Rhubarb Cupcakes

RhubarbCupcakes1 Looking at this plate of rosy-hued Rhubarb Cupcakes is 100% torture right now.  Ok I know I’m being a bit dramatic, but I’m on day 5 of a 5 day Paleo challenge, and I have not had a drop of sugar or dairy all week long (more details coming soon).  As I was searching through my picture archives a few days ago, I unearthed this recipe, and realized that I never shared it on KK.  Rude!  So here it is.  Studded with flecks of stewed rhubarb, these ginger-scented cakes are topped with vibrant rhubarb-lemon buttercream frosting.  When I say this frosting is vibrant, I mean that it really does have a snap.  The rhubarb stewing liquid is reduced to a thick syrup then mixed with lemon into a creamy buttercream base.  So.  Yum.

I’m taking a break from eating Paleo on Saturday and Sunday, and I already have several stalks of bright rhubarb sitting in my fridge destined for these cupcakes.  I deserve a little treat after completing such a rigorous challenge, right?  Continue reading for the recipe.

Rhubarb Sliced Rhubarb Sugared Rhubarb Rhubarb-Lemon Frosting

Rhubarb Cupcakes
Adapted from the Primrose Bakery.
Recipe type: Dessert
  • For the stewed rhubarb:
  • 11 oz. rhubarb, rough ends trimmed
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • For the cupcakes:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour*
  • 1 cup plus 1 tbsp. self-rising flour*
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • For the rhubarb-lemon frosting:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar*
  • Juice of half a small lemon
  1. Slice rhubarb widthwise, then place in a medium-sized saucepan with water and 3 tablespoons white sugar. Cook over medium heat until the rhubarb starts to soften and break up, stirring occasionally (6 – 8 minutes). Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Reserve the stewed rhubarb for the cupcakes. Return the stewing liquid to the saucepan and increase the heat to medium-high. Reduce mixture to just under 1/4 cup liquid (9 – 11 minutes). Reserve liquid for the frosting.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and white sugar on medium until pale and smooth (about 5 minutes). Add one egg, mixing until incorporated. Repeat with the other egg.
  3. Sift all-purpose flour, self-rising flour and ground ginger into a clean bowl. With the mixer off, add half of the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients. Mix on low speed for a few moments then increase to medium and mix until just incorporated. Mix in half of the milk. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and milk, mixing until well combined. Do not over-mix here.
  4. Using a spatula, gently fold in the stewed rhubarb. Line a cupcake tin with twelve cupcake wrappers. Spoon the batter into the wrappers, making them about 2/3 full. Bake in the preheated oven until golden (22 – 24 minutes). Let the cupcakes cool for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
  5. While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and half of the powdered sugar. Beat on low for a few moments then increase to medium and mix until smooth. Add the reserved rhubarb juice and mix until incorporated. Mix in remaining sugar on low at first then medium until smooth. Add lemon juice then beat on medium until smooth and fluffy. Add more lemon juice to taste. Frost cooled cupcakes with an offset spatula or butter knife.
  6. Enjoy! Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days.
*Measure these ingredients using the spoon and level method: spoon ingredient into the measuring cup, then level with the back of a knife.

Related articles and recipes:

Naughty Rhubarb Scones

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Rhubarb Finds Its Tender Side

Pickled Rhubarb Stalks

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam


    • Brandon Matzek says

      Haha, yeah it’s been a little difficult. Especially with a batch of Lemon Cream Ice Cream sitting in my freezer (from Valentine’s Day)! I just posted some of the recipes I’ve been making :)

  1. says

    Oh wow. This is amazing! Like evvverrrything else you make! I really wish I could just live in your kitchen.

    And congrats on completing the paleo thing! I reallyyyy don’t think I could hang.

    • Brandon Matzek says

      It’s quite inedible in its raw form, but it’s really wonderful when cooked with sugar. Pickled rhubarb is also a treat.

  2. Vanessa says

    Congrats on your paleo challenge! I’m paleo and love it, do you think you’ll be posting some paleo recipes soon? 😉

  3. says

    Hi Brandon… argh, all of my friends are joining the Paleo challenge and I’m scared I’ll eventually be eating desserts all by myself! Hm. I guess that wouldn’t be a bad thing if I got to eat a whole batch of these rhubarb cupcakes. They look incredible… I am a big fan of rhubarb and I’ve used it in everything from frangipane tarts to a rhubarb and apple sauce for pork. I’ve never tried cupcakes or icing before… definitely need to change that. Thanks for sharing your recipe (in spite of the deprivation and pain!)

  4. says

    Hi, this is a great post. I wondered if you would like to link it in to the new Food on Friday which is running right now over at Carole’s Chatter. We are collecting recipes using rhubarb. This is the link . I hope you pop over to check it out. There are some great recipes already linked in.

  5. Kathy H says

    You know, I read through this pageful of comments… every one of them says the recipe looks fantastic. Did ANYONE try them?

  6. Kayla says

    Any suggestions for using frozen rhubarb? We freeze it after it’s in the garden. I can imagine it would change the water ratio?

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Hi Kayla, I’ve never made this with frozen rhubarb, so I’m not 100% sure, BUT I don’t think it should make too much of a difference. You may just have to simmer the liquid a bit more to get it reduced down to 1/4 cup. Enjoy!


  1. […] At the farm, we do a lot of baking with rhubarb – scones, coffee cakes, carrot cake (you know, instead of pineapple, add rhubarb. so dang good). By adding rhubarb to an already sorta sweet treat, you don’t need to add additional sugar.  We haven’t tried this out yet, but it seems like an awful good idea: Rhubarb Cupcakes. […]

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