Not only are these rhubarb stuffed cupcakes tasty and easy to make, but also a money saving recipe. The rhubarb compote cupcakes are part of my Baking On A Budget series, with energy & money saving tips for your baking.
Rhubarb Cupcakes – Baking On A Budget
Money Saving Recipe & Tips
Baking should not be a luxury – It is not just about fancy cakes, but making from scratch, learning a life skill and not relying on ready-made, often highly processed foods. Baking is also very therapeutic for so many, and beneficial to mental health. So with Baking On A Budget, I aim to make baking accessible to all.Me, Caro xx
Energy And Money Saving Baking
With the cost-of-living crisis, this recipe has been developed to reduce energy and/or cost. With the price increase of caster sugar (UK equivalent to extra/super fine sugar), this recipe uses granulated sugar, (which hasn’t had such a noticeable price increase).
Frozen rhubarb can be used and works well, which can mean availability throughout the year, as well as in some cases, lower costs. If you are lucky enough to have rhubarb in your garden, or are gifted some, even better! Don’t forget you can easily freeze rhubarb too. Don’t forget you can easily freeze rhubarb too. Here is an article on how to prepare and freeze rhubarb, by Lynn @ Tasty Bakes Kitchen. (Note tin/canned rhubarb is usually already cooked, which also saves energy).
Butter is used in the recipe, as it is really needed for the lightness and taste of the cupcakes, but since there is no buttercream, you are saving on the cost of extra butter and sugar, as well as saving a few calories. (You could try my Butter & Egg-free Chocolate Layer Cake recipe if you want to skip the butter.)
You can also make your own butter, if you see double (heavy/whipping) cream on offer and about to pass its sell by date. I will have a recipe and video for that soon, but it can work out so much cheaper, with the added bonus of some free buttermilk too.
UK readers, I recommend buying your unsalted butter from Farmfoods – the packs are slightly smaller at 227g, but this is a common amount used, and per gram, it works out less expensive than 250g blocks from even the cheaper stores like Aldi or Lidl.
It is often on offer for 2 packs too. At this time, (May 2023), it is £1.29 per 227g block. I buy in bulk and freeze the butter for later use.
Farmfoods also offer vouchers, if you sign up for an email newsletter. Not only being notified of their current offers, but your own unique vouchers depending on the amount you spend. You don’t even need to print them off, as staff are happy to scan the code from your mobile. So really worthwhile when stocking up.
Full disclosure, I am in no way sponsored by Farmfoods, or been gifted any products, I just shop there often, and have never had any issues with their butter or other baking items.
You will further save by cooking the rhubarb in the oven, at the same time as the cupcakes are baking. So no need to cook on the hob, saving electricity or gas, not having to wash a saucepan, and not having to stand mixing or checking the rhubarb. Bake in the oven and only check when the cupcakes are ready. I have also successfully cooked the rhubarb in the air fryer, taking about 15 minutes @170°c/325°f. No need to blitz or process the stewed rhubarb either, as it will bake till fork tender, and only require mashing with a fork.
See another Baking On A Budget recipe – Air Fryer, Oven Or Stovetop Stewed Rhubarb.
These little steps, will save time, energy and money, and the more you apply to activities in the kitchen, the more it mounts up and becomes habit. Just like if you wanted some stewed rhubarb to have with your granola and yoghurt for example, just cook the rhubarb in the oven, at the same time as cooking something else. When using the oven, try and use more than one shelf, or just the centre of the oven. If you have it on, you may as well get the most out of it. Just don’t put too many things in at the same time, or cooking will take longer and not save you any money.
If in the market for a new oven, I recommend a fan assisted oven, which uses a little less energy and you cook at 20°c lower.
Look out for more budget friendly, energy and money saving recipes and tips, in the coming weeks. (Air Fryer, Oven Or Stovetop Stewed Rhubarb)
What Is In The Rhubarb Cupcakes?
These cupcakes are made up of the usual suspects, (see labelled photo). No need for caster sugar (extra/super fine sugar), as granulated is used. Takes a little more time for the creaming of the butter and sugar, but here in the UK at least, the cost of caster sugar has increased a lot. So as well as starting to make my own from granulated sugar, I am developing more recipes using granulated sugar.
Always use unsalted butter in baking – not only can you control the salt intake, but salted actually has a higher water content and hence lower percentage of fat and this can affect some bakes. The amount of salt can vary from brand to brand too, so unsalted is always advised, even for savoury bakes.
For the eggs, use medium or large UK sized, which is about the same as large or extra large eggs in America.
The flour used is Plain Flour (All Purpose), with some baking powder for leavening. And flavourings come from the vanilla and ginger. The ginger taste is subtle, and comes through more with ginger added to the rhubarb filling. Learn how to make your own Vanilla Extract at home.
And finally the star of the show – rhubarb! You can use fresh or frozen (in these photos I used frozen as it is never around long in the shops). Just make sure to defrost and drain the liquid well. I have since seen that you can get ready cooked rhubarb in tins/cans, (Princes being a UK brand) in which case no stewing is required, only draining and mashing to make the filling.
Check out my Rhubarb Pie With A Twist recipe if you love rhubarb.
You can skip to the recipe card (an abbreviated version of the recipe), by clicking below. Or continue reading on, for detailed step-by-step instructions & process shots to guide you. This is advised for beginner bakers. Note the ingredient amounts are found in the recipe card below.Jump to Recipe
Step-By-Step Recipe Process
Prepare The Rhubarb
1.Begin by preparing your rhubarb, be it fresh or frozen. For frozen rhubarb, leave out at room temperature to defrost, or in the fridge overnight. Once defrosted, drain the juice and reserve 2 – 3 tbsp for later. Chop the rhubarb into pieces about 1cm (⅓”), but if the rhubarb stalks are quite thin, cut nearer to 2cm (¾”), to make all pieces about the same size for even cooking. See Photo 1.
2.Place the rhubarb in an oven-safe dish and add the sugar and spices, mix well and leave to the side while you prepare the cake batter. Set your oven to 180°c/160°c Fan Oven/350°f/Gas Mark 4.
Prepare The Cake Batter
1. Begin preparing a 12 hole cupcake or muffin tin/tray by lining with cupcake or muffin paper cases. Next add the softened cubed butter and sugar to a mixing bowl or stand-mixer. (Tip – cube your butter to pieces about 1cm (⅓”) before softening. A smaller surface area will come to room temperature and soften quicker for you. If you are short on time, or forget, try this video hack for softening butter in 12 minutes, that I reviewed.)
2. Next ‘Cream’ the softened butter and sugar together with a hand/stand-mixer until beyond combined, is soft, spreadable & paler in colour. This will take a few minutes & vary depending on the power of your mixer, but a little ‘grittness’ to this mixture is fine and the cakes will still rise. (See Photo 2). Next mix in one egg at a time, and only mix until combined. Beat in the vanilla extract and 2 tbsp of the reserved rhubarb juice, (alternatively fruit juice, milk or hot water), mixing just till combined.
3. Sieve the flour, baking powder and ginger on top of the wet mixture (Tip – mix these dry ingredients together with a spoon, while in the sieve, before pushing through the sieve into the mixture. See Photo 3.) Mix briefly by hand before moving back on to the hand or stand-mixer, mixing on low speed to begin with, gradually increasing the speed & mixing till all ingredients are combined. Do not over mix – mix only until all dry ingredients are combined and be sure to check the bottom of the bowl and scrape down the sides too. Note – the cake batter will be a little thick (see Photo 3 below).
Bake Cupcakes & Filling
1. Evenly spoon the cake batter into the paper cases, and level as best you can, before tapping the cupcake/muffin tray on the counter/worktop a few times, to expel any trapped air. (You can also add some sugar nibs on top if you like, but are optional).
2. Bake both the cupcakes and the rhubarb, in the pre-heated oven, for about 15 – 20 minutes. (My cupcakes were baked after 17 minutes, and I turned them after 15 minutes, before baking for 2 more minutes). The cupcakes will be ready when a wooden cocktail stick, inserted in the centre, comes out clean of crumbs. Remove the cupcake tray from the oven and leave on a cooling rack. Check the rhubarb with a fork, but it will probably need more baking, so increase the oven to: 200°c/180°c Fan Oven/400°f/Gas Mark 6 and continue baking until fork tender. (My rhubarb needed another 10 minutes)
3. Remove the rhubarb from the oven and leave to cool on the cooling rack. Remove the cupcakes from the tin and leave to cool completely, while out of the tin.
1. Once the rhubarb is cooled enough, use a fork to mash down. (See Photo 4). If you want your rhubarb filling to look more ‘red’, you can either add a tiny bit of red food colouring after mashing, (Sugarflair paste colouring is very good), or add some natural colouring by including some cherries or strawberries before cooking the rhubarb, (black cherries giving off the most colour). You can leave the rhubarb to cool more at room temperature, place in the fridge, or leave in the fridge to fill the cupcakes the next day.
2. To assemble the cupcakes, carefully remove the paper cases, before slicing off the top of the cake. (Alternatively, you can peel back just the top of the cupcake case slightly if you want to keep in the paper cases). See Photo 5.
3. Make a hole in the centre of the base layer of cake, being careful not to go all the way down, (you can use a cake corer, apple corer, or a piping tip for this – see Photo 5). Remove the cake piece, fill with some of the stewed rhubarb before placing the cake piece back on top. (See Photo 6).
4. Spread some more of the rhubarb filling on top of the cake, place the top cake back on and finally sieve over a dusting of icing/powdered sugar. (See Photo 7).
Alternatively, you can omit coring the cake and just cut and fill as a mini layer cake. Note slicing the cake rather than making a hole directly from the top of the cake, was harder and less neat a job.
5. Repeat slicing, coring & filling the rest of the cupcakes and they are ready to be served.
Serving, Storage & Freezing
1. Serve the cupcakes with a fresh dusting of icing/powdered sugar if you didn’t serve right after assembly. These cupcakes are lovely on their own, or you can serve with any rhubarb that may be left-over, with whipped cream, custard or ice-cream. (See my Pastry Cream recipe that you can make a little thinner in place of custard). Lemon Curd, or my Fig Anise Curd, would also make a lovely filling. Or my salted caramel sauce!!!
2.Store the assembled cupcakes in an airtight container (I favour cake tins), at room temperature and they will be fine for about 2 or 3 days. In warmer months, store in a cooler darker place but not in the fridge, to avoid condensation. Alternatively, unfilled cupcakes will last up to 5 days if properly stored.
3. Unfilled cupcakes can also be frozen for up to 3 months1 if individually wrapped in baking/parchment paper, then foil or cling film/plastic wrap, and a labelled food baggie. Several layers of protection, will reduce freezer burn and ‘freezer taste’. Defrost at room temperature, remove all wrapping and leave at room temperature till fully defrosted, before filling.
You can refresh just the cupcakes if you like, by covering loosely with foil and popping in the air fryer (or a moderate oven if you already have it on), for 2 minutes.
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: easy, beginner
SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER – I would love it so much if you could sign up for my newsletter. I will send out monthly emails, showing the latest recipes and articles, and latest info. Being a free site, building a following, is even more important and will keep it up and running and for free to everyone. Occasionally there will be the odd seasonal emails, but is really a means of reaching you, if you are not already in one of the Facebook groups I admin. Please note too, that these email addresses are not shared or sold onto another party. Thanks so much Caro xxx
Below is the recipe card, an abbreviated version of the recipe, including all the ingredient amounts & equipment needed. This can be saved, printed or shared, and you can print with/without the photos or notes. Be sure to use the ‘Cook Mode’ when using the recipe. Toggle it to the on position, (will turn blue) and it will prevent the screen from going dark if using the recipe card while baking.
- Scales or measuring cups
- Knife and chopping board
- Measuring Spoons (½ tsp, tsp, tbsp)
- Medium or Large mixing bowl
- Stand or hand-held mixer
- 12 Cupcake Paper Cases
- 12-hole/cup Cupcake or Muffin Tray/sheet
- Oven-prove small to medium dish (for rhubarb)
- Timer or Phone Timer
- Cooling rack
- Wooden Cocktail stick
- Small serrated knife (for cutting cupcake)
- Apple Corer (cupcake corer or piping nozzle – see notes)
- Palette knife (or butter knife)
For The Cupcake Batter
- 125 grams Butter, unsalted & softened (4½ oz, ½ cup less 1 tbsp, or 8½ tbsp)
- 3 Eggs (medium to large) (US large to extra large)
- 125 grams Granulated Sugar (4½ oz, ⅔ cup less 1 tbsp)
- 175 grams Plain Flour (6 oz, 1⅓ cups, All Purpose Flour)
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (or vanilla paste, make your own vanilla extract)
- 2½ tsp Ground Ginger
- 2 tbsp Rhubarb Juice/liquid (from frozen rhubarb, or use other fruit juice)
For The Filling
- 374 grams Rhubarb (13 oz, ¾ lb, frozen or fresh* )
- 100 grams Granulated Sugar (3½ oz, ½ cup)
- ½ tsp Ground Ginger (or more to taste)
- Vanilla Extract – drizzle of (optional)
- Icing Sugar, sieved (powdered/confectioners' sugar – for dusting)
Prepare The Rhubarb
- Prepare the rhubarb by cleaning and chopping into pieces about 1cm (⅓"). If the rhubarb is quite thin, cut to about 2cm (¾"), just for even cooking. If using frozen rhubarb, defrost at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge. When defrosted, drain the rhubarb juice well and reserve 2 – 3 tbsp for later. Transfer the drained rhubarb to an oven-safe dish, add sugar and spices, mix together and leave to the side. Set your oven now for 180°c/160°c Fan Oven/350°f/Gas Mark 4.
