Friday, June 25, 2010
I know I still have to reveal our Caribbean location last month, but first I want to share this rhubarb recipe before the pink and green stalked vegetable sees the end of its season. I recently had the occasion to create rhubarb cupcakes in honor of two lovely ladies that I work with - one for a birthday and one for a bittersweet farewell. The first batch was too wet and flat (pictured), and the second batch rose light and fluffy, but was a little lacking in rhubarb flavor - although it should be noted that coworkers eagerly adored both versions. The recipe below should be the perfect compromise.
Most rhubarb cakes involve adding chopped rhubarb to the batter, but I chose to puree fresh rhubarb instead, to evoke a texture similar to zucchini or carrot cake without any of the stringiness you might expect. It also increases the water content so you don't need to incorporate any milk. I haven't tried it, but you could easily replace the 3/4 cup of all purpose flour for a gluten free flour version. This batter is easiest to make with a food processor, but if you don't have one, almond flour or almonds ground in a coffee grinder would work- or just use 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour if need be; and rhubarb could be shredded in a blender, or possibly grated.
The pairing of rhubarb with lemon and almond was inspired by Shannalee's spelt lemon rhubarb cake on Food Loves Writing, and it is a winning combination. The nutty texture from the ground almonds and shredded rhubarb makes this more interesting to the tongue than a plain light and fluffy cupcake, while lemon and sugar in both the cake and icing offset rhubarb's subtle tang. Now go check your farmers market this weekend and see if you can find rhubarb before it's too late.
Rhubarb Lemon Almond Cupcakes
1 cup almonds (or almond flour)
1 1/2 cup rhubarb (just over a half pound)
5 tbsp butter
1 cup sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 cup powdered sugar
4 tbsp butter, softened
juice of 1 lemon
1-3 tsp milk
Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour two cupcake tins. Grind almonds in a food processor, checking every few pulses until it reaches the texture of coarse flour. Chop rhubarb into small pieces, add to food processor, and blend until thoroughly pureed. Add remaining wet ingredients and process one by one until combined, followed by dry ingredients together. Fill cupcake tins halfway with batter and bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the lemon icing. Mash sugar and butter with a fork, add lemon juice, and add milk a little bit at a time until it reaches desired consistency. Use a butter knife or piping bag to frost cupcakes. Makes 18-24 cupcakes.