There are so many different uses for homemade mascarpone: you could use it in tiramisu, stir it through pasta with lemon zest and pine nuts, serve it on top of stewed fruit.
But I wanted something special for my very first batch of mascarpone. I wanted to put the creamy delectableness on centre stage, celebrate the triumph of making my very first batch of cheese.
So I decided to make Rhubarb cupcakes with brown sugar mascarpone frosting.
These rhubarb cupcakes use pretty much the same recipe as the rhubarb, earl grey & vanilla rose cakes I made a couple weeks back but minus the earl grey and amping up the vanilla. I think it's my cupcake du jour - delicate, seasonal and so so tasty. I love biting into the tart chunks of bright pink rhubarb encased in soft cake perfumed with vanilla. Man, it's good!
The frosting is an adaptation of the brown sugar cream cheese frosting that I made in a hurry a while back. I loved that slight caramelly flavour the brown sugar gives the frosting and thought it would be a perfect showcase for the mascarpone.
And oh my, this mascarpone frosting is heavenly.
It's light and ethereal and disappears in a puff of creamy sweetness in your mouth. It's like eating a caramel scented cloud. Divine.
Rhubarb cupcakes with brown sugar mascarpone frosting
adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla essence
125 g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups rhubarb (~400g), diced to around 0.5-1 cm pieces
1. Preheat oven to 180oC. Line two 12 cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.
2. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.
3. In a large bowl, cream butter for around a minute until really fluffy. Add half the sugar and beat for around 1 minute. Add the rest of the sugar and beat for another 1 minute. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well.
4. Add a third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Beat until just incorporated. Add half the sour cream and beat until just mixed. Add another third of the flour etc until all the flour and sour cream have been mixed in.
5. Stir in the rhubarb.
6. Fill the cupcake wrappers 3/4 way full. Bake for 25 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the tin immediately and cool on a wire rack. Pipe on frosting only when the cupcakes are completely cool - or else you will have brown sugar mascarpone sauce not frosting!
Brown Sugar Mascarpone Frosting
enough for 24 cupcakes (and lots of "tasting"!)
250g mascarpone cheese (homemade if you are feeling adventurous!)
1 cup soft brown sugar
3 Tbsp corn flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 cups cream
100g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1. Whisk brown sugar, icing sugar and cornflour together. Make sure you get rid of as many lumps as you can. You might have to get in there with your fingers.
2. Cream butter for 1-2 mins until really fluffy. Add vanilla and beat well.
3. Add sugar mixture and beat on high while adding the cream half a cup at a time.
4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before frosting. Keep cupcakes in a cool place.
Nifty trick: Put chilly bin ice blocks in the bottom of your cupcake carrier to keep your cupcakes cool when travelling (ingenious tip thought up by my momma!)