Sunday, 24 May 2009

Rhubarb and Custard Cupcakes

The May challenge for the Livejournal community bakebakebake is 'custard'. You have to incorporate this into some form of baking. So, as I adore cupcakes, I made Rhubarb and Custard cupcakes. I had a quick look on the internet, but there aren't any recipes for this (although there are a couple for Rhubarb and Custard muffins, which I didn't like the look of) so I was able to make it up happily, without fear of plagiarism.

So this is my own recipe, thrown together from a number of pre-existing recipes no doubt. The confectioner's custard isn't my own recipe though, that can be credited to the Rick Stein Cookbook that I got for my 18th birthday. But even that I changed a little bit.

Rhubarb and Custard Cupcakes

For the cake:
40z butter
40z caster sugar
40z plain flour

1tsp baking powder
1/4 bicarb of soda

2 eggs, beaten

For the Rhubarb:
2tsp sugar
enough rhubarb to make about 5oz when stewed
2 tsp water

For the custard:
2 Egg yolks,
2oz caster sugar
3/4 oz (20g) cornflour
3/4 oz (20g) plain flour
10fl oz (300ml) milk
1tsp vanilla extract
150ml double/whipping cream.

First, peel, chop and stew the rhubarb (by combining water, rhubarb and the 2tsp sugar and cooking over a low heat until almost mushy. I didn't stew down completely, leaving quite a few small lumps in. I would probably stew it even less next time to have even more lumps as these gave quite a nice texture to the cake. It's a personal preference thing). I forgot to weigh the rhubarb before I cooked it, which means that I can't tell you how much is it takes to make 5 1/2 oz stewed, sorry. I wouldn't worry too much though, as the amount of rhubarb in these cupcakes is determined by how much I had. So guess.

Set this aside and let it cool. Then make the confectioners custard. You'll need to put the egg yolks, sugar, two flours and 2 tbsps of the milk into a bowl and mix together until smooth. I used a whisk, just to make sure there were no lumps at all. Put the remaining milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Keep watching it, because when it starts to boil it will triple in size and boil over if you're not careful. Pour the boiling milk into the egg mixture slowly, whisking constantly as you do until you have a smooth mixture. Pour this back into the saucepan and cook on a low heat, stirring (or whisking) constantly until you have a nice thick custard. Take off the heat and pour into a bowl. Cover the custard with a layer of cling film (cling wrap/ plastic wrap for Americans) pressed gently onto the surface of the custard to stop a skin forming.

Transfer this to the fridge and allow to cool completely. Preheat oven to 180'C. Now for the actual cake. Cream together the butter and the sugar and gradually add beaten eggs (adding a tablespoon of flour if the mixture starts to separate). Sift together flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt and fold into the butter, sugar and eggs. Once combined, add in the stewed rhubarb and mix in well.

Half fill muffin cases with mixture. As this was a first time cake recipe, I experimented a bit with different combinations. The first six I filled 2/3 full with the rhubarb mixture, the middle three I filled 2/3 with rhubarb mixture and put a dollop on custard on top, and the last three I half filled with rhubarb, put a dollop of custard in and then covered the custard with more rhubarb. Bake for 14 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to the touch and take out and leave to cool. These photos are a bit rushed and not as clear as I'd like, primarily because I had to rush to collect my mum from work and I wanted to take them as taste testers (nothing brings people out of the woodwork faster than cakes. I turned up to see two people and within 3 minutes of bringing these out there was an entire crowd!)

The cakes without custard baked into them had the confectioners custard as topping. To make it into a topping, I whipped 150 ml of cream (I used double as they didn't have whipping, but either will do) and folded it in to make a lighter topping. Next time I think I will do double the cream as the end result was not stiff enough to pipe or even hold its shape. It was amazingly yummy though.

I also didn't have my muffin pan with me (I was baking at my parent's house) so the cupcakes came out all sorts of funny shapes. And because the cake was weighed down with the rhubarb, it didn't rise. Which, normally would irritate me, but the texture of the cake was so beautiful that I couldn't complain.

I'm definitely making this again (I'll have to, I have an order for a rhubarb and custard cake for a birthday - apparently my mum liked them so much that she was recommending them to her friends at church and I got an order out of it!) as I'd like to sort out a pipable custard topping and maybe have a few more chunks of rhubarb in the cake itself. I also want to experiment with the sugar levels, although I have to admit, the sugar that I used made the cakes tart enough to taste properly, but sweet enough not to be unpleasant, so I was pretty happy with that :-)

All in all, a bloomin' good success I'd say!


  1. Which did you think work best out of the cakes which you added the custard to before cooking?

  2. I think all of them worked equally well, although I do think that the blob of custard on top (rather than the cake, custard, cake layer effect) worked best overall. If you're going to bake the custard though, don't mix the cream first. Just bake the custard without extra cream. x

  3. These are so cool! I tried doing these at home and you need to use a cupcakes tray, butter cream icing(i flavoured mine with birds custars powder, and variated the colours between pinky red and light yellow)and did a dollop of rhubarb mixture, then a dollop of the custard mixture, then a small spoonful of the rhubarb and custard together (They tasted lush) I also used to cases per cupcake for stirdiness!!! Hope this helps!!! :) :P ;) :D


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