Rhubarb Muffin - with Recipe

Auntie Bea’s Amazing Rhubarb Muffins


Rhubarb Muffin - with RecipeAuntie Bea made this recipe  for the first time on August 4, 2014 – made an entire batch for us and gave them to us on August 7 (the day before our anniversary :). They were amazing. They looked gorgeous – like something that came right out of a bakery. And YUMMY… oh, were these YUMMY. She photocopied the recipe and gave it to me on Aug 27 when we joined her for dinner at the Villa Cabrini, dining al fresco on their 2nd storey outdoor patio/ garden.  It was lovely.

2 finely diced rhubarb

1/4 c sugar

1 tsp grated orange peel

2.5 cups all purpose flour

1/2 c sugar

1.5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 c sour milk (or buttermilk)

3 tbsp butter, melted


2 tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine first 3 ingredients. Stand 5 minutes. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt. Combine eggs, milk, and melted butter. Add to dry ingredients. Stir til dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in rhubarb. Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full. Sprinkle a little topping over each muffin. Bake 375 degrees F for 20 – 25 minutes. Makes 1/5 dozen. Paper baking cups are not recommended.


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    • Clever Cook

      Hi Raymond,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure why the muffins did not rise for you. I’ve made the recipe several times and had no issues.

      There are many reasons why muffins might not rise as expected; I’ll list the ones I know of in order of probability:

      Over-mixing the batter. You’ll know that you’ve done this if the muffins also turn out tough and chewy. This prevents rising because the gluten network is too tight to expand around the gas bubbles.

      Under-mixing the batter. You have to develop some gluten, otherwise there’s nothing to trap the gas bubbles and the muffins will just deflate before they get any rise. It’s a lot easier to over-mix than under-mix, but if you drastically under-mix and don’t even bother to get all the dry ingredients wet, then you won’t get any leavening action at all.

      Not enough leavening agent. This can happen with unsifted flour (sifting also helps incorporate air), using the wrong type of flour (especially if the recipe calls for self-raising), or using old or improperly-stored flour or baking soda/powder. You should be able to see some bubbling action before you pop the muffins in the oven; if you don’t, you might have this problem.

      Improper substitution of baking soda for baking powder. A lot of people think these are the same, but they aren’t. Both use sodium bicarbonate, which is what produces the CO2 bubbles but needs an acid in order to do it. Baking soda is intended to be used with mixtures that are already acidic; baking powder has an built-in acidifier, usually cream of tartar, which reacts with the water as soon as you incorporate it. If you ever substitute baking soda for baking powder, you need to add cream of tartar or some other acid/acidifier.

      Not resting the batter, or resting too long. I have always found that when mixing the batter, the mix needs to stand for at least 15-20 minutes so that it can expand. Only then do you put the mix into the muffin pan and into the oven. This insures that the muffins will rise, stay moist inside, and taste real good. (If you use double-action baking powder (the norm, e.g. Magic brand) then you are supposed to rest for 5-10 minutes to allow for the first action. If you use single-action baking powder, you must get those muffins into the oven right away or they’ll start to collapse.)

      Hope this helps. Maybe adjust your approach according to these tips and try again. It’ll be worth it – these muffins are truly fabulous. Let me know how it goes!

      Finally, and this might be stating the obvious – not filling the tins enough. It’s possible that the muffins are rising just fine, but they’re not supposed to double in size like bread or triple like pastries; you should be filling the tins at least 3/4 of the way up if you want tops.

      Another little trick to ensure your muffins always rise nicely is to begin with a slightly higher baking temperature than the recipe states. Someone I know never got nice tops when making muffins, so I suggested she raise the temp to 425-450 for the first few minutes until they set (typically about 5 minutes for regular size muffin cups or 7-10 minutes for jumbo cups), then turn the temp down to 375 as stated in the recipe. She never had issues making any type of muffins again once she started following this protocol.

  • Cheryl

    I made this recipe today and as soon as I started mixing the liquids into the dry ingredients I realized that there was not enough liquid, the batter was quite dry and crumbly. I don’t think that 1/4 cup sour milk is the correct amount. I added about 1/2 to 3/4 cup more sour milk to the batter and it mixed together better. Baked the muffins and I just tasted one, it turned out very good.

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