These beautifully bright cupcakes make the most of stunning seasonal rhubarb. Adding a homemade rhubarb compote to the cake batter adds a delicious tartness that works wonderfully with the creamy icing – top with more fresh rhubarb purée and slivers of crunchy pistachios for a cupcake that's almost too pretty to eat.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
Begin by making the rhubarb compote. Place the rhubarb, sugar and vanilla in to a medium saucepan. Add 1 tbsp cold water and cook gently over a low heat. Increase the heat slightly and cook for 15-18 minutes, stirring occasionally until the rhubarb has reduced slightly and has become syrupy. Take off the heat and allow to cool down completely. Remove the vanilla pod before serving.
Next, make the cupcake mixture. Using an electric mixer beat together the sugar and butter until lighter in colour and fuller in volume. Beat in the eggs a little at a time until well combined. Stir through the ground almonds, flour and orange zest.
Fold 2 tbsp of the cooled rhubarb purée into the mixture. Don’t mix it in completely, so you are still able to see definite pockets of rhubarb. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, filling no more than 3/4 of the way up. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean and the tops are lightly browned. Allow to cool completely before icing.
Next, make the icing. Rub the butter through the icing sugar with your fingers. Add the cheese and, using an electric whisk, mix for 3 minutes. Chill for a minimum of 10 minutes before using. Pipe or spread the icing on each cooled cupcake and then swirl over a teaspoon of the rhubarb compote. Sprinkle over the crushed pistachios and serve.
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