Prepare The Cake Batter
- Line a 12 hole cupcake or muffin tin/tray with paper cases. Cream the softened butter & sugar till soft, spreadable & paler in colour. (Tip – cut butter to pieces about 1cm (⅓"), & this smaller surface area will come to room temperature and soften quicker. Or try this video hack for softening butter in 12 minutes, that I reviewed. Mix in one egg at a time, before adding in the vanilla extract and 2 tbsp of the reserved rhubarb juice, (or fruit juice, milk or hot water), & mix just till combined. Sieve the flour, baking powder & ginger on top of the wet mixture & mix just until all combined.
Bake Cupcakes & Filling
- Divide the cake batter between the 2 paper cases (you can add some sugar nibs to the top if you like). Tap the cupcake/muffin tray on the counter/worktop a few times, and bake the cupcakes and the rhubarb, in the pre-heated oven, for about 15 – 20 minutes. (My cupcakes were clean of crumbs with the cocktail stick test, after 17 minutes). Transfer the cupcake tray/tin to a cooling rack and check your rhubarb. If not ready, increase the temperature to 200°c/180°c Fan Oven/400°f/Gas Mark 6 and pop the rhubarb back in till cooked and fork tender. (My rhubarb needed another 10 minutes). Leave the rhubarb to cool on a rack and remove the cupcakes form the tin, leaving both to cool down completely.
- Mash the rhubarb and add a tiny drop of food colouring if you want more 'red' filling. (Or add some cherries or strawberries to the rhubarb before cooking for a natural colouring).
- To assemble the cupcakes, remove from paper case, slice off the top half or third, and make a hole in the centre of the bottom layer, with a cake corer, apple corer, or a piping tip. Fill with the stewed rhubarb, then replace the cake piece. Spread a layer of the rhubarb on top, before placing the top cake layer back on to sandwich together. (See detailed process photos before this Recipe Card for reference). Alternatively, you can just have just a layer of rhubarb and no coring, but there is enough filling to do both. Repeat with the rest of the cupcakes and they are ready to be served with a simple dusting of sieved icing/powdered sugar.
Serving, Storage & Freezing
- Serve with just the icing/powdered sugar, but are lovely with any rhubarb that may be left-over, with whipped cream, custard or ice-cream. ( See my Pastry Cream recipe that you can make a little thinner in place of custard). Lemon Curd, or my Fig Anise Curd, or even salted caramel sauce would all work well.
- Store assembled rhubarb cupcakes in an airtight container (I use cake tins), at room temperature for about 2 to 3 days. In warmer weather, store in a cool, dark place, (not in the fridge, to avoid condensation). Unfilled cupcakes will last up to 5 days if stored properly.
- Unfilled cupcakes can be frozen up to 3 months1, if individually wrapped in baking/parchment paper, foil or cling film/plastic wrap on top, & then in a labelled food baggie. Several layers of protection, reduces freezer burn and 'freezer taste'. Defrost at room temperature, remove wrapping and leave at room temperature till fully defrosted, before filling.
Check out my Conversion Of UK & US Common Baking Ingredients table. I write all of my recipes in grams, ounce and cup measurements, because Google can be not only inaccurate but inconsistent too. So I have hand measured all ingredients used in my own recipes, during recipe development and for my conversion table too.
Join My Facebook Group
Why not also join my Facebook group Easy Online Baking Lessons – Easy Online Baking Lessons, dedicated to this baking lessons website, as well as providing one-on-one support with myself & my team? Be sure to answer all security questions when requesting to join. Click to join the Facebook group.
Please see the sharing options or even printing, at the right/bottom of your screen (bottom of your screen for mobiles, and down the right-hand side on computers). You can even pin this to your own Pinterest page. Alternatively, you can save, print or share this recipe, via the Recipe Card. You could also leave some feedback if you like (at very bottom of the page).
Follow me on social media:
Thanks for reading
Happy Baking & Making
Happy Tummies & Memories!
1 From Freezeit.co.uk
Leave Some Feedback/Rating Below Please