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Rhubarb and custard cupcakes

This classic combination marries the sweet tartness of rhubarb with creamy custard in a whipped, fluffy, swirl-topped cupcake. A sweet recipe that will be loved by all (including bake-sale goers)!

Recipe info

Preparation time: 35 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 12


For the cupcakes:

  • 175g butter (softened)
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 50g custard powder 
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 large eggs (we recommend RSPCA Assured eggs!)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 stem ginger (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp stem ginger syrup

For the compote:

  • 400g rhubarb (cut into 2cm chunks)
  • 1 stem ginger in syrup, drained and finely chopped
  • 50g caster sugar

For the icing:

  • 125g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 50g custard powder
  • 50ml milk (RSPCA Assured milk recommended!)
  • 1 x 125g pot ready-made custard
  • red food colouring


Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4. Then, for the compote, place the rhubarb on a roasting tray and sprinkle with chopped ginger, sugar and 3 tbsp water. Wrap the roasting tray tightly in foil and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 - 25 minutes. While it bakes, make your cupcake batter...

Step 2:

For the cupcakes, beat together all of the cake ingredients either using a free-standing electric mixer or a hand-held electric mixer. Beat for 3 minutes.

Step 3:

Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases. Next, using an ice cream scoop, divide the mixture between the cupcake cases. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes at 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4 or until the cakes are golden and springy to the touch. 

Step 4:

When the rhubarb is ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit so you can handle the tray. Pour all the contents of the roasting tray into a fine sieve set over a small saucepan and let the liquid drain. Allow the rhubarb in the sieve to cool completely and set to one side. Heat the contents of the saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until reduced by half. Pour the syrup into a heatproof jug and leave to cool. 

Step 5:

When the cakes come out of the oven, drizzle with cooled rhubarb syrup. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out to finish cooling on a wire rack. While the cakes cool, make the icing...

Step 6:

For the icing, beat the butter with a whisk until soft and fluffy, and then add the vanilla, custard powder, half the icing sugar and half of the milk. Beat continuously until thoroughly mixed. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat until the icing is white, smooth and fluffy. If the mixture looks a little stiff, add a splash of RSPCA Assured milk.

Step 7:

Next, using an apple corer, remove the centre of each cupcake and fill halfway with the strained rhubarb and top with custard.

Step 8:

To decorate, dip a fine brush into the red food colouring and paint three stripes inside your piping bag. Spoon the buttercream into the bag fitted with an open star nozzle, then pipe tall swirls of the icing on top of each cupcake, twisting as you pipe for a swirl effect. To finish, drizzle with rhubarb syrup!

Get some extra resources for your fundraising

Now you've got the recipe, you'll also need the extras to make your fundraising event a success. Our fundraising pack contains all the things you might need, from bunting to posters, we've got you covered.

Request your fundraising pack today

With thanks to RSPCA Assured for providing the original recipe.

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