Recipe: Rhubarb and Ginger Muffins with Lemon Syrup

Pieces of rhubarb shine like pink jewels hidden in each golden muffin. 

Recipe and photo: Extract from Homegrown Happiness by Elien Lewis

These muffins are so light and flavourful. Rhubarb, fresh ginger and lemon are the star ingredients. Not all the colour of the rhubarb fades when they are baked, so the fruit pieces shine like pink jewels against the golden cake background. The muffins themselves aren’t overly sweet, but once they are baked, they are coated with a sweet lemon syrup. This gets soaked up in the cakes, making them wonderfully moist.

Makes: 12


2 cups/300g white flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon of baking soda
110g softened butter
¾ cup/170g white sugar
2 medium eggs
½ cup/125ml plain yoghurt, at room temperature
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
150g rhubarb, chopped into 1cm pieces

Lemon syrup:
1 tablespoon lemon zest
⅓ cup/85ml lemon juice
⅓ cup/85ml water
¼ cup/55g white sugar + 2 tablespoons
pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 190°C (or 170°C fan bake) and grease a 12-muffin tin.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

With a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the yoghurt, lemon juice, zest, ginger, vanilla and salt.

Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and fold together gently into a thick batter. Add in the chopped rhubarb and fold. Scoop the mixture evenly into the muffin tin. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the tops of the muffins spring back when touched. While the muffins are baking, start on the syrup.

More stories you might like:
Recipe: Michael Van de Elzen's Sweet Risotto with Poached Tamarillos

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine all the ingredients except for 2 tablespoons of sugar. Simmer for 3–4 minutes to reduce slightly. Once the muffins have finished baking, let them cool for a few minutes before loosening them from the tin (though leave them in the tin once loosened).

Pierce the muffins with a fork or skewer a few times, to make little holes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar into the cooled syrup. Spoon the syrup over each muffin and let it soak in. Remove the muffins from the tray to continue cooling once all the syrup has been used.

Extract from Homegrown Happiness: A Kiwi Guide to Living off the Suburban Land by Elien Lewis, photography by Elien Lewis, published by Bateman Books, RRP$ 39.99.

Discuss This Article
Send this to a friend