By Jeanne Foels, Marketing & Outreach Coordinator
Don’t miss out on this year’s crop of rhubarb! Get yourself to the nearest farmers market or co-op and pick up a fresh, tart bouquet before they disappear for the season.
Rhubarb’s strong taste is best paired with a large helping of sweetness in pies, breads and crisps. This pink-hued cake with a big, sweet crumb is a good way to honor the tangy spring stalk — and a sweet way to honor your mother at Sunday brunch, too!
Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen
(Makes 6-8 servings)
For the rhubarb filling:
1/2 lb. rhubarb, trimmed and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
For the crumbs:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, melted
1/2 cup pecans, chopped finely
1 3/4 cups cake flour or all-purpose flour
For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour (ditto on the all-purpose flour–worked just fine)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. butter, softened and cut into 8 pieces
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
2. For filling, toss rhubarb with sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.
3. To make crumbs, whisk sugars, spices and salt into melted butter in a large bowl until smooth. Mix in pecans. Add flour with a spatula or wooden spoon. It will look and feel like a solid dough. Leave it pressed together in the bottom of the bowl and set aside.
4. To prepare cake, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla in a small bowl. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.
4. Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon rhubarb mixture over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over rhubarb; it does not have to be even.
5. Using your fingers, break the crumb mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from rhubarb), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving.