As weather turns warmer, rhubarb will be popping up in gardens everywhere. Use those pretty pink stalks in a new way in your baking this season. Rhubarb upside-down cupcakes are perfectly portioned treats that can be served warm and topped with ice cream for dessert. Or, serve them with Greek yogurt for an indulgent breakfast.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cupcakes

By Kristen Olson
Serves 12

1 cup sugar, divided
8 Tbsp. butter, divided
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. coarse Kosher salt, divided
1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
? cup whole milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Vanilla ice cream, if desired

1. Heat oven to 375° F. Grease a standard muffin pan; set aside. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt ¾ cup of the sugar, 4 tablespoons of the butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and ¼ teaspoon of salt. When the butter and sugar have melted together, add the rhubarb and cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, remaining ¼ cup sugar, baking powder and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Add remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Using two forks, cut the butter into the flour to form coarse pea-size pieces. Add milk and eggs and stir until a soft, sticky dough forms.

3. Reserve ¼ cup of the rhubarb juice for serving. Spoon the rest of the warm rhubarb and syrup mixture into the prepared muffin pan. Divide the dough over the rhubarb mixture, to cover the entire surface. Place a sheet of foil on the lower rack to catch any drips. Bake until the golden brown and cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pan from oven and cool 10 minutes. Place a large, flat serving platter or baking sheet on top of the muffin pan and invert quickly and carefully. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream.