Oh, the possibilities of rhubarb! I’m hoping to keep nursing this crown into a big, healthy plant so that I can have rhubarb accessible whenever I want it. It’s a perennial and will stick around for a number of years. I’m trying to figure out exactly where, in the garden, it should go. The leaves will get huge- about 1 foot wide, and are really beautiful contrasted against the red stems.
The recipe I always think of when rhubarb comes in to season, is my grama’s rhubarb cake. I’ll have to ask her where it came from, but I know that my dad loved it as a kid, so the recipe has been around for quite a while.
It’s the simplest cake to make, and really doesn’t need icing. In fact, the cake is so moist that the addition of frosting is almost overboard! Though a dollop of lightly-sweetened whipped cream is awfully good with it. Now don’t get me wrong, I have been known to bake it in 2 round cake pans to make a layered cake, frosting and all, but it doesn’t really need all that work to make it good. This is the kind of cake that’s nice eaten with a cup of tea mid-morning because it isn’t overly sweet, and it has those little bits of tart rhubarb in it to balance it all out. Also, the cake just gets moister the next day so long as it’s covered tightly, so you can have it with your tea over and over again!
yields one 9×13 pan, two- 9” rounds, or four- 6” rounds
This cake also works beautifully with strawberries cut in to similarly sized pieces.
- 1-½ cups sugar
- ½ cup shortening (I use Spectrum organic shortening, which is made using palm oil)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup buttermilk with 1 tsp baking soda stirred into it
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2-½ cups raw rhubarb cut into ¼” pieces
- Topping: ½ Tablespoon cinnamon and 2 Tablespoons sugar, stirred together
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour pan. Cream the sugar and shortening. Add the egg and mix to combine. Separately, combine the buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla. Separately, combine the flour and salt. In alternate doses, mix the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture into the creamed mixture. Just before the last bit of flour is fully absorbed, stir in the rhubarb. Don’t over-mix. Pour batter into baking vessel and spread to the edges using a spatula. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the top and bake for approximately 40 minutes if you’re using the 9×13 glass dish. For smaller pans, you may need to decrease the baking time.