13 April 2012

Cream Cheese, Rhubarb and Chocolate Cupcakes

This year I've been confused by rhubarb. I always thought it was an autumn fruit because I remember that it's when my mum would make rhubarb crumble. Reliant on this memory, I hunted around for some rhubarb in September and October. Of course, none came to fruition (ha!) because, as I now know, rhubarb is a spring fruit, and apparently my memory is very mistaken!

With this knowledge in hand, I came up with this twist on the Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes from Xanthe Milton's Eat Me! The cupcakes have a rhubarb and ricotta filling; I was worried that the rhubarb would be too sour or wouldn't have cooked thoroughly because I haven't used it before and wasn't sure how it would behave. Luckily the cakes turned out very well and are just the right amount of tart. The Philadelphia on top makes them taste a little bit like cheesecake to begin with, until the sponge hits your tastebuds, when you receive the all-important chocolate hit. Overall, then, a definite success.

Speaking of spring, we may have had its temperatures snatched from us before we knew what has happening but, after three weeks away from Newcastle, I can really see the difference in the foliage. Many of the trees are either bedecked with flowers or are full of green leaves again, and our modest (and untamed) front garden is once again filled with bluebells:

Not pictured: litter kindly thrown into the garden by passers-by.
Maybe, if we're lucky, it'll be beach weather again soon. Having missed out on the chance a couple of weeks ago, I'm determined to go even if I have to take my revision notes with me. I will go to the beach this term!

These cakes are my entry to this month's We Should Cocoa challenge: chocolate and cheese. This month the challenge is hosted by Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog, which is always filled with tasty looking cakes and other goodies - just look at her Matcha and White Chocolate Cupcakes!

Choclette brought the One Ingredient Cooking Challenge, hosted by Nazima at Working London Mummy and Laura at how to cook good food, to my attention - this month's theme is rhubarb so this post is being submitted to two challenges at once!

Do give these cupcakes a go as they are not nearly as fiddly as they appear at first glance (if that was the case I would have most likely botched them in some way), and they taste amazing.

  • 185g Caster Sugar
  • 110g Rhubarb
  • 125g Ricotta Cheese
  • 60g Plain Flour
  • 50g Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 6 Tbsp Milk
  • 100g Philadelphia Cheese
  • 40g White Chocolate
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan and place 12 cupcake cases into a cupcake tin.
  • Finely chop the rhubarb and stir it into the ricotta cheese and 75g of the caster sugar, then place the mixture to one side.
  • In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy in appearance, then stir the eggs in, one at a time, to form a batter.
  • Gradually add the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder to the batter and stir until well combined.
  • Add milk, a tablespoon or two at a time, until a soft dropping consistency has been achieved.
  • Divide the mixture into two. Share one half of the mixture between the cupcake cases, then divide the rhubarb mixture between them all and spread it on top, making sure that it spreads to the sides. Finally, divide the remainder of the cake mixture between the cases and make sure that it completely covers the layer underneath.
  • Put the cakes into the oven for 20 minutes, or until the tops spring back when gently prodded.
  • Allow the cakes to cool completely, then spread a teaspoon of Philadelphia around the centre of each cupcake (don't spread it completely over the top - the aim is to have discs of Philadelphia in the centre).
  • Finally, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water and use a fork to drizzle it over the cupcakes. 

For hints and tips on the rudiments of baking, take a look at The Basics.

The Cinnamon and Apple Cookies that I made only two days ago have already completely disappeared. They became quite moist from the apples but this only added to their appeal for me, and housemate, N, told me he couldn't get enough of them. Still, their fast disappearance has left a nice space on the kitchen counter for these cupcakes.

What to make next week? Those chocolate chip shortbread biscuits are still beckoning to be made, but after the delicious indulgence that was the Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake I think I might have to make another cheesecake. It might be a refrigerated cheesecake this time, but the creaminess offered by a baked cheesecake is too much temptation... I guess we'll all have to wait to find out what I decide on. 

Enjoy your weekends!


  1. They sound delicious. The rhubarb could even be changed to a different fruit if it wasn't in season too. I'm thinking raspberries would also be nice.

  2. Oh how lovely. Just love the idea of using rhubarb and ricotta as a layer within the cakes. I really must get my hands on some ricotta or make some, because I keep seeing such lovely recipes using it. These look great. Thank you for entering and thanks for saying such nice things about my blog.

    Working London Mummy is using Rhubarb as her one ingredient challenge this month - just in case you wanted to enter them there as well.

    1. Thank you! I hadn't heard of that blog challenge but I'll definitely check it out - hopefully I'm not too late. I also had no idea that it was possible to make ricotta yourself!

  3. these look delicious. Thanks so much for entering them. I only recently started cooking with ricotta myself so will be trying this out


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