The Giant Rhubarb In the Room

I went to the farmer’s market… and as I’m apt to do, I went a little crazy with the buying. I just like farmer’s markets and when I see all of the people and the produce I just want to buy it all.

I found an adorable gentleman who sold me two soft-shell crabs… I cleaned them (eeek!) and ate them with great gusto. I was pleased that I had cleaned them myself… but a little freaked out that they continue to move even as I was hacking into their vital organs and cutting their faces off. It makes me cringe still. ::cringe::

Well, last week I walked past anything that required cooking/baking because I was in study mode. I’m still in study mode, but I decided that this week I was going to just spend a couple hours cooking and enjoying myself before going back to :::i-want-to-kill-someone::: study mode. When I saw these arm length (or if you’re short, like me, 1/2 body length) rhubarb, I had to have them. They were so delightfully pink, I immediately grabbed them.

I did like Connie at ouichefcook and tossed the sliced rhubarb in sugar before letting it drain in the refrigerator for 8 hours. Then, I decided I wanted coffee cake crumbs in a buttermilk based cake. So I fused Lottie + Doof’s favorite cake with some coffee cake crumbs… with a layer of rhubarb in between the cake. So maybe I over-did it a little bit. I ended up with is a 9×13” cake that’s about 2 inches thick. I told you. I’m not good at subtle. Or a little. I like BIG. Bigger = better. DUH…  I might have been a Texan in a former life.

The crumbs are just perfectly crunchy and the cake is pillowy. And the layer of rhubarb is just acidic and tart enough to balance the crunchy crumbs. And since I absentmindedly left out the vanilla extract, the cake tastes just like rhubarb. I know some people won’t like it because it’s a bit tart, but this giant corner slice I pried out of the pan before it cooled is just delicious.

Anyway. Here is what I did

Giant Rhubarb Coffee Cake (Kaprise Kitchen interpretation from a little of this and a little of that)

  • 3 cups of flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 12 tablespoons of butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup of shaken buttermilk

Rhubarb:

  • about 1 pound of rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar

Crumbs:

  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 8 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup of flour
  1. About 8 hours before you plan on baking, or the night before (or in the wee morning hours): wash and slice the rhubarb. Toss with 1/4 cup of sugar. Place in a colander over a mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. After 8 or so hours have elapsed,  shake the excess moisture from the rhubarb and discard the liquid that has drained. Set the rhubarb aside.
  3. On to the batter!!
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar together, adding one egg at a time until creamy and smooth
  5. Whisk in the buttermilk.
  6. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and soda (I normally stir 1/2 of the flour with the baking powder and soda into the mixture, and then stir the remaining flour in. Mostly because I don’t have another mixing bowl to combine dry ingredients, and because this works just fine)
  7. The batter should be a little thicker than normal cake batter.
  8. Line a 9X13” baking pan with buttered parchment paper. Butter the sides of the pan as well.
  9. Spread about 2/3 of the batter in the bottom of the pan.
  10. Add the rhubarb in an even layer over the batter
  11. If you prefer a less tart cake, sprinkle 1/4 cup of brown sugar over the rhubarb layer to counteract the acidity of the fruit. I left this out because I like the bite.
  12. Dollop the remaining batter over the rhubarb. Because the batter is pretty stiff, I drop blobs of the batter over the rhubarb and then lightly tap the pan on the counter to even it out a bit.
  13. In a bowl, combine the crumb ingredients. I make crumbs by squishing the ingredients into a ball and then breaking the ball apart over the cake.
  14. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 60 minutes. Mine took about 65 minutes, but I was also peeking in the oven to check on my baked potatoes (because there is nothing like multitasking your oven!)
  15. A tester should come out nearly clean from the center of the cake. Remember that the rhubarb is moist so the cake around the rhubarb will be moist – so be cautious of overbaking since your tester won’t be perfectly clean coming out of the cake. However… make sure the cake is sufficiently baked, otherwise the cake will be dense and gummy. (I know. Not an exact science, but I normally press a finger at the center of the cake, and if it springs back, it’s normally done).

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