea of a rhubarb cupcake. Next trip to the store, I bought a bag of frozen rhubarb to use in the cupcake recipe.

Rosy Rhubarb Cupcakes - Using the Recipe for The First Time

Carefully reading through the recipe for the third time, I was wondering about the liquid to dry ingredient ratio. One cup of liquid to two cups of flour with no other liquids makes a thick batter.

However, the finely chopped, raw rhubarb would add a small amount of liquid to the batter while cooking. I decided to follow the recipe exactly, instead of adding more water. I try to follow a recipe exactly the first time I use it.

The mini-food chopper finely chopped the thawed rhubarb. Setting it aside, I quickly assembled the liquid and dry ingredients. The batter turned out to be thick, but I restrained myself from adding more liquid.

Another warning flag started waving in my head. The total amount of baking powder and baking soda was 3/4 of a teaspoon. Hmmm..these cupcakes were not going to rise like a cake batter cupcake.

The finished batter was thick and easy to spoon into the cupcake pans. Into the oven for 30-35 minutes.
Rhubarb Cupcakes - The Finished Product
Pretty on top! Love using a Wilton 2D decorating tip to pipe roses! 

The baked cupcakes were golden brown. (My daughter arrived with my grandson about this time. I was distracted and forgot to take pictures of the cupcakes coming out of the oven) The paper liners were no longer pretty. Oh darn! Carefully I set each hot cupcake onto the cooling rack. After 25 minutes, the cupcakes were cooled enough to taste. 

My taste testers, hubby Bill and daughter Ashley, each took an unfrosted cupcake, pulled the paper liner off, and took a bite. The consensus was:
  1. The cupcakes were more of a muffin than a cupcake. 
  2. The tops were crisp while underneath was nice and soft. A nice contrast. 
  3. The rhubarb flavor was light. We had expected it to be stronger.
  4. The cupcakes were not very sweet.
  5. I did not taste ANY nutmeg at all, or think the nutmeg made the flavor pop. The recipe said it would.
Next, I frosted three cupcakes with buttercream frosting and my taste testers and I went to work again! The consensus was:
  1. The buttercream frosting provided a needed layer of sweetness to the cupcake, but masked the rhubarb flavor. 
  2. The cupcakes taste like a frosted muffin, not a cupcake.
  3. The nutmeg was nonexistent. 
After the tasting was over, I frosted the remaining cupcakes, placed them in a cupcake carrier, and put them in the refrigerator. Sometimes, fruit flavors will get stronger after refrigeration. I was hoping this would happen with the cupcakes. Sitting overnight in the refrigerator did help the rhubarb flavor to be more apparent, but the frosting still overpowered the rhubarb. 

Rosy Rhubarb Cupcakes - The Final Assessment
  1.  I would NOT call this a cupcake. I would call it a muffin. 
  2. Eat the muffins warm with vanilla ice cream! Yum!
  3. Do not use buttercream frosting. Try with cream cheese frosting, or sprinkle with powdered sugar. 
The three of us did enjoy eating some homemade happiness on a plate! If you would like to make a nice Rosy Rhubarb MUFFIN - click here for the recipe.