Despite living in the US for 13 years and seeing rhubarb show up every spring and summer, I’ve never really thought about using it in my cooking or baking.This past weekend, shopping at the local farm stand, I came across fresh rhubarb and decided on a whim to buy some without any recipe in mind. I headed out to Smitten Kitchen for some rhubarb inspiration (I’ve never had a failed recipe from her site!).
Note: What I made is slightly adapted from her Rhubarb Snacking Cake. Since I wasn’t really sure how sour rhubarb would be and because I had some soft, inedible but unspoilt strawberries in the fridge, I decided to use them both in this recipe. Because strawberries are sweeter, I cut down on the sugar to just half a cup during maceration. I skipped out on the cinnamon in the crumb – not a big fan of cinnamon with strawberries. Also, being the forgetful person that I am, I completely missed the sour cream part so I just used some home made yogurt instead, which worked just fine. The cake was a hit both at home and at my workplace.
For the Cake
3 sticks of rhubarb cut diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup strawberries, cut into pieces
1/3 cup + 2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup yogurt
For the Crumb
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup raw cane sugar (that’s what I had)
1/8 teaspoon table salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
First let’s make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter (or your choice of grease) the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper for extra insurance and ease of removing the cake from the pan. Mix the rhubarb, lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar and let sit while you make the batter. Beat butter, remaining sugar (2/3 cup) and lemon zest until light and fluffy. electric mixer would be the easiest but mixing by hand works too with the added bonus of a good workout (so you can eat more cake!).Add eggs, one by one, and mix thoroughly. Sift flour, baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon table salt and ground ginger together in a bowl. Mix in a third of this flour mixture until just combined. Then add half the yogurt and the second third of the flour mixture and mix gently. Repeat the previous steps again with the remaining yogurt and flour mixture.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread the cake into an even, thin layer. Gently pour the strawberry-rhubarb mixture over the cake and spread it evenly over the cake batter.
Now for the crumb: Mix the flour, raw cane sugar and table salt together. Then stir in the melted butter with a spoon or fork – the mixture should look gravel-ly (I don’t think that’s a real word). Scatter this crumble mix evenly over fruit layer. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. The cake is done when a knife inserted comes out clean and the crumble looks golden. Cool completely in the pan on a rack. Although, I took it to my work place when it was still very warm and every body ate it before it cooled completely. Warm worked well and so did room temperature. Sadly, the cake didn’t last long enough to test it cold.