Friday, April 16, 2010

Rhubarb Cake..or Muffins

A few mornings ago, while perusing the internet and checking my usual favorite blogs, I saw that this one had a rhubarb cake recipe that I just had to try. It looked wonderful, certainly light and fluffy! Anything this lady makes must be wonderful, so how could I miss?
So I set out to find some fresh rhubarb..because I didn't want to use frozen rhubarb again..and I found some!
I also bought some more strawberries, thinking I wanted to use them together with the rhubarb.
Now I had just made a rhubarb tarragon muffin recipe but I wanted to try another and I thought this would be a good attempt.
So first I made the rhubarb cake exactly as the original. It was delicious, light and moist.

And then I made the recipe again, turning the batter into muffins, using a little more rhubarb for the topping with some cut up strawberries. I thought a streusel topping would make it more interesting, so I used the topping I make for my blueberry buttermilk muffins and they were just great!

I did place the cut up rhubarb into a bowl with a little bit of sugar. I just felt the rhubarb would be too tart on it's own. Now that I've tasted the end result, I didn't think this step is necessary. Even if your rhubarb is tart(which most is), the tartness would give it a nice "bite" since there's enough sugar to balance it.

Once you spoon the batter into the muffin cups, top with some cut up strawberries and rhubarb.

Then cover the berries with some streusel topping and sprinkle with some cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins with Streusel Topping ( adapted from Gesine's "Confectionsofamasterbaker" blog)

2 1/2 cups diced rhubarb, divided
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
1 egg, room temp.
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
Approx. 8 to 10 fresh strawberries, cut into small pieces.
Streusel topping :Recipe follows.
Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin cups with paper liners or butter the cups and cut circles from parchment paper to fit on bottom of muffin cups (which is what I did, yup..really!).
1. Cream the sugar with the butter til light and fluffy. This needs to be creamed for at least 5 minutes. It must be light and fluffy! Stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as it creams.
2. Add the egg and mix til completely incorporated, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl.
3. Add the vanilla and mix til blended.
4. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour with the baking soda and salt.
5. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the butter/sugar/egg mixture.
6. Fold in the 2 cups of diced rhubarb.
7. Spoon batter into muffin cups, sprinkle some cut up strawberry pieces and some remaining diced rhubarb on top. Then sprinkle with streusel topping and press down lightly. The sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture.
8. Bake approx. 20 to 25 minutes. Insert a toothpick into center of a muffin to check for doneness.
** Note: I found that the cake and the muffin texture improved after allowing it to sit a few hours. (By this I mean, the "gumminess" that sometimes comes from, I believe, using fresh fruit in batter was more apparent when cutting a piece or eating a piece right away, rather than letting it sit and completely cool.) Sorry..hope this last remark wasn't too confusing!

Streusel Topping ( Makes enough for 12 muffins).
6 to 7 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 cup AP flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1. In microwave, melt butter and cool.
2. Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl and add the melted butter. Stir with a fork til all is blended and mixture begins to form crumbs. Gently squeeze the mixture to form larger clumps, then break them apart. Let streusel sit about 15 minutes before using.

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