Strawberry Rhubarb Cupcakes

One of my favorite desserts in the summer has to be strawberry shortcake. Fresh strawberries from the farmer's market macerated with a little sugar, spooned over simple drop biscuits. It is a simple homestyle dessert that made it's way on our dinner table almost every weekend growing up.

These cupcakes are the memory of strawberry shortcake. Light buttery cake, sweet/tart strawberry rhubarb filling, and a creamy lemon buttercream frosting. A perfect use for the rhubarb at the farmer's market this spring.

Begin by making the strawberry rhubarb compote. Hull and dice 1 cup of fresh strawberries. Large berries sliced into quarters, smaller berries just in half. Add these to a small saucepan. Peel and dice 1 cup (about two large stalks) of fresh rhubarb and add to the pan. Peeling helps the rhubarb break down a bit more evenly, melting into the strawberry sauce. Add the juice of 1 lemon to the pan and 1/2 cup of sugar.

Heat the fruit over medium heat until it starts to bubble and break down. Continue cooking for 20-30 minutes or until the fruit has completely broken down and the sauce is smooth. Add 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and stir until thickened. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl or with a stand mixer, combine 1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1 cup of sugar. With beaters or a paddle attachment running, add six tablespoons of softened (NOT melted) butter, one small piece at a time. Continue mixing at low speed until a sandy texture is formed.

In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup of whole milk, 3 room temperature egg whites, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix well.

With the the mixer running, add half of the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Increase speed and beat until fluffy, about two minutes. At low speed, at remaining wet ingredients. Again increase speed and beat until fully incorporated and fluffy.

Scoop batter into 24 nonstick or oiled cupcake liners, filling each half full with batter. Bake in the preheated oven 20-25 minutes or until browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of a cupcake. Cool completely on a wire rack.

When cupcakes have cooled, using a small knife or a grapefruit spoon, hollow out the center of each cupcake. Fill with 1-2 teaspoons of strawberry rhubarb compote, enough to be level with the top of the cupcake.

To make frosting, in a large bowl with a mixer or with a stand mixer, combine 1 cup (2 sticks) of room temperature butter, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, and 2 cups of powdered sugar. Mix until well combined. Add additional powdered sugar (1/2 - 1 additional cup) and mix until smooth and frosting has desired consistency (medium stiff peaks).

Pipe or spread frosting onto each cupcake. Store cupcakes in an airtight container.

These cupcakes are so lovely and just perfect for spring. With a sprinkle of pale yellow sanding sugar they have a bit more elegance than the rustic strawberry shortcake I grew up with. All the same flavors, just dressed up a bit.


Strawberry Rhubarb Cupcakes

By , May 16, 2015
Prep time: 45 minutes Cook time: 1 hour Yield: 24 cupcakes
Light vanilla cake with a strawberry rhubarb filling and tart lemon buttercream frosting strawberry, rhubarb, cupcake, lemon


  • 1 cup strawberries, diced
  • 1 cup peeled, diced rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 6 tablespoons of room temperature butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 room temperature egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 cups of powdered sugar


  1. In a small pan, combine strawberries, rhubarb, 1/2 cup of sugar, and the juice of 1 lemon
  2. Bring fruit to a boil and turn down to medium heat, simmer until fruit has broken down, about 20-30 minutes
  3. Add cornstarch and cook until thickened, remove from heat and cool
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare 24 cupcake liners in muffin tins
  5. In a large bowl or with a stand mixer, combine flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt; add 6 tablespoons of butter 1 piece at at time mixing until the consistency of sand
  6. In a separate container, combine egg whites, milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla mixing well
  7. With the mixer running, add half of the wet ingredients to the dry; increase speed and mix until fluffy
  8. Add remaining wet ingredients, mix well and increase speed again to create a fluffy batter
  9. Fill cupcake liners halfway and bake cupcakes in preheated oven 20-25 mintues or until browned and a toothpick comes out clean with testing the center, cool completely on a wire rack
  10. Using a small knife or a grapefruit spoon, hollow out each cupcake and fill with strawberry rhubarb compote
  11. In a large bowl, combine frosting ingredients; 1 cup of softened butter, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, and 2 cups of powdered sugar
  12. Mix until well combined and creamy; add additional powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time until medium stiff peaks form with frosting
  13. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes and store in an airtight container

Sharing our culinary adventures in Cascadia with simple, sustainable & satisfying eats. Bon Appétit!