One of my favorite pies gone cupcake! Soft, buttery yellow cake cupcakes, which are partially hollowed out and filled with strawberry-rhubarb jam, then topped off with meringue. I love to pipe the meringue on mile-high and then toast it for an extra special effect, or decorate it with fresh strawberries for a simple (and delicious) finishing touch. —Erin Jeanne McDowell
Test Kitchen Notes
Bake It Up a Notch is a column by Resident Baking BFF Erin Jeanne McDowell. Each month, she'll help take our baking game to the next level, teaching us all the need-to-know tips and techniques and pointing out all the mistakes to avoid along the way. Today, cupcakes galore—the very funnest dessert! —The Editors
- Prep time 20 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- makes 12 cupcakes
- Yellow Cake Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups
(180 grams) all-purpose flour
(150 grams) granulated sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons
(7 grams) baking powder
(3 grams) fine sea salt
(113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
(115 grams) sour cream or plain yogurt
large egg (56 grams), at room temperature
large egg yolks (65 grams), at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons
(7 grams) vanilla extract
- Filling and Frosting
large, long stalks (or 2 short, skinny stalks) rhubarb, finely diced (115 grams)
(175 grams) finely chopped strawberries
(106 grams) light or dark brown sugar
vanilla bean paste, the seeds of 1 vanilla bean, or 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
large egg whites (106 grams), at room temperature
(<1 gram) cream of tartar
1 1/3 cups
(265 grams) granulated sugar
(5 grams) vanilla extract
- Heat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to combine. Drop the butter by the tablespoon into the mixer, add the sour cream, and mix on low speed to combine.
- In a small liquid measuring cup, whisk the egg, egg yolks, and vanilla together to combine. Add this mixture to the batter gradually, mixing on low speed until evenly combined.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared pan using an ice cream scoop, filling each cavity three-quarters full.
- Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs, 17 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.
- Make the strawberry-rhubarb jam: In a medium pot, stir the rhubarb, strawberries, brown sugar, and vanilla. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes saucy. Reduce the heat to low, stirring occasionally, and continue to cook until the fruit breaks down, 8 to 10 minutes more.
- Cool the jam completely, then transfer to a pastry bag. Place a medium pot with about 1 inch/2½ centimeters of water and heat to a gentle simmer.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar until evenly combined. (Fit your stand mixer with a whip attachment.)
- Place the mixing bowl over the warm water and heat, while whisking constantly, until the mixture reads 160°F/320°C on a thermometer. Transfer the bowl back to the mixer.
- Turn on the mixer to high speed, and whip until the meringue holds stiff peaks, 7 to 9 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Transfer to a piping bag with a large round tip.
- Using a small (1-inch/2½-centimeter) cookie cutter, the larger side of a piping tip, or a paring knife to cut a small circle of cake out of the center of each cupcake. (Eat this cake for a snack!)
- Fill the holes of each cupcake with the cooled jam, allowing any excess to form a little dome if it rises above the surface of the cupcake.
- Pipe a mound of meringue on top of each cupcake. If desired, toast with a torch.