Having recently moved my rhubarb into a new position, it has gone crazy! So, as the Wimbledon Ladies’ Final finished disappointing quickly, I had lots of time to try out lots of new recipes to use up my rhubarb!
Having decided to try out a rhubarb and lemon cake, I fancied making something with a Wimbledon theme and so decided on some tennis ball cupcakes. If I were making these for something special, I’d probably have made some more appropriate strawberry and cream flavoured cakes, or maybe even some Pimms flavoured cakes, but as they were just for fun, and I needed to make use of my rhubarb glut, I decided on rhubarb and custard flavoured cupcakes. These also gave me the opportunity to try out my new flavourings from Lakeland.
I followed my standard vanilla cupcake recipe, replacing the vanilla extract with 18 drops of the rhubarb flavouring and filling the cupcakes with rhubarb compote. I replaced the vanilla extract in the buttercream with 15 drops of custard flavouring. The rhubarb flavour did come through gently in the cakes but I think that it could have done with a bit more – I have suggested 20 drops in the recipe below. I’m not completely convinced by the custard flavour – I’m not sure that the custard taste really came through the buttercream – it didn’t taste particularly different to standard vanilla buttercream. I’ll have to try out the flavouring in something else to test this out.
Overall though, I did enjoy these cakes. I wasn’t sure that the grass nozzle (mine came in a set from Lakeland that is incredibly useful!) would give the right effect for the tennis balls, but it worked out pretty well. The cakes tasted good and the slightly sour rhubarb compote was balanced well by the sweet custard buttercream. Will definitely make these again.
Rhubarb and custard cupcakes
- 110g butter, at room temperature
- 225g golden castor sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 150g self-raising flour, sifted
- 125g plain flour, sifted
- 120ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
- 20 drops rhubarb flavouring
- 300g rhubarb
- 1-2 tblsp soft brown sugar
- 110g butter, at room temperature and very soft
- 500g icing sugar, sifted
- 15 drops custard flavouring
- 60ml milk
- Green and yellow paste food colouring
- 100g icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 160C.
- Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy this will take at least 5 minutes with an electric hand mixer – don’t rush this stage).
- Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl.
- Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture, a bit at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition. It should result in a lovely light mousse-like mixture.
- Combine the two flours in a separate bowl.
- Combine the milk and rhubarb flavouring in a jug.
- Add one third of the flours to the creamed mixture and stir gently to combine.
- Pour in one third of the milk mixture and stir gently.
- Continue to add flours and then milk mixture alternately, stirring gently after each addition, until all have been added.
- Spoon mixture into the cupcake cases, filling to about 2/3 full (or about 65g each).
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until lightly golden brown. The cakes will spring back lightly when touched, if cooked.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in tin for about 10 minutes, before carefully placing on a wire rack to finish cooling.
While the cakes are in the oven:
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half of the icing sugar until smooth.
- Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.
- Add the green and yellow food colouring until you reach the desired colour.
- Put buttercream into a piping bag with a large grass nozzle.
- Chop the rhubarb into approx. 2cm slices.
- Place in a small saucepan with a splash of water and 1 tblsp soft brown sugar.
- Heat gently until the rhubarb is soft.
- Strain off any juices through a sieve
- Mash the rhubarb gently and add extra soft brown sugar if needed.
Once cakes are cooked and cooled:
- Use a tea spoon to cut a cone out from the centre of the cakes.
- Cut the top disk off each cone and retain.
- Fill the hole in each cake with a teaspoon of the prepared rhubarb and then replace a cake disk onto each cake to seal the hole.
- Pipe short grass-like spikes onto each cupcake until covered.
- Leave to firm.
- Mix the icing sugar with a small amount of water until it reaches a toothpaste-like consistency.
- Place this icing into a piping bag with a small round nozzle.
- Use a rounded knife to gently draw on the curves of the tennis ball onto each cupcake.
- Pipe over these curves with the white icing.