Well, Summer is going to be a while as will the strawberries and rhubarb. The berries don’t even have blossoms yet! It was a long hard Winter. But no worries. I have a recipe to tide us over until this season’s harvest is in.
Ok, it isn’t so much a recipe as it is a method. Because to be honest, I don’t scratch bake most cakes or cupcakes. Quick breads, yes. Those are not temperamental during the baking process and will not fall down on me or collapse in the center. If you stick with the butter or white cake flavors you can make ANY kind of cake you want. But definitely DO make your own frosting. That is the ONE place you should not take a short cut. Those canned frostings taste canned. You can not flavor that enough to make the fake taste go away. Unlike a cake that can be baked to have the chemical taste “burned off” the frosting is no good heated. That said, grab you favorite yellow cake and frosting recipe for this one.
Let’s start with the frosting. It has some extra steps and the flavoring needs to cool before it goes in the frosting mix. You will need:
- ½ to 1 pound of freshly washed, hulled, chopped strawberries.
- 2 teaspoons of sweetener such as sugar, agave nectar or honey.
- 2 Tablespoons of water.
Put these ingredients a heavy sauce pan cooking on medium high until the berries can be mashed. Adjust the sweetener to taste so that the strawberry flavor is bright but bot too sweet. Cook most of the water out of the mixture. Remove to a heat safe bowl and cool.
Prepare your favorite frosting recipe. Add the strawberry flavor when it is cooled so that it won’t melt the frosting. Blend thoroughly and refrigerate while you prepare the batter.
I have found that a butter cake works be best with tart fruits because the fatty flavor of the butter tames and smooths the acidic rhubarb flavor. To the DRY mix, add the following:
- ¼ teaspoon corriander
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ½ Cup peeled and finely chopped fresh rhubarb stalks
- ¼ Cup light brown sugar
Stir this into the dry mix to coat the rhubarb pieces. They don’t stick together in the batter and seem to more evenly distribute themselves in the batter. The batter should smell like a Christmas cookie at this point. Add your wet ingredients according to the package directions. Bake accordingly.
When the cakes are cool decorate with the Strawberry frosting.
Rhubarb Cupcake with Strawberry Frosting in a printed paper liner with a rosette frosting swirl