Rhubarb Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
From The Chopping Block
Alright, when I said yesterday that I had ZERO plans for Memorial Day weekend, that wasn’t entirely factual. While it is true that the vast majority of my friends as well as John are out of town, I did have some very fun plans for today…with my mom! For her birthday back in March I gave her a gift card to The Chopping Block, a cooking school in Chicago. So this morning we finally cashed it in for a class called “What Grows Together Goes Together.” The menu was chock full of spring ingredients including asparagus, peas, fresh herbs and rhubarb. We were paired up with another mother-daughter set and together we made bacon wrapped asparagus, saffron risotto with herbs and peas, herb roasted chicken, and last but certainly not least, these light, fluffy, sweet, tart and all around amazing cupcakes!
A funny thing happened while I was chatting with our cooking-mates about my love of cooking. I mentioned that I learned how to cook largely thanks to my subscription to Cooking Light magazine. My mom immediately piped up, asking if she had anything to do with my love of cooking!? It’s a funny question really. I mean, for the last 5 years she’s served as my cooking encyclopedia, receiving many a 6pm emergency call when I find myself totally confused in the kitchen. And there’s certainly no one else that will discuss every episode of The Martha Stewart Show with me at length. But as far as teaching me to cook? I can’t honestly say I have many memories of donning an apron with mom as she showed me the basics of kneading dough or making the secret family sauce. That’s not to say she didn’t cook dinner for the family on a nightly basis. Quite the contrary – I imagine it was the sheer magnitude of her job: putting dinner on the table for 22 years between picking the kids up from sports and activities and getting us to bed with our homework done, that made it a little tough to squeeze in too many “teaching moments.” Mostly I remember sitting at the island in the kitchen and chatting while she cooked, which is probably where I get my love of the kitchen in the first place. So perhaps that renders my original statement untrue after all. Regardless, here’s to my mom and 26 years of great food and memories!
- 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 stick (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 lb rhubarb, stalks trimmed, diced small
- Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth.
- Add powdered sugar and beat until fluffy and smooth.
- Set frosting aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium sized bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with a hand mixer set to medium-high until light and fluffy. Or, in the words of our instructor, until you are tired, and then beat for 5 more minutes. Basically, kind of a long time, probably 7-8 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated. Scrape batter down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Beat in vanilla extract.
- Change the hand mixer setting to low and add half the flour mixture, followed by half the sour cream, then the remaining flour mixture and lastly the remaining sour cream, beating to combine between each addition.
- Stir in diced rhubarb.
- Line a muffin tin with paper liners and fill each one 3/4 full.
- Bake about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool completely, or else your frosting will melt right off as you put it on.
- Top each cupcake with a dollop of frosting and serve.
Makes 12 cupcakes.