When it comes to a definition of muffins vs cupcakes, I am always at a loss, pretty much - I have been looking it up a gazillion times and am observing recipes by other foodbloggers with English as their mother tongue on both sides of the pond, only to get more confused... when I picture them both in my mind, the muffin is the one with the funky hairdo. I mean, the cupcake will be almost flat on top, whereas the muffin, using lots more raising agents, grows taller as it bakes and therefore ressembles Boney M more than Sinéad O'Connor.
So by that token, these little beauties above are cupcakes. I was inspired by my friend Pille recently who seems to have returned from a certain farm with a tractor-load of rhubarb... I have to pick mine up by the 400g-pack at my local supermarket, but it isn't easy to resist. Rhubarb, albeit inedible in its unrefined form, is one of the greatest flavours of spring. I especially like it in these buttermilk cupcakes, paired with white chocolate, which can sometimes have an almost sickly sweetness to it. The rhubarb, however, tones it down a notch and adds its wonderfully tart, but intensely fruity flavour - a match made in heaven. These cakes are incredibly moist and will stay so for a day, maybe longer, but I've not been able to verify that: I've made four batches in the last two days and they seem to disappear at lightening speed and in very mysterious ways... and nobody in the family seems to notice anything!
More rhubarb ideas on thepassionatecook:
Rhubarb & almond tarte (April 2006)
Cheese bites with rhubarb chutney (June 2004)
Threesome of curd dumplings on rhubarb & strawberry compote (May 2005)
Rhubarb & raspberry jam (May 2004)
Rhubarb crème brulée (July 2006)
Rhubarb cheesecake with sesame base (March 2006)
Rhubarb & white chocolate buttermilk cupcakes
(makes 10 large cupcakes)
150 g caster sugar
80 g butter (softened)
2 large eggs
225 self-raising flour (or plain flour plus 1 tsp baking powder)
150 g butter milk
400 g rhubarb
150 g white chocolate (roughly chopped)
Pre-heat oven to 225 C.
Beat the butter and the sugar until creamy. Add the eggs and beat to a homogenous mass. Add the flour, then the butter milk.
Clean the rhubarb by generously cutting off the ends of the stalks, then peeling off the fibrous skin. Don't worry about any thin parts remaining on the stalk, the tougher fibres will usually come off readily, what remains should soften while cooking.
Cut the rhubarb stalks into small bits (slices, halfed if your stalks are very thick), then fold into the batter. Add the white chocolate and work into the dough gently and quickly.
Line a muffin tray with paper cups, fill with the cupcake mixture up to the edge. The rhubarb will take a lot of space initially, then shrink as it cooks, while the dough will rise a little - leaving the cupcakes level with the edge of the paper, or protruding only slightly from it.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes - insert a metal skewer to test for doneness, although this is a bit tricky to tell, as the rhubarb is very moist... if you get lots of dough on your stick, continue to cook, if there's only a thin film, you can remove them.
If you can resist eating them immediately, serve them when cooled - they're even better the next day. Return them to the cool oven to store them overnight, as their crust will go soft/soggy in an airtight container/fridge.