Strawberry Rhubarb Cupcakes

Today’s recipe was imagineered for Dean’s Cup 2020. Dean’s Cup is an annual competition between the med and law schools that includes a variety of talents from beach volleyball to darts to baking! Year one we made Matcha Japanese Cheesecakes with Cloud Frosting, year two we made Taro Unicakes, and year three Crystal made Thai Tea Boba Cupcakes and Schweitzer S’mores (usually it’s just cupcakes, but this year there was also a cookie category, and this recipe took 1st place!). You can say we saved the best for last because these cupcakes took home the gold medal at today’s bake-off! We had more than one thing to celebrate, too. As of 9pm tonight, my rank list for residency is sealed and submitted, so let the shiraz flow and the count down to Match Day begin!

Crystal and I thought long and hard about what cupcakes to bring to this year’s table. We toyed with miso caramel apple or pandan with kaya filling. But a last minute sighting of rhubarb in season got our attention, and strawberry rhubarb became a done deal. The mini lattice pie crusts require diligence to craft but are worth the cuteness factor and add a necessary salty touch to the otherwise sweet cupcakes. The juicy strawberries with the tart rhubarb make great friends with the fluffy cake and buttery frosting. So without further ado… let’s get baking!

Strawberry Rhubarb Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakesIMG_7387


For the cupcakes

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups (160g) flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temp

For the filling/topping

  • 2 cups rhubarb, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries, diced
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp corn starch + 1 tbsp water
  • 1 sheet pie crust dough
  • 1 egg

For the frosting

  • 1 stick butter, cold
  • 8 oz. powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. For the cupcake batter: Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer till pale and smooth, ~2 minutes. Beat in one egg at a time and vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture in thirds, alternating with milk in thirds, till smooth and just combined. Divide the batter evenly amongst twelve lined cupcake wells. Bake for 18 minutes or till an inserted tooth pick comes out cleanly.
  2. For the filling: In a medium saucepan, combine rhubarb and 1/3 cup sugar; cook till rhubarb is softened. Mix together corn starch and water and add this to the rhubarb mixture; stir till glossy. Remove from heat and strain out excess liquid (note: do not mash the rhubarb against the strainer; instead let gravity do the work for you). Allow the rhubarb mixture to fully cool. In a medium bowl, stir together strawberries and 1 tbsp sugar; let sit for 10 minutes and strain out excess liquid. Combine the cooled rhubarb with the macerated strawberries.
  3. For the pie crust topping: Use a pizza cutter to cut short, thin strips from the pie dough. On a lined baking sheet, use eight strips to weave a lattice. Use a circular cutter (diameter 2.5″) to cut the lattice into a circle and discard the excess dough. Repeat to make twelve lattices total. Place in refrigerator to chill while you preheat the oven to 400F. When oven is preheated, brush tops with a beaten egg and bake for 10 minutes or till golden.
  4. For the frosting: Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt. Beat for at least 5 minutes till light and fluffy. Load the frosting into a piping bag with a large star tip.
  5. To assemble: Pipe a thick ring of frosting around the edge of each cupcake. Pile the strawberry-rhubarb mixture in the center of each cupcake. Top each cupcake with a piece of pie crust and another flower of frosting.


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