Hello everyone!! How are you holding up under all of this business going on in our lives? I hope you are finding some peace, joy, and humor in everyday life. Today we have a Rhubarb Coffee Cake that can me made in a 13×9 inch pan, or is just as happy divided into two, 9-inch cake pans. The cake pan option is nice for sharing with a neighbor or a friend in need of some sweetness in their lives – and who doesn’t at the moment? This recipe has been adapted from one of my all-time favorites – my grandma Liz’s rhubarb cake. I can’t tell you the number of times as a kid I offered to put the last remaining pieces of her cake on a separate plate so the baking pan could be washed – and then stuffed most of them into my mouth. It was sweet/tart and impossible to stop myself. Grandma’s cake was a prize winner right out of the oven but got so super-moist after a day or two it became almost too moist (if that’s possible). This was never an issue for grandma, who had seven children and it would have been a miracle if this cake survived one hour let alone one day. Since people of those numbers are not in many households anymore, I’ve made just a couple of small changes to give the cake more structure. Lo and behold, it has become more of a coffee cake than a regular cake so that’s how we got here. Dick suggested the addition of caramelized rhubarb, and that genius idea is how we got there. Put the two concepts together and we’ve got ourselves an irresistible treat. This cake has never lasted longer than three days in our house but held up well until the last crumb was devoured, and the last of the rhubarb topping was licked off my fingers.
When Dick suggested the idea of caramelized rhubarb, my first impression was that it was crazy talk. What? Are you kidding? …and then I tried to put some together, and in about five seconds realized what a great thing this is – it brings the cake right up there in additional flavor and is quite beautiful to look at. The cautionary note here is that it is best to use red rhubarb – rhubarb with stalks that are mostly green are every bit as delicious as the red ones, but they leave a whole lot to be desired in the looks department. I mean – a whole lot to be desired. The other little note here is that the less you mess around with the rhubarb once it goes in the pan, the better. Rhubarb is full of moisture, and if it gets stirred around it can easily turn into fragments of its former self. Still good but not the look we’re going for. Since it does give up a lot of moisture, just shake your pan around until it all gets absorbed into the rhubarb, which just takes a few minutes. Using a nonstick pan makes this a cool breeze if you have one.
OK then – topping finished, cake out of the oven…here we go.
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- FOR THE CAKE:
- 2 ½ cups unbleached white flour
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups rhubarb, thinly sliced (about ⅛ of an inch thick)
- 1 egg
- ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (I used 2% fat)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- FOR THE TOPPING:
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- FOR THE CARAMELIZED RHUBARB
- 1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons)
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- 4 cups sliced rhubarb
- FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat over at 350 degrees for 30 minutes prior to baking.
- Prepare 13x9 inch baking by lightly coating with cooking spray. (Note: you can also bake this in 2, 9-inch cake pans. That way you’ll have one for sharing.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, soda and salt.
- Add the sliced rhubarb and lightly toss to coat rhubarb with flour.
- In a separate bowl, combine the egg, oil, Greek yogurt and vanilla. Stir into the flour mixture until combined.
- Pour this mixture into the 9x13 baking pan and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients by using a pastry blender or pulsing briefly in a food processor. Sprinkle topping mixture over top of cake, so cake is covered evenly.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until top springs back when touched.
- FOR THE CARAMELIZED RHUBARB
- In a sauté pan, melt the butter, then add the brown sugar and stir until well combined and bubbling.
- Stir in the rhubarb and continue cooking, stirring gently (rhubarb has a lot of liquid and will fall apart easily so be really careful not to overdo it. I use a nonstick pan and just pretty much shake the rhubarb back and forth as opposed to stirring it around).
- Cook rhubarb only until softened. Remove from heat and top slices of the cake with a big spoonful. If you don’t use it all, try it on ice cream. It will make you very happy.