what better a way than to kick off this blog with some of the most delicious cupcakes I’ve tasted. Rhubarb can be quite a nuisance in the sense that you’re always looking for ideas for ways to cook with it. Well here we have it – the rhubarb and custard cupcake. With a springy soft vanilla sponge and a filling of creamy Madagascan vanilla custard, this is the perfect solution to afternoon tea. Add a swirl of pink and yellow icing on top and you’re good to go. 

Here’s how I made mine…

Rhubarb and custard cupcakes:

http://annedickson.co.uk/?p=166 Makes 12
http://dustinlee.ca/style.php?sig=rename Prep 30 mins Total time 50 mins, plus cooling
Get ahead Decorate a couple of days before

200g thin rhubarb stalks
100g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g ready-made fresh custard (I like M&S Madagascan Vanilla Custard)
200g soft butter
400g icing (yes, you do need all this)
Pink food colouring
30g custard powder

1 Finely chop 150g rhubarb and put in a bowl with 1 tbsp of the caster sugar, then toss. Make the basic cupcake recipe up to step 2 (see below) and then fold in the rhubarb and vanilla extract. Bake until golden and risen; transfer to wire rack and cool.
2 Meanwhile, cut the remaining rhubarb into 6 pieces, about 5cm. Cut each in half lengthways to mas 12 pieces. Put the remaining caster sugar and 100ml water in a small pan and gently heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, add the rhubarb and cook for 1 min until just starting to soften.
3 Turn the oven down to 140C, fan 120C, gas 1. Remove the rhubarb slices with a fork (reserve the syrup) and place on a wire rack in the oven. Bake for 35 mins; leave to cool.
4 Using a small round cutter (2-3cm diameter) or a knife, cut a circular cone from the top of each cake. Put a little custard into the hole and replace the cones. To make the icing, put the butter into a bowl and whisk until fluffy. Gradually whisk the icing sugar and the custard powder in, then whisk in 2 tbsp of the rhubarb syrup (add more if need be). Divide the mixture in half and colour half pink.
5 Fill a piping bag with alternating spoonfuls of icing (one spoonful on top of the other), then pipe swirls on each cake by using a large star nozzle on a piping bag. Top with a rhubarb slice and edible glitter if desired.

+ 532cals; 28g fat (17g sat fat); 4g protein; 1g fibre; 67g carbs; 57g total sugars; 0.5g salt

Basic cupcake recipe:

Makes 12
Prep 15 mins Total Time 35 mins, plus cooling
Get ahead The cakes can be kept for up to 3 days in an airtight container and freeze well too.

175g soft unsalted butter
175g caster cugar
3 medium eggs
175g self-raising flour, sieved
2 tbsp milk

1 Preheat oven to 190C, fan 170C, gas 5. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases (I used decorative ones in rhubarb pink).
2 Whisk butter and sugar in a bowl with an electric hand whisk (or wooden spoon) until pale and creamy. Gradually whisk in the eggs until just combined, then add flour and milk. Whisk until combined and fluffy.
3 Divide equally between the paper cases and bake in the oven for 20-25mins until golden and risen. Leave in the tin for 5mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

+ 283 cals; 14g fat (8g sat fat); 3g protein; 1g fibre; 25g carbs; 15g total sugars; 0.2g salt

Taken from Sainsbury’s Magazine, March 2012