Rhubarb Cupcakes.

Okay, let's start out this article by stating the obvious....Smak looks totally different!

In recent weeks I've been working diligently with Alyssa Low and Collin Koetz on updating the Smak logo and website. It's been an amazing process of evaluating what Smak is, where I've been, and where I envision the website going in the future. After four years of writing for this website, it was an amazing opportunity to sit down and reflect on what Smak is. 

Smak is a community focused destination for all things food related - recipes, coffee shops, restaurants, local markets and culture around the world. We believe that behind every great dish there's a unique story waiting to be told. Smak strives to retell these stories through recipes and inspire others to share with their own community. Food is a constantly evolving story. Food is a lifestyle. Food is a community. 

Smak + Food = Community.

Smak Chicago Food Blog Rhubarb Cupcakes-12.jpg

In honor of the newly redesigned website, I thought it only fitting to post an article with something celebratory. Like ice cream. Or candy. Or cake. Or CUPCAKES!

I feel as though I've said this a million times, but is there anything better than being able to harvest fresh produce from your person garden during the summer? Or walking to your local farmer's market to pick up all of your needed ingredients? The absolute must when it comes to summer is taking advantage of these things. Unlike other parts of the country, Chicago does not have the year-round luxury of farmer's markets. We are very much limited to what it is season. So, if you have excess peppers and tomatoes - make salsa. If you have blackberries and raspberries, put them on your morning yogurt with granola. And when there is an abundant amount of rhubarb, figure out what to make with it! 

Let's be honest, when I hear rhubarb my mind automatically thinks rhubarb crisp. Is that not what everyone and their mother makes this time of year? Of course it is. While it may be delicious, it is used. It's been done before. 

Desserts are the obvious choice when it comes to choosing a recipe utilizing rhubarb as an ingredient. Perhaps it is the easy way out, but without a doubt it is the delicious way. After browsing the Internets and stumbling upon a cupcake recipe (let's be honest, cupcake are still the bomb dot com, even if the trend was so 2010), I pulled out my baking ingredients and went to work. 

Let it be told: having miniature sous chefs is hands-down the best thing in this world. I have have no children, but I have nieces, and family with children. They are adorable. And want to help cook things. And make being in the kitchen that much better. I mean - just look at Sig. He is the cutest. 

Let me know in the comments below if you have any other great rhubarb recipes that I should try out this summer. 

Tommy.


| Rhubarb Cupcakes |
Recipes from The Foodie's Kitchen

Ingredients:

1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
3/4 pound rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch dice (makes 3 cups)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven at 350ºF. Line standard muffins tins with paper liners.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and 1 cup of sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low.
  5. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until combined after each.
  6. Stir in the diced rhubarb.
  7. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating thins half-way through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
  8. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature in airtight containers.
  9. Wait until completely cool to frost the cupcakes.

| Cream Cheese Frosting |

Ingredients:

¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese
3 cups confectioner’s sugar (have a bit more around if you need to adjust the sweetness of the frosting)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pansies for garnish

Directions:

  1. Cream the butter on medium speed, then add the cream cheese until well combined.
  2. Lower the speed on the mixer and Sift in the powdered sugar, one cup at the time.
  3. Add vanilla and mix. Test to see if it’s sweet enough, if you want it sweeter, add 1/4 of confectioner’s sugar at a time.
  4. Spread onto cooled cupcakes.
  5. Place a pansy on top.