Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rhubarb: Love or Hate?

Rhubarb is a herald of spring as is asparagus, fiddlehead ferns and ramps.  Our local farmers markets offer rhubarb but there is no queue as there is for asparagus.  When I ask friends if they like rhubarb, noses crinkle and and heads shake NO.  Those lovely crimson stalks have a very tart flavor and it takes quite a bit of sugar to make it palatable.  Strawberries are a common pairing and are most frequently seen together in pies or crisps.  I made a lovely chutney last week that also featured ginger.  

I happen to like the piquant flavor and look forward to a spring dessert featuring the fruit stalks. Rather than a pie this season, I looked for a cake recipe.  I was very please with the one I found in The Good Cook series from Time Life Books.  The recipe is credited to Hans Karl Adam.  The cake has a medium crumb, almost rustic, and the rhubarb is soft without being mushy and retains it's tart flavor with just the right amount of sweetness.  A half cup of walnut halves tossed with the rhubarb would add a nice texture contrast.

Rhubarb Cake
10 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 lemon, peeled grated, juice strained
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 lbs. rhubarb, cut into 3/4 inch pieces (about 5 cups)
1 teaspoons cinnamon

Cream the butter with 2/3 cup of the granulated sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt.  Alternately beat the flour mixture and the eggs into the butter.  Beat in the lemon peel and juice, and lastly the milk.  Spoon the batter into a buttered and floured spring-form pan.  Toss the rhubarb with the cinnamon and the remaining granulated sugar, and spread the mixture on top of the batter.  Bake the cake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the rhubarb is soft and the cake has shrunk slightly from the sides of the pan.  Let the cake cool completely in the pan. Remove the cake from the pan.  This would be great with vanilla ice cream for dessert or delicious for a breakfast treat with a hot cup of coffee.


  1. Lovely recipe. Like to try it.

    Thanks! :)

  2. I just made this recipe this week, my husband's grandparents have a huge rhubarb patch that I raided. It came out so well, and is one of the best rhubarb recipes I have tried, delicious! I really enjoy all your recipes!


Thanks for your comments. I love to hear from readers of Spiral Style


Blog Widget by LinkWithin