Rhubarb Cupcakes – Classic vanilla cupcakes with a homemade rhubarb jam filling and topped with a rhubarb buttercream frosting. An elegant and delicious dessert!
I am so excited for it to be rhubarb season! Rhubarb has been a favorite of mine since I was little and I would snag it for a snack from our yard whenever I needed a snack so of course, it still sneaks into recipes at my house from time to time. One of my favorite uses for it is in rhubarb cupcakes, a beautiful and delicious dessert made from the most perfect vanilla cupcakes that are filled with a tasty homemade rhubarb jam and topped with a buttercream frosting that has more of the rhubarb jam in it!
While you might think of rhubarb as a harsh root, it is such a lovely flavor when you mix it with sugar and use it in baked goods. Trust me, these cupcakes will sell you on rhubarb!
Common Questions About Making Cupcakes
What are rhubarb cupcakes?
Rhubarb cupcakes are classic vanilla cupcakes with a homemade rhubarb jam filling and topped with a rhubarb buttercream frosting.
What is rhubarb?
Rhubarb is a pinkish-green edible stalk with a flavor that has a bit of a zing but it is great used in all sorts of baked goods.
Could I use pre-made jam in the filling?
You sure could! Alternatively, you could substitute in 1/2 cup strawberry jam for the rhubarb jam in the frosting to make the cupcakes strawberry rhubarb cupcakes.
What else can I make with rhubarb?
Rhubarb can add such a great flavor to so many desserts! Some of my favorite things to use rhubarb in are –
- Strawberry Rhubarb Scones
- Rhubarb Jam
- Rhubarb Crisp
- Rhubarb Coffee Cake
How can I make the perfect cupcakes?
- Follow the recipe – While I totally understand dietary restrictions, if you plan on making changes to the ingredients, I cannot guarantee the recipe will work. If you are facing this problem, I will gently suggest that you may want to consider finding a cupcake recipe on a site that specifically develops for the diet you are on such as a keto baking website or vegan baking website. Too many times have I seen recipes for wrong for people because they started to adjust the recipe too much.
- Don’t over-mix the cupcakes – If you want to keep cupcakes light and airy, avoiding over-mixing is key. Mix until just barely combined.
- Let the cupcakes completely cool before frosting – This is a classic mistake that people constantly make (including me). Your cupcakes are done baking, you are ready to sit down and eat one so you touch the cupcake and say “this is most definitely cool” even though it’s only been out of the oven for like, 5 minutes. Wrong. Your frosting will just slide off the cupcake and it’ll be really sad. To be safe, I’d say give them 1-2 hours before frosting.
- Don’t over fill the cupcake liners – If you overfill the cupcake liners, you will definitely have some overflow which isn’t pretty and elegant. Stick to filling each liner about 1/2 full, maybe a touch more.
- Spin the cupcake tin halfway through cooking – An oven’s heat is generally not terribly even so a simple way to make sure all of the cupcakes cook all the way through is to spin the pan about 1/2 way through baking 180 degrees.
What other types of cupcakes can I make?
There are so many fun varieties of cupcakes to make! Some of the best are –
- Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes
- Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
- Lemon Cupcakes
- Funfetti Cupcakes
- Mimosa Cupcakes
- Zucchini Cupcakes
Looking for more elegant desserts? Check these recipes out!
For the Jam Filling
- 4 cups rhubarb (in 1/2" chunks)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 lemon (juiced and zested)
For the Cupcakes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup hot water
For the Buttercream
- 1/2 stick butter (softened)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup rhubarb jam (see above)
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
For the Jam Filling
- Set a large saucepan over medium heat and add in the rhubarb, sugar, and lemon zest (but not the lemon juice).
- Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the mixture has started to boil and thicken.
- Cover the pan and allow it to cook for 10 minutes to thicken even more - make sure to stir a few times so it doesn't burn on the bottom.
- Once the jam has thickened, remove it from heat and stir in the lemon juice.
- Transfer to a container and allow to cool completely in the fridge (at least 2 hours).
For the Cupcakes
- After the jam (above) has cooled, proceed to making the cupcakes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 12 muffin cups with liners.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and baking powder.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla, egg, and water.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined. It will be a very wet batter.
- Fill each muffin tin 1/2 way full and bake for about 15 minutes or until the tops turn golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Set on a cooling rack and allow to come to room temperature before icing (below).
For the Buttercream
- While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the buttercream.
- Using a hand or stand mixer, mix together the butter, vanilla, and rhubarb jam (above) on medium speed until smooth.
- On low speed, add in the confectioners sugar slowly and mix until it becomes light and smooth - about 3 minutes.
- Scoop about 1 teaspoon out of the center of each cupcake.
- Fill with a teaspoon of rhubarb jam and cover with the piece of cupcake that you removed.
- Frost with the rhubarb buttercream and serve.
- Store any leftover cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
* If your jam hasn't thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon after 20 minutes, stir in 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and cook for another 5 minutes.
* This cupcake batter will be super thin - that's okay! It makes the softest cupcakes and it's delicious!
